Thursday, 14 October 2010

Unruly Rules

Rules – they are my bête noire. Why? Well simply because I've often observed that in our attempt to make everyone uniform, ensure that they act the same way and create a sort of equality among unequal at times, we, as people and part of institutions, go so far that we cross that fine line that differentiates strict from ridiculous and our rules appear funny, to say the least.

Here are a few examples:

1) Inform before you take a leave - Quite a reasonable requirement one'd think. Now consider this: I've heard of some 'bosses' who penalised their subordinates who took 'sick-leave' without prior notice! Or who considered it inappropriate when an employee took leave without prior notice because of a near one's demise? And of course, there's the case of the jealous co-worker who complained when the 'star employee' took a 'leave' without telling him when he (the star employee, that is) was actually out on an important official mission.

2) Do your home-work on time – All of us know this rule and have followed it in school. But have you ever heard of the class-teacher who punished a new student who'd just been admitted to the school and whom he had allocated a seat less than 10 minutes ago? Why? Simply because the student hadn't finished homework that was due that day.

3) Same post – same pay – Why would the 'star employee' work harder and contribute more to the organisation if he didn't gain anything 'extra' out of it? Don't expect me to work more if you pay me the same as my co-worker simply because we have the same post.

4) One man – One post – I agree on the principle and consider that it's OK for the government or political bodies, etc. but I hope that it won't be applied on people like you and me. I'd have to choose among the many things that I love to do. I guess I'll have no choice but to stop writing.

5) Rules are subject to change at any time without any prior notice – Now that is the funniest and most ridiculous one that I've ever heard. How do you want people to follow the rules if they don't even know what they are? Imagine you come to office on day D and the rules have changed without any prior notice!

Of course, we need rules but don't ever forget why God gave us brains (if you believe in God that is) and if you don't believe in God remember to use common sense before following the rules next time. I know, common sense is very uncommon but it can be quite useful.

And don't forget the golden rule: Rules are made to be broken!

[It's just a take at those who follow rules without applying common sense. Personally, I do follow rules but at the same time I also use common sense, or whatever I have of it.]

A Ray of Hope...

Once again, it's that time of the year when everything is grey and cold... dead. When I look out of my window all I see is the fast fading image of lush green trees. I wish I lived in one of those countries where sun shines all-through the year, where birds chirp with joy every morning. Instead here I am in this dead world.

Everyone says that I need to go out but the world seems like a cold, dreary place. At least, I'm warm inside. If this cold doesn't kill me, the sadness will definitely finish the job. But I can't help it. It's not as if I don't have any friends but I don't feel like talking with anyone.

Just a minute, someone is knocking at my door.

"Hi Meena."

"How are you?"

"I'm fine, di. And you?"

"Excellent. It's been a long time since you called."

"Ummm... yeah. I've been a bit busy."

"Ah... OK. You look sick."

"Thanks. Just the thing to make me feel better!"

"Hey, don't look at me as if I was a monster! You do look sick. You need to go out more often. Have fun. Life is too short to be spent in this dark closet. By the way when was the last time you looked around you? Even I'd fall sick if I lived here."

"As if that was possible," I muttered under my breath, hating her for her cheerful chatter. Did she have any idea as to what silence meant? How could she be so cheerful all the time? Even in this dark, gloomy weather.

"Meena... Meena, are you listening?"

"Yes, di." I said just like an obedient little child that she expected me to be.

"Here. Take it. It's a gift for you."

"For me? It's not my birthday."

"I know. But I felt like giving you a gift."

"Thanks di." I said unwillingly taking that box wrapped in colourful gift wrap. She always managed to come with something and of course, I didn't have much say in what it was. She was a sort of weird Santa who never had a look at the list of things one had prepared but who brought gifts that he thought one needed. I know I'm being mean. But it was so irritating... I rarely, if ever, liked her gifts.

"Now, will you please open it?"

She seemed more eager than I was.

"She was such a child! At her age..." I thought opening the gift-wrap. I didn't feel half as excited as she was. I'm sure she would have torn the gift-wrap, while chattering and shrieking at the same time. And there it lay...

I looked at the little mobile phone that peeped out of the box. I stood still – thunder-struck. What a rude way to remind me to call! I didn't know what to say. Felt like throwing it back at her. But it looked so sweet and innocent... just like that proverbial apple.

I forced a smile. "Thanks di. It's beautiful."

"No need to be so delirious," she winked, "Here, I bought the same for myself. Just have a look. You can do everything you want. Talk with me, for example," she continued laughing, "take pictures, surf the web, chat, tweet, everything you want."

"I want tea."

"She bowed her head down. And I heard my new phone ring. Surprised, I picked it up. And couldn't help smiling... She knew exactly what it took to force that smile out of me. It'd just taken her a few seconds to send me a chat message with the image of a steaming cup followed by the words "T 4 U".

"Thanks di. Would you like some too?" I asked going towards the kitchen.

"Of course, have I ever refused a cup of tea? And please get me something to eat, something spicy. I'm famished."

By the time I returned with tea and some 'namkeen', my new phone was furiously emitting small rings. And di was smiling naughtily. I looked at the small instrument and...

"Di, how does everyone know the number?"

"Oh nothing, I gave your number to everyone and created chat and twitter ids for you and of course, I had to tell everyone, otherwise, what's the use of having all this?"

"Of course." Somehow I no longer felt so lonely and sad. It was still that time of the year but colours were back in my life.

I replied to all my friends. And soon, I got lots of pictures and music on my mobile. Di had taken liberty with my life. And once again, she'd succeeded.

I hate her for it but I love her a lot too because she always knows how to make me feel good. She expresses her love in so many different ways and is so alive just like this little wonder of a phone that she gifted. I keep it with me all the time and always in touch with those who love me. I love taking photographs and am ever-ready. I no longer lose any opportunity to capture life and am as alive as my loving Di...