|By Gopinath Rao, UAE [ Published Date: July 14, 2008 ]|
It was early in the morning. I was in the toilet, trying to hurry morning rituals awaiting my Manager's call. While in tension, nature's call or telephone call - seldom comes on time.
We had an appointment for an important meeting today, which, as per my manager, would "change the face of the company." We were to meet someone who was to re confirm the meeting in the morning and I was supposed to be ready early and wait for my manager's call since we had to be there within the next one hour… I woke up early, but the tension was not allowing me to finish off the routine!
I was still in the toilet, looking at the heaven…no progress. "Do not concentrate on it. Change the focus; keep a book in toilet and start reading. You will find it easier that way" the doctor had told me. I took the book kept there specifically to shift the focus but "shit"... Oh No... realized that I did not have my reading glasses!
Outside, my mobile started ringing. I was in no position to get out and receive the call. "It is probably the manager" I told to myself. "Darling, take the call, I am in the toilet" I gave loud plea at my wife.
My wife does not like to be disturbed like this in the morning. Early in the morning, sending the kids to the school is her top priority. According to her, those who have finished schooling should be able to do all their own work independently…but today was an exception. Probably she had overheard me talking to my manager and thought of helping me.
Suddenly, my sleek cell phone came sliding in from beneath the toilet door. I do not know how good she is in bowling game; it came all the way in, hit my toe and stopped there. I was about to pick it up, it stopped ringing! I foresaw the trouble. Manager would call me again and fire me for not taking the call. Anyway, if something is bound to happen, it will…
It started to ring again. Without my reading glasses, Caller ID feature was useless for me. I was ready… ready to be fired. Mustering all the courage to hear it all from the manager in early in the morning, I said ‘hello.'
"Good morning sir…" A sweet voice sailed through… "I am calling from XYZ bank. Can I have five minutes of your time sir?" She requested.
"Sorry… I am busy here" (Oops... I did not intend telling her that… but that was my standard reply for such calls and as a routine, it had come on its own.)
"I will take just two minutes sir" she pleaded again.
Credit card, auto loan or personal loan or some other product promotion- It's going on everywhere and this is no different - I thought for myself. "Look madam… I have enough of credit cards. My company is about to give me a car and hence I have no idea of taking vehicle loan. My Father-in-law had promised a house site during marriage... though it has still not come through, I have no idea of going in for a housing loan. Now tell me why do you want to meet me? I gave a full burst of negatives so that she will not try talking to me again.
"But sir, I think I have answer for some of such problems…give me two minutes" she told at her mildest voice.
"I am sorry... I am expecting an important call… call me later on in the evening" I told her and disconnected.
Out of focus for a few seconds, the nature's call was up and kicking straightaway! What a relief… I thanked the lady profusely for the favour…
Getting dressed up, I had a small doubt. Should it be formal or normal is alright? This meeting will "change the face of the company" was still ringing in my ears. I did not want to take chances. I put on the formal dress.
My cell phone rang again. It was my manager. "Sorry I did not call you earlier. Are you ready? We will be there to pick you up in two minutes, wait near the main gate of your building."
"Yes sir, I will be there" I told and almost ran to the main gate.
To my surprise, my manager was dressed in white dhoti and silk shirt with decorated kumkum on his forehead. "Sir, I did not know… otherwise, even I would have dressed like this" I begged his pardon.
"It's OK. My dress suits the person we are meeting. When I introduce a well dressed person like you as my assistant, it shows my status" beamed my manager.
After about half an hour drive, we stopped in front of a big compound. May be a big rural industrialist - I thought, but he was not. We were in an ashram and we were told that Swami is waiting for us.
Hands folded in the Air India mascot style, we went and sat in front of him.
"So you are here to consult me on your promotion" told the Swami "and you want to know whether it is safe to accept the new position."
"So far I was in charge of our operations within the country. Now my area would be the whole of Asia. That is why…" smiled the manager.
"You will succeed" Commented the Swami "but you have to take some precautions before accepting the position. Ensure you assume the charge on a clean slate. All the misdeeds of the previous Director should be cleared up. Even remote chances of failure are written off straightaway. Otherwise, next year, it will be counted as your non-performance and your failure."
"But Swami, that way, my whole company portfolio could be wiped off. The company is already into trouble because of sub-prime losses" my manager was apprehensive.
"What is important for you? Your performance or that of your company? All the bigwigs are writing of losses accumulated over the years in the name of sub-prime losses this year. It is a chance. God sent chance. Ask for the clean slate. The management will agree, the lenders will agree, the investors will not grumble, and above all, the tax authorities will not question. This year would be considered an exceptional year and there is nothing wrong in taking the best out of it. Write off all, if you could recover something in the next year, it adds to your future performance" Swami was quite authoritative.
"One more thing" swami told "By the by, who will replace you here?
"I have not recommended anybody, let me see"
"See to it that you put one of your trusted men here and make sure that your performance here is not unduly checked and reported. This will help you in the future"
"OK Swami" my manager bowed, put some folded currency near his feet and we came out." "He was a management consultant earlier but the returns in this profession lured him here" commented my manager on our way out.
"Even before we met Swami, I had you in my mind as my replacement. Now that Swami guided me on this, I will recommend your name" my manager sitting in the car.
"But Swami never told my name" I expressed my surprise.
"He told to put somebody here who is my man. Who else can protect my interests here more than you?
"But we will also request to write off all those losses, as Swami told this is a chance to clear all those" I put it mildly.
"No... No... That will spoil my reputation, my HR files... Let it be there. Write them off slowly in the next few years"
"But that will spoil my HR files and will ruin my promotion chances" I retorted.
"You don't understand. Now I am in a position just to recommend you. Don't forget, I would be moving to a position where I would be approving your promotion."
Realising the danger of talking anything silly, I said "Yes sir. I know"
"Now you go to office, I will go home, change my dress and come to office. Keep this meeting secret. If anybody asks, tell them it was a business meeting."
I could see my manager's chair from my seat. A few days more and I will be sitting there, which I did not even dream in the morning!
The lady who called me in the morning must be really lucky for me…?
I was just wondering but enjoying the very thought of it.
My cell started ringing. It was the same lady ... My lucky lady again!
I said "hello"
"Good evening sir, I am calling from XYZ Bank. You had told me to call in the evening"
"Yes... I remember you… I am free now… Tell me" I did not want my lucky lady to get angry and curse me!
"Sir, I would like to suggest an investment option which would secure the interests of your entire family. I told your wife about this and she showed great interest in it. She has told me that you will be at home by 8pm. I want to come and meet you both. Would 8:30pm be fine?
"Well, if my wife has shown interest and invited you, you can come by all means"
"She has convinced my wife as well! That is great" I thought.
I had never joined any investment scheme other than that teakwood plantation scheme, where the company had died even before the sapling. My wife had joined several schemes in the past and every time she wanted to invest in some, she would call the agent home and discuss for half an hour about the scheme in my presence. But still, I would forget every other detail except the agent's appearance and the amount invested.
My lady luck was at home when I arrived. She was looking gorgeous in her blue salwar. My wife was discussing the investment scheme with all the seriousness. I was not interested in that half percent more here and the few promotion lotteries there.
Looking at them I declared instantly "today is a great day and I will invest in your scheme."
My wife was surprised. A week earlier I had sent back her cousin, who had an investment scheme – saying that I have no funds at the moment.
My wife called me inside and asked me "where the money has come from now?"
"I still have no money. But I think we can withdraw the deposit we made with the lady who had come with a red color low cut blouse?"
"That's still not one year and there is heavy deduction on premature withdrawal before one year"
"How about that deposit which we put with that lady with jeans and sleeveless T shirt?"
"That is the only deposit we have which yields above 8% return when calculated over a period of five years"
"Come on, we will take it out and give this lady. Or that deposit held by the bank of that girl who always wears dangerously low jeans?"
Why? What is this lady offering? 6.5% with a chance to visit Manali. We will never win such offers. We know our luck very well."
"But we will try" I pleaded
"Why? I do not understand. What is special with this lady?"
"I think she is very lucky for me"
Oh No!! I should have explained starting from the toilet to what my manager told after meeting the swami. Without that, it was bound antagonize my wife.
My wife went out like a rocket. "Leave your Telephone number with me. We have to cancel some other investment and then only we can invest in your plan. I will give you a call when we are ready" and practically pushed my lucky charm out.
"Thank you madam. I will keep calling you to remind you for this sir" told the lady and went away
"OK… but call me preferably early in the morning… like today…" I quipped in.
I was desperately searching for the list of over due and problem accounts brought home yesterday to prepare a report. I needed something to clear the tense air as well. Taking a big breath I announced aloud "The entire home including my table looks surprisingly clean. Who did the great job?"
My daughter replied from the next room "mama brought a new broom and we all tried it out in turns. It was great fun."
About the Author:
Mr Gopinath Rao is a chartered accountant working in Dubai. He writes humor articles and is very active in kannada literature too. Mr. Rao also edits www.kannadadhvani.com, a kannada web weekly.