Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The House

There is a huge House (read organisation).

Different people in the House are responsible for different functions. Someone takes care of cleaning and hygiene, another person looks after all the purchases, a third is responsible for maintaining the kitchen and taking care of the nourishment of its residents, another one tends to the garden and sells its produce, someone for upkeep of library…and so on and so forth.

There are way too many people in the House. To accommodate them, apparently gainfully, each person is headed by a series of bosses. The work is still done by the same person to who the job is assigned, but added to her burden of work, is the pain of reporting to and acquiescing with the whims of her seniors. More often than not, it involves writing lengthy reports, making powerpoint presentations, and creating complicated excel charts for most commonsensical things. After all, the seniors and the seniors of seniors need to do something!

Alienated with the real taste of field work, seniors of the House have no idea about executing the work they head. Sequitir, the super seniors know even less. Fancy reports, loaded jargons, petty egos and pastime politics make way into their heads, bloating them up like hot-air balloons, flying high and full of gas, prone to shrink and fall at the slightest prick.
All in all, it’s a perfectly systematic (if not efficient) House that runs on dint of tradition.

All is well until change happens.

The person responsible for cleaning, Ms X, informs her bosses that the existing maid’s term of one year has come to an end and she needs to hire a new one. Ms X is happy at the prospect of getting a new maid, since the current one barely does the needful. She swans around all day spitting on the same floor that she is supposed to clean. Ms X can’t fire her because Rules of the House are painfully stringent. In the time and energy Ms X will invest in firing her unruly maid, she will herself clean the House ten times over day after day for decades to come. Ms X puts up with the old maid, doing all the cleaning herself, waiting for the D day to happen.

By now, Ms X knows the contours of the House like the back of her hand. Having dirtied her hand in cleaning, she understands what it takes to be a good maid. She researches about the work of maids in other Houses, talks to scores of maids and their employers to understand best practices, discusses the needs of other working people in the House and spends days toiling to raise the bar to such a grilling level that only the best can fit her bill. With all her energy, love and passion, she floats an advertisement for a new maid.

Guess what?! The impossible happens! A maid with flawless credentials turns up for the job. Ms X can’t stop beaming! She is sure that the new maid will take care of the cleaning and leave her with enough time for other Household chores.

The story begins here.

The fact that Ms X has done something good and important for the House leaves a few of her seniors feeling emasculated. Though she has consulted her line of seniors, at least ten of them, the seniors of OTHER work areas aren’t too happy. They are angry. They want to talk. For that is all they do. How could Ms X not take my opinion in this job? Is the question that affronts them. They know that they know nothing about cleaning. They also know that Ms X knows that they know nothing. But then, opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one.

Dying to find a topic to ventilate on, the seniors catch hold of the advertisement floated by Ms X for the new maid. Slavering at this new found opportunity, they talk to their gut’s satisfaction. They talk till their constipation is cured and insomnia subsides. They shout on top of each others voices setting benchmarks in one-upmanship. They tear apart the old advertisement to pieces, and float their own improvised (read preposterous) version of the ad. Based on that, they choose a maid. They sigh with relief. The same kind of relief that people get from breaking wind. Content with their doing, they drink and dine their way back to their secluded air conditioned balloons.

One month later:

Ms X is now a haggardly woman, no longer an enthusiastic young lady. She is bent over all day over the floor, sweeping and swabbing it. The new maid comfortably sits on a sofa, sometimes also on Ms X’s back, and hogs bananas. For fun, the new maid often stands on a table and aims to piss at the farthest corner of the House. At this, Ms X sobs, but can’t do anything more than clean. Much to Ms X’s consternation, the new maid often plants a kick on her ass when she tries to remind her of her job. Gulping tears of frustration, Ms X goes about cleaning the House with the same efficiency as the new maid craps all over it.

Seniors in the House are too busy to care. They are busy breaking wind over the gardener’s job these days.

1 comment:

  1. The solution itself lies in the very opening lines of the above articulation..."Different people in the House are responsible for different functions".
    With fixed resposibilities and defined area of function, it is both logical and practical to stick to the same without deviation. Insubordination is something which is to be reported procedurally, rather than resorting to self indulgance in other's function domain which only adds to aggreviating the problem rather than alleviating it.