Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

`Hopemonger invites'

I received an e-mail invitation from a local organization requesting me to be their Guest of Honour for a function. Further, the e-mail said that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee “.... is expected to inaugurate the function.”
Well, I have personally organized hundreds of events big and small over the years. I have also participated in numerous functions as the chief guest and in various other capacities from time to time. I have, in fact, developed a sort of sixth sense when it comes to judging the credibility of events and functions.
It took me no time to see through this e-mail invite that dropped the chief minister's name like a carrot. I get such invites from various organizations every now and then and I know their ways. In this case too, the fact was what I had correctly sensed. The organizers had faxed for sure an invitation to the chief minister’s office with a request to inaugurate the function. They had not received any intimation let alone confirmation.
This kind of a cheap stunt or hopemongering is a standard practice among few non governmental organisations (NGOs), groups and various event management companies who send out invitations to eminent citizens with all kinds of requests and without waiting for any confirmation print invitation cards in which they use words like 'expected” and “likely” or "invitees " to drop names while being technically and may be legally correct.
I remember a particular incident last year. I had received an invitation that had Pranab Mukherjee’s name emblazoned on top while the minister was attending a top level meeting in the United States that was planned well in advance.
During the Puja season, there are so many Puja functions and inaugurations. We get to see the names of large number of top political leaders and celebrities in invitation cards. But the fact of the matter is that not even 25 per cent of these so called “chief guests” turn up at the events and in many cases they are not even aware of the function.
I do not understand what grand purpose does it serve to brag about events by dropping names and arousing false hopes among the masses. I feel those who send such invitations with false claims are confidence tricksters with ulterior motives out to hoodwink the people. They do so to garner crowds or sponsors or just to massage their egos. Whatever it may be, I strongly condemn such practice.
In the past two or three years I have noticed many city based organizations of Rajasthani community and their representatives claim publicly and even issue press statements saying the chief minister of Rajasthan is expected or is going to attend such and such function. But the fact is that the chief minister of Rajasthan has not yet visited Kolkata during his current term.
Many organizers have officials who think they are the cat's whiskers. These smart alecs play the old game of inviting VVIPs and drop their names without waiting for any kind of confirmation. There are many gullible citizens who take the organizers' word in good faith and make it a point to attend their function only to be fooled at the end of the day. Gauging from the sheer number of such kind of invites I receive, I say this breed of hopemongers are rising at a worrying rate.
So far, I have not received any local invite expecting Barack Obama to attend their function. But I wouldn't be surprised if I get one soon.
ess bee

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