Speaking about workers (for valid reasons, students excluded from the purview of this treatise), some do not appear in uniform even while on duty; some adore it even while off duty.
This concerns the second category.
While the conditions of service in my institution were more or less uniform throughout the country, slight variations remained with respect to its subordinate staff depending on their centres of posting. Thus, for long, those at Trivandrum were not entitled to woollen liveries since winter would never be harsh.
However, under persistent pressure, the employer finally agreed to provide them also with warm clothing. Most of those handling the supply of uniform were from other parts of India, unfamiliar with the climatic conditions in the city. But they wanted a reasonable certainty even on weather.
They wanted to initiate the tender process well in time, the first aspect for clarification being when exactly winter sets in Trivandrum.
The head of the subordinate staff was the Subedar. The management always turned to him in matters concerning the work and welfare of those under him. Within limits, his word was law. The office note seeking to ascertain when winter arrives in Trivandrum was with the Subedar. With the file tucked in his armpit, the Subedar stepped out from the office to the open courtyard and took a close glance at the sky. Naturally, with the aplomb of a person skilled in solving in a jiffy, riddles of the type thrown at him, he walked back and wrote his categorical comments without batting an eyelid.
We were then told that winter would set in Trivandrum on December 1. We did not specify what the exact time of the day winter would set in; fortunately, it was not viewed seriously. Then we had to place orders. The office trusted the man who knew (too much) more than the Meteorological Department. He was capable of predicting with cast iron certainty! One whose word, as clarified, was law! Now, a fitting finale.
Months later, one loyal worker was actually seen, on a day mid-March, with the afternoon sun not yet satisfied with pouring forth his molten fury on those accursed to stir out, striding proudly indifferent to public gaze, resplendent in his jet black woollen shut coat and pants, along a road rendered with viscous bitumen.
They were entitled to make their own guess why he was warring on the weather the way he did!