Wednesday, March 4, 2009

INDIANOIL-Travesty of truth

During my farewell, a very senior manager, spoke a lot of good things about me. Though at a farewell party it is customary to speak good words, I knew he was right. He made one reference to my having “blasted” an ED for mispronouncing my name. He had obviously heard it by word of mouth. We all know what happens when narration of an event goes from one person to another. He may have heard exacty what he said. But it was a single fact of the entire incidence.

Unintentional misrepresentation is one thing. Though damages the truth, it may be considered innocent. Travesty of truth is quite another matter. An incidence has many facts. If you pick up only one fact and keep highlighting it, it amounts to travesty of truth.
A particular fact picked up on intention from a group of facts distorts the real incidence.

In 1996 I was in Chennai as a Manager Marine. New GM was posted from OCC just then. From the day he saw me he let it be known he did not like me. He behaved like a senior student bully in a secondary school. He accorded me non-person treatment. He would ask me something and even before I said a thing he would say, “ I know you don’t know it”. I am basically very courteous, but if insulted I give back come what may.

Many of the senior officers who knew me advised me to ignore, as it was GM who was involved and he could damage my already damaged career. I took their advice. But GM continued to target me. When I narrated this to my friends in the guesthouse, I was staying in transit guesthouse; they could not believe that I was swallowing the insults without a murmur.
He was very arrogant. Whenever I went for his signature he never permitted me to sit and ordered coffee for himself. He was like a schoolboy bully.
One day he called for a meeting of all section heads. Since my section head was not in the office I was summoned. There were about ten of us attending the meeting. He asked me if I called on the PhoomPuhar office for collection of outstandings. Even before I could say anything he said, “ I should know you cant even talk leave alone convince”. This remark infuriated me and I said, “this kind of bullshitting has to stop”. He shouted saying I should mind my language. I told him “ you are lowering the prestige of the chair you are occuopying. You have been insulting me for no fault of mine. What is it that you don’t like in me—my name, my face, or my identity. You deliberately mispronounce my name knowing fully well what it means”.
( bangi in persian means one who calls for prayers and bhangi in Hindi means a scavenger. And all those who have lived in the north know it, and this man lived in the north India for a long time.). A functionary of officers’ association, who was present in the capacity of a section head tried to interrupt me and I told him to shut up as he never bothered to protect his officers from being humiliated. GM was dumb founded and did not utter a word and proceeded with the meeting.

I was surprised to find all officers congratulating me on my “courage” after the meeting was over.

An hour after the meeting was over GM called me to his office and asked me why I chose to say all I did in the oresence of all the officers. I told him I had to do it since he insulted in the oresence of all. He offered me a cup of coffee.

Thereafter he was very courteous to me, pronounced my name properly. At times when he saw me in Sarvana Bhavan, he insisted on paying for my coffee.

It is another matter that he did take revange. That is another story.

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