Ordinary Man?



‘Don’t be fooled by the rocks that I got, I’m still, I’m still Jenny from the block’ crooned the sultry Jennifer Lopez, letting the folks back home know that she was still a ‘regular’ girl. India’s Corporate Czars are now on track to show their employees that they too, are from the ‘Block’ – don’t mind the billions, please!

It all started with Francisco D’Souza letting the people in Cognizant loose – business casuals any time! Apparently the magic worked because CTS has been exceeding industry expectations constantly. It didn’t take long for Infosys to follow suit…err…’un’suit! Apparently the Cognizant model showed that it was all in the Jeans!

Indian corporate dress policy has always been somewhat straitlaced and prudish, like our publicly displayed sense of morals. Apparently employees, like the limerick, needed to be kept on a very tight rein: being furtive and mean, they sneak off to the slums and promptly become – drunk, disorderly and obscene.

No matter that the world flattened out, and everyone knew how the Googles, Apples, Facebook and the like were making money hand over fist despite their employees walking around in – God save them – flip-flops. It took a Cognizant for the others to take cognizance that un-tie-ing employees actually freed up their thinking!

Harsh Goenka started the new trend by asking all his employees (oops – colleagues) to call him ‘Harsh’. (And he did not mean that as an adjective!).  I do not know if he was inspired by Lynyrd Sknyrd:

            And be a simple kind of man

           Be something you love and understand

          Baby, be a simple kind of man

         Oh won’t you do this for me son,

         If you can?


I’m just one of the Guys, he said. Though it hasn’t really worked so far according to a follow up report, but we hope the guys at the RPG Group keeps persevering. Some day they can pat him on the back like any regular guy and take him out for a beer! As Wodehouse would say, the imagination boggles!

And now the super-rich Ambanis have hopped onto the bandwagon. No, you can’t call him ‘Mukesh’ yet, but the group has taken one step towards getting closer to the office proletariat. The bosses will now work from an ‘open office’ at Reliance Jio. I do not know how this news was received by the junta – but it must make the fortunate (?) seventy key execs (who have been so honored) wonder what was coming next.

Dabbas from Antilla, anyone?