Pray for just rewards – But choose your god well!

It’s an annual ritual. Bleeding hearts, burnt dreams. Cursing tongues, thunderous snorts. All troop out beating retreat. A handful of smiling visages, whistling lips; follow suit a little later.

A passerby (who’s making two trips one coinciding with the march past of the majority and the other with the motley minority) can be excused for wondering if they sign in the same roster. They do.

For the day when one sees this vertical split in the emotions of ranks is the “Annual Bonus Cheque Day” (ABCD in short).

It’s but natural to feel let down, after having slogged for 364 days (plus one in a leap year), seeing your age on the cheques. As against hearing from helpful minnows in HR about others who had their telephone numbers slapped down on those very cheques. The blood boils!

But who do you curse? At whom should you direct your well justified (so you think) anger at? Who should you haul over the proverbial coals? No one but yourself! Surprised? Over to Mullah Nasruddin (MN).

One day, MN was on his evening walks mulling, as usual, over the world and its ways. He came across four boys, who were carrying a sack of walnuts. Seeing MN, the wise man that he is reputed to be, the four boys asked him to distribute the walnuts among them. They all had toiled together to amass that bounty. One brought the sack from home, one made a hole in the walnut garden fence, one stood vigil and the other climbed trees to fill the sack. Indeed, great teamwork. Now is the time for sharing the spoils, for they know not the economics of the same. Except a vague notion that it should be equitable. But alas, none of them is equipped to carry out the task. MN was a god-sent dispenser of justice, for anyone else will have surely demanded a share of the pie.

MN, smiling and stroking his silver-grey beard; asked the boys how they want it to be shared. “God’s way or the human way”.

“God’s way”, pat came the reply in unison. For it is god’s will alone that has brought riches on them!

“So be it” said the benevolent Mullah and got down to business.

He took two huge fists-full of walnuts and thrust them into the stretched hands of a one who took them gleefully. The next expectant slob was in for a rude shock – one walnut!! Joy knew no bounds when the third kid had the entire sack emptied into the headscarf that MN asked to be opened and laid down! And a tight slap across the face of the aghast 4th poor sucker!!! 2&4 let out a shriek that would have reached heavens; while 1 was left in two minds – whether to be happy with what he got or feel miserable looking at what 3 has received. Leaving behind sobbing, shrieking, slapping, scratching kids, MN went on his way muttering “they should have asked for the human way”!

For all you folks who feel odd like 2&4, let this be a lesson. When you have prayed to god to grant a fair share for your toils, your fate was sealed. That’s how gods function. Nothing mysterious in that!

Be advised to direct your prayers and pandering elsewhere. To the gods in human form – boss/top management. For the happy folks whom you have seen walking by planning the next big investment or an expensive 7-star holiday, know where to turn. And whom to propitiate and prostrate!

May somebody bless you. I am off to do some Find & Replace on certain nouns in my hymn book.

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Anupama says:

    Nice one! Praise be to God!

  2. Lavender says:

    Scats, They say every thing’s in your mind? So if we “presume” that “GOD” is we – translating “Aham Bhrahmasmi” literally, then we might stand a better chance?? 🙂 Jokes apart, I do really believe its time we Indians became Bharateey..I’m not sure the spellings right-the “pardesi” that I am 🙂 anyways I am digressing here. As usual to the point and interesting. Keep it up

  3. Pavan Kishore says:

    What really is This God that we all refer to – is it just a Word with an associated image in the mind ? Is it the word that is important or the image that is important or the underlying connection underneath the word/image that is important ?

    Albert Einstein once said ” I would like to try and understand the mind of God” . All I say is that only the one who has gone Beyond the Mind is capable of understanding the mind of God.

  4. Mateen Hamza says:

    We do not know what has happened is good or bad, only God knows. May be the good that we were expecting might turn out to be bad in the future. Or the bad that has happened now may turn out to be the reason for the best scenario in the future which we cannot foresee now.

  5. Revathy PG says:

    Hi Arun,

    The entire scenario, which you have associated with (ABCD), is brilliant!!!. Yes we could relate this ( to sum extent) in our daily life, where every one wants their piece of cake and tries hard to achieve it, (by whatever possible means)

    Coming back to the MN story, I have both positive and critical approach to this story, I would like to share it here.
    After reading the entire story without thinking much (only concentrating on what I have read) felt sad for what happened to the boys, thinking how can Gods way be so injustice. Everyone has put the same effort like the other, but why only one was given everything??? You will curse that moment, curse god for his injustice and feel deprived, don’t see the way to come out of this adversity.

    But when you sit and visualize the entire scenario, you will see the luminosity. You will realize (sooner or later, Whatever happens it happens for good. You will see lots of opportunities opening up and you will thank God for that particular incident to happen in your life. Which has made you strong, has brought better outlook and prospective in your life.

    All I want to add here is, it all depends how one wants to take it. Positive the better!!!!

  6. adrienne williams says:

    Good morning,
    As an American and a human resources professional, I have a much different view of your ABCD or any day that bonuses are delivered here in the US.

    You are right — there are many bosses who are ignorant, self centered, self rightous and downright mean to their subordinates. I do believe that with them, what goes around, comes around – maybe not in the timeframe you think it should be, but my experience has mostly been that those bosses are seen for what they are EVENTUALLY and they either walk out or are escorted out.

    Bonus time was when I had the most activity in Employee Relations. Questions fast and furious from the employees — “Why did so and so get more than me?” “This company is the worst – I gave them everything and look what I received!” And from the bosses, “No one understands how difficult this process is for me — to make these kinds of decisions is painful and now all my employees hate me, except of course, those that were rewarded well.”

    I believe so strongly in the phrase, Pay for Performance. Why should the slug of the group receive as much of a bonus as the employee who goes beyond what is expected to reach the objective? The slug is considered a “C” employee and the hero, an “A” performer. In one of my positions, the mantra was “There will be no “C’S” in my group – I will manage them out!” But only the good managers know how to do that respectfully. They have ongoing discussions with that employee, they put them on a Performance Action Plan to help raise the level of performance, they discipline when called for. The “C” employee, all through the year, should know how they are performing against the others in the group. And if done well, both the employee and manager come to a mutual agreement that it’s time for the “C” employee to find a position more suited to their skills.

    From where I started, only the good managers know how to reward their employees appropriately. Given the problems in our economy, and I make no excuses, I really do think that companies have made decisions to cut back, without realizing that their employees are their greatest asset….and rewarding them appropriately will guarantee a high performing workforce, working together to bring the company back to where they once were – profitable.

    Thank you for allowing me to express a very different point of view….

  7. Prasad says:

    Mysterious indeed!
    No disrespect, but it does not make sense to my little brain. First, they are all stealing. May be I should ignore it, just like the God did?
    Even if I did, I am not sure if I could make sense of random gestures from the God.
    However in the case of realworld Gods/bosses, it is not random.
    Comparing God with humans is bothering me even in an abstract sense..

    1. ivak99 says:

      Hi Prasad, at the very outset thank you for speaking your mind. It’s a perspective and logically constructed from your end, so no offense (or disrespect) taken :). You are free to come all guns blazings. In fact, in his own way principled way Karthik spoke against what I intended, by mentioning (with an anecdote) how the perceivedly wronged 2&4 ended up winners.

      Most of us do steal – ranging from the innocuous stationery and time (longer coffee/lunch breaks, surfing..) to the ignoble glory, credit, projects… the works! Very few principles, holy cows, Ceaser’s wives around; and this blog is not about them.

      Before venturing into answering part 2 of your question (and the last sentence); a caveat – this discussion is not about god/religion/beliefs/faith 🙂 Am sure (s)he is up there shining like the eternal sun on all beings equally.

      Regarding the random gestures, you just have to look around (or hear the wailings/whispers/moanings/monologues) to see if things are equitable. You can peg the same onto Sanchita/Prarabdha/Prapta Karma or god or anything/being else depending on your faith/belief. Distribution is mostly random and seemingly unjust. Probably a philosophical discussion should lead us onto something sembling an answer.

      If gestures of realworld Gods/bosses are not random, I wouldn’t have sufficient material or anecdotes – some experiential, mostly hearsay; to continue writing this blog. It would be insipid, insufferable and anything else but interesting! Your experiences (and so are mine, I worked with few exceptional companies and people myself) might be different and I pray you stay blessed.

  8. Hareesh Bhargavan says:

    Mysterious the way Bosses think, funny the way they act, cruel the way they treat. Never to forget, boss too is a subordinate to somebody, subordinate too is a boss to some other buddy. Every ass needs another ass to kick and better off are the wise souls who settle with their assmates the fastest.

  9. 2 and 4 are destined to do well in their lives by god.

    I can recount the incident, when some of my friends in Pakistan were retrenched / let go for whatever reasons in 2002. I was feeling so bad for such a great guys and feeling restless and worked out a trip soon. (Practically my second home) Since I had their contacts, as soon as I reached Lahore, I phoned some of them and we met over dinner.

    You know what they said, Karthik, wish God had arranged to fire us sooner, We are doing very well, much better than our earlier jobs, it opened our eyes to new avenues and opportunity. Why he didn’t do this to us soon??!!!.. I was happy hearing that as well as god has his way!!!.

    Man proposes(Including boss) But God has a final say!!! No questions.

    Karthik
    Bangalore.

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