6 ways to make your Valentine's Day interesting

6 ways to make your Valentine’s Day interesting

It’s the 12th of February, 2016 and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It’s going to be a Sunday filled with love all over the world with numerous proposals, some successful and some not, tons of cakes being relished, wonderful words said and eternal vows made.

If you are one of those who fumbles till the last moment and then gets frozen to near-death at the prospect of approaching your loved one with just a bunch of flowers on Valentine’s Day, I am here to help. Just take cue from any of these 6 ways or just copy them to blurt your love out, to make this Valentine’s Day the most interesting day of your lives!

Just tell your loved on that it’s just a Sunday!

There’s no need to be so excited about it. Duh! (14 Feb 2016 is a Sunday, to set the record straight)6 ways to make your Valentine's Day interesting


Tell your man that you love him as, well, Valar Morghalis!


6 ways to make your Valentine's Day interesting

Isn’t the concept of Marriage way past its expiry date?

I would love to hear the response that you got. There’s a comments section at the bottom of this page.

Just saying.

6 ways to make your Valentine's Day interesting

“It was a nice ring that someone gave me!”

There’s no reason to get agitated, it’s just an engagement ring… that you didn’t give me… I sold the one that you gave me… Are we cool?

6 ways to make your Valentine's Day interesting

Don’t even follow it up with any words.

That smile is a charade behind which a devastated soul cries.

6 ways to make your Valentine's Day interesting

…because FOOD!

You mentioned a special dinner or something. That can wait, right?

Nothing special, I assume. Cool?

6 ways to make your Valentine's Day interestingGot more cool ideas to make others’ Valentine’s Day a day to remember? Comment away!

Shit Agencies Say | unbelted.net

Shit Agencies Say

Having been on both sides of the table – agency and client, I can comfortably say that it’s a case of grass is greener on the other side. There are agency folks who would never move to the client side even for a million dollars and then there are those, like me, who would make the move to see what all the fuss is about at the client side. Why do clients say things that become part of social and digital folklore with posts like #ShitClientsSay and #MyClientSays?

Is it only the clients who are at fault or are the agencies taking them for a ride, at times? If you agree with what’s written here, share this blog post. If you disagree, share this blog post. If you have something to add, the comments section at the bottom of the page is your playground!

I have mailed the creatives to you

Shit Agencies Say | unbelted.net

No, you didn’t. You started working on it when the deadline was due in 2 hours. We all do it!


That was the brief!

Shit Agencies Say | unbelted.net

Are you kidding me! If your servicing person agrees to every shitty thing that I want in a creative, they’re not paying attention, leave aside taking down the brief. Stand up and question!


It’s a completely new creative

Shit Agencies Say | unbelted.net

Why does it look like the earlier one, or the one before that or the one that you had shared a year back?


The Creative Director is working on the project

Shit Agencies Say | unbelted.net

If you are emphasising that the CD is on the job, they probably are not or have been brought in on the job at the last moment when you screwed up.


We’re not billing this to you

Shit Agencies Say | unbelted.net

You screwed up and you are trying to make amends.

Tip 1: It does not matter!

Tip 2: Stop working for free!


We understand your business

Shit Agencies Say | unbelted.net

You understand a part of the business that I am in, probably. If you were to understand my business, you would be running it.


We’re almost done

Shit Agencies Say | unbelted.net

This statement is usually followed by numerous deadlines that were committed to keep the client at bay. The approximate time of delivery from the time this statement is made, ranges from one business day to a quarter.


We have an in-house team…

Shit Agencies Say | unbelted.net

No you don’t! Having one servicing person whose definition of digital marketing is posting on Facebook and Tweeting from their personal handle, is not digital marketing. Same goes for art, technology and copy.


Design for web in CMYK

Shit Agencies Say | unbelted.net

There’s no point explaining this to you.


You are our ‘Best Client’

Shit Agencies Say | unbelted.net

…said every agency ever, to every client ever.


It will take 10 days to deliver this

Shit Agencies Say | unbelted.net

We’re talking about editing two lines of copy that were written by your content punter for a business-related page where he talks about channelising the soul of Beyonce and Bieber. Not done!

Net Neutrality India | unbelted.net

Miffed Telecom Execs Protest Spike in House Rent

Delhi, Bangalore: Telecom executives from the largest private telecom operator in India were a miffed and angry lot after receiving information from their respective landlords that their respective house rent has been increased by 16 times of what it was earlier. What stoked the fire in their outbursts was the fact that the landlords across the country targeted only those working with the said telecom operator and that the landlords did not call up, text or send a mail with the forced (not proposed) change in rent. The executives, under the banner of, Tel Air Exec Demand Forum, aired their anguish over this issue.

A copy of the notice put up on a Tumblr by the Association of Tel Air Exec Landlords is available to us as an exclusive. Yes, content on Tumblr is freely available for anyone to quote but we were the first ones to get it to you. There goes neutrality!


Members of Tel Air Exec Demand Forum

Sub: Increase in house rent for members of the forum

This is to bring to your notice that the house rent for members of this forum has been increased by 16 times of the prevalent rent. The decision was made arbitrarily and holds good for those living in rented accommodation owned by members of Association of Tel Air Exec Landlords.
Once you have read the above para 10 times, you can go through an illustration of the increase in the house rent.
If you were paying a rent of INR 20,000/month, your rent would now come out to INR 320,000/month.
If you were paying a rent of INR 100,000/month, your rent would now come out to INR 1,600,000/month.

This decision was taken by keeping the business and financial interests of the owners in perspective. In a competitive market, organisations and conglomerates have to take positions that help thwart irresponsible use of their services. This decision comes on heels of rapid technological developments in the house-renting industry, which we believe, is being challenged by disruptive rent-a-day service apartments.

It has come to our notice that the tenants have been indulging in activities that have serious negative repercussions for the owners. Our data analytics forensics team has performed staggering number crunching and showed us proof of unprecedented and irresponsible behaviour on part of the tenants.

We have been informed that the tenants conduct parties and get-togethers on their premises. They also attend to family members who are not the permanent residents of the premises. There have been numerous and daily instances where the tenants indulged in the activity of watching television, speaking with the family members and friends, decorating walls with paintings and others. A list of such offences will be made available to those interested, after calling our toll free number.

The premises has been rented out to you for staying there and for using the gym, pool and other facilities. These are the basic services that come with the agreement. Since you have been indulging in using this premises for socialising and for keeping in touch with those who do not stay close by, you have brought this wrath upon you. We are just keeping our interests safe with this change of terms. You might consider it as a decree or diktat, but it is not published on paper and in an update on a Tumblr.

You are allowed to invite five people at your premises in a span of 30 days. You can speak with the residents of the premises for a maximum of 4140 seconds (cumulative) per day. You will be charged INR 5,000 for each person that enters your premises, after the stipulated five people. You will be charged INR 50 for each extra second that you speak, after the stipulated 4140 seconds (cumulative) per day.

You have an option of porting to another landlord, if you deem our terms to be ridiculous. You can Tweet your anger out against our directive through #VoIP #India. VoIP, as you know, stands for Voice of Indian Populace. The #India is redundant but would help you get in the stream.

Yours Lovingly
Association of Tel Air Exec Landlords

An executive at the telco spoke with us on conditions of anonymity since he does not want a backlash from his landlord. “This proposal is ridiculous! They just published this information on a lame webpage and now expect us to fall in line. An arbitrary increase in rent by 16 times just because we talk and socialise with those we like, is nothing short of tyranny. My wife will start asking more questions. This would mean more expenses after the 4140 seconds per day, allowed to us.”

We tried reaching out to the President of Association of Tel Air Exec Landlords but the answering machine kept redirecting us to the Tumblr.

This story is developing right now. This story is a piece of satire.

Image credit: Elizabeth Haslam

Why You Should Switch 'OFF' During Meetings | unbelted.net
Management, Notes

Why You Should Switch ‘OFF’ During Meetings

Let’s admit this, no one likes meetings at work, except for the supposed ‘leader’ of the team. Heck, even he doesn’t like meetings but must call them to throw around his authority. The faff that gets generated at the speed of light in most corporate meetings is phenomenal. You could have ‘Subject Matter Experts’ being born on the back of an article or two that they had read on the web or worse, about things they would have overheard. The agenda of the meeting is usually lost within the first five minutes and from thereon, it is just random conversation that ends with a conclusion to have another meeting.

These corporate meetings appear so absurd at times that you start to wonder how work is even getting done in your organisation. There obviously are the productive kind of meetings but they are so few in number that they do not even make the cut to be mentioned here. The question is – what should you do in such meetings?

Just switch off.

Take a deep breath, look around, lower your eyes and appear as if you are deeply interested in the discussion. You obviously, are not. Make sure that you carry a phone or a writing pad with you. Scribble away to glory or just catch up on the news. You get the drift, right?

Why should you switch off, at times?

Pointless meetings are a waste of time and if you are a part of a discussion that is heading nowhere, you would not be interested in it. It drains your energy and you know that there are better things to do with your time and energy. Do not expend your energy in wasteful discussion. You could have a person who asks for ideas or thoughts but is driving their own agenda in the meeting. Irrespective of your efforts to bring in a rational iota of thought in the discussion, that person will steer the meeting to their own agenda. When such a person has a higher authority than you, the steering manoeuvre is inevitable.

Are you being disrespectful to your job by switching off?

Absolutely not! You are conserving your energy. While it is a good exercise, you must know when to participate in a discussion, lest you be branded a non-compliant member of the team. Share your ideas where you believe the people around the table, on call or on the video are invigorated with the points of discussion. Share your wisdom and give a shot at making the lesser mortals more knowledgeable. Of course, there would be those who would mooch off your ideas and you know how to deal with them – switch off when they call the meeting. Make sure that everyone in the room has heard where the ideas came from and do not shy away from a quick and courteous rebuttal if someone else is trying to pass off your idea as their idea.

What should I do about the urge to prove the other guy wrong?

As I had mentioned earlier, a person with authority based on their job title, will try and out-manoeuvre you at every instance that you ask questions about their proposition. The mark of a weak ‘leader’ is that they get extremely uncomfortable and fidgety the moment someone puts forth a question to them. Make them uncomfortable. Ask questions. They will question back and if you are on solid ground, you would like that discussion. When you start feeling that the meeting is falling into a dark and bottomless abyss, like Jughead’s stomach, switch off. There’s no point arguing with someone who will throw their job title around to ‘show you your place’. Yes, that happens, way too often, in corporate meetings.

So, what do you want me to do? Don’t say Switch Off!

I would say that you take it easy and make eye contact with the elephant in the room. Make them uncomfortable. No, you are not an escapist, you just don’t believe that the discussion is worth your time. At the same time, don’t let it go to your head. Stay grounded and be courteous.

Image credit: Marie Ann Andersen

Turning 29: The 8 Point Reality Check | unbelted

Turning 29: The 8 Point Reality Check

I turned 29 the last month. I do not remember turning 28 as I was having one amazing holiday in Leh that time but turning 29 has got me thinking. It’s easy to get philosophical about getting older by the year and I am doing the easy thing. Here are eight ‘things’ that come to my philosophical self, that capture what an average Indian would be going through, on turning 29.


1. You begin to accept reality and become pragmatic

There’s no point chasing unicorns now.

 Turning 29: The 8 Point Reality Check | unbelted.net



2. Saving money makes sense to you

Yes, you still have the same amount of money left in your account on the last day of the month, as you had when you started working. You still are willing to make a futile attempt to mend your ways.

Turning 29: The 8 Point Reality Check | unbelted



3. You realise that there are only a few you can call friends

You can’t lie about this. You are surrounded by many people but there are only those few you count on.

Turning 29: The 8 Point Reality Check | unbelted



4. You start valuing time spent with family

Yupp, they’re the ones who stood by you and would continue to do so.

Turning 29: The 8 Point Reality Check | unbelted



5. Mid-life crisis is going to hit you soon

You can run but you cannot hide. When it hits you, hit it back with laughter and a middle finger.

Turning 29: The 8 Point Reality Check | unbelted



6. You finally have a favourite spirit

Single malt from the highlands? Bourbon? Vodka? Or just plain and simple Absynthe? And you have this urge of getting wasted like you used to, in college.

Turning 29: The 8 Point Reality Check | unbelted



7. Your jokes make sense only to your friends

The words that you utter are just incongruous to those younger than or older to you.

Turning 29: The 8 Point Reality Check | unbelted



8. Your favourite music tracks are now retro

Unfortunately, this is true. Every track that you used to listen to, growing up of in college, is retro now.

Turning 29: The 8 Point Reality Check | unbelted


The last one, Friends would always be your favourite sitcom.


Genie Cabs Bangalore Review – Hidden Charges

We booked a Genie cab a few days back since Taxi For Sure could not provide a cab at that time. What followed was more of an agonising trip than a pleasure ride, that we are used to. Genie charges you for each minute that the car is at halt, even when you are stuck in a traffic jam. Why is this surprising? Don’t Uber and Ola do the same?

Genie is no Uber when it comes to the kind of cars they have on offer for the basic slab. Besides, the product placement of Genie is that of a ‘pocket friendly cab service’. It is not pocket friendly, for sure. More on that later. How is it different from Ola? Ola states a waiting charge by the minute and they do inform you about the same when you book through their call centre, they even state it on their website. Genie does not! Here are screengrabs from Genie and Ola.

GenieGenie Cabs Bangalore Review | unbelted.net

OlaGenie Cabs Bangalore Review | unbelted.net

We were charged for 41 minutes of waiting time. When we got into the cab, the waiting time was at 14 minutes. That comes to 27 minutes of time spent in a traffic snarl or at a traffic junction. All this was paid at Rs 1.50 per minute, without any prior information.

I called up Taxi For Sure to check if they charge for such waiting time and the responce was, “No sir, why would we do that?” Pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it? We ended up paying INR 27 per kilometer! Genie does charge INR 30 for any booking through their call centre. On thing’s for sure, their product placement is completely off target and they are liable to damages for not disclosing their entire fare details.

Not Genie, you did not fulfil my wishes even after I paid you! Now go back to that lamp you call Meru!


People Management: Lessons from a Power Drill

Hiring the best talent is a challenge that a manager faces at regular intervals. People move, teams grow and organisations thrive. This changing status-quo ensures that new faces join an organisation and the others leave. While expansion of team and growth of an organisation are positive changes, people leaving teams due to incompatibility with the role or the team is a negative change. In times like these, this negative change forms a more overbearing stature as compared to the positive ones. What are the reasons then, for people leaving an organisation within a couple of years where others have stayed on for more than five?

The answer to this quandary is pretty simplistic – absence of fitment analysis.
Let’s understand this through a simple example of drilling bits that are used with your power tools.

Case of the force-fit

People are individuals. Individuals have their own temperament and they join an organisation with a belief of adding value that is commensurate to the investment that the prospective organisation has made in them. I am talking about high performers. Steve, in our case, was responsible for content delivery, program management, building a positive brand perception and handling multiple vendors in his previous organisation. Steve probably knew more about the business that the guys selling the business to prospective clients. Steve, as we know, was yearning for more challenges. This yearning could not be satiated at his previous organisation and he moved to this new one, on promises galore.

Once in the new organisation, Steve realised that this place was able to leverage just 20% of the knowledge and ability that he had to contribute to the organisation. Steve is a high performer. In this case, Steve was a force-fit. He decided to move on when he was told that he cannot write copy. Steve had always doubled up as a copywriter and this was communicated multiple times to his new boss, during the interview stages.

You can visualise Steve’s predicament by assuming him to be a 6 mm nail that was being force-fit into a hole drilled by a 2 mm drill bit. When you try to perform such an act, there are two repercussions – the nail gets bent and the wall develops a crack.

When a manager hires a person just for the sake of filling a vacant position without giving two thoughts to fitment analysis, the nail gets bent and the wall develops a crack.

Case of the loose-fit

A similar situation arises when a low performer is hired just for the sake of hiring or through back-door parlays, for a role that demands a 6 mm nail for a hole drilled by a 6 mm drill bit. You would have come across many loose-fits, the 2 mm nails that have been ‘somehow’ hanging on to the 6 mm hole. They are the loudest, the most unreliable and the worst performers. But they keep hanging on because they have been there for a long time and are ‘veterans’.

Times have changed and any manager worth their title, cannot afford to hire a loose-fit or a force-fit in their teams. The need of the hour is to hire a perfect-fit – a person who gets to learn more than they had, in their previous organisation, and can leverage their skills while acquiring the new ones on the way. If your organisation cannot provide the new skills that change with current times, you should probably look for a change yourself, let alone hire people for your team. Introspect.