Reading about the manager Mr. Subash Bakshi in Chetan Bhagat’s book ‘One Night At The Call Center’ brought back my memories of one such boss that I had in the late 1960s. Nearly four decades of my service necessarily involved interacting with bosses who occupied either end of the spectrum ranging from too bad to too good!
Let me talk about someone who occupied the not too flattering end of the spectrum. He was, in fact, my senior colleague who was officiating for a short period since my regular boss had gone on two months leave. This person used to think very highly of himself. Everybody else had their own (unprintable) opinions !
Those days I was in Bengaluru, with my parents. Besides my wife and my 10 month old DD, my sister’s daughters aged 6 and 4 years were also with us. We used to have a wonderful time. My boss (the officiating one) had developed the peculiar habit of ringing me up around 10 p.m. on a regular basis every night and talking about some vague things.
The present day generation of youngsters would have no idea about the kind of telephone instruments we had then. They were mostly black in colour, resembling a baby elephant. There was no provision to control the volume of the ringing of the telephone bell.
It would sound so harsh that it would startle even grown-ups. As for its effect on kids and babies, the less said the better.
The whole house was getting agonised by the din. It was my responsibility, I felt, that this issue needed fixing and that too, pretty soon.
I didn’t want to hurt his ego, that of my Boss, I mean. I was waiting for a chance and pretty soon got one. My boss shared his chamber with another officer. On a day when the other officer was on casual leave and my boss was alone, I deliberately indulged in small talk with him.
I casually enquired about his family and asked who were all living with him. (I knew quite well that he lived alone with his wife and there was no one else with him.) As expected, he said that there was nobody with him other than his wife.
I just said “Now I understand!” and stopped. He wanted me to elaborate.
I said “Sir, leave it. Let us talk about something else.” As expected, he insisted and with reluctance, (feigned) I told him about the havoc his calls were causing at home.
He was silent for a short time and then I left his cabin….. (with a satisfied smile on my face).The offending calls stopped within a surprisingly short time!