Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Respecting rules and protocols

Earlier this month, I attended the Italian National Day function (June 2nd). There was an arrangement for checking cards at the entrance.
In line with the Indian and Kolkata culture, half of those invited were not carrying the cards with them although it was clearly mentioned in the invite that guests should bring the card for security reasons.
It is very common in Kolkata to ignore such instructions mentioned in the invitation cards. It seems that the only matter people read in the invitation card is the venue and timing of the function. Other instructions are ignored or not given due credence.
It is almost like a certain sub-culture to ignore instructions especially if it says “Please carry the card”. People in India and in Kolkata don't take such instructions in the right spirit. I think it hurts them to show their credentials or a card at the gate or entrance even though their own security may be at stake. Others may feel that it would slight their social status as they are well known in the social circuit.
The psychology that runs is something like “.. everybody knows me or ought to know me”. You don't ask if Sachin can bat or Lata can sing! Few things can massage a giant-sized ego as much as passing through a high security zone or gate with zero compliance and no questions asked.
Since a number of very important guests do this, the organisers are left with no choice but to allow them entry without the cards, compromising on security or protocols. I fail to understand how many of the same guests, when they go to the American National Day, fully comply with the instructions and also carry and present the invitation cards at the security without fuss.
Well, it is simple. The guests know that the US security protocol is usually very strict and uncompromising and there's always the possibility of entry being restricted if they do not carry the card with them.
I think the organisers too should put in some thought while sending out invites. It is cumbersome for the guests to carry a large A4-sized invite in one's pocket. As a host of various events in the city, I always make it a point to attach an entry card the size of a visiting card along with the invitation for the convenience of the guest whenever there is a need for the card to be shown. My experience, however, is that Kolkatans, in general, lack the culture of carrying such cards for functions and events.
The guests and the hosts, both have to learn. While the guests must respect and comply with the requests and rules a card requests of, the hosts should ensure that the card is easy to carry in pockets or handbags.
I remember a few years back I had hosted the Film Festival Farewell Dinner at the Hyatt poolside. Two top personalities of the city were stopped at the gate as I had issued instructions that only those with cards be allowed entry. One of them, a good friend of mine, understood the gravity of the situation, but the other gentleman was upset and created quite a scene. I had to go to his home the next morning and apologise in person for the inconvenience caused. But I explained to him that it was due to the security factor and also to prevent any gatecrashers from entering. The seriousness of the matter then seeped in and he praised the tight security arrangements that had denied him entry.
Let us hope guests would take invitation requests seriously and things would change for better.
ess bee

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