I Sunita Sriram , do swear in the name of God, that I will faithfully serve the people of PSS and discharge strictly the lofty duties bestowed upon me….the words of an oath of office were ringing in my ears as I signed the minutes register on the Annual General Meeting assuming the role of the office of the Secretary of the welfare association, however there was neither a solemn oath nor a rapt and enlightened attendance as I was handed over the charge along with the list of a mammoth 27 member jumbo cabinet…even as the grocery like list stared at me, with mouth agape, I brushed it under the carpet and drew inspiration from motivational speeches like “I had a dream.. a dream to bring back the lost glory and shine to our serene…”well, Martin Luther King Jr’s words had to be tweaked to suit my motto..
With fire in my belly, I embarked on my secretarial duties on a feverish pitch, throwing caution to the winds, aspiring to turn things around, I acted on impulse and instincts , service and welfare the catalyst and the enzyme .
I put the gear on high throttle and drove out of our stately mansion in my very own “Lincoln Limousine” expecting a crisp salute from the security, but heaven only knew what lay before me… the huge iron gates’ roller pins gave way and the gate came crashing down missing the guard on duty by a proverbial hair’s breadth… and there I was lifting him to the nearby hospital for medical aid… yes , my roller coaster ride had indeed started with a bang…and I was seriously down to business studying the layout of sumps, motors, electric panels and all and sundry gaining a first hand knowledge to face any eventuality…for intuition told me to be wary of the days to come and somehow the wrongs seemed to lead the way…
I did the community proud, leading from the front on Independence day and as the tricolour fluttered in the air, vigorously , the micro India, from the seven stately sister states to the coal bowels to the sun n sand beaches paradise and from Kashmiri Pundits to Malabar mallus to Reddy gaarus munched in tandem, on their sweets and savouries to their stomachs’ content!
While I went about my duty without much hullabaloo , the electro mechanical devices installed in the premises thought otherwise and wanted to work demanding all the attention and seemed to have a natural repulsion towards the new incumbants! All the fresh and fiery ideas carefully crafted in the brain, to give a new lease of life to the arid land went for a toss as I was in utter distress to attend to emergencies and bailing me out of these crisis one after another were a few good Samaritans , not to forget the faithful Man Friday of Robinson Crusoe!
But lurking in the shadows ,readying themselves for the Guerilla warfare were my nemesis, waiting with bated breath to retribute and to extract their pound of flesh, they were slowing pushing me to the wall but each time, I endured and fought back emerging braver and stronger to be my own saviour( atleast Adele’s booming voice in my headphones seemed to suggest that..)Always shooting on someone’s shoulders the detractors were constantly training their guns on me , talking about procedural and process lapses and not taking the committee into confidence on any matter, the charges and accusations flew like bullets fired from a machine gun . While I was in their firing line, my target was the pot bellied, grey moustacheod seasoned Estate manager who played games matching to the decades of service behind him. As my whistleblowing on his bad deeds fell on deaf ears, a trap was laid to catch him redhanded and he walked into it blissfully unaware, his game was up and given the marching orders.
Then came the “No confidence motion “ against the “high handed” secretary which was defeated leading to further wrath on the parallel Government to move to the next gaming level..meanwhile I earned more brownie points in the form of pseudonyms like “Adolf hitler”,Sonia Gandhi and no prizes for guessing who Dr. Manmohan Singh would be! My family also did not want to be left behind in the naming game and my hubby addressed me as “Madam secretary”, the two ads had more in store as always and came up with “security”, “servant”, “secret ary”and the rest I just blurred it out!
Then came the “real” shocker, literally in every sense of the word , one of the elevators had a malfunctioning circuit breaker which resulted in a fortunately non fatal standing of hairs erect on the head of a security guard and all I could mutter was “shock laga kya???”The shameful thought of cooling my heels behind bars emerged for a brief moment which was mercifully saved by the Lord!
One rainy night, as the residents peacefully slept in the cosy comforts of their homes, a gang of robbers were stealthily tiptoeing their way into the corridors, picking on the choicest shoes and scores of the good branded ones disappeared and it was a manic morning for the office goers reporting to work barefooted, a la M.F. Hussain style….
and their much ado secretary went about filing an FIR with the nearest law protector’s office . A few days later the findings from the inspector went something like this.. the shoes had found their way into the flea market and those who had lost their beloved pair could re purchase from them and this piece of ‘crucial ‘ information came with a whopping fee!
The Sundays were spent in marathon meetings and the elder Ad who is appearing for the boards was glad that the obsolete gramophone was no longer playing the favourite ”poyi padi da” song( roughly translated as ‘go and study’ ) as against ‘why this kolaveri di’!!! The never ending agenda and deliberations yielded no result and slowly my momentum was slipping, the fire had vanished and now only smoke was billowing, long gone was the service motto, quickly replaced by slogan of ‘ charity begins at home ‘ theory and as my enthusiasm waned , the unkindest cut came from the honourable“Brutus and Cassius” clan who did the fellow men proud by hatching an impeachment motion, I did not wait for the brutal stabbing and the rest as they say is history…..
Hindsight is a very good teacher and I learnt a few unforgettable lessons :
1)Numbers matter…be it staking a claim to form the Government or in a welfare association!
2) We all wear the hats of ego which are firmly glued to our heads like adhesive!
3)We should know the “other ugly” side of our fellow members and understand the games people play
4)Go for a crash course in “Guerilla warfare”!
5)Introspect so that we will be able to write a blog post!!!
I am no longer rolling in the deep and some words such as welfare, service, community ….are deleted from the dictionary of my mind!
But I know my dad is disappointed with this outcome and he never underestimates the abilities of his daughter as a firebrand fighter who is like a bull in a China shop and the following lines are dedicated to my inspiration…
A committee is like a commode,
Both starts with C
People sit on it,
There’s a lot of deliberation
and a loud report
And finally the matter is dropped….
this makes sense to me…..finally!
The title for the post is inspired from the movie ‘Life of Pi’ …for it is a jungle out there….