Sunday, September 12, 2010
TWO MEN AND A TIGER - PART I
My senior colleague and friend was over excited to have finally got a few days off to enjoy a runaway vacation to the Jim Corbett National Park with his family. It was planned as a short respite from the daily rut of office-to-home-and-back-to- office schedule, albeit after a long gap of six whole years. The choice of venue was an inspired one as his son nurtures a passion for the wildlife. He talked animatedly and incessantly about his ensuing trip for days and the various meticulous arrangements on which he had happily and calculatedly squandered his resources. Soon his excitement infected me as well.
The thrill of the adventure was doubled, nay, quadrupled, when the trip coincided with the announcement of his promotion. He being promoted to the rank of chief manager was an additional reason for rejoicing and celebration for the family. How best to celebrate a well deserved elevation but to savour the joys of a quiet and cozy getaway with the near and dear ones in the greens. However, themain motto of visiting the famous park was to have a darshan of the ever elusive tigers. I, being an animal lover myself, told him excitedly to bring snapshots, if not of the beast, then at least of his paw-prints, which I believe the tourists get ample opportunity to see quite often. Soon the D day arrived and the much needed and eagerly awaited trip seemed to be over rather too soon. I, being no less curious to hear all about my friend’s experience, was, therefore, quite crestfallen when no phone call or e-mail followed his return.
My colleague, who has the habit of “reporting” to me each and every minute detail of whatever is happening around, appeared not only distant but positively non-communicative on the issue. Worried, I called him up two days later and asked him, “How was the trip?” Given his extrovert and vivacious nature, the answers sounded surprisingly noncommittal and were predominantly confined to monosyllabic retorts. By the end of this trying (on-my-nerves) conversation, I could not resist but ask the question of prime import,” Did you see the tiger?” His answer was a complete bouncer, “He refused to see me”. “Why?” I asked nonplussed. “He does not allow attendance to people below the rank of General Managers. I being in “chief” grade, he would not lend me an audience or a view, not even for a few seconds,” my friend reported grimly.
After a prolonged and heated discussion on the inhospitable attitude of tigers in general, we came to the very natural conclusion that this particularly temperamental one must have obviously belonged to the protocol conscious corporate world in his previous birth. My colleague was dead sure about the name of the specific organization too, in favour of which the tiger must have pledged devotion and ultimately dedicated his life in the long run, but an ingrained sense of propriety prevents me from announcing the company’s name on public domain. Pssssssssssssssssstttttttttttt