pachai maamalai pol mene

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Fwd: thirty years after

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Thirty years  after

That day seems just  yesterday to me.
  To day I had to take a very nasty action against one of my staff ---the action may finally end up in the trial of the fellow for removal from government service, maybe with or without pension benefits.  The person is really bad and is unfaithful to the government.  I had to charge sheet  him and when I called him and handed over the papers to him, the dark, drunken face of kandasamy  made a flash  appearance  in my mind's screen. Today I am a wizened bureaucrat and handing out punishment to a delinquent  staff or officer is a routine part of my life, though at times a corner of the heart will jump with severe ache…
Kandasamy was a peon to me thirty years ago, peon to a newly appointed Incometax Officer of about 28 years of age  drunk in arrogance and ego, the peon a drunkard of 58 years of age.  The world at that time seemed a place to be just bending before me to get my kicks and taunts.  Young age corrupts the mind and raw power adds fuel to the fire.  I was also intoxicated with ideology.  Strict discipline, integrity. Punctuality…. I was a multiple horned mother in law to my staff at that time. This peon was a drunkard and in spite of all my warnings and censures, he would not even permit any taxpayer to come near my cabin unless he was given five rupees…five rupees thirty years ago.
On the fateful day Kandasamy  came timidly to my cabin at about 2 p.m. As is usual in tamilnadu, he removed his chappals outside the room and came near me with folded hands and staggering steps. I thought he was drunk and that accounted for his dancing walk.  He spoke to me feebly,  
" Ayya, odambellaam valikkuthu, maarpu  ennamo pannuthu..naan veetukku pokalaamaa?"  I was surprised and irritated..the fellow never went home even after office hours because he had sufficient number of clients to torment.  And  somehow he had exhausted all his leave…casual or earned.  So I shouted at him, 'ennaayya  drama pannrayaa?  Unakku leave ethukku, engey leave irukku?"  He replied "appadillam sollaatheenga saamy, enakku romba sorvaa Irukku"   The most unbending taskmaster I was, I probably heard some inner voice, and told him" sari,sari, veettukku poy seru, adutha saraayakadaikku  poy milli podathey."
Yes, the fellow was very thankful, he even touched my feet and left, left for his home straight. But on his was he had already suffered a cardiac attack and an auto took him to a nearby nursing home.  Within and hour or so  poor Kandasamy had joined the samy in heaven.
 In retrospect, whenever I am tempted to shout at staff, officers or assesses, the face of Kandasamy appears from a corner of my heart. Just think, had I stuck to my dry principles and refused leave to that cantankerous  peon on that day,  technically I would have been the model officer.  But …the fellow would have breathed his last in front of my cabin and how could I have forgiven myself ever..?
So   today also I have charge sheeted  a fellow.  Tomorrow I am sure he will step into my now very big cabin without anybody noticing, and I would shout my heart out at him.  Then I will take the charge sheet from him, open my laptop and prepare a very convincing reply in his defence, and the enquiry officer appointed by me will never be able to establish the preponderance of probability of misconduct in him  because the counter arguments are supplied by me.
Kandasamy has converted me into Kanfusion  thirty years ago.