The Oxford dictionary says,"A meeting is an assembly of people for a particular purpose". Let's delve deeper into the particulars and the purposes.
Going by the above definition, I have been attending meetings ever since I was a toddler. How? Let me tell you. As a kid, I have always enjoyed going to birthday meetings, because the purpose was always clear, "To eat the cake!"
It's pretty much the same even now, just that eating cake is not as simple as before especially when birthday meetings are planned as meticulously as a wedding where cakes are based on themes. The last birthday meeting I attended had a theme, "Love your animals" so as you might have guessed it the cake was a bone shaped vanilla cake which looked almost like a bone. To say the least, I wasn't pleased.
Talking about young adult days, when I used to attend conferences/lectures just to appear intellectual amongst my peers. Here too, the purpose was very clear- To ask random over smart questions at the end to prove that I wasn't dying to go for the coffee break.
A little fast forward to the
BORED Board room meetings at my workplace. Here too, the purpose was clear (most of the times), but always long and boring. So, let's not talk about this one.
However, the purpose of attending meetings was clear at all these instances.
First, go to parties, eat the cake, come back.
Second, go to conferences, yawn tactfully, ask questions, come back.
Third, attend board room meetings, convince the client that nobody gives a duck about their requirements, have tea and snacks served by the client, come back.
The meeting I am going to write about now is the most fun meeting I have ever been to because this one has no purpose!
Unfortunately, I am a parent representative for a parent support group at my daughter's school who is in her kindergarten, that's right kindergarten. The day I formed a whatsapp group for all the parents, somebody suggested we share pictures of ours with our little ones so that we get familiar with each other. I quite didn't like the idea. I was thinking, 25 parents 25 pictures, do I have the space to donwload or do I have the interest?
Yes, the same feeling you get when you receive those Good Morning, good afternoon, good evening and good night images on your family whatsapp groups. You dare not ignore them all the time!
Needless to say, the pictures started pouring in. One parent shared a picture of her's and one of her daughter's, like two separate photos (now, the count went up to 26).
Another parent shared a family picture and had the courage to caption it and label it. The caption said, "We are Anaya's parents".
As if anybody cared!
Then the labeling part, one arrow directed towards her dad that read, "Anaya's Father", another arrow towards her mom that read, "Anaya's Mother". Yes, there was every chance to get confused over there. Not to forget the third arrow pointing at Anaya herself. Poor thing, I thought.
Now, the fun part!we get a meeting invite from the school principal. I was wondering why have a meeting?the circulars are posted on the portal and for other important things like exchanging pictures of parents we have whatsapp. Nevertheless, I went for the meeting with my hair all shabby and a bag that had more diapers than money, only to see all the other parents suited up! Yes, suited up on a holiday! I am sorry, I am one of those lazy kinds who would just oil my hair while attending a Halloween Meeting. Don't give me that look. It can be a scary sight if you are not from the Southern part of India. Coming back to the Parent Support Group meeting, they also had writing pads and multi colored pens and what not. The meeting began and the questions began to hurl at the principal.
One parent goes, "Ma'am the uniform pants' elastic is way too tight. we have been getting a lot of complaints from the parents and we need to do something about this."
The principal seemed to be a pro at handling questions like these. She calmly said, "wrap it around a big fat pillow and leave it overnight. I am sure it will loosen up". (Just like her mind I thought)
The parent also seemed to be a pro at this. She said, "Ah Ah tried, not working".
Then the principal suggested her to go for a bigger size of trousers to which the parent denied saying that the length can be a problem.
By now, I could see the mother hiding inside the principal had popped out so she said with utmost confidence, "Put it in a turbo washing machine, I am sure your problem will be solved". Luckily for me, the parent noted it down(may be with a red colored pen).
The next parent I am assuming must be a bank employee because she asked for a receipt from school for having collected 5 Dhirams for lemonade festival. This time, the principal noted something down. I am sure she wrote, "Go to hell".
At this point, I could sense that the principal was standing at the edge of the cliff and ready to jump. Trust me, the next parent really pushed her.
The showstopper parent said, "Ma'am, the school has said a big no no to plastic lunchboxes and water bottles, but my son is way too attached to his old plastic sipper. Kindly help."
Though the verbal communication of the principal said,"Ma'am it's high time we teach our kids to adopt green practices, don't you think?", her non verbal communication said,
"Suck it up and deal with it"
So, the purpose of this would be to go to my next parent support group meeting ( Yes, I still have the guts) and find its purpose.
I recently read somewhere that a top tip for handling panic attacks during a meeting is to accept that it's happening.