I could hear the voice of my wife vividly but did not have the bare minimum energy left to respond. This was the third time when I tried to respond but failed as if my voice was chocked. I squinted to look at the wall clock. It was 8:45am. I kicked myself and sprang out of the bed. Suddenly I felt strong dizziness and clasped the handle of the chair kept near the bed. I sat on the bed. I was feeling vertiginous.
“ Oh God……..what is happening to me…” I murmured and was still waiting to slow down the giddy. I held my head down and closed my eyes.
My wife reached to me and blurted out everything at one go “Why do you stretch everything like a chewing gum…..So many times I have asked to take care of your health….but you are the person who doesn’t have the time for yourself….Your organisation will not shut down if you take leave for few days….just see your health condition………”
I looked at her, exhaled a deep breath and said “ What happened to my health….. perfectly okay……”
“ Yeah ….yeah ……why not ……for the last five years I have been taking the medicines of diabetes and pressure…” She grinned.
I loved the way my wife pulled my leg though I was not feeling comfortable but never left the chance to reply her back and I proudly said “ so what…. Now a day doctors have given compliment to these diseases…they say it’s a life style disease……”.
After seeing the appearance of my wife one could easily guess that she had surely come up on to the first floor leaving the kneading of dough in half way. A flour mixture on her both hands was signifying her unfinished work. She had to rush into my room only because of my no response. I knew she loved me a lot but did not know the art of expressing it. I told her to go down to the kitchen and finished her work as I was already late for the office. She gave a dirty look to me. I understood there was something wrong.
I asked “ What happened……..why are you making faces…….”
“ Today I have fixed an appointment with Dr. Paresh Nandani……..” She smiled.
“ But….why dear…….I am okay……I know you care me a lot…….but it’s not required……” I filled her in my arms. My few words and rare gestures were enough to bring the tears on the surface of her eyes.
She held my hands and said “ Today I will not listen anything….you have to come with me……..” and thwacked her hand lightly on my chest.
It was difficult for me to make her understand about the importance of my presence in the office but could not refuse her behest since she seldom requested. I did not feel comfortable in seeking leave on normal days but today I did not want to upset her. Though she was doing everything for me but it looked like her own personal agenda. How her face got turned up after knowing that today I would spend whole day with her. I was also feeling a bit better.
I asked “ At what time we have an appointment…….and where ” gave extra stress on the place.
“ At 3:30 pm at Behala near Ashoka Hall….” She replied while going down to the first floor.
I informed the same to my Boss via sms and was eagerly waiting for his reply. I knew my Boss would approve it without giving his second thought and exactly it happened. After few minutes of sending my sms I got his approval. Now I had enough time for myself. On a very rare occasion I used to take leave on normal working days. I did not waste my time and completed all my routine work by 10.am.
A breakfast of my choice was waiting on the dining table. I forgot everything and gorged myself at the breakfast. I did not leave an inch for other stuffs. Even the half glass of water was also finding difficult to settle within my stomach. I did not realize when my whirling sensation went off. I was feeling normal and had enough time for going out for an appointment. I reached to my terrace where I had made a small library which was overloaded with only managementbooks out of my sheer likeness if not the obsession of reading them. I stood in front of the book racks and was fiddling with to choose the right book which could help me in bringing my performance back in the company as earlier.
Fortunately my eyes got stuck on the very special row where I had kept all my trophies, certificates, mementos. I came near the rack and kept on gazing on my trophies for couple of seconds which were given to me for BEST EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR, MAXIMUM CONTRIBUTOR IN THE PROFITABLE PRODUCTS, IDEA MAN OF THE COMPANY, GAME CHANGER OF THE YEAR, BEAT THE CHALLENGER OF THE YEAR and it went on and on. My eyes got moisten. I picked up one trophy which was awarded to me for the BEST BRANCH MANAGER of the year. Once again my face turned on after seeing my own achievements. It acted as an important ingredient in rebuilding my confidence.
I picked up all the certificates and kept on flipping and revisiting my achievements again and again. It took me 12 years to reach to this level and how could I became failure. I had been performer since I joined the company. I always wrote in the body of my mail “ BORN TO WIN” at the place of my email signature. Was that my arrogance or over confidence? Or I had forgotten the best practices.
It ignited an uneasy feeling in me. And then I brought out all my diaries of last ten years just to revisit my daily work with an intention to jot down the best practices. I was aware that my professional career had not been running smoothly for last couple of months but not left the hope of coming back again with a bang. That was the reason I started stretching myself beyond my capacity. I did not want to leave a single stone unturned which could help me in my success. Very excitingly I started flipping my pages of diary and drifted off in the past thought. It was like a revisit of my entire career and not a career but a successful career. If sometimes I laughed unconsciously then on the next moment my tears welled up. I was living in the past.
My reverie broke when suddenly my wife emerged at the gate and shouted “ My goodness……where had you got lost….. I must have called you not less than twenty times from the staircase……..you really scared me……. please come down and have lunch……after that we will leave for the appointment……..”
I was still feeling heavy. I could not have lunch on comprise note also. I felt like meeting with my Boss and shared the best practices and the way forward for myself which I had jotted down from my dairy. I shared my wish and purpose of going to office with my wife.
“ Mr. Rishi Sahai…….I know …..you are the most responsible person of your organisation….but….today you are on leave……..precisely…..seek leave……why do you want to go to office……..” her delight mood changed into worrisome.
“ Look darling……I know you are right….but understand….for few months my performance has not been up to the mark and It is very difficult for me to accept this…….I don’t want to waste a minute…….I would like to share the same with my Boss as soon as possible…….” I selected few of my diaries and got down from the terrace. I stepped into my car, turned towards her and said “ wait for my call…the moment I would be free….I will give you a call……”
She was looking at me with an expression “ I know ……you will not call me…..” but said loudly “ take care of your health…….”
“Okay……bye……” my car zoomed out from her eyes within few seconds. I was very excited. Throughout the journey I was interweaving cognitive ideas, planning and strategy to impress my Boss. I applied sudden brake and slid out of my car. At first I thought to call him but then I decided to meet him directly. My steps became lighter my heartbeat became faster and my expectation rose higher.
I was little far from my Boss’s cabin suddenly my ear captured my boss’s voice very prominently which just came out from there along with a facility boy who was holding a tray in his hand. I stepped further towards the cabin and held that boy from his shoulder “ Boss is there in cabin”
“ Rajiv Babu and Siddhartha Babu…….both are there…..” he replied.
Rajiv Babu was my boss and Siddharth was his friend cum peer. I waited few seconds for disappearing that facility boy from there. I reached near the gate of the cabin and put my experienced ear into the work. Both were talking on the special project “ TALENT HUNT” of the company. I was also considering myself as a strong contender for this project. And I felt that both were talking on this line.
My assumptions were correct. They were sorting out the candidatures for this. I felt unethical to hear their discussions but could not resist myself so I continued to do the same.
“ Only three positions are left for this…….have you finalized yet……..I mean…… we have to nominate the candidates by this week ” Siddharth’s voice.
“ Yes……..I am clear about two candidates……. they are very potential enough…….both are newly recruited……..they can do wonders………but am not getting confidence on the third one………” my Boss’s voice
“ Who is the third one…..” Siddharth’s voice
“ Rizhi…..Sai……..” my Boss’s voice was not clear possibly due to the habit of his chewing gum but it was good enough to shock me.
“ Have I heard correctly what you said right now………” Siddharth’s voice
“ Yes…….am talking about Rishi Sahai……..I don’t find him suitable for this role………” my Boss’s voice
“ But why ….he is a performer guy…and as far as I remember….I have always seen you to appreciate him but have never seen you to promote him……Is he not capable enough to take bigger responsibility ” Siddharth’s voice
” No…that is not the reason…….” my Boss’s voice
” Then what…….I know ethically I should not ask the reason but we have been a good friend for a pretty long time……you may share with me …….may be this reason would help me in my career”
” How many years you have been in a supervisory role……..” my Boss’s voice
” Almost fifteen years…….” Siddharth’s voice
” Have you realized your growth is not at par with the time……..” Boss’s voice
” I couldn’t understand……” Sidddharth’s voice.
Even I could not understand why my Boss said this. I was also wandering that what could be the reason behind of my Boss’s comments. I scanned around slowly just to see that still I had a chance to hear their conversations or not. I was worried that the presence of someone would compel me to leave their conversations incomplete and I wanted to hear the reason of not recommending me in the special project.
” Hunnh……..growth does not come with vintage……it comes when your strategy meets with an opportunity…….” Boss’s voice.
” Would you explain me clearly……..” Siddharth’s voice
” Okay……just guess…..why I don’t want to promote Rishi Sahai……..”
After the comment of my Boss all my positivity, my energy, my determination, my sincerity, my loyalty, my aspirations and my dreams were already shattered by that time but I also wanted to know why such thought against me. There was a silence for couple of seconds and then it broke by Siddharth’s voice.
” I am sure……he is not ready for the next role………or……he doesn’t have capability to handle bigger responsibility…….”
” No……you are not right……I don’t have any doubt either on his credibility or his loyalty or his sincerity or any attribute which a supervisor looks in his reportees….” My boss’s comments gratified me for at least recognizing my qualities but on the next moment I realized that his act towards me was simply contradictory what he said just now.
” then what…..”
” He is so perfect in his current role that I hardly find any gap which could be improved……He takes care on all the issues which a supervisor is supposed to look after…….He is a genius………”
“Hold on….hold on……am coming to my reasons……..Firstly I did not find his alternative who could take his position and secondly I have never budgeted the time for him because I knew he did not require…….I have invested all my time in grooming other reportees and made my team complete from every corners……..now just look at my performance……year on year growth……who will stop me from my next promotion……….”
” But don’t you think this could be the reason for Rishi Sahai’s dipping performance…….possibly Rishi finds monotonous in his daily work…….”
” How does it matter to me………”
” Sorry……..If that guy will not perform…….then you will also be effected ……”
” a vulnerable plant requires support not a strong tree………his performance scarcely matters for me……..six years before I was a regional manager…….but today I am looking after the entire zone……”
” Don’t you think…..in this way you would loose so many good resources like Rishi Sahai………”
“ hardly matters to me……”
” I didn’t get it……”
” Do you know why I chew gums always…..”
” No……” ” because it doesn’t require to swallow after its sweetened gets over…….” and laughed loudly.
I did not know whether Siddharth had understood his modus operandi or not but I understood.