Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sarkari Suckers

You can’t miss them. They wear the look of Atlas, shoulders hunched, brow furrowed, feet in a scamper. The reason is simple; they are trying to keep things going.

Oh no, nothing as spectacular as a path breaking research or some stupendous project of national significance, not even a first of a kind event. They are in a tizzy over the daily chore, the mundane, the given, the regular routine. And the reason this unremarkable target seems to be draining them of their life force is…..their locale, their karmabhoomi, their work place. Their arena of action is ‘sarkari’. These are the famed, abused, flogged, derided and resented minority in a government office. They stick out for one sole reason; they do their job against all odds and do it well.

Has anyone in India heard of an oxymoron as true as this? The breed is rare. Stuck in a system that is shy of recognizing merit, they work only for themselves. It is impressive, this single minded focus on getting a task over with only to move on to the next one, without taking a bow for a non-existent pat. No, they are not blessed with any mystical juggling power. They seem to get things done because they are pouring bits of themselves into the set up. They give of their lunch time, their TV time, their personal time, their family time….they snatch energy from their day to put it into what is after all, ‘only a job’. When colleagues are catching up on welfare talk, they are racking their tired brains for catchy slogans. While out on a relatively uni-dimensional supervisory duty, they are mentally calculating execution facts. While driving home from work, they visualize performance paraphernalia at red traffic lights. They are not beyond staying up nights to get a recording just right or some writing out of the way.

When they go on leave, the entire floor space knows what is to be done in their absence. They plan ahead and leave instructions behind so no one can claim a task is not done because ‘a’ or ‘b’ or ‘c’ is away. Talking of leave, strange creatures of habit that they are, there is reluctance to go absenting. To the degree possible, they will avoid missing work, availing of their dues is a concept foreign to these self-driven motors.  Give them an assignment and watch, barely a question comes forth as to why or how or when. Project accepted, thank you, they will figure it out and get on with it. There is no time for doubt or dismay or delay.

So there you have them, in the foci of an ever expanding ripple of involvements; primary, secondary, tertiary, moving steadily from compulsory to the pure voluntary. There is no recognition, no extra consideration, no special facilitation volunteered by the organization to these lone rangers. Their reward is more work, more opportunities to prove themselves, greater and bigger challenges to pit themselves against.  There is no way you can miss them. They have more bad habits. Forgetting to sign their salary registers, being clueless about their leave record and blissfully ignorant of the changing patterns on their salary slips, they are likely to be hugely surprised at the appearance of an incentive.

They are the all-time sarkari suckers, operational on a minefield of the indolent, unwieldy, dispirited majority who playact as though challenged. They suffer from an addiction of a different kind. They only listen to an inner voice. Cut the crap, cut the chaff, cut some slack come on, thanks heaven for them sarkari suckers!

Lage raho Munna Bhai; Lagi raho Munni Behen……

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