“I can’t but agree with what you are saying”, said NPE, “still I cannot shake off the belief that performance is as important as the other variables in your equation” in a meek tone.
It was with a great effort that the accountant resisted the strong urge to bring down the glass hard on the flat pate of the mutterer of such bilge. For not only is he a sworn pacifist but also a supreme visionary – at least to the extent of seeing who the bill footer is in an hour’s time from now.
“It is never easy to accept the obvious. But wisdom will eventually dawn and one sees things for what they are. Let me…” the words were drowned in the din that rose from a far corner in the room. After a 2 minute interval in which all the faces in the bar turned to the corner; the conversation at the table resumed; once again to be interrupted when the bearer came with repeats.
“What was it all about?” inquired the accountant.
“Nothing much sir, just a misunderstanding that arose because of the mismatch in demand and supply. The gentleman over there asked for Cobra beer, which we at the moment do not have. One thing led to another but before it could worsen; the sensible gentleman there saw it fit to settle for the Golden Eagle, of which we have enough stock, upon the arrival of our competent bouncer on the scene.”
“What a coincidence! Those were the principle characters in the next story I was about to tell you”.
“No bears. Just a soaring eagle and a slithering snake.” “Which of these two, if they were competing colleagues in a corporate like ours, is better placed to win the race to the corner office?” posed the accountant.
NPE was quick to take it on the front foot “Eagle”
- Is designed and destined to reach and roam freely those heights which others can only dream of doing on their own;
- Has a sharp vision, to see things even from 30,000 feet up;
- Can laser focus on a moving target and swoop down quickly to strike at will;
- Leads a largely risk-free life; except those from force majeure, like an occasional lightning or thunder;
- Has strength, speed, striking capabilities par excellence
- Adorns the flags of many superpowers including gods”
Leaning back into his chair, the NPE stirred and sipped the contents of his glass, savoring the moment. He has laid it out well and was happy to get coherent and well constructed points across for the first time in the day.
The accountant smiled and asked his next question.
“Who does your mother feed eggs and milk to in temples on the fourth day after Diwali*”?
Stumped by the question, but nevertheless regaining his composure quickly, answered the NPE “Snake”. With a sinking feeling that this might be another of those discussions which, eventually will end up with him being at the receiving end of the morals; he waited for the next one.
“Which of these two has more movies written after itself, sometimes even starring in the title role?”
“Sss…Oh, what’s the point? Get to the story quickly” said a resigned NPE settling down to get another earful.
“It was not always the case, this subservience of eagles to snakes. In fact both these creatures started out as siblings, born out of the same father the great sage Kashyapa. Vinata and Kadruva, his two wives bore the eagle Garuda and the entire serpentine species respectively. Along the way, Kadruva the younger of the wives, using her wiliness (for where do you think the snakes got this trait) tricked Vinata over a minor point and turned her and her son into Kadruva’s slaves.
It was the eagle Garuda who as you might imagine had a head start, in line with the first 5 points of your case for the eagle. He could carry hundreds of his step-brothers on his giant wings; playfully soar to the skies swoop down in a jiffy giving them, the snakes, one hell of a rollercoaster ride on earth. This continued from their early childhood till all of them entered manhood, when the age of innocence is melting away giving way to jealousy, competitiveness and a whole host of other manly traits.
One day, while at his playful best Garuda took his cousins right upto the sun, the searing heat of which burnt most of them and rendered the rest unconscious. Angry their mother Kadruva, invoked the slave clause, asked Garuda to bring back her sons to life by bringing Amruta (Ambrosia) from heaven, or else…
Eager to do the right thing and release self and mother from the shackles of slavery, Garuda nodded and in a moment reached the skies and landed in Amatravathi, the city of gods. Fighting the might of the gods residing in Amaravathi, taking the pot of Amruta; and heading back home was a moment’s job for our great eagle friend. In spite of protestations by Indra, the king of gods, of the perils of making snakes invincible and immortal; Garuda exchanged it for his mother. Indra meanwhile using his slyness stole the Amruta before the snakes could have their fill. Scalded snakes and their mother were scorned and vowed to get back at the eagle at the very first opportunity, which didn’t take long to come.
Vishnu, CMD of all gods, pleased by Garuda‘s performace offered him a post of his choice and perks that he willed, at his place.
Garuda the naïve soul, having his heart at the right place, asked for his brothers to be risen from ashes and also given key positions of their choice at Divinity Incorporated. The snakes, knowing that this is their chance to score one up on the eagle forever, using their foresight, decided on proximity as the key ingredient. Settling for what appeared to be mere ornamental posts, Adi Seshu, the first snake (eldest brother) offered himself as the celestial bed for Vishnu; Vasuki the second one, as a necklace for Siva, the destroyer.
Garuda, weighed options and chose to be the carrier of Vishnu; a position which best fits his capabilities and leverages his skill set. But alas, little did he realize that Vishnu takes different roles in different times and doesn’t always necessarily take his vehicle everywhere and everytime. But whatever his daily deeds at night he needs a bed to rest and to Adi Seshu does he retire too. Siva meanwhile carries Vasuki everywhere he goes, for a man of minimal adornments and wants; this necklace is one thing that caught his fancy well.
As time progressed; the pre-eminence of Garuda decreased and he was reduced to a mere Executive Assistant; called in only on occasions -once a quarter or year; when Vishnu feels like having an outing (A mere ceremonial ritual these days in temples across the country).
The snakes, owing to their mere proximity and nothing more, have legions of devotees who petition them very often and appeasing them in all possible and befitting manner – putting them on pedestals; offering them milk n eggs; celebrating their birthdays with vim and vigor; taking them on as role-models….
The Eagle since that fateful day when he let his heart rule his head; is a mere shadow of his former capable self; living in the shadow of his slimy siblings”
Stirring contents of his glass, the accountant stirred something else too, with his words.
“Capabilities, skill sets; right fit; doing the right thing; continuous performance…all these are aspects you must appreciate. In others. And from a distance. It’s proximity ultimately that you should pray for to get what you want”
* Festival of lights