Be Grateful

Be grateful

That it isn’t the emergency yet.

That the daughter is spared the rape
Even if the father is lynched.

That they still pretend that killing is bad
Only they are not responsible.
And don’t gloat over it openly.

That they only ask you to
Close your mind, you mouth.
And bow in blind obeisance.
They haven’t come for you yet.

Be grateful

While you live.
After that
It won’t matter.

Let there be a war

Let there be a war.
At least you know
Who the enemies are.

Else in peaceful times,
Compatriots commit
Worse than war crimes,

Not even batting an eye.
Whataboutery defending them
Against the shaming cry.

Who do you even fight,
When the angels of last evening
Blow out this morning’s light?

Speaking Up?


The problem is no longer
That we don’t speak up.

The problem is
That we speak too much
About everything.

And it’s difficult
To hear anything
Above that din.

When we can’t hear,
We assume
That nobody else cares.

And we speak louder.

Apparently some lethargic being
Living under the rocks
Must know
What needs doing.
But they have been
Shirking, postponing.

But with our incessant speaking
We feel content
That they must have been
Saved from inaction, because
They must have
Heard us by now!

Or will
If only we continue shouting.

Call me Sexist!

P. S. moved up: If you know someone looking for a job whom we can hire as an office executives, please do refer them. They need to have a two-wheeler license.

The last two office executives we hired both had the same problem. You just couldn’t rely on them. Once they went outside the office for any work, there was no saying when they would come back. When I or one of my colleagues would go on the same errand, it would take us one hour (we had to do it often because the first one was taking too many days off!). When they would go for it, it would take them half a day. And what would they do in that extra time? Hang out with friends. We’d manage to get a confession, try to talk them into being responsible, warn them, shout at them, but things won’t change.

The second one is still working, though I don’t think I can deal with him for too long. The first one had been around for over a year and I had given him more responsibilities than just chores, along with a salary hike. So, he was responsible for buying stationary and packing material (from the fixed vendor) and managing their inventory. He also did the packing, so it made sense. When he left, we cleaned up the packing area and found rolls and rolls of packing tape in all kinds of unlikely places, one of those being the space behind a door that was almost never closed. He had ordered new stock just a few days earlier claiming that packing tape was over. He wasn’t stealing. He just wasn’t responsible enough to keep them properly. I’d have to remind him four or five times before new books or stationary stock would be shelved at its proper place. He wasn’t so busy. He would be watching youtube videos all day long. But keeping a few things in place he won’t do. And although he rode his own scooter he won’t get a driving license because of some bet with his friends.

This guys was the brother of our cook, about whom I have written earlier. She is one of the best we have had and we took him in at her recommendation. Over time she even took up the maid’s job with us to supplement her income, with which she is bringing up her daughter, managing her good-for-nothing alcoholic, wife-beating husband (yes, that cliched!), and even helping her family. The family includes an elder sister whose husband committed suicide few years ago and her school-going children. They stay with our cook’s parents, who themselves aren’t well off. The two sisters never got to study; they have been working in houses since their childhood. But this brother, our office employee, has been educated till PUC. He even owns a scooter without which he would refuse to come to work (once he didn’t come back to office after lunch because a friend had taken his scooter!). He was doing a course in French when he joined us and we had agreed to him going away for couple of hours to attend his classes. These courses don’t come cheap. And he didn’t have any idea why he was doing the course at all, except that a friend suggested it. The course got over in a couple of month and he indeed did nothing with it.

Why? Why does he have everything the family can manage and beyond, while his sisters had to work hard, first for their parents and now for their husbands and children?

We know the answer, right? The son! He must study and be the support of his family. Daughters are good to work since their childhood to support their brother.

I don’t know much about this second guy’s family. But his aunt is the cleaning lady at our office. Aunt’s mother-in-law also works in houses. Even if they aren’t in as dire a circumstance as the first guy’s family with a widowed daughter and her children to support, they can’t be too well-off. His aunt, who referred him, is again a wonderful employee to have, much like our cook. But her nephew is turning out to be even more irresponsible than the cook’s brother. He has lied through his teeth about bills he was supposed to get, even about little change he wouldn’t return, and of course his whereabouts when he was sent out on errands. We have given him our scooter to use for office work, because he doesn’t own one himself. And he has been too busy showing off to his friends. Meanwhile, he has failed his PUC supplementary exam in Kannada. (Back home, nobody failed in Hindi, but probably the world has moved on since I wrote my exams.) We had agreed to let him go at 5 in the evening so that he could attend his evening college. But it doesn’t look like he’d be getting an admission at all.

The reason I started writing about them is not to rant about my office problems (there are too many at any given point of time – one more won’t break things apart!). But because he and many other young boys/men like him incense me with their undeserved sense of entitlement and resulting irresponsible behaviour. They bring out the worst in me. I can’t help feeling that being doted upon as the sons in the family has turned their heads. They don’t understand the realities of the world. What do they think would happen in their lives? Are they expecting their parents (mother only?) and sisters and aunts, with their meagre means, to keep clearing their paths life-long? To keep putting food on their plate and to keep finding them jobs they don’t deserve and to keep paying for their hangouts with friends?

I don’t come from a wealthy family or anything, but my economic circumstances were much better than theirs is. Still at their age (and even now) I thought about my life and my responsibilities. The women in their family are thinking about it and working hard for it. What are they doing, not even managing to keep a simple job that has been offered on a plate to them – thanks to the hardworking sisters and aunts and mothers?

They are not a generation that has to go wayward for want of opportunities. Not in a place like Bangalore. Not if they have a sense of responsibility and willingness to work hard. I am not claiming that jobs would always be a bed of roses. But to begin with, they’d at least lend a helping hand to the uneducated, even illiterate, women who have been feeding them and paying for their education and scooters!

We can talk about teenage rebellion and youth’s restlessness and all that. But why should such things afflict only men and not women? The only reason I can think of is their upbringing as a favoured child over their sisters. It has gotten to them. They think that the world owes them something, like their families. And probably they have trouble in our office because they have to work with women bosses all the time.

Call me sexist, but I sincerely hope that poor parents would start educating their daughters instead, and help her get a two-wheeler license and buy her a scooter if they can. She would make much better use of all of this. I’d be happy to hire her and she would grow beyond being an office executive.

P. S. If you know someone looking for a job whom we can hire as an office executives, please do refer them. They need to have a two-wheeler license.