“Ladies and Gentlemen! As you are aware, we are starting a new company for pet foods. We are here to discuss the products that we need to make and the markets we need to sell to.”
There was a rustle of movement. People crunching on their biscuits had to hastily swallow their mouthfuls in order to avoid making unseemly noises.
“Rahul! If you were the CEO of this company, what would you prefer to start out with – cat-foods or dog-foods?”
Rahul sank into a deep reverie.
“Sir! I am happy in my current department. I do not want to be shifted to this new company even as CEO”
“That’s not the point…”
“Sir! I think, maybe, Vandana would be the best for the position”, chirped in another voice.
“Do not keep promoting your protégés, Sid! Vandana has no experience in setting up a new project. Sulekha, on the other hand…”
A cacophony of voices erupted with some supporting previously proposed candidates and others proposing new ones. This went on for some time with the Chairman (of the group discussion) unsuccessfully trying to bring about some control.
There was a tearing noise at the head of the table. A great deal of hair was falling at the Chairman’s feet and there even seemed to be a minor bleed on his scalp.
“I think you people are missing the point here”
The Chairman turned eagerly towards the man who was trying to save the day.
“We are discussing pet foods. So, what we should be asking ourselves is – should people have pets at all”
There was a suspicion of tears in the Chairman’s eyes. It may be unmanly to weep but, God, there were times when it could be such a solace.
“Why? I mean, there is no point in cats, I agree. But dogs? A dog is a man’s best friend”. The speaker’s face had the smug look of a man who had turned an original neat phrase.
“What do you mean – no point in cats? Cats kill mice.” That gem of a zoological discovery deserved a Nobel Prize if one were on offer for Biology – or so the speaker thought obviously.
“Cool, guys! To each his own! I think we should allow people to have whatever pets they want to keep”
A detailed discussion ensued about what pets may be allowed for people and what pets ought not to be permitted. There was unanimous agreement – after a long discussion of the pros and cons - only on the inadvisability of keeping the larger carnivores for pets.
For a dizzy moment the Chairman felt he was in Parliament discussing a Bill on whether people ought to be allowed to keep pets. He shook his head and reminded himself of where he was. What he could still not do was to bring the meeting down to discussing what needed discussing.
There was a very provident interruption.
“Lunch is served.”
Absolute unanimity prevailed with everyone making a beeline for the lunch counter.
The Chairman turned to the Secretary.
“Make some cogent minutes of the meeting for this”
As the Secretary bent to his laptop to type in the minutes, he could hear the discussion that went on.
“I think that these restaurants are overcharging us. We need to look into the bills”
“Sir! We need to ask ourselves whether we should order food from outside at all or have a canteen of our own”
“Take that up later and concentrate on what is happening today.”
“Sir! In that case we should concentrate on whether today’s bill is correct, whether this particular restaurant is overcharging us and, if so, by how much. There is no point in talking about all restaurants and all bills now”
There was a retching noise, which sounded suspiciously like the Chariman’s throat.
The Secretary smiled faintly and started typing.
It was concluded unanimously that a consultant should be appointed to identify the products to be made by the proposed pet food company…..
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