Pretension in the making
Business dinners were once relatively private affairs organised with little fuss.
Today, however, the word ‘corporate dinner’ immediately brings to mind extravagant dining halls, elaborate menus and seating arrangements, interminable guest lists and the presence of expensive entertainment as a finishing touch to the evening.
Clearly, the expansion of the corporate sector, over the past century, has led to a simultaneous expansion in the extravagance with which the corporate sector receives and likes to be received.
Today, when Aunty Zulaikha and Major Jamshed hold a corporate dinner, it has to be the social highlight of the season. Everyone who is anyone must be sent an invitation.
This is when little Pinkys and Babblus are trained to become the Zulaikhas and Jamsheds of tomorrow and chained into matrimonial bliss.
Corporate issues are mentioned every now and then but are not indulged in much for fear of boring the guests. The latest corporate gossip is so much more interesting.
However, this dandy form of social interaction cannot be completely written off for it has its perks.
It hides the rivalries between financial powerhouses under a smooth gloss of civilised social interaction. Individuals are reminded that the only acceptable form of violence they may indulge in is to politely grit their teeth at their rival across the table and mouth a swear word when they think the boss is not watching.
This system also provides a relatively less damaging platform for women to unleash their violent kitty party proclivities. Male presence ensures that wars would not be fought over the latest fashion trends.
Men also benefit from female presence for the latter — due to limited tolerance for politics or intelligence to understand it or both — ensure that a spoonful of politics shall go down no more. There shall be no foaming at the mouth over the latest amendment to the Constitution or the barring of fake degree holders from positions of power in government.
Scandal and gossip needs to be taken out of corporate dinners.
Rather than becoming yet another platform for voicing clichéd, disinterested condemnation of the country’s politics and politicians, they need to be made into avenues for meaningful decision-making by those in power for those without it.
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The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.