Connect and disconnect (BH: D 312)

June 12, 2012

I meet at least a dozen people everyday these days. Most of them come into my cabin to sell something. Others come in because they want something. It is scale of the needs that is mind boggling.And these people exist side by side in the same city. They speak the same language and might even look very similar to a foreigner.

First in walks someone with a few hundred thousand rupees worth of equipment to sell. He is not alone. He has his own assistant tagging along.

We discuss the future of classrooms, the impending inevitable 'smart' revolution with 'remote' teaching. Perhaps Upanishads were taught remotely too from the Rishis who preferred staying up in the Himalayas but beamed themselves metaphysically in front of eager students.

A lot of 'ya-yas', 'absolutelys' and prolonged 'rights' pepper the meeting. Visiting cards are handed over reverentially with both hands perfectly as it must have been taught in some personality enhancement course, evening or weekend, for otherwise busy professionals. Firm shake hands to end the meeting.

The next visitor couldn't be any more different. Clad in a graying saffron, if such a thing is possible (well it is, I saw it!), lungi and a yellow silk shirt, dirtied from years of abuse, torn at the armpits and with four of the front buttons missing, he walks in.

"Saare, saaranallo ippo....?" (Sir, you are the now) substantiating that deeply philosophical statement with a swirl of the palm indicating the space 'here' to go with the 'now' (ippo) in his question.

I nod. Indeed, I am the now!

"lavan sheriyalla saare" (That guy is not good) He is not referring to Lavan, the son of Rama,
"levan?" (he who?) I ask
"ivide vellam ozhikanum kalayum vallom parikkanum nirthuthiyavan" (the one who is here to water and weed the lawns)

Ah! a staff rivalry! Again!

I remain mesmerized for the next few minutes at his expressions as he narrates a tale of the gross violation of professional ethics by the gardener. I manage to maintain a very serious expression. I shouldn't divulge that just yesterday I had heard a similar complaint about him from the 'lavan'. That all he does is switch on the water pump early in the morning and then walk around doing nothing the whole day!

He finishes up with a recommendation to summarily fire the 'lavan' and extend those duties also to his wife who is currently caring only the south-side lawns.

Obviously, she should be paid more for the added responsibility.
An amount that is less than half a percent of the sum that I had discussed in the earlier meeting for enhanced learning environment.
Priceless education!

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