Taking life in stride

There was a motley crowd at the local bus stand huddled together under asbestos sheet while it rained heavily. Buses plying on various routes kept streaming into the bus-bay on the opposite side of the road. It gave hopes to some that the buses would soon reach the terminus and return to pick them up. But all that remained only wishful thinking. Patience appeared to wear out for some.

The person standing next to me began to sulk. “It always happens with me. When I am eagerly looking forward to something — be it the declaration of the examination result, delivery of my stitched trousers or even the routine birthday gift, it seldom materialises. Even the bus I am waiting for is elusive. Not even a single bus came in this direction while there are so many appearing in the opposite direction,” he lamented. One in the group promptly quipped, “You should move to the opposite bus stand for the benefit of all!” drawing smiles on the faces of those present and helped enliven the wait.

Even at the workplace, there are occasions when the atmosphere appears surcharged with seriousness. This is particularly the case when the inspectors or auditors make the staff feel uncomfortable merely with their presence. The environment undergoes a perceptible change, the friendly banter between the staff suddenly vanishes and the general mood becomes sombre the moment these people make their appearance, for it is generally perceived that they have come to either unearth some wrong that has reportedly been done in the course of the work or some other lacunae or lapse in the general working.

A strange uneasiness creeps in at all levels among the workforce. In the midst of all this, there are people who take things in their stride and help break the monotony of work, pushing all seriousness into oblivion, at least momentarily.

On one occasion, the concurrent auditor stumbled upon an advance (a loan) that had turned bad on account of procedural lapses and promptly summoned the loan officer. When the auditor asked, “How was the loan disbursed to the party pending creation of an Equitable Mortgage?” the loan officer innocently replied, “By credit to his Savings Bank Account, sir.”

On another occasion when punctuality drive was on, a staff member who normally turned up for work on time was late by a few minutes. To drive home the point of time discipline, the boss cast a serious look at the staff when he was about to sign the attendance register. When the employee looked askance the branch manager with a stern look shot back, “You are late!” to which the employee coolly mumbled, “No sir, I am alive,” leaving those present in splits!

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