I am leaving Pune today for some rest and recreation with friends and will be back in time next week for the Friday LBC post.
I hope that you miss me!
This topic was suggested by gaelikaa, for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently nine of us write on the same topic every Friday. I hope that you enjoyed my contribution to that effort. The seven other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Ashok, gaelikaa, Lin, Maxi, Padmum, Pravin, Shackman and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!
Many of my friends and members of my extended family are on facebook and quite a bit of information is shared there some of major import and most trivial. Yesterday, one of my friends, a fellow alumnus of the business school that I went to, shared an article with a great amount of pride. Only people who have been to Varanasi on a number of occasions spread over a few decades would be able to understand the impressive achievements in terms of getting the town and the river cleaned up. There are many other success stories like this coming out from different parts of the country and we are naturally very happy to share such stories.
Among the same group of alumni, we have a sceptic who loathes our Prime Minister, as he is perfectly entitled to in our democracy, who on reading the post on Varanasi, instead of sharing our joy promptly called our Prime Minister The Sanitary Inspector who is fit only for that job. He is entitled to that opinion and I have little to offer as a retort, but that description sent me off on a tangent which is what this post is about.
During the recent reunion that I attended at Mumbai with my colleagues from over a quarter of a century ago, we were recollecting how I used to be called the sanitary inspector, a badge that I wore with a great deal of pride. There was only one person in that group who could recall the reasoning behind that sobriquet for me and I had to explain that to the others. Let me share my story with my readers as well.
When I joined the company as a Management Trainee in Mumbai, I was expected to report to work much before anyone else to learn all about how the set up came alive by assisting in the opening of the gates, doors etc and other attendant routines. The Warehouse staff were expected to report fifteen minutes before the office staff and that is where I learnt my first lesson about an aspect of living in Mumbai that I had not been aware of earlier.
The warehouse staff were company employees who were supported by Mathadi workers who would unload trucks that arrived with goods and also transport repacked goods to local customers and to transport companies for upcountry despatch.
Mathadi workers as well as our company employees would hope that the Warehouse in charge would come on time if not earlier so that they could use the company toilets. They would come from distant suburbs forgoing the use of their local public toilets to come to our company premises where the queues were shorter because there were more number of toilets and also the total population using the facilities were much less. This one single aspect of our providing a facility that most of us would take for granted made such an impression on me that once I became a full fledged Manager, I would insist on visiting the toilets regularly to ensure their cleanliness and functionality. I would do this wherever I was posted as well as I grew in the company and went on branch visits at branches. That is how I got the sobriquet The Sanitary Inspector, a title that I cherished more than all the other fancy designations that I eventually got.
A few years ago, my late wife Urmeela and I were shopping in the main shopping area of Pune, much before the advent of malls. I was stopped by someone who looked familiar but who I could not immediately place. He introduced himself as a warehouseman from one of our branches now in retirement. It was a poignant meeting and much to my embarrassment, he informed Urmeela how much my toilet visits used to impress these workers. I shared this story also with my colleagues during the reunion and they too shared similar stories.
So, my dear friend Shekhar, being a Sanitary Inspector can be a highly satisfying occupation too. And with much love and affection, I dedicate this post to you.
I am sure that Shackman did not have this song in mind when he suggested this topic for the weekly LBC blog posts. Not like him to. But I immediately remembered this song for being one of those of The Beatles that I did not particularly like. For what it is worth, here it is for anyone who may have felt different about it.
That phrase was and is like a red rag waved at a bull for me. My late wife learnt it the hard way and very often I too learnt some unforgettable lessons for not having listened to her in the first place. But that is me and after all those years of such lessons, I am still capable of treating that statement as a dare and would end up doing bizarre things only to regret later. I do not have her to caution me any more, and my son who is the only one around me to exercise some kind of control over me, knows me enough not to use the phrase and instead use other flanking tactics. I am sure that my readers will understand what I mean by flanking tactics, and will not elaborate, but, sometimes, I can still see the deception and charge off at the red rag.
I personally am totally incapable of conveying that message to anyone. To the best of my recollection, I have never used it to deter someone from doing something crazy or otherwise. Not that people who know me well, will listen even if I tell them that, for they know that, I will be first one to stand on the side lines and cheer them along.
What about you dear reader? Will you heed that warning if it is addressed to you, and will you give it to others?
This topic was suggested by Shackman, for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently nine of us write on the same topic every Friday. I hope that you enjoyed my contribution to that effort. The seven other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Ashok, gaelikaa, Lin, Maxi, Padmum, Pravin, Shackman and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!
My sister Padmini Natarajan is a story-teller, poet, columnist, blogger, editor and journalist contributing to Chennai newspapers, national magazines and websites. She has specialized as a Culinary Editor and explored the lives and kitchens of the Tanjore and Palghat Brahmins and contributed content and edited and collaborated on Cookbooks. She won the Gourmand Special Jury Award in Paris in 2009 as co-author of Classic Tamil Brahmin Cuisine. She has been a teacher and worked in the field of Education in various capacities.
Her other passion was acting on Tamil and English stage and in Indian cinema, ads and TV. She is a wordsmith, a voracious reader, crossword buff, a music maniac who listens to Golden Oldies and has a strong Facebook presence. Nowadays she is an armchair activist and world traveller from the safety of her home. She is exploring spiritual enlightenment through Vedanta. Her blog site is https://padmum.wordpress.com
She has just added another feather to her cap by publishing CROSSROADS a collection of stories from South India.
Can you sense how proud of my sister I am?