“I'm at a media immersion…umm, I mean, press conference.”

Sorry, I can't attend the office meeting today as I am going for a media immersion,” I told my colleague. He raised his eyebrows. “Are you going to be dunked in a pool?” Clearly he is not with it. An immersion, I told him, is the latest jargon for press conferences.

Le Meridien, Delhi was organising a “media immersion” during the India Design Forum being held at the hotel, and of course I had to attend this. I must confess that in my two-decade-long journalism career, it was the first time I was going to be “immersed” in a press briefing. (Though, Google did get creative recently inviting people to its Hangout — a rather fitting name for an interactive session with the search firm.)

At the Design event, even as I absorbed a whole new set of ideas, I also assimilated some contemporary vocabulary. Immersion appeared to be quite a buzzword here actually — as ‘urbanist' artist Alex White talked about his three-month immersion in Dharavi, and about ‘artefacting'. Artists clearly don't live and learn like the rest of us, they immerse themselves.

Indeed, as I thought about it, I realised that the culturally alive French have been calling their language teaching courses immersion programmes for quite some time now. Well, given the complexities of French verbs and conjugation, presumably only if you get immersed you gain mastery.

But the short point of this is, I can just see where it is heading. What's the bet that the next corporate offsite won't be called management immersions? Even if we continue to discuss different forms of engagement (fortunately, never the type that leads to marriage) with teammates.

And at the end of it all, there will no doubt be brainstorming on the hot new property that management has decided to create — not their real estate investments, silly — but the new awards they have decided to create that will have great brand value.

Future gazing into the management immersion programmes, I can also see them getting more inclusive. If I had a bit of software that could measure how many times the word inclusive was used in 2011, I am sure it would by far outstrip that other abused word in the year gone by — sustainable — by miles.

And, inclusive not in the sense of getting the token women into these meets, but getting the receptionist, the office assistant, the guard, the driver to attend as well. After all, even the oh so elite World Economic Forum is getting more inclusive, allowing civil society and young gen to sit at the same chai adda at Davos.

Tailpiece: In a delicious bit of news, last week, the Chennai Super Kings IPL team got an official fruit partner when they signed a deal with Washington Apples. How absolutely fruity! So, this IPL we will see an apple-munching Badrinath or Dhoni. A brilliant stroke of marketing genius, that! As a senior colleague in Chennai, sotto voce, messaged me over the intranet, soon the IPL teams could have official toothpaste partners, official dustbin partners, and perhaps even official scratching partners. Well, why not, indeed?

(This article was published on March 16, 2012)
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