Saturday, July 28, 2018

Slice of Work #14 — The Man Who Hired His Boss

I knew Thomas who wanted to move out of his firm and had landed a cushy job in the same city that he lived in. A big plus. The added advantage was the prospect of some stocks that would fetch him good money. He seemed coasting along in his life after he had put down his papers.

As was his nature, he called up a few of his friends to let them know about it. When he called up one of his ex-team members, Sheen, he got a strange response. While all others had supported his move, Sheen was hesitant and Thomas asked him about it. Sheen said, “Thomas, I have been thinking about who should be my new boss in the firm that I have joined. I think it should be you.” Thomas was a bit hesitant but he asked Sheen to progress the referral.

Things moved fast and he got selected. It was an MNC and the leaders he met were very fine people. He forgot all about the stock and the money. It did not seem to matter. The only rub was that it was in another city. He called up Sheen and told him about his selection. Sheen was at his persuasive best to take the job. Thomas consulted his family and the shift happened. A new city, a new culture and new settings.

Thomas grew in his role and did well for himself as I knew he would. I have often thought of Sheen. He was so selfless and had the courage to ask his ex-boss to join the firm that he was working. In a way he hired his boss. I knew Sheen and asked him the reason for asking Thomas to join his firm and laughingly he said, “A known devil is better than an unknown one.” He is a good man and I don’t think I learnt enough from him, he added.

Sheen moved on to become a leader in another firm and is doing well for himself. Leaders are made, and made differently. Each one of them. The best of them find goodness in others and even hire them as their bosses.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Slice of Life #13 — Unpacking Mother’s Suitcase

suit case motherMy mother was a very meticulous woman and raised us as such. She was particular about how a bed should be made. In those days, we had mats that we had to roll them to perfection. Folding of clothes was another of her demands. Folded to perfection, putting many a launderer out of work. It was more of her need to have us believe mundane work needed more attention than we paid attention to. Her credo was – ‘A place for everything and everything in its place.’ My dad happily borrowed it and made it his. She did not claim any patent rights to it. A liberal she was, yes.

We all grow old and as did she. One day, we persuaded her to come and stay with us for good. She loved a patch of green at our place. Insisted on tulasi or basil, flowering plants and banana saplings. She used to go to the small garden and plucked every single flower for her ‘Gods’. I even chided her once that she must leave some on the plants for us to enjoy them. She was adamant. Slowly she stopped going to the garden as she was unable to climb the few steps without assistance.

As for her room, the things in her life were all over the room. They were in full cry to anyone walking past. A bit of an eyesore. I had to close the door of her room when we had visitors. One day she asked for the ‘blue’ trolley bag that I used. All the items she needed were on several side tables and when I asked about it, she said that they needed to be visible and within easy reach. She said that the chest of drawers was useless as she did not know what was in them. Come Diwali, I decided to clean her room and put things in place, tucked away neatly and told her about it.

She said nothing. I did see a fleeting shadow of sadness in her eyes. She veered away not wanting to meet my eyes. She was far too much in love with us. As for the suitcase, I got her sarees in them into the cabinet took away the trolley bag she did not need anymore. The room looked spick and span. There was an overhang of a heaviness of heart that I did not notice. Amma passed away a month later.

A couple of months later, I used the blue trolley bag and found that its zip had given up. She did not want me to use it and hence asked for it. And did not want to tell me. These days, the room looks clean, and each time I go in, I feel it was better off with the odds strewn around within easy reach of the only person who loved me unconditionally – my mother. I realized that old people needed an understanding beyond cleanliness. A sensitivity beyond compare. The blue trolley bag was unpacked and tucked away, the emotions were not. They are alive and each time I look at the trolley, it reminds me of her and my spectacles mists up again.