Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Superman JD

The one and only: my Lab Assistant Janardhan.

He is also the Junior Wing’s Superman. Nobody can prise open recalcitrant Tiffin boxes with his alacrity. He is the one to go to, for a fresh pair of school uniform in the event of a personal accident during school hours. The class green boards come off his hands all squeaky clean. It is his expertise that we seek when pigeons stray into the class rooms cooing and confused. Be it a hot cup of tea, the PA system to set up or transport to be booked, it is JD on call. Nobody but him knows where the all critical hammer and needle is in the Resource Centre. If you spent money on behalf of the school, it is JD who will produce the magical claim form. Cheque encashment, passbook update, Pao Bhaji pick up, locking of cars left open accidently in the school parking, ferrying that all important flask of tea....JD serves with a smile. He is the reason the aquarium fish swim lazy and plump and happy on the ground floor.

JD’s one quality, over and above, I am in awe of and trying to emulate: he is large hearted, patient and magnanimous with truant brats as one should be in the Primary.

He has his quirks though. The artificial right eye, for one. He also places addresses by their pin codes. He will not know where exactly Aradhana Vihar is but spell out the pin code and the cloud dissolves. He has a talent for cutting through my detailed vocals with the one vexatious query, “Receipt karana hai?” Of course, karana hai! In India, you book or inform or intimate in writing so that you have a legal paper when they mess up, which they will.

Over the years, JD has acquired a curiously personal but most appropriate stance. Head cocked to the side indicates careful listening. He bends a little from the waist and always looks like he is giving the other person respect and his due. I should ask if he suffers from elbow arthritis, considering the frequency with which his right hand goes shooting up to his forehead in the course of a typical day.

JD is an institution. He has been in this school for some 30 years. A gem, quietly going about his work and facilitating several lives around him. I have heard it said often that no one is indispensable and that organizations carry on with or without the remarkable people who build them with their consistently high quality output.

I beg to disagree.

The proof is for all to see on the one day JD goes absenting. An urgent whisper starts and quickly hums across the building, “JD nahin aaya? JD nahin aaya ?? JD Nahin aaya?!”

“Kyon? Kyon? JD kyon nahin aaya?”

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