A genuine compliment!

A group of students, generally referred to as Commies, used to publish a monthly newsletter called ‘Campus Call’ in their institute. This newsletter generally contained articles and editorials on what they considered injustices being perpetrated on the campus.

One morning, as students went down to their respective messes for breakfast, they found stacks of ‘newsletters’ looking very much like ‘Campus Call’, except that the title was ‘Campus Call Girl’. This turned out to be a spoof on ‘Campus Call’. The material contained personal references to various persons, which the writers thought naughty, but the victims and their friends found offensive.

‘Campus Call Girl’ was totally anonymous. The names of the publisher, editor and writers were not mentioned. Nobody knew how the stacks of copies had reached the hostels.

The Commies, who were very passionate about the causes they espoused, were justifiably furious that crude fun was being poked at ‘Campus Call’. They were determined to identify the persons behind ‘Campus Call Girl’ and have action taken against them. However, they couldn’t get even the slightest clue even after a few days.

It so happened that my close friend and I had written strong editorials against certain views expressed in ‘Campus Call’ when we had been editors of the official Students’ Magazine. Our classmate Ramesh, who happened to live in the same hostel as one of the Editors of ‘Campus Call’, suggested to this Editor that my friend and I might have been actively involved in publishing ‘Campus Call Girl’. Ramesh and the others present were shocked when the Editor dismissed the suggestion as soon as he heard it, saying it was impossible. Ramesh asked the Editor why he thought our involvement was impossible. The Editor replied, “These guys may have views strongly opposed to ours, but they are principled guys. They would never be involved in an anonymous publication.” He then went inside his room, came out a minute later, gave Ramesh a copy of ‘The Party’s Own’, a spoof on the Commies’ earlier newsletter ‘The Partisan’ and said, “This spoof was a superb attack on us by these two guys. It poked clean, issue-based fun at our newsletter. Most importantly, the names of the authors are clearly mentioned. This is why I am sure these two guys just cannot be involved in this ‘Campus Call Girl’.”

Speaking highly of a person in that person’s absence is the highest compliment that can be given, particularly when the recipient of the compliment is an adversary. In fact, the person giving the compliment implicitly gives a compliment to his/her own maturity. I sincerely wish our politicians learn to behave like this. Why can’t they disagree without being disagreeable?

This post was written in response to Vidya Sury’s post Celebrate National Compliment Day at WRITE TRIBE.

Only lip service to honesty?

A few years back, in the company where I worked as Marketing Head, we had a very capable and efficient Administration Officer. Actually, Mr. AO was our one-man Administration Department! In addition to being capable, hardworking and efficient, Mr. AO, who was in his fifties, was extremely loyal and trustworthy.

One afternoon, since all our Service personnel were busy at customers’ sites, I had assigned to Mr. AO the task of visiting an electronics parts dealer to take delivery of some spare parts that we needed urgently. I had ordered the parts over phone and, in view of the urgency, had agreed to the dealer’s terms of delivery against cash.

About two hours after he had left the office, Mr. AO entered my room, sweating profusely, trembling uncontrollably, and on the verge of tears. As he walked in, he said, “Sir, something very bad has happened.” I immediately seated him on a chair and offered him a glass of water, which he gulped down. He was still sweating and trembling, but less than when he had entered my room. I asked him if I should call a doctor, but he said he was fine. I asked him if he would like to have a cup of tea or some more water, but he declined. Again, he said, “Sir, something very bad has happened.” Fearing the worst, I replied, “Mr. AO, if you are feeling up to it, please tell me what has happened and let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.”

Mr. AO replied, “Sir, there’s nothing that you can do. I am very ashamed. I have betrayed your trust. Because of my negligence, I lost the money that you gave me to pay for the spare parts.”

“How did this happen?” I asked gently.

Mr. AO replied, “I went from our office to the dealer’s shop by bus. I had kept the cash in my bag. Before entering the dealer’s shop, I decided to transfer the cash from my bag to my shirt pocket. But, when I opened my bag, I found the cash had vanished. Then, I realised that somebody has slit my bag and taken away the cash.” He showed me the bag and the slit. It was obviously the work of a professional pickpocket.

“How much cash was lost?” I asked.

“Rs. 8,000,” he replied.

“Was anything else taken?” I asked.

“Nothing else was taken. Please forgive me for my carelessness, sir. Please deduct this amount in instalments from my salary, sir,” Mr. AO pleaded.

I did not reply. I opened my briefcase, took out the cash that I had withdrawn from the bank that morning, counted Rs. 8,000, handed it to Mr. AO, and said, “Mr. AO, this is obviously the work of a professional. It is not your fault, so you need not suffer personally. There is absolutely no need for you to be so agitated. I’ll speak with our MD and see how to account for this amount. Please do not discuss this matter with anybody else.”

Mr. AO was overwhelmed! “Sir, you are very large-hearted, but how do you know I’ve told you the truth? After all, it’s not a small amount.” he said.

I replied, “Mr. AO, I know it’s not a small amount. But, you are not an ordinary person. You are so trustworthy that I can never dream of doubting your word. Compared to the trust I have in you, Rs. 8,000 is nothing!”

Mr. AO was speechless!

We praise many people for their honesty, but do we back our compliments with actions when the need arises? Or do we restrict ourselves to lip service, quoting ‘rules’, ‘procedure’, ‘protocol’, ‘precedent’, etc.?

It is not sufficient to pay lip service to a person’s honesty. When the need arises, our actions must demonstrate our trust in that person. As the saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words!”

This post was written in response to Vidya Sury’s post Celebrate National Compliment Day at WRITE TRIBE.

Conditions apply (55 Fiction)

I was surprised to see a parcel with my name on it. It contained cash and a business card!

I sent an email:
Our party is committed to cleanliness in public life. We welcome donations, but conditions apply. Donations by cheque only must be accompanied by photocopies of ID Proof, Address Proof and PAN Card.

This work of fiction is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda (Prompt: the post must contain, ‘I was surprised to see a parcel with my name on it.’) and was also written for Write Tribe 55 on Friday – 2 (Prompt: the post must contain ‘conditions apply’). I sincerely hope that this fiction soon becomes fact with all political parties in India.

The long arm of the law (55 Fiction)

Vidya Sury 28.10 (7)

Vidya had said that, while she had no doubt about the self-styled godman’s guilt, his powerful devotees would ensure nothing happened to him.

She’d proclaimed that she’d sit in the bookstore the whole day wearing a
dunce cap if the charlatan was arrested!

I feel sorry for Vidya!

But I’m truly glad she was wrong!

This post was written for Write Tribe‘s 55 on Friday (Prompt: write 55 words inspired by the picture.)

End of the road? (100 words Fiction)

My Annual Medical Checkup report was emailed to HR with a copy to me.

Everything was normal, except for ‘HIV Positive’.

I was shocked! It definitely wasn’t a ‘lifestyle’ issue. What had happened after the last Annual Medical Checkup, and when?

After thinking hard, I realized the only possibility was the blood transfusion I had received 4 months back during the surgery when I was injured in the accident involving the company bus.

The company had a ‘HIV AIDS Policy’, but I knew the harsh reality.

I knew it was my last day there.

I started composing my resignation letter.

This piece of fiction was written for Write Tribe’s 100 Words on Saturday. (Prompt: I knew it was my last day there.) Many sections of our society continue to be discriminated against by organisations and by individuals like us despite the existence of laws and policies to prevent such discrimination. If, as we claim, we really care for them, we must do more than merely paying lip service. Before we expect governments and organisations to act, each one of us should act in her/his individual capacity and stop being perpetrators of discrimination.