Work is Worship

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: June 09, 2016

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Submitted: June 09, 2016

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Work is worship

Monday morning.  Bani suddenly woke up from her sleep and looked at the wall clock. She jumped down from bed with a screech.

Oh God.. its 8 am! Maa… why didn’t you wake me up. I have to join my new job today.. its first day and how can I reach late.. God, how will I make it now.. its almost 15 km drive to office.. when will I take a bath..when will I have my breakfast – Bani lamented.

“Arre, don’t worry…. if you really determine, you can still leave at 8:30 am which will let you reach your office before 9am. But, there is a problem - you will not get to sleep in the bath tub today like you do every day, nor cannot try 10 clothes before deciding the final one… so sad!”

Her mother teased her. She was irritated at this.

 “Ma , please stop this. You are like putting me from frying pan to fire...is this the time to joke?”

“Ok, ok.. stopped. Now go fast and get ready without wasting time.. Breakfast and lunch are ready..”

Bani bathed and dressed up at express speed and came to the dining hall. She gulped the glass of milk and swallowed two small ‘dosas’. And picked up her bag and ran out.

“Bani…., take your tiffin and go..”- her mother called out.

 What do I do with this girl.. I have to be after her like a small child.. she mumbled.

Bani ran back and grabbed the lunch box and again ran out like she was running an Olympic race!

“Bani Didi, bring me a candy in the evening”- her neighbor’s small little daughter screamed.

“ok, ok, sweetheart. NO TIME now. See you in the evening..”

Bani started her scooter and drove away as her mom shouted from balcony -

“GO SLOW, BANI”.

Bani reached the office beforetime..still 5 mts to 9. People are still coming in. She gasped and heaved a sigh of relief.

She gave her appointment letter at the reception and she was asked to wait.

She sat in the wide cushy sofa at the reception and checked her phone.

Have you reached bani??.. – mom’s message on wapp.

Ya, ma.. reached safe and before time – she replied her mother.

And checked other messages --Oh.. Best wishes messages from Ameya, Gloriya, Mumtaz and Mehul..

Thx dear:) .. - she replied all.

The peon asking to go inside and sit in the conference hall.

She accompanied him.

Wow! nice conference hall... Very spacious and looks neat and pakka corporate. I must say.. this office and premises are clean and neat.. very nice..

 she was impressed with the cleanliness of the office.

10 am : The HR manager clumsily walks in. She stood up and greeted him. As he clumsily greeted back with a sheepish smile (yaar, he looks so mediocre… at least that’s my first impression about him..first impression is still and always the best impression…). Bani was speaking to herself in the mind.

“Ms. Bani. I give you presentations…” – he opened his laptop and started his presentation on company and policies.

“The TOCS organization starts in year ___…and err.. this is our Directors… I JOINT this company before 4 years and I have total__ years experiences.. This company policies is …”

My first impression about people never fails me.. He is not HR material at all... Sometimes people choose the wrong career and this may be one such case..

Bani can read people from their speech and body language. She discerns people very well, in the first interaction itself. That’s her quality.

After his incoherent presentation, Bani was then taken to upstairs where she would sit and work. It’s a nice work area. Fully air-conditioned. Its comfortable.

She looked around her coworkers. Some smiled and some grinned, some others just looked at her.

Its mainly boys here?? It seems so…. Limited female staff..there is mediocrity in this organization in terms of refinement and class?? I think so…

Her reporting boss called her to his office. A dark lanky man who started speaking to her in a mix of Hindi and broken English. He explained her job profile, etc. She partly understood and had many doubts but hesitated to clarify her doubts being the very first day on job.

Hey, here people lack the quality of clear speech, or what??..

Thinking this she went back to her seat. She felt a bit out of place.

She was hard working, dedicated and was very swift in her actions. And had a good PR skill and a great way of presenting things across, and customer problem solving capabilities. And all this earned her brownie points with the top level reviewing panel and observers who noticed her work. And after a few months, she was given independent work with additional responsibilities.

But it is a corporate org after all. So, politics, bickering, ego issues and attitude issues are not absent. Its there in every corporate org, its here as well.

Bani is straightforward. She has a mind of her own. She puts the Organisation first and people second and takes decisions accordingly.

A couple of years passed. The more she climbed up the ladder of levels and grades in the organisation, the more enemies she earned within the organisation.

There are complaints flying against her and about her behind her back!

The reviewing panel decided to take this issue up with her. They sent a mail to her asking her to see them on Thursday at 11am to discuss some issues.

She replied – “ I shall be there, sir.”

Thursday, 11 am : Bani is waiting in the conference hall.

The panel arrives. This is the same panel who took her interview and selected her.

She stood up and greeted each one. There were 5 of them - all senior top level professionals. We will call them Mr. A, Mr. B, Mr. C, Mr. D and Mr. E.

All of them smiled at her. And Mr. A said – “Sit, Bani”.

“Thank you, sir”.

“Bani we called you today to clarify certain issues with you and we will clarify one by one” – Mr. A continued and turned to others – “ok, guys. You can start now”.

Mr. C (with a little aggression) : Why Bani there are sooo many complaints against you???

Bani  (with a small smile) : Oh, is that so! I don’t know, sir. May be, people throw stones ONLY at trees that are full of fruits!!

Mr. C : You are sounding sooo pompous!!

Bani : Not at all Sir. That is the law of the nature.

Mr. E : Bani we hear that you are a loner and rude. Is that true?

Bani : No sir, I don’t think so. I, by nature, am a little reserved and I only talk to the point and, I only talk work with my coworkers or associates. I am kind of having a western outlook when it comes to work, and I don’t ask anyone anything personal nor do I allow others to intrude into my private space very unlike Indian culture.

Plus, I don’t have any groups, nor am I part of any camps. Probably, that’s why it seems I am a loner.

 As for rudeness, I may have been rude at times, but we can check the records – that’s ONLY when the other person is rude to me. Because I give as good as I get. But I will take care of it in future. Thanks for notifying me.

 

Mr. C : That means you are not fit to work in India, right, since you have a western approach? I am not saying, you only have said that.

Bani : Sir, We, Indians, are imitating the West for anything and everything, right from clothing to culture. I did not say I have a western approach to everything that is me or part of me. But, yes, for work matters, I like the fact that in the West it is a professional space at work, most generally.. .with each one doing everyone’s work assigned to them and each one is civil with each other. Aberrations are there, but, GENERALLY, this is how they work minding each one’s own business. I know this because I have so many school and college mates working abroad.

 

Mr. E : There is a complaint that you don’t respect other department heads.

Bani:  Sir, I think, respect should be earned and not demanded. And most importantly, it’s a Give and Take. You Give respect first and then Take respect and if they give respect, they will get respect. And I only deal with a person the way he or she deals with me. If they are department heads and managers, so am I! I never pick fight with anyone, nor do I want to get into arguments. But a couple of department heads have a terrible attitude problem and think they are above all and want to boss around everyone. And that’s not my problem, sir.

 

Mr. A :  Why don’t you go to dining hall and eat? Everyone goes, so why cannot you?

Bani:  Sir, there is only one reason for this ie. I get nauseous in the dining hall with the varied smell of cooked food and vegetables. Because I don’t eat many vegetables like - cabbage, cauliflower, brinjal and many other – and I cannot stand the cooked smell of these. But these are common vegetables in Indian canteens or individual Tiffins. I cannot ask my coworkers NOT to bring these vegetables; rather I would not go to dining hall only. Am I right, sir? And that’s why I don’t join them for lunch. NO other reason at all.

 

Mr. D chipped in : Look, Bani, whatever you may say, you have to be a little friendly with people. You cannot walk around with a sullen face. You don’t even smile at people if you cross path.

Bani : sorry sir, I may look serious, but not anything else. Yes, I don’t look at or smile at SOME people . Because if someone is unprofessional and not cooperating for company work, sorry, they don’t deserve a smile or greeting from me as I believe we come here mainly to work and we all are doing Company work, not anyone’s personal work. So I find NO reason for anyone not to cooperate with each other.

There may be issues when we work together, but that should be resolved by talking or discussing… and whether to make friends or not with coworkers is secondary to me and is my personal choice. If the wavelength matches, you are friends and if it doesn’t match, you are just co-workers. Simple math.  

I observe here that people talk a lot and gossip behind one’s back while on one’s face they are extremely nice. I find this very unacceptable and that is something I don’t do, nor promote. I have some basic tenets on work and I follow that. I don’t break rules, I follow all policies, I am a law abiding citizen, I have a mind of my own, I multitask, and I do my work with utmost sincerity, hard work and dedication. If the company has suffered any loss or damages because of me being ME, please let me know.

 

And sir.. lastly, if you all think I am a MISFIT in this organization…., I will put in my papers right away…

Bani’s voice broke.

There was pin drop silence in the hall.

 

Mr. B who was all silent through out the session looked at Bani and said – “Ok, Bani. Fair enough. You may go”.

Bani got up, took her diary and walked out.

After Bani has gone, Mr. B said to others -

“Guys, I think she is a thorough professional who means business. We need more professionals like her if we want to raise the standard of this company. Why would you want to get into whether she smiles at X or greets Z. Is there any written rule that all coworkers must be friends, and everyone must smile and greet each other whenever they cross paths??

And look who has complained about her??? Just 4-5 people who are infamous for their politics and piggish stubbornness. And also look at the issues these 4-5 people have with many others as well.

As for Bani, she has given logical answers to all the qns we asked her. She is sincere, skilled and hardworking and such people are in demand everywhere. If she leaves the job, will you get a suitable replacement for her?? Believe me – the loss will be OURS!”

 

The panel couldn’t have agreed more with Mr. B’s view, and there was no looking back for Bani ever since.

 


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