Category Archives: Officeish

#A2ZChallenge: O is for Odisha

Dear Odisha,

(referring to Odisha, the state where Devdutt Pattanaik, Sona Mohapatra and Biswa Kalyan Rath are from, and Odia/ Odia are the people and the language, no other epithet needed, thank you)

You have brought me so much joy. I am an Odia, loud and proud. I have lived through

  1. the age of being an Oriya, with an R, not a D
  2. being often mistook as an “Oorian”, the indigenous species found in Oooria, wherever that planet is
  3. asked if the per capita income of Odisha is one elaichi banana or less (so, no Snapchat or Snapdeal)
  4. mutual awkwardness precipitated by Odias unexpectedly breaking into Odia in a non-designated area (anywhere outside Odisha)

I have taken that all in my stride, not raging on Twitter and having a good laugh on the side. At this point, my mitochondria could not be more Odia-loving.


The food, the banter, the idioms, the match-making industry, the card games. The not-addressing the elephant-in-the-room family socials. The constant chatter where no is listening to anyone, yet every story is being liberally embellished with superhero exploits (I bought a Merc at the nearby petrol bunk for a song; every leaf of this spinach is fused with extra Vitamin-K; I told him to go and he went away).

We have a word for pointlessly hanging around near a paan-shop, making time-wastage an art form so highly ordained, it had to be christened. Its called “Khatti.” Or if you have reached the highest level of time annihilation, then “Gulli Khatti”. People in Odisha do not lose their way or wander, they just show up at the town square for “Gulli Khatti.” Whatsapp cousin-groups and office sutta breaks aspire to be “Gulli Khatti” in their quest for the next completely useless nugget of information.

Odia cuisine

Odia cuisine is basically an anthology of love-poems for onions and potatoes. “The onion must be fried just so, sizzling when water droplets are sprinkled over it, maybe once maybe twice, to become an indescribable brown, which, whilst only fleetingly sticking with the bottom of the pan, must doubly discharge its duties of olfactory and chemistry, by respectively giving off the signal of the right level of caramelization and separating oil on the side, to finally submit that they are ready for holy matrimony or canonization tomatoes or dry spices.” No, no, not matrimony or priesthood.

Yup, it’s a tantalizing dance. And here is how an Odia lunch might be described, “and potatoes to go with it.”. Every stir fry, every fish curry, every egg masala must be accompanied with the trusted potato, or as the status indicates, the father of the bride.

Odia speak

But the accent. Or is it, Ah! the accent. I have a story to tell the veracity of which could not be determined. In a large gathering of 200 people, one very senior Odia leader (not me, am just peasantry and anyway this is made up) introduced another very senior American overlord in a by-the-numbers corporate town-hall meeting, saying, “I would like to introduce to you this very impotent person, with who we have discussed many impotent items.” There is a fine line between impotent and important, and boy did we come all guns blazing on it that day.

It would have been an ordinary story till the senior American overlord’s expression gave it away. He looked like “now everyone knows, dagnabbit!”

They said it was just a mid-eastern twang, and that he needed more meat in his meat and potatoes.


A glorious country is ours

O is for Odia


#A2ZChallenge April 06: E is for Elevator Pitch

Hey Elevators,

You guys – with the insanely coincidental Nordic first names – Otis, ThyssenKrupp, Kone and others, do you know about this thing called The Elevator Pitch? This extreme sport is killing people!

What is the Elevator Pitch

The Elevator Pitch is “pitched” as a viagra for corporate performance and sometimes even unwittingly trolls itself as The Elevator TEST. The premise of this “test” is as asinine as its name. It is thus: “The next time you need to professionally evaluate someone, ask yourself, “How would I feel about being stuck inside an elevator with this person?”

Moot points here are a) the time you are stuck is finite, maybe even short, and b) this person is likely a stranger. Also, STUCK. 

Benefits: Almost a Permanent Get-out-of-Jail-Free card at work

Everlasting boss points and success is guaranteed to the one who aces his/ her elevator pitch. The gates of heaven swing open and that pot of gold is found. This all starts in unsuspecting b-school class rooms and is cemented every time a senior office organism is sent for an exotic leadership makeover and must, must pay it forward. Every one on the team stands around an oval table, taking turns at this test, till they are ripe for other deafeningly senior organisms from other continents. The Elevator Pitch sounds like it is two faint pink lines and an angular stream of pee away from being a pregnancy test.

Been in an elevator lately?

There is just one problem. Have you ever BEEN in an elevator with a stranger??!! It is like being in the last 60 seconds of a Chris Nolan non-Batman movie (that spinning top from Inception still comes up in all my therapy sessions). Being in elevators with strangers turns your brain into gelatinous substrates instantly, albeit temporarily.

As it is, by the time the elevator has you plus one stranger, that is already one more than the permissible number of psychopaths and sociopaths. It is so awkward that most times, a dead body thunders into the elevator just to ease things up. It is so messed-up that it is meant to simulate Bruce Lee in the mirror room in “Enter the Dragon” because, as previously mentioned, high levels of psychopath/ sociopath lead to Kung Fu.

If eye contact is made, code red is issued and New Zealand automatically secedes to Russia. Going into small talk at this point is almost at the level of species-ending alien invasion, and if you listen closely, you can hear Navy Seals and/ or Elvis cranking into the elevator, right through the crack that dead body made getting in. The belaboured point here is DUDE, its bad enough trying to keep your eyes and arms from melding into elevator floors and walls. To expect someone to tell a stranger in two minutes why they should invest $2 billion in their miniature organic pogo sticks is just cruel. At least one psychopath will come through, most likely the one with less medication on that day.

No wonder people get killed in elevators. They start talking.


Medicated Introvert, usually taking the stairs


E is for Elevator Pitch