Monday, November 4, 2019

Saree Shopping: Lessons for Life

              I have a friend who sells software for a living.  It’s not what he set out to do, but it’s where life brought him, and he happens to be pretty good at it.  He was talking to me about how he had a pretty important pitch meeting coming up with a potential new client, and he was just telling me some of the approaches he was planning on taking for this particular client.  We talked about establishing the problems the client currently faces, and how their current operation is lacking, and then to immediately explain how his software would help.  He bounced several ideas past me, and then ultimately the big day came.
              He called me after the meeting.  Immediately I asked “How did it go?”  “I’m not sure” he replied.  He explained to me how he flawlessly executed everything we were talking about.  “I identified where the client was having problems, and they confirmed that what I was saying was correct.”  He told me that he thought he had the client right where he wanted them, and then proceeded right into his demo.  During his demo he showed how his software could execute the things that the company was currently not able to do.  As far as he can tell, he was right about the problem, and he offered and excellent solution.  He had anticipated that the client would likely haggle him over pricing, but that he figured all clients haggle over pricing.  He explained to me “I did my demo, and I asked them if there was anything else, I can explain.”  The client then told my friend that his software was nice, but there was other software that had similar features.  My friend had anticipated this and was well prepared.  He explained where those other software systems were lacking as it relates to their problem, and how his solution was better for the client.
              Finally, I asked my friend, “What’s the bottom line?  Are they interested in your software or not?”  To which my friend responded, “I’m honestly not sure and I’m truly confused.”  Apparently, the client during the entire demo had told my friend how his software was not that great, and how the other software systems are just fine for what they are doing.  My friend thought that he had lost the client, and right before the call ended the client asked my friend if they are able to provide a free demo for one week.  I responded to my friend and I told him “your client was basically saree shopping”.  My friend laughed and had no idea what I was talking about.  “Let me explain” I said.
              Nowadays when you walk into a fancy saree store in India, everything is electronic, and they accept credit cards.  However, when I grew up that was not the case.  Everything was a cash transaction.  As a kid, I had to spend hours in these shops because my mom, like most Indian ladies I know, need to see everything before deciding which saree they want.  Having spent countless hours in these stores, I started noticing some interesting trends and behaviors.  
              First rule of saree shopping: never admit you are saree shopping.  It sounds crazy, but I would walk into these massive department stores that only sold sarees in India, and some salesperson would say “Welcome ma’am, are you shopping for a saree today?”, and my mother would always say the same thing.  “We are not going to buy any sarees today; we are only looking”.  As I got older, I thought this was the most insane thing in the world.  Why the hell would anyone go into a store that sold only one thing, and not admit they are interested in buying that thing.  It turns out, it’s simply to set the terms of the deal.
              Second rule of saree shopping: nothing is ever good enough.  Now if you have never been to a saree shop, you must understand they have an endless assortment of fabrics, prints, and styles.  I mean, you could literally spend hours in one of these stores, and not get through all the sarees.  Yet, nothing they ever had was some how ever good enough.  If the person brought a saree that had a pattern that my mom liked, she would complain about the material.  Then the sales guy would bring another saree with the material exactly in line with what my mom complained about on the previous saree and my mom would complain about the pattern or the color.  This poor bastard simply could not win.  Nothing he did was ever going to be good enough.  The excuses that my mom came up with as to why she didn’t like a particular saree were even more creative and impressive.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen here rub a piece of fabric between her thumb and her finger and say something like “the quality of the silk is not good on this one”.  I mean this seems like a gift a superhero would have.  She somehow tried to convince everyone in shop that she had the ability to rub a piece of fabric and determine thread count!  Yet, it happened all the time. 
              Third rule of saree shopping: you never let them put a saree back.  Imagine if you will, a saree salesman going through 40 or 50 sarees and constantly being told that there is something wrong with them.  In certain cases, he would bring his colleague who was also a male, to drape the saree on himself so that my mom could get a better visual of the pattern.  So 40 or 50 sarees are opened up, and then maybe 20 or 30 of them get draped on another dude, and then after all of that effort they receive a negative comment, or a back handed compliment such as “that saree is nice if your into last year’s prints”.  At this point the salesman looked pretty defeated, and then it happened.  The moment that ever saree salesman waits for.  The salesman would ask my mom “ma’am, since you didn’t like any of these shall I clear them from here?”.  That’s when my mom would say “No, don’t clear all of them out.  Let’s place these 10 on the side”.   This is the moment when the salesman knew that he was going to make a sale, and almost always gave him a sudden burst of energy.  “Ma’am shall I have my colleague get some chai or fresh juice for you and your son?”  “Some chai for me, and a bottle of water for my son” my mom would say.  The transaction was on!  Now, it is absolutely critical that my mom did not commit to purchasing any saree at this point.  You must remember the language was always the same and it was always used carefully.  “Place them to the side” was the official message.  For the salesman, I imagine, it’s kind of like going up to a girl and telling her she is pretty, and she responds by saying “I like your shirt”.  You didn’t get her phone number, but you were not told to get lost. 
              Fourth rule of saree shopping: never admit to the quality of a product.  When a store has thousands of sarees, eventually you come across an amazing saree.  The attention to detail is undeniable, the fabric is phenomenal, and it is absolutely perfect.  I always noticed a handful of these sarees came out during every transaction.  After the sarees were set aside, and my mom would tell the salesman she is not interested in looking at any more sarees, and wants to think about the ones she asked to be set aside, the salesman would say “Ma’am may I show you just one more saree”?  Of course, my mom would say yes, and that is when they did it.  A procession of salesman brought out The Saree.  They carried it and handled it with such reverence like they were holding the Mona Lisa in their hands.  They would carefully unveil this saree.  It was always magical.  The colors, the way it draped, the patterns it was all simply astonishing.  Yet my mom would remain strong, and simply not admit the quality of the product was phenomenal.  The salesman always waited for the right time to unveil this saree.  The salesman was using a combination of “saree fatigue” along with the fact that he knew he saved the best for last.  So, they would bring out this saree, they would drape it.  My mom had an unconscious smile on her face, and then the salesman would say “ma’am shall I set this one aside for you”?  My mom is a strong woman, but you must understand a beautiful saree is a strong woman’s kryptonite, and that’s when it happened.  “You can set this one aside but show me what other sarees you have like this one”.  It was usually at this moment my father and I cringed, because we knew we were going to be there for another 30 minutes. 
              Fifth rule of saree shopping: never admit that the product is worth the price.  So, we have gone through the vicious cycle of sarees being opened, sarees being draped, sarees being insulted, and sarees being set aside.  The salesman would then start saying “For the sarees you’ve set aside it will cost 30,000 rupees”.  “30,000 rupees!”  My mother would scream.  “I can get a better-quality product from your competitor at half the price”.  “These sarees are not worth more than 1,000 rupees”.  This usually was the start of the pricing gang war.  Similar to a car dealership, the manager of the saree salesman would come out, along with a gang of other salesmen.  At this time, my dad, and my uncles who were probably about to dose off got up and stepped up to the saree salesmen and the manager.  “Ma’am, 1,000 rupees is an insult.  We will work with you, how about 29,500 rupees?”.  My uncle would then say “sir, these folks may be from America, but I live here, and you know damn well these sarees aren’t worth 29,500 rupees.  Sanjay from the Saree Emporium can get me all these same sarees for 1,500 rupees”.  The salesman would say “if you want inferior quality you can go to the Saree Emporium, we here at the Saree Palace take great pride in our quality.  I will offer you these 12 sarees for no less than 28,000 rupees”.  Okay, let’s meet in the middle my father would say, how about “15,000 rupees?”  At this point, my mom would tell my dad to shut up, because 15,000 rupees was too high of a price.  All of this back/forth would go on for another 20 minutes.  Finally, we would agree to a per saree price, but they would usually throw in 2-3 more sarees at the same price. 
              In the end a sale was made.  It took several hours, and a lot of effort, but a sale was made.  My mother always ends up buying.  She knows it, the salespeople know it, but the dance has to be done.  You see, the saree buying process is reflective of Indian society as a whole.  Indians LOVE to negotiate.  Therefore, the entire process is all about setting terms and expectations until you reach a point where a deal can be struck. 
              So, I explained all the above to my friend, and I told him, your client is nothing more than a saree shopper.  They want your product, but they don’t want to pay what you want them to pay for it.  All they are doing is setting the terms.  “Can I have a free demo?” sounds like the software sales equivalent of “set these sarees aside”.  Now that you know this, start the dance.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Random Boners

Being 18 is probably one of the greatest times in a man's life.  He is young, naive, ambitious, stupid, and energetic.  There is a world of possibilities to look forward to.  There are so many good things and bad things that await his future.  However, there is one experience that probably epitomizes a man at this age both symbolically and physically.  That's right, I'm talking about random boners.  Random boners are those unexpected ones where you just don't understand how it can be happening.  There is a phallic mutiny in your pants, and all you did was turn on the cooking channel.  Random boners can be very embarrassing and extremely humiliating if not handled properly.  I wish I could give advice on exactly how to do that, but the truth is I can't.  I'm sure like any teenager, I went through my share of humiliating moments. 

However, the cool thing about random boners, is that there almost seems to be an unspoken code of not speaking.  When you have a random boner, there is no way it is not obvious (especially if you are wearing khakis).  Nevertheless, as obvious as it may be, it seems that other dudes who notice your condition maintain silence.  I call it the "boner code".  No one wants to embarrass you and point you out, because they never know when they will be in that position.  Random boners are kind of like death.  They come for everyone, and no one knows when.  My favorite story is about a friend I'll call "John". 

John and I were driving to a funeral once.  We were quite sad and somber on our drive there.  It was a sad occasion after all.  We wanted to make sure when we were present we were respectful and provided condolence.  We got to the ceremony.  I parked my car, and as soon as John got out of the car he told me to go ahead he would catch up with me.  I told him I couldn't because I had to lock the car.  In that moment, John looked up at me with the despair and simply asked "what do I do?"  Before he could say another word, I saw that he was wearing his tight slacks and the problem could not be contained.  I asked him to think of the most un-sexiest thing he could imagine.  I said think of elephants.  He tried, but it wasn't working.  We were in quite a dilemma we had to go to the funeral ceremony, but there is no way he could go in looking like that.  We contemplated on what to do.  Finally, I said "I got it.  I'm gonna kick you in the nuts."  "Are you insane, that is not going to work!".  Ironically enough, he was so pissed at my ridiculous suggestion that it actually got his mind off his erected pecker, and the situation subsided.  We proceeded to go forward, but I gave him a long jacket.  You know, just in case he saw something or someone, and the situation "came up" again. Bananas can be quite dangerous in these situations.

I guess what I"m trying to say is that random boners prepare you for life.  When unexpected circumstances "arise", finding a way to deal with them is what separates the men from the boys.  

Friday, September 30, 2011


You've been looking forward to this night for a long, long time. You can taste the vodka as your driving into the city, and even the Lincoln Tunnel traffic can't wipe the smirk off your face. You haven't seen your buddy in what seems like an eternity, and you are looking forward to not knowing exactly what's going to happen next. It's one of the greatest feelings in the world. There are only two things you know for sure. You'll be with your best friend, and there will be alcohol. Everything else, is secondary. People will come, and people will go, and chances are you will use the island of Manhattan as your personal play ground, but one thing is for sure. Tomorrow you will have a hangover.

Hangovers, are the sign of dedication. It's a reminder that when the going got tough, you got going over and over again. If you have a hangover, walk tall, and walk proud and go into your office smelling like last night . Proclaim your throne, try not to puke, and show the world just what you are made of. You my friend, are not a quitter, and in my opinion that is something worth praising. Most people hate hangovers, and they have good reason to. However, a friend once told me that wisdom comes from good judgement, and good judgement comes from bad decisions. Ordering another round may just be the ultimate paradox in life. The key is knowing how to handle what happens next.

There are a few types of hangovers that most people experience. I categorize them as:

1. Spin
2. Hibernation
3. Joy
4. Cheerful regret

The way I see it, if you have a hangover you've probably had one of the above. The first kind Spin, in my opinion is the worst. You often find yourself wondering why the world is moving so fast, and often find the need to puke several times. It doesn't matter where you are, or who you're with you WILL puke. It will be as relieving as peeing when you have to go real bad. It's brutal, it's terrible, it's biology. The next kind, is hibernation. I've seen a man once sleep 13 hours because he was so hammered from the night before. An earthquake would not wake him up, neither would a naked pornstar. When hibernation hits, the rest of the world will simply have to be dealt with later. Then you have Joy. Joy is one of my favorite kinds of hangover. Side effects include an immovable smile, a pounding headache, and numbness. It's what I'm experiencing as I write this. The world feels kind like your toy, and there is no sense of panic or deadlines in sight. Joy is probably the best type of hangover you can have. It reminds you that no matter what you are dealing with, it ain't that bad. Finally there is cheerful regret. This usually follows a blacking out. You will be told tales of an amazing person, and then those stories will conclude that the person is you. It probably involved singing, dancing, and maybe even questionable licking. For better or for worse, it's all true, and it was all you.

So if you have a hangover, or ever experienced one, just know that you are a champion to somebody.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Gays and the Indians

A sudden realization came over me when I least expected it. I couldn't believe what I had just realized, but it was about to change the world as we know it. Well, not the world for everyone, but the world for 2 groups of people. The Gays and the Indians would never be the same after the realization I had just made. Now maybe my realization will not change the course of humanity, but maybe it will.


On a cool Spring evening, some friends and I decided to go out to dinner in a wonderful Italian restaurant in New York City. Dinner was planned between my buddy and his wife, along with me and my wife. I had made dinner reservations, and the place was packed. However, when my buddy showed up he was with his wife, along with one of their good friends. I went over to my buddy, and gave him a hug, and said "the more the merrier". With that I took off to notify the hostess that there was an extra person who'd be joining us for dinner.

We waited for a table to clear off, and decided to kill the time with good wine, and even better conversation. I hadn't had a chance to hang out with my buddy for a while so it was nice to catch up. He introduced me to his friend who I'll call Jack. He told me that him and Jack have been friends for a very long time, and Jack had just moved back to New York City from the west coast and was looking for a new job.

There were a few characteristics about Jack that kind of stood out. For example, he was really proper, and well groomed. I was expecting him to be British, but he was definitely American. His accent and stories of where he grew up were all American. However, there was something a bit more refined about Jack that I couldn't put my finger on. Eventually the hostess started calling us over since our table was ready, and I went over to the bar to close out the tab. When he got my attention to notify me that our table was ready, was when I realized what it was about Jack that was a little bit different. The way he said "the table is ready" and the gesture he made with his hand had said it all. Jack was gay.

However, Jack wasn't flamboyant gay, he was definitely more subtle. However, his eccentricities stood out in the little motions he made, and the proper way he answered questions. In any case, this is New York City. A gay man at an Italian Restaurant in New York is as common as a camel in the dessert. Eventually, the drinks kept flowing between all 5 of us, and the conversation got louder and the laughs got heartier. Jack was quite open about talking about being gay and he had quite the sense of humor.

While we were eating, another person in the restaurant came over and asked "Jack, is that you?" Jack got up and said "Oh my god! Its so good to see you", and gave the stranger a hug. Although I don't remember the stranger's name, the man did something to Jack which changed my life forever. He smacked Jack in the belly, and with absolute certainty stated "What happened to you? Looks like somebody forgot where the gym was and started going carb-crazy. You've gained some weight buddy, and you need to hit the gym". Now, Jack went on to explain how they'd "hooked up" back in the day and that's how he knew that guy. He also went on to explain how a lot of gay guys are in incredible shape, and how he quit his gym membership since he was unemployed. However, while Jack kept talking, I was in shock at what I had just realized.


Several years ago, I was in India attending a friend's wedding. My friend's mother had insisted that his sister get her eye brows done for all the pictures that would be taken. I jokingly told my friend's sister that she should have her eye brows looking as clean as possible for all the bio-data boys that her parents would be trying to hook her up with. She didn't find my comment too funny. In any case, my friend's sister refused to get her eye brows done in India, because she didn't trust any of the salons, and she had sensitive skin. Her mother's nagging reached new heights, and my friend's sister decided that it would be best to just get the eyebrows done.

She should've listened to her instincts. By the time the salon lady was done with her eyebrows, my friend's sister's sensitive skin had an adverse reaction to whatever powder or cream the lady was using. She begrudgingly got back and her forehead looked like a swarm of wasps just had an orgy on it. At this point, the wedding ceremonies were about to begin, and this poor lady had no choice but to put on a brave face, and don her new outfit and go take those pictures.

The minute she went to the ceremony people just kept coming to her and saying things like "What happened to your face?" "Did you use soap this morning?" "Why does your forehead have so many red zits on it. You need to do something about that". This poor girl couldn't say anything. When I asked her "don't you want to tell these people to shut up?" She explained to me "This is India. If you've got a wart on your face, people will tell you. They won't let it go unnoticed and they'll point out everything wrong right to your face. You can get upset, or you can be glad its not happening behind your back. At the end of the day, there's nothing you can do they are Indian and that's how they are".

Just like that I couldn't believe how right my friend's sister was. Indians are like that. They will tell you things to your face, and have no shame in doing it.


The waitress came back with our food. We started eating and other friends of the guy that Jack hooked up with whom he had known came over to say hi. One by one each one of them came over and said hello. Of course, they didn't just say hello. They said "Hello, what the hell happened Jack? You trying out to be the next Michelin man?" You all must be thinking, how big was this Jack guy? He was about 5"6 and 170 lbs. Not big at all.

However, I was thinking oh my god. All these gay guys are Indian. They were all actually white, but the way they were acting made me realize a very obvious fact. That when it comes to appearances, especially negative appearances there is very little difference between Indians and Gays.

Both have no shame at all in front of complete strangers to point out your negative flaws, and both have no problem doing it right to your face. For whatever it's worth, I guess its better than creating unnecessary gossip. You think I"m crazy? I'll point out some more "coincidences":

1) If you go to India, it is common for men to walk while holding each other's hands
2) If you go to India, guys will stand around with their hand in each other's back pockets, and its totally "straight"
3) Indian guys love Ed Hardy (I mean, really do I need to clarify this one? The t-shirts look like someone bedazzled Elton John's underwear)
4) In India, the "cool" guys at the clubs wear their button down shirts with the top 4 buttons undone
5) In India, you can shake a man's hand and he may continuously shake it, and not let go of your hand until you yank it away

Now, I'm not here to tell you that all Indians are gay. However, I am here to tell you that all Gays are at least a little bit Indian.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Jersey Guy

I'm sure you've all experienced it. Your out on the town having a good time with your friends, and you come across "that guy". You know, the guy who talks as if he knows everything about everything. He's done everything you have, only better, and he knows the same things you know, but he's only smarter. Yes, ladies and gentleman, you have encountered what I like to call a Jersey Guy. I can't explain it, and I don't know how it happens, however I am convinced that no matter where you go in the world, you can find someone from New Jersey. I had my first taste of this when I was in Mexico at a bar, waiting to go to the bathroom and a bunch of guys started chanting "Let's Go Yankees!" (For some reason all Jersey Guys seem to be Yankees fans). India, China, South America, Europe, you name it, there are people from Jersey all over! It truly is one of humanities most mysterious phenomenon's.

I recently had one of these experiences in NYC. I was out having a good time and I encountered the quintessential Jersey Guy. He was talking to me about life, love, philosophy, and of course he's the guy who "comes here all the time". I didn't know what to do. I was stuck between a guido and a hard place. I had my cousin hanging with me on the side, so I dragged him into the conversation with me. The Jersey Guy gave us all kinds of information on love such as "bro, if she ain't your best friend, than fugggedaboutit if your thinkin of marrying her". Of course two minutes later when his girlfriend went to the bathroom, he started staring at other girls and grabbing his crotch and saying things like "Do you believe this girl? Bro, she's buuuuuutiful". In any case, we endured this until he had to leave. I think it was more like therapy session for him, because he seemed to be a lot calmer after our conversation. And, by conversation I mean he was talking and I was forced to listen. By the end, I got a bro-hug from him, and he told me he'd see me later.

Now, I"m sure many of you have had similar experiences. However, the Jersey Guy experience is truly one of a kind. Therefore, I thought I'd do society a public service and identify some key characteristics of Jersey Guys so you happen to know one when you come across one.

1. Italian by nature - For some reason, no matter what nationality your Jersey Guy is, he will always try to act Italian. All sentences will begin with "Bro" and they will end with either "you kiddin me? or Fuggedaboutit" For example, my Jersey Guy was Dominican, but he was talking and gesturing like he was first generation Corleone.

2. Full of Advice - Another tell-tale of a Jersey Guy is the fact that they are always full of advice. But be careful, because even though they are full of wisdom that they've picked up from Fortune cookies, they are never willing to take their own advice. However, they will insist that you take their advice. In fact, if you don't take their advice your an idiot. It really is awesome, to see the amount of advice that's dished out in classy places such as the local tavern. Everything from career advice, to love life, to the etiquette of cheating are all subjects that have been mastered by the Jersey Guy.

3. Full of stories - No matter what situation you are talking about, the Jersey Guy has a story where he can relate. You can be talking about doing charity work in the slums of Mumbai to create housing for the underprivileged, and the Jersey Guy has a story where he thinks he can relate. Of course, for a Jersey Guy, sleeping with an ugly woman, counts as charity. You can say something like "this one time, I saw a homeless kid, so I got him a meal, and gave him some money", and a typical Jersey Guy response can be "Yeah, I know what you mean bro. Its important to do some charity once in a while, its good. This one time, there was this braud who was horrendous. Poor girl was just standing by herself, looking all ugly. I felt bad, so I took her back to my place, banged her, and gave her money for a hot meal in the morning. Its important to do these things, its Karma you know?"

4. Mayor - This is absolutely one characteristic that is always there. Its never the first time at a place for a Jersey Guy. No matter where you meet this person, its almost as if they are compelled by a Jersey God to say "Yeah, I come here all the time". You can be at the grand opening of a club, and the Jersey Guy will tell you he comes there all the time. In fact, they also feel the need to let you know that they know the owner and bartenders, and everyone else involved with the establishment. Of course, when you ask them why it takes so long to get a drink, they will tell you that just because they know the people they don't want to be rude to the other people at the club. I cannot explain this one, but I guarantee you that if you meet a Jersey Guy in a place, he's been there before, and he will assure you that he is the mayor of the club.

5. Ladies Man - I'm not sure I even have to say this, but every Jersey Guy is always a self-proclaimed born ladies man. They usually happen to know a girl or two at the bar or club, however they will always forget to mention that the girl is his sister or cousin. I mean, if you are going to give out all this advice on Love and women, you have to have the experience to back it up. There is a secret black book of numbers that nobody has seen, however if you've met a Jersey Guy that has a girlfriend, he will tell you that he had to give it up, or "retire" it. I always find the word "retire" funny when it comes to guys and their black book of booty calls, because I wonder if just like many players that book can come our of "retirement".

6. No Hand Shakes - Jersey Guys don't shake hands. They bro-hug. In case you don't know, a bro-hug is the process is outlined below:

a. Step back, then proceed to lean in with the right hand extended as if to arm wrestle
b. Hands must slap then clasp in arm wrestling formation
c. Upon clasping the rest of the body must follow through and meet the clasp in the middle
d. The left hand must make a fist as the body is leaning in
e. The left-handed fist must gently tap the other person in the back with the thumb and index
fingers pointed inwards

So there you have it. These are some characteristics I find fascinating and remarkable about Jersey Guys. Of course, just as in all aspects of life, Jersey Guys come in all sizes, shapes, and colors, and each one is unique in their own way. So throw a Corona in the air, cheers them off, and let the good times roll.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Social Skills

Today more than ever we are more social creatures than we've ever been. With the invention of things like Myspace and Facebook we are more interconnected than we've ever been. However, in the words of Spiderman "with great power comes great responsibility". I say this humbly because I think with the invention of all these websites, we as a people are losing the most basic things that our ancestors gave us - social skills.

I stumbled upon this brutally realistic realization at work of course. When you're in sales you come across all kinds of people either for work or because of it. If you enjoy people watching, and making stupid comments to yourself about your observations, its a great gig. However, sometimes you come across just a one-of-a-kind person and it makes you wonder, "wow, that person actually exists. Yep, that just happened!" So to help my fellow members of humanity I thought I'd come up with a list of 5 things you should avoid doing so people don't know you're a social retart:

1 - A person who brags about their past
Just like nobody cared about Al Bundy and his 4 touchdowns in one game, nobody wants to hear about you and your "hey day". The fact that you're bringing it up to brag about it, is usually a sign that your making up everything that is coming out of your mouth. The fact that in the middle of a light moment during a business meeting you start joking about how before you got married you used to be more "aggressive" with the ladies and you aren't any more, simply says that you've probably memorized every season of Stargate, and that you were more likely to be recognized at the Star Trek Fan Club instead of the Delta Ki frat parties

2 - The person who insists on buying everything
We all know that now more than ever, companies are scrutinizing expense reports more than ever before. So in the words of Bill Maher stop "acting like a pimp with a week to live". There are so many approvals required before you can get that final approval on that report, and until you get it, you are sweating like John McCain in a Vietnamese restaurant. So please playa, let's take it easy, and let someone else buy the next round.

3 - The bad dancer
Now as rare as it is, it is possible to have a round of drinks end up at a place that has a dance floor. There is one rule above all others that need to be followed. If you're a guy, please keep the Chip'n'Dale dance routine away from the dance floor. If you do this, you will probably sacrifice your career along with your dignity. If you're a woman, please remember this is a work event, and you shouldn't "bend ova to the front and touch yo toes". If you are a person who enjoys break dancing as a hobby, please remember that your review at the end of the year has to do with your performance at work, so don't try to battle on the dance floor.

4 - The guy filled with awkwardly inappropriate comments
Now, there is a difference I should point out here. There are those who can say something that is not appropriate at all, and still make it funny and as long as it gets a laugh out of everyone, I think its okay. But then there are those who just don't know when to stop or just pull crap out of no where that just makes everyone feel a bit weird. For example,

Client: Man, the waitresses in here are really pretty
Salesman: Yeah, did you see the one with the blond hair
Client: Yeah, she is gorgeous
Salesman: I would love to just bang the hell out of her until she screams and asks for more!

I'm pretty sure, that would be the end of the night right there, and I'm also pretty sure you lost a client.

5 - The hangover guy
Its tough enough to keep clients. We live in a world of increased competition. So when you can't remember what the hell you said to your client the night before, it is NOT an advantage. Also, showing up to your morning meeting and puking up last night's last shot and then going into your meeting, can mean only one thing. You better have some damn good notes for the meeting! Its pretty tough to convince your client that you are worthy of their business and you are completely on top of what's happening when you can't remember that you told them you loved them the night before. Also, its even more difficult to keep your client, when they had to pay for you to get back to your hotel.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that when it comes to work these are probably some social behaviours that need to be avoided for a successful career. These are probably also some things that should be avoided if you want to retain business and get new business. However, if you cannot control yourself, just try not to be a combination of all the things mentioned above.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Natural Way

There are many things Indian are notorious for. The Kama Sutra, getting jobs in Atlantic City, and Bollywood Dance sequences in the rain. However, there is one thing that all Indians just seem to do, and no one seems to understand why. It happens all the time. Its almost like they can't control themselves. I've actually even once seen an Indian try to control himself, but it just didn't work, he couldn't hold it in. To this day I haven't figured it out, however it just seems to be a common thread that ties all freakin Indians together of the world. Maybe it happens because of the deep rooted history of Yoga and Ayurveda that stems from India. However, it just seems to me, that everywhere I go for as long as I can remember every Indian seems to have some "natural remedy" (of course they pronounce it nay-choo-ral). I can't think of a better example than what I witnessed a few weeks ago.

We were having a typical Indian family dinner. There were too many people, and not enough room, and so we decided to sit on the floor of our family room to accommodate the whole clan. Aunts, uncles, parents, cousins, siblings, everyone was there. We were all eating and having a good time, and someone brings up the topic of Swine Flu. Someone said something like "Swine flu is now in India, and people don't know what to do". To which I responded, "How about not eating all that junk off the street vendor's carts, I'm sure that doesn't help". At the time, I thought this was a perfectly logical statement to make.

Then it happens.

For some reason, Indians (especially older Indians) seem to have this weird sense of immortality. My uncle starts talking about how its not a big deal. "You would not India...they have the Nay-choo-ral cure for the Swine Flu!" He claims. For some freakin inexplicable reason, everyone else in the family jumps right in and goes "yeah, that must be right. In India, we have the nay-choo-ral cure for all these things". I couldn't believe it! I almost spilled my daal when I heard this exchange take place. It just so happens to be, that this same uncle of mine has a daughter who had just finished studying for her MCATs and was trying to get into medical school. So I turn to her and said, "what say you, future MD?" Being the veteran child that she is, she looked up and simply said "yeah, I suppose its possible" (she then nodded her head in disapproval to me later).

There is an unspoken rule about natural cures when it comes to Indians. That rule is simple, if someone claims a natural cure exists, no one is allowed to deny it. Its this same unspoken rule that has turned my mom into a "Natural" MD. She claims that diabetes can be cured by touching certain parts of your hand, and cholesterol can be controlled with a variety of "Nay-chural" cures. The other unspoken rule about natural cures, is that you are never allowed to call out the person who makes the claim. For example, my mom has diabetes, but she also has a bunch of natural cures for diabetes. No matter where we are, no one will ever ask her, "well, if the natural cures work, why haven't you followed them, and why aren't they working for you?" Doing this, is the equivalent of cheating on your spouse.

Do natural cures exist? Maybe. I once went to an Ayurvedic doctor many years ago, when I was probably in the best shape of my life. Of course, I was working out every day and eating right to get in shape for none other than spring break (but that's another story). This man, was missing his wring finger on his right hand, and he proceeded to take my pulse with that same hand. He than looks up at me and says "On the outside you look fine, healthy, and built, but on the inside your body is suffering". I was like "what?!". He than asks, "when you sleep on your arm at night, do you feel a tingling sensation?" "Yes, that's what happens when you cut off blood flow" "No" he claims, "that is not supposed to happen". He then asks "When you sit on the floor with your legs crossed, do you feel numbness in your legs?" Again, I said yes. "You see, that should not happen". Now, I'm no doctor. However, I'm pretty sure that if you sit with your legs crossed, or fall asleep on your arms, there is a good chance they will go numb, you know, because blood doesn't get there. He then prepared a combination of herbs that smelled like a combination of wet-carpet, and breakfast burrito fart. Needless to say, I did not take the concoction. However, I was pretty surprised, when he showed me his "nay-choo-ral" remedy for erectile dysfunction, and he told me that I didn't have to be embarrassed if I wanted to try it. Needless to say, I passed on the offer and headed for the door.

In any case, I guess the point I'm trying to make is, I'm sure there are natural cures/remedies, but can we stop making them so sacred? I don't understand how a culture gives so much high status and encouragement to their children to go to expensive medical schools, but then doesn't believe in the things their children have learned there. Maybe that's another trait of Indians?