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Minutes Of A Meeting

When it comes to meetings, my office takes the cake. We have one every two hours these days. But Friday meetings is the mother of all meetings. We have a long video conference with the Bombay team and the South bureau joins us on the phone. Thats when stories ideas are thrashed out and brain stormed. These days, a new word is introduced: deadlines. Pretty hi-tech too, with the deskhead sitting on his laptop and keying in the dates promised. So, unlike the past when reporters sit on stories for months, now they have to deliver on time. Good in a way, helps us build a bank of stories and close the issue on time. The good part: everybody is doing their best to respect deadlines.

Under deadlines, sample this:
"Your story on xxxx was due two weeks ago. When can we have it?"
"Give me time till Tuesday. I haven't figured out what to work on".
"But we have a deadline for submisions."
"Monday I have my first meeting, and then I will tell you".
"OK cool. Keep me posted."

There are the overly enthusiastic ones who come up with ideas after ideas. Of course, what they ultimately deliver is quite far removed from what is spelt out. Some are laconic, but they know their stuff and then there are those who come up with,"I have nothing this week". In this case, no news is not good news.

I swear, it's not easy to be a writer, not easy being green! My young colleague was telling me, in sheer frustration, how he feels so under-read during these meetings and how he has no time to read the papers in the morning as he has to practically travel two hours to get to work. Such a stressful thing in Delhi's hot summers. The buses are so packed that the time that could ideally be spent reading while commuting -- the way people do abroad -- is actually spent otherwise, jostling for space. I have the luxury of travelling just 20 mins to work on a typical day. But relax, I told him. I read mostly page three and come to work. And I do all my thinking and reading in the loo when I get back home :).

My friend Visakha in the office, am sure, has vowed not to sit next to me in the next edit meeting. She was, of course, so vocal today about her stories that I thought the best thing to keep her quiet was to distract her. I told her I discoverd a humpty dumpty in the team, and then asked if my rings were shining enough."I refuse to answer that one", she scratched on a piece of paper. Actually, I was trying to keep the tempo in sync with the boss's line: keep meetings short. The rest can be discussed offline -- something I am totally in agreement with. Short meetings motivate, long meetings tire my little brain. Goodnite!

Comments

Jayant said…
Seriously, something HAS to be done about the length of these meetings. They just seem to be getting longer and longer every week.
And I agree with Pierre, I feel like an ignorant fool sitting there in that conference room in the company of people like L, Anup, Y et al. Doesn't do much to boost my morale. :(
Anonymous said…
dont worry abt not wanting to sit with u i dont mind at all. i really hope that i dont have to be vocal abt my stories but it does not work here otherwise i realised... :)But tks for providing pleasant distraction.... the meetings are such a drag :)
Unknown said…
Yes, i agree meetings are at drag times. But if you don't understand a topic, read up on it. At least J and P should surely do it and not complain. Do not underestimate your potential. In fact, these days, one can surely expect some sort of write up when it comes to the topics discussed in the meetings. Topics discussed in meetings a year ago seemed more like as if people wanted to show off their knowledge. And most stories did not turn up. Indie will agree I am sure...

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