Tuesday, August 23, 2016

When people throng you, surround you.....

When there is a lot of praise for you, you find yourself at the Seventh Heaven of Joy.
In today's parlance, at the top of Himalayas. 


But, have we ever bothered to know from where the praise comes?
Does the praise have a price ? A tag ?

Let us recall a two-line Sanskrit sloka from Subhashithani.

कार्यार्थी भजते लोकः यावत्‌ कार्यं न सिध्यति॥

उत्तीर्णे च परे पारे नौकायाः किं प्रयोजनम्॥

People praise others only to get their work done.
Or their wishes to be fulfilled. 
Otherwise, their work will not get done.

Subhashitani says in a nutshell:

As soon as you cross the river, 
what is the use of the boat ?

It happened well in 1986 or so. 

I had just returned from my tour some Andhra Division. The journey was tough but I thought that the offices I had to inspect proved tougher as they were really working well. 

(Though the goal of Audit is not fault-finding, as is said, still, when you find a couple of wrong doings that could lead to special reports, you are obliged to inform the Chief in private before you put them in writing. 

Those days when you meet the Chief, and inform your achievements (!) anything may happen. 

One. He may say.: Is it ? Let me first discuss with ZM and appraise him before you finalize it.
Second:  No...No..Never.can we allow such things...It can't happen like that. Put it immediately and bring it for my signature.
Third: You keep the report on my table. Let me think over.)

How I wished he was alone !
It was not to be.

Hardly had I entered his cabin, I found not to my surprise, my boss was talking to the second in command of our Zone. 

{Those days, we had only one ZM and one DZM. 

Only later, l.....a.....t....e...r...., when there were too many children  crying, possibly it was decided to have more than one DZM. Two decades later, if you know that I was also promoted as DZM, it dawned on me that people have by then   understood that that DZM was not such a coveted post. We had two DZMs in each floor by that time.  I consoled myself that I am another ALSO RAN CASE !!

However,  in order that officers of higher cadre should not be dispirited, they changed the name of the post. }

Oh ! Let me not go away from the story.

Coming back , did I not say that I was not surprised !
As both of them were very close friends. The DZM was a high voltage Chartered Accountant, perceived to be an authority in his field. 

No sooner I entered the cabin, my boss welcomed me with a warm smile, asked me to sit, and offered a cup of tea.

They continued the conversation. I listened, though at times, pretended not listening.

Seeing the big big bundles of Greetings Cards on the table, the DZM looked surprised and showed it in his face too. They were all NEW YEAR GREETINGS CARDS.

In those days you know, sending a Greeting Card was not  only customary  but mandatory too. So thought the men in the semi circle owned by marketing men. 

 People vied with one another in buying colourful cards which they thought spoke of their love and affection towards their bosses.  People wishfully thought that the the more expensive their greetings card the more secure their  place of posting. You do not also forget to add a line," how is your cute kid, Sir !"

"Why this craze? I dared one day to ask my friend.!"
"He said: This is marketing. You will have to sell yourself, before you sell your products.
True, I thought then.

"It is already 10th January. In another couple of days, Pongal Greetings will start coming. What are you doing for these New Year Greetings Cards ? Replying ?"  He aired a mischievous miniscule smile. 

"Yes. My steno could reply to only 10 to 15 per day. At this rate, it may take another week for him to complete my thanks giving letters to all."

"That's funny." The DZM said. Continued, " my steno you know is an union man. He says.: I won't type all these thanksgiving etc. I take your dictation and type only what is official. This is more personal. Anyway, let me check up with our union, before i start. ." 

"So you dropped idea of replying!?"

"Not exactly. I am sure  I would  convince him if the number was small. It exceeds 1000. "

The DZM was not exactly lamenting but it did appear to me he was surely feeling sorry for those of his fans/well wishers  who would be looking for his thanksgiving reply.

I could have kept quiet. But being what I am, I could not resist  words flow from my mouth:

"Sir ! All these Greetings and all that is not for you, Sir.! It is for your position. "

"No. You do not know their love abundant love for me. That is why they send me"  

My boss glanced at me admonishingly.
His eyes seemed to suggest: Don't tell even right things at wrong places !!

A few minutes afterwards, DZM left, and I could finish my job. I came out. 

The incident could have evaporated from my mind had I not met my boss the next year, possibly the same day, around 10th or 11th of January. 

He had already retired by that date.  As I was walking on the road leading to East Tambaram, perhaps on a sudden, he was there before me. 

The same lovable look. What a gentle face !  

"Sury ! How are you? Are you not transferred out of chennai? How are you here?"

"I am fine. Sir! I came to chennai to attend a wedding. ...." 

Even when I was continuing, he interrupted me;

"Sury ! you remember the conversation, between me and that ..............DZM last year .!!....."Pausing a few seconds, he said..."New Year Greetings."

"Yes.Sir. I do remember that incident. "

"Few days ago, he phoned up to me as usual.  He is also retired , you know."

"Yes Sir.! I know."

"He told me: he had received only three New Year Greetings this year;  and among the three, he laughs one is mine.! " 

"What if ?"

"The point is he still remembers what you said to him last year: Actually I forgot about it"

"He adds that the other two are from apprentices who have joined his firm. you know after retirement he has joined a big firm of Auditors "

"I know "

We then talked another few minutes and left. 

As I reached home, I was still reflecting on how birds from distant lands fly thousands of miles  en masse to watery lakes.

All in search of water.
To quench their thirst.! Of course !

Would the birds come at all if there was no water ?

Just as watery lakes are swarmed by thirsty birds, so are surrounded men by needy and expectant people. The moment their desires, expectations  evaporate  they fly away. 

This is not to decry the visitors. More to say that their visit is justified.
But the moment their expectation evaporates, dries,   your home is forlorn.

I was reminded of a beautiful subhashitani sloka.

काकः कृष्णः पिकः कृष्णः को भेदः पिककाकयोः ।
वसन्तसमये प्राप्ते काकः काकः पिकः पिकः ॥

The crow is black. The nightingale is also black. Who can tell the difference between them both? But when it is spring time, it becomes very clear that a crow is a crow and the nightingale is a nightingale.

Most times, you know the truth. But you are forbidden to say.
There could be many reasons.

Whatever you say may not reach the head of a deaf person.

Much ahead of Bhishma and Drona, much much more than Bhishma and Drona,
Vidhura knew .
But rarely he talked .
He knew that talking right at wrong places
would never fetch the desired results.

I wish I am not wrong. 

Or am I wrong ? I do not know. 

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