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Sunshine Shuns a Jack-in-Office

Published: 18th January 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th January 2014 02:18 AM   |  A+A-

The sun shone on the ramparts of Fort St George and Ripon Building. The waters of Bay of Bengal glistened under the benevolent sun. Yet, there was no sunshine in the heart of my kin Jaggy. Jaggy, a government servant, had missed his promotion after a long wait. During his working days, the government had a grading system in the annual confidential report of its officers. They were rated, “Excellent, Very Good, Good and Just Adequate” by their bosses.

Jaggy was a meek officer. His boss did not like his overcautious approach while spending tax-payers’ money. His boss rated him Good, which was unflattering. The departmental promotions committee promoted officers who were graded Excellent or Very Good. Officers rated Good or less were left out. When his juniors were promoted ahead of him, Jaggy was depressed.

To add insult to injury, after a few months, he was transferred to a distant town. He was unhappy, because a recently promoted junior officer would be his boss in the new place. So he shot off a representation to the headquarters, stating that he felt humiliated to go and work under a junior.  He requested his transfer order be scrapped.

The government being an impersonal, amorphous body, a clerk in the secretariat opened a file. He placed Jaggy’s petition on the right hand side and put a note sheet on the left. The clerk put up a note, the gist of which ran thus: “There are 65 officers who have been promoted ahead of Mr. Jaggy. Therefore, wherever he is posted, he may have to work under a junior. Hence, his request cannot be acceded to.”

All the superior officers signed below the note in approval. The clerk’s note was duly communicated verbatim to Jaggy. Jaggy was left with the option of resigning his job if he did not want to work under a junior. Humble Jaggy swallowed his pride and moved to work under his junior.

Soon, he and his boss had to attend a conference at the headquarters. They travelled in the same train and coach. When they deboarded, it was raining heavily. An official who had come to receive them was armed with one umbrella. He followed protocol and escorted the senior under the umbrella and put him in the vehicle. Jaggy was left on the platform fretting and fuming.

When the man with the brolly returned, Jaggy asked, “Why have you taken so long to come back?” The man replied, “The car parking area was flooded. We could not wade through the dirty water. To get the car to the portico, it took sometime.” When Jaggy went out, his boss had already left in the only official vehicle available. Jaggy had to engage an autorickshaw to reach his place.

After a couple of years, Jaggy retired from service. At home, his better half was the boss. She refused to yield to her worse half her predominant position. The sun continued to play hide-and-seek behind dark clouds for Jaggy.



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