Friday, August 20, 2010

A hilarious encounter

The other day I had a meeting with a very senior IAS Officer at his office in one of the departments of Government of Jharkhand. He wanted to the review the project for which I had been a short term consultant. He asked me and the nodal officer for project to wait outside for 5 minutes. That was when his PA “introduced” us to him as he has been newly appointed. The PA asked whether we had been asked to wait for 5 mins. and added that "you wont be called before an hour." He gave us a lot of extra information alongside like there has been no work happening since this IAS has joined and that he is an embarrassment as he does not take phone calls even of senior officials.
Everytime the man inside rang his buzzer we thought we would be ca
lled in and after a long wait we were finally called. As I entered I saw a man buried between loads of files and writing on a green note (government office speciality!) in a particular fashion with his fingers twisted at a certain angle. So horrible was the hand writing that even doctors would take pride on their handwriting. We were asked to sit and we waited in his cabin for another half an hour. It was in this half an hour period that I noted all the peculiar actions of that man and battled with myself to control my laughter. He gulped glasses of water in one go and then picked one phone after the another to fire someone or the other and the receiver somehow always refused to sit at the right place! At one point of time he got up and pulled his trousers up along with himself almost up to his chest (a la Boman Irani from 3 idiots)!
He suddenly looked at us and asked if I was the consultant named so and so. I said yes sir and then he was back in to his files. He tore off several pages from some of them and deposited them under his table. He shouted at his typist for poor Hindi language skills and then suddenly asked us, “yes tell me what is your business here.” Taken aback I wanted to tell him at that moment that its you wanted to have a review! However, I had to refrain from opening my mouth while the nodal officer took out another ragged file which was our project file. The IAS officer pulled out an ancient diary in which he had scribbled 1000s of numbers in his ugly handwriting and asked us for contact details of the project donors.
Then he perused the file and folded some pages to be photo copied for him. He then shifted his attention to me and asked where was I working since my consultancy period had expired. I gave him all the details. He then declared that the meeting was over (and so was the review!!!!).
I turned towards the door and he asked me to stop and interviewed me on my education, work experience and family background. He noted my number and asked me to leave. I was greeted by the PA outside who quickly asked me if I had been asked for my mobile number and provided free advise that I should now keep my cell switched off at all points of time (whatever it implied)!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

a quick update

I am back after a rejuvenating trip to Delhi. It was official work mixed with some unwinding (and of course loads of shopping!). Got to meet friends who are more than just friends and the best people I have ever met. The biggest surprise package was my ex-roomie landing up in Delhi at the same time for office work. Our get together needs special mention because it happened after a number of "adventures" like changing of the venue at the last hour and me not knowing about it!, standing in queue for getting entry in to the mall (ever heard that before? i hadnt!), escalators not working, lifts taking ages but finally we got together and I m sure all of us cherish every moment of it. This time our kids were with us and they enjoyed too!

Back in Ranchi my deputation to the government has ended and I am back to CINI. The biggest learning is the apparant difference in working with a good NGO and the government, the former being enthusiastic over every encouragement recieved from the latter while the latter waiting for the former to make things move for them!