Saturday, November 24, 2007

In Which I Played the Host

Education teaches you many laws of life and one is the great Murphy’s law; if a thing can go wrong, it certainly will. So in the penultimate week at LBSNAA, the thing dreaded by officer trainees happened to me. I was made the escort officer of a visiting guest faculty.

To brief you a little about that, most of the lectures at LBSNAA are taken by specialist guest faculties who come from all over. One (unfortunate) officer trainee is made his escort officer who has to be his ‘direct host’ for his entire stay.

Apart from general duties of an escort like entertaining the kids of the guest and arranging the flavor of ice cream liked by his wife, a specific one is introduce him to the students and ensure that his lecture goes well. Introduction is a euphemism for eulogizing the guest, and going to the extent of proving that he is the most talented man born on the earth.

As a responsible man, I decided to take the challenge head on. The biggest hurdle for me was to save my guest from apathetic (read hostile) audience in an auditorium that has more than three hundred (yawning, sleeping, murmuring) students, and a challenge greater than that was to give a good impression of the academy to the guest after all this.

All this did not stop there. My guest was a young professor, enthusiastic about his field and was on his first visit to the academy. This meant that he had high hopes from the academic brilliance of civil servants and a desire to have an intellectual discussion with them.

The guest was friendly and during our informal chat before the lecture, I quietly mentioned the hectic schedule of the academy, hard physical training that we had to undergo and general lack of sleep amongst the officer trainees. With a smile I mentioned that he should not be surprised in he finds ‘some’ ( a gross misrepresentation) students sleeping.

The lecture began. Slowly ‘some’ started growing and soon I could hear soft snoring sounds. Before things grew out of hand, I requested my guest to allow switching off some lights so that his presentation becomes visible to the students sitting at the back. This proved fairly successful and after that there was no major issue. People anonymously slept and my guest went on.

When the lecture got finished, my guest invited questions. That is the rarest thing to get from a sleeping, uninterested audience but I had anticipated this. On promise of a treat, some of friends had agreed to ask questions. The guest was fairly happy by the level of their intellect and the interest his lecture had generated.

I gave a brief thanks speech and the session ended. I could not have asked for more. The mission was complete. As a courtesy, I requested my guest to join us for lunch.

I sat on a table having already two officer trainees.

“Sir this is Vaneet, and he is Venkat” : I said
“ Hello Vaneet, hello Venkat” : my guest was very courteous to them

Hellos got exchanged and then it all started. Venkat who was sitting quiet till now started talking.

“AS, is he your friend?”: I prayed that he shuts up his mouth soon.

“Is he your relative?” He enquired again.

I was completely taken aback but my guest replied “I was the one who took your two hour lecture in the morning”. I had nothing much to say.

After that I deliberately avoided discussing interest of officer trainees in lectures. My guest was a nice human being and as far as I know, he carried a 'almost' good impression of the academy.

Moral of the story is Murpy's law is indeed true.

PS: As in all other posts, this one too has a good content of my imagination. So please do not consider it to be literally true.


sumit said...

hahaha vaneet n venkat !!!!!!

Hari said...

Hi Anurag,
Though u planned things very meticulously right from the beginning, I think towards the end u became bit relaxed happy over the smooth passing of lecture session. Otherwise I think u would have introduced him to u r friends as professor ____. Or I think u would have managed that too by offering a treat to some other set of friends :)

rini said...

good one.....enjoyed reading......

Anurag Srivastava said...

@Sumit: Its good to see your first comment on the blog :)

@Hari: Had I known that there are still chances of something happening, I would have managed it. But I never expected someone to not recognise him. At least in the begining of lecture we are awake :)

@Rini: Nice to know that. When I write a blog, I am always scared if people are going to enjoy it.

Sameera said...

good one anurag.

Cosmic Voices said...

You bribed them to ask questions? I thought only MPs did that...

Pilani Pictures said...

had a great laugh boss!!!
:) :)

Anurag Srivastava said...

@sameera: thanks :)

@cosmic voices: bribe works fine everywhere, not only with the MP's, that is why its called speed money :P

@pilani pictures: thanks :)

darius said...

hey!! im sorry, i saw your comment only now! tried calling u but no reply.. im curious to know who this other person is who helped u figure things out???

tmrw when we meet, i suppose i'll end up giving a big cheesy smile out of embarassment :) rest is up to you - except that u shouldnt forget your promise of not disclosing anything to anybody else, k?

CrEaTiVe WrItEr said...

hello.. i just came across your blog when i was trying to google out the lbsnaa website. well, belatd congradulations! i just graduated this year and have taken up cs coaching. a complete fresher will be giving my first attempt this year. i have designeda schedule and study accordingly. for some reasn today i was disturbed and guess what i spent an hour reading and living your blogs. thanx for the fantastic experience:) alrite me getting bk to study now, for i shud make it to mussorie next year!

Anonymous said...


Deepanjali B Sarkar said...

This was so hilarious!
I am writing a screenplay centred around two IAS officers and would really be grateful for your inputs on combat training that you had in LBSNAA. May I please have your email? I believe my father (Mr. Pradip Bhattacharya, ex -Director ATI, West Bengal) had written to you earlier, regarding contributing to ATI's blog...
My email is