The last laugh

Hari Saadu, our new boss, had turned Rama Rajya into Raavana Rajya in the office.

My amygdala — the memory bank of the brain — gets activated whenever I watch the ‘Hari Saadu’ commercial.

It had been a medium sized bank branch of a mighty organisation. We were a jolly potpourri of 25 people with an equally jovial boss, who would get the work done through active participation. The business grew and the branch was upgraded. Ergo, and alas, the manager was transferred. A classic case of the saviour becoming the scapegoat.

Enter ‘Hari Saadu’; our new boss, with narrow suspicious eyes, viewing everybody as potential offenders. He kept customers at arm’s length considering them to be a nuisance. His sole duty seemed to be to warm the seat and filter phone calls. Official calls were quickly put through to the concerned officer as his ignorance could not afford any reply. But personal calls received a brusque reply that the concerned employee was busy. Those were the days when the cell phone was less ubiquitous.

Our ‘HS’ had risen in position solely due to connections in the right places. As such, he did not know the difference between a CPU and a UPS and couldn’t care less. He considered the computer as a mere appendage lacking in intuitive skills, which he boasted he had in plenty. But, we wondered how his intuition would help with facts and figures.

If an employee got up from his seat, the watch guard that he was would jump, too, to follow the employee and see what he or she was up to. It did not concern him that his action invited sniggers all around, for mostly the employee would have risen only to answer nature’s call. Laughter was an anathema to him and even a smile would struggle to break through his stony face and lose the battle.

Once he hollered at an efficient lady officer for having misplaced a copy of a trivial circular, which was finally located in his drawer! The dignified lady quietly applied for voluntary retirement unable to cope with recurring similar situations and equally incapable of matching the man’s high connections.

The ‘character’ as he was referred to, would take delight in snubbing his staff, and woe betide anyone asking for leave! Some called him a ‘leech’ as he would extract work not caring that the person was sick. Needless to say, one of those officers applied for voluntary retirement too. A joke made the rounds that the ‘character’ was a catalyst of VR decisions.

Rama Rajya had turned into Raavana Rajya. The staff were hapless in his grip as his ‘reach’ was immense. So even as they spat venom behind his back, they spewed honey on his face. The branch witnessed phony sycophancy at its worst. It was a win-win situation for him in every way. Then, it happened.

Nemesis struck him! One day a customer unexpectedly entered his cabin and was greeted with the usual glare and highhandedness. As it turned out, the customer, who rarely visited the branch, happened to be one of the prime patrons. He came out in disgust and made a phone call to the director of the bank threatening to close his business account worth crores. A return call, and the character turned into a whimpering jelly. It was our turn to have the last laugh.

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