How would you feel if your photograph is published in country's premier business publication for the first time (and may be only time !!!) It was that grand week for me and also some of my colleagues in our Gurgaon office. So what is the great feat that we had accomplished to be bestowed with this fortune? The precise idea of today's post is to unravel the mystery :-) Read on....
Ericsson, the Telecom multinational giant that I work for these days, decided to go for some reaching out to the people on the occasion of accomplishing the rare feat of achieving 100 million mobile subscribers in India. Hence the advertisement campaign in Economic Times, which is pretty regular for most companies. The novel part of the idea floated by the marketing team was to use Ericsson employees instead of regular models for the same. An all-user mail was floated by marketing inviting for participation, and like all such similar mass-mailers, went into its pre-destined folder, after a brief glance through. And as usual, was long forgotten under the pressure of more "real" work, with some snide remarks how the marketing guys have nothing "better" to do :-)
One fine day, the week after this mail was floated, I was coming back from the cafeteria after lunch. The "experience Center", where the photo shoot was planned, is in the way towards the lifts from cafeteria. Basically, one cannot avoid this place while going back to work station from cafeteria. The organisers : the marketing team was waiting outside, inviting anyone and everyone who was on the way back to work after lunch. If you have seen Indian weddings, especially North Indian ones, you can very much relate to this gesture - It was very similar to "ladkiwale" (people on the side of the bride) inviting the "baraat" (the people accompanying the groom) with folded hands :-) Though I was pretty averse to the idea of getting any photographs clicked, and was very sure this is only for the "kids" (I mean younger colleagues), and they would look best on the photo, not old timers like us. But there was no way to to ignore the generous welcome extended and then I decided to let go of all inhibitions and march in bravely. But more surprises awaited me inside. There were a generous mix of employees, starting from the freshers to senior most (by age I mean), all gleefully awaiting their turn to fame.
One session was on, and after tens of takes, they were done with, and my chance came. I was part of mixed group of various teams and departments cutting across technical teams, HR,finance etc. After numerous re-arrangements of people across rows, multiple attempts to extract some toothy grins with some funny and not-so-funny jokes, and many takes later, we were finally let off. We left the room with aching cheeks (try laughing artificially for half an hour without anything remotely funny happening anywhere nearby and then you would know), and some anticipation and half-expectations of seeing ourselves in the ad. We were told that only one of the many group photographs that were shot, would be find the place of honour.
Again forgot the whole incident for some days. Towards the end of the week, the final format of the ad was circulated internally, and I was pleasantly surprised to see my face in the photo there. What we found is that it was not one group, but multiple group photos that were merged together for the finished product. So now the wait was to see it in print. I was sure that before it is published, we will again get a mailer from marketing, at least a day before.
Next week, one morning at around 10 am, my cousin dada (elder brother) called to tell me that he had seen my photo in the Ericsson Ad that has been published in economic times. I was surprised that I didn't receive an intimation earlier, and was thrilled to know that I could be recognised within the array of people - some hundred plus in 6-7 rows. Next thing I did was to try and have a peek at it myself in the copy of Economic Times available on our floor. But sadly, somebody had taken the page out to adorn his/her personal collection without any sense of social responsibility. So much for Corporate Social Responsibility which is so much of a buzzword these days :-)
But I had to see it at least once. Again, as always, parents came to rescue. I called up my father and requested him to check if he can secure a copy from the local newspaper shop, which he did successfully. I could have a look at the ad only in the evening. It was a full page ad, with 1/3rd of the space occupied by the group photograph, and my face peeping out from the 2nd row at the back.
It was a proud and rare moment - pride for being associated with a global leader in telecom, and proud to be part of the telecom revolution in India....and also immense satisfaction to be able to be a play a part in it - what I always wanted to do.........
So end of the photo story.
Recipe of the week - coming up tomorrow....keep watching