Within my facebook family, I belong to a small group of people, all from an alumni group where a lot of ribbing and leg pulling goes on.
I recently had an occasion to participate in one such trail of comments. I published one cartoon photograph of a dog in a yogic position and asked two practitioners whether it was their pet. Both of them practice and preach/teach yoga.
Another friend, not one of the two yogis in the group commented that it must belong to a famous yoga teacher Ramdev who is a source for much humour in the circle. When that comment appeared, I posted another cartoon of a dog wrapped in a shawl and asked in that case, this must belong to another character much lampooned by most of us bar one great supporter Shekhar.
My friend Mukund promptly came up with this comment – “I am sure Ramana you had both pictures ready and were waiting for the Ramdev comment. Amal bit the bait faster than Shekhar”
Shekhar responded – “Ramana posted a shawl pic which means …. ha ha!” The reference being to Ramdev who once escaped from a rather embarrassing situation by wearing a burkha instead of his normal attire.
I responded – “Shekhar, clever, very clever. Actually, I could not lay my hands on one in a burkha! I now have.”
This entire exchange took me back to 1969 when I was stationed for a couple of weeks in my then employer’s head office to complete a project. I had just been confirmed in my employment in the Management cadre after completing my Management Training and one particularly unpopular senior manager decided to teach me some fine aspects of management before I left the head office on my posting. This manager was very affectionately called the prawn and that should give my readers a general idea of his personality.
On the first day that I was there, I had to liaise with him to complete my own work and he asked about some letters that I had written before I had reached the office personally. On discussion, he decided that he should teach me how to write letters and demonstrated to me how corporate communication should be entered into. He pulled out a letter that he had received from a branch office, to which he had responded and the response was going out that day. He asked me to read both and I duly did. He then proceeded to dictate another letter to his secretary in my presence while asking me to listen carefully. After that dictation was complete, he said that the dictated letter was in response to the reply that he would get to the letter that was going out that day. When I asked him how he knew what that would be like, he said that was what management was. Anticipating responses to responses and being ready with further responses. I was quite amused though I could not show that to him. I told him that I was very impressed and went off to handle my own project. Two days later, he came to the room where I was working on my project to show me the response that he had received and triumphantly announced how accurate he was! Frankly while I was quite impressed with the entire story, I just could not understand why he could not have finished the matter off by eliminating the last two letters through being proactive in the first instance. I was then enlightened by some other knowledgeable colleagues that had he done that, he would be left with that much less work! Typical bureaucratic approach to problem solving!
I wish that I had been senior enough then to tell him, like I told Shekhar, “Prawn, clever, very clever!”