Thursday, September 18, 2008

Not Intentionally You Know

" Do you know what Corporate India desperately needs???"
I open my mouth to proffer a suggestion when it struck me that I wasn't really expected to answer. In fact, anything I said would only distract my irate friend, who had a tendency to overindulge in rhetorical questions while venting in anger, sorrow, excitement and sometimes, even to narrate common place incidents. So I held my peace and braced myself....Because, like it or not, I was just about to find out what exactly it was that me and the rest of my toiling brethren in India lacked.

“Lessons in Fear Management...The great Indian salaried class needs to learn how to cut across hierarchy and manage their irrational fears of the powers that are ..Isn't it ridiculous how fear can paralyse the brain and disable logical thinking?? "

*sigh* It would seem that she had done it again.
If there ever was a magnet for trouble, my fire-brand friend had to be it. And she didn't even have to go in search of it. Conniving colleagues, vicious acquaintances, back stabbing politicians from work, rude vendors, gossip mongers, relatives who conveniently forgot favours done.....They all flocked to her, like bees to the honey pot. It wasn't that she was a mean virago. She was just a sensitive but brutally honest girl who adopted causes and under dogs with much enthusiasm and almost no second thoughts. Sadly, she was also a novice in the fine art of dissembling which contributed greatly to the steady stream of turbulence in her life.

“Would you believe this? I had ordered for some catalogues which were delivered when I was travelling. So I asked my colleague to hang on to them, promising to take them off her hands as soon as I got back. But this morning when I checked, she had shipped off more than half of those catalogues to our Mumbai office just because someone there had run out of stocks and was trying to save his butt by grabbing it from where ever. Apparently he brandished some director's name and this lady mutely sent across the copies he asked for....And, no one even checked with me if they could take them!!!"

I could well understand her indignation but was not too surprised. It was the law of her world. The weaklings always sheltered behind our little lioness, who would only roar her annoyance at them but not stoop to mangle them to bits. I had, in the past, heard examples of this colleague and some others scuttling for cover, leaving her to face the brunt of the boss's fury when things at work had gone wrong. It was the classic case of the barking dog not biting. However, I couldn't help but wonder aloud as what the two poachers could have possibly said to mollify her.

"Do I sound mollified to you??" She roared at me " I am furious....I feel invaded....And Do you know what she told me when I confronted her??? She said this guy had cited her boss's name and was so very insistent that visions of her angry boss drove all thoughts of the catalogues' ownership out of her mind!!! She apologised for messing up my schedule and then tells me that I am not to be angry because it was not intentional.."

Her voice was filled with utter disbelief and anger.
"As if it makes things better....Intentional or unintentional, don't they realise that the end result is the same?....It’s amazing how fear cripples people and disables their thinking process. This guy in Mumbai goofed up and to cover his negligence, he calls my colleague, invokes her boss's name and she in turn mindlessly sends out the first lot of catalogues she can lay her hands on...Seriously...they all need to go for counseling to deal with this mindless fear!!!"

" Well, a vast majority of the working class are afraid of their bosses...But even in extreme fear, I doubt very many would behave the way your colleague has....She behaved badly and I hope you made that clear to her....Its not as if the two of you are in kindergarten and can be excused for swiping each other's crayons"
" Exactly, I even quoted the 10th Commandment at her"
" You What?"
" You know....Thou shall not covet thy neighbour's properties..." She explains impatiently

With a twinkle in my eye, I enlighten her " You should have been quoting the 8th at her..Thou Shalt Not Steal....And besides, it's the neighbour's wife and house you are not supposed to covet, silly..Not a stack of catalogues"
And pat comes the reply " A mere technicality....You didn't expect God to chisel out a comprehensive list of the neighbour's 'non-covetable' possessions, did you??? Wife, Husband, House, Jewellery, Gadgets, Catalogues..they all belong to someone and therefore are property...AND ARE NOT TO BE COVETED!!!"

End of the discussion.
Not that it matters. I just couldn't have argued with that one anyway!!

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