I realized what a ridiculous lie my whole life has been.
Biff Loman, Death of a Salesman
This is the feeling which the sales-lady from The Leela Kempinski must have hoped for me to have, after our conversation. But little does she know, that I am forged in the fires of Mount Doom (aka engineering college) like Sauron's ring; and hence exasperation will never work with me unless it is from my manager or guide (from my post-graduation days).
This conversation is a classic example of how materialistic the world has become. It also shows the pressure that is being put on the people to lead a 'good life'; to be read as dining-wining-jiving. And most importantly, it shows how the other point of view is trampled upon.
Sunday, 25th February, 2007
Scene: I am relaxing, watching a Tamil movie 'Jay Jay' on Sun TV. This was a 'thambi' version of Serendipity being presented in an OK form. The phone rings and this is the conversation that takes place...
Lady: May I speak to Mr. XYZ?
Me: No, he is not here.
Lady: When can I contact him?
Me: After 2 months.
Lady: 2 months?
Me: Yes, you see he's not in India.
Lady: OK, may I know who I am talking to?
Me: My name is Deepak and I am Mr. XYZ's nephew.
Lady: In that case could I talk to you?
Me: (surprised) Well, I guess so....
Lady: I am Ms. ABC calling from The Leela Kempenski. Have you heard of it?
Me: (groaning) Of course!!!!
Lady: We are a premier hotel chain in India. We are the best.. blah blah blah blah.... Sir, we have the following offers: you can have brunch, you can visit our discotheque blah blah blah... all this at a very nominal annual rate of Rs. 6,500. In fact this offer is so good and so exclusive that whomever we call accepts it during the duration of the first call. So, (exulting triumphantly) would you like to enrol??
Me: (grinning wickedly) This might sound shocking, but I DO NOT want to enrol.
Lady: (stunned) Sir?? Did I hear you right? You DO NOT want to join?
Me: Haan... When I say DO NOT, I mean DO NOT!!!
Lady: But sir, please see the benefits. Infact that is not all. You must have heard of The Leela, Goa. You can stay there for a concessional rate.
Me: (unable to concentrate on the movie) I have heard of it, but my answer still remains no.
Lady: (probably wondering if such cheap arseholes exist in Bombay) But why, sir? Why?
Me: (in my best tone) See, basically I am a homely person. I do not like to go out. Added to that, I do not have the stamina to come all the way from a central suburb to a western suburb braving all the traffic just to have brunch or shake my booty in a discotheque.
Lady: You don't go out?? Really?
Me: Ah yes, ascetics like me do exist in BOMBAY!!! And added to that I am pretty happy, contented. And if at all I feel like going out, I have places nearby which I patronise.
Lady: But sir, you are missing SOMETHING!!!
Me: Nopes ma'am. My answer remains the same. So, you go ahead, have a pleasant day!!!
Though the conversation was humorous, I noted that there were a few issues which I did not like. And, I have a policy of not being sarcastic or rude to the customer care staff on the phone. After all, they are doing their job. But that doesn't mean that I am going to be rude now or in the future!! If any customer care executive is reading this, please make a note of the following:
1. Never show a condescending attitude to others. An infinite variety of people exist in this world; and all of them may not share the mainstream avenue of having fun.
2. Some of us believe that 'Doing nothing is the best thing'. Whatever you say will not goad us into taking 'affirmative action'.
3. I know that sales is a challenging job and you need to be pursuasive in order to push your product. But please don't try too hard, else you may end up pushing the potential customer away .
As a favour I would advise the previously mentioned lady to contact all of the following ladies who would be more than interested in the brunch and disco offer.
Ms. Carrie Bradshaw; Ms. Miranda Hobbs; Ms. Samantha Jones and Ms. Charlotte York
But, be warned, advise your other customers not to be too prudish.....