Saturday, March 12, 2011

Your Father's Name Please!

I have avoided classroom education all my life. Before I begin my tirade, I dedicate these first few lines to all those sweet teachers in schools and professors @ my college who never bothered to judge me. They all believed that I would survive the world in spite of my right earnest attempts to stay away from academics, they were right, so thank you for believing when it was most required.

Recently, I decided to appear for a Management entrance test which youngsters half my age flock in millions every year. My eye popping scores prompted me to think seriously about applying for some Management program with evening and weekend classes. Naturally, the entrance test organizers (AIMA) had probably sold my email address to all and sundry. Soon my mail box was flooded with Management school mailers, some of them seriously funny. There was one that actually sent me the "Letter of Admission" without even a call! Then there were touts and agents who promised me the sun for the price of a moon. It has been interesting living amidst all this canvassing. But what topped all of this was what happened when I attempted to enquire about the executive program through IIPM (http://iipm.edu/online-registration/apply/apply.asp). It asked me for my Father's Name and my Date of Birth. I have been creating and planting online forms all my professional life. These are important to keep track of queries and are at times driven into a CRM. But, I did not see any reason why I should leave my Father's name and my Date of Birth on a form to merely "Enquire" about and Executive Program.

I filled the form thus:
Fathers Name: "Should It Matter"
Date of Birth: "01-01-1901"

Sometime later, I got a call from a gentleman, probably a young chap in his late teens or early tees. Here is the conversation:

Caller: Hi, I am Ma**j from IIPM. I understand that you are interested in knowing more about the programme.
Me: Hi M! thanks for the call. I am running into a meeting but I am interested; could you call me after 3.00 pm.

Caller: Sure, no problem, but please let me know your Father's Name and Date of Birth.
Me: Sorry M, I do not believe it is appropriate to share my Father's Name and Date of Birth with you at this point of time, but why do you ask?

Caller: I understand sir, but If you are seriously interested in our programs, you will share your Father's Name and Date of Birth
Me: (In a slightly sharper note) What is the relevance of my Father's Name with you providing me information on the Exec programme?

Caller: (Now getting impatient) If you do not share your Father's Name, we cannot help you with the information!
Me: (Now seriously having fun) I will share my Father's name and Date of Birth with you if you share your Father's name and Date of Birth with me!

That did it. This guy was no longer the smooth talking Counsellor. He was in his elements!

Caller: Listen buddy, every year lacs (tens of thousands) of people share their Father's Name and Date of Birth with us. No Father's Name, No Admission. Thats it!
Me: But I do not want admission, only Information.

Caller: (Now very angry) Not possible, you have to give your Father's Name
Me: I do not want the information, kindly record the same. Thank you.

Caller: Good for you Buddy! Good Bye!

I have been to IIPM parent campus, I know a lot of important people there. Their students are among the best in the country. I have and always remain an advocate of this institution. I only wish there were a little more sensitive when it comes to seeking information. My Father's Name! tch tch tch!

Hope my dad never reads this!

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