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मंगलवार, 24 अप्रैल 2012

Chacha... A Story...

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PROLOGUE 
             Sometimes I feel it’s worthless to do internship in big organizations like Mahindra, because everyone seems busy in their own work here, and no one takes you seriously. No one is here to supervise you properly. All they say is, ‘just watch and learn’
               So I got bored with this ‘watch-and-learn’ type of internship in the very first month of my six months internship. So, to get rid of this boredom in company I developed a habit of talking with old workers (because they are the only people who’ll talk to you here). Company assigns less hectic work to them here, because most of them are going to retire very soon.
           Chacha, is one of them, working in a sub-assembly shop of brake-pedals. Though in the beginning I used to dislike Chacha, because he is strict and dominating, always trying to prove you wrong with his arguments and that is why most of his fellow workers keep a distance from him. We didn’t know his name in our starting days, so we gave him a pet-name ‘Chacha’ (Though his real name is Avtar Chand), for our gossips with fellow interns.
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1   

       On a same boring day in Mahindra Tractors, when there was nothing left to amuse us and rescue us from the daily routine, we friends went to Chacha’s shop to help him with his work, to be true we went there to have a talk session,and started assembling the brakepedals with him.

‘What's the target today, uncle?’ I asked, just to start the talk, though I knew it’s seventy three.
‘It’s seventy three’ he replied, adjusting his rectangular-framed glasses.
‘Don’t worry, we’ll complete it before time’ Amitabh(friend, classmate, roommate and fellow-intern) said, trying to re-grip his nut-runner.
‘Hmm, one more week….’ Chacha muttered, scratching his half bald head.
‘One week? For what?’  i said,having no idea of what he said.
‘For my retirement, just one more week and I will be retiring.’ Chacha said, in a heavy tone with his eyes focused on his work table.
‘So, for how many years have you been working here?’ I asked, finding it a good topic for a long talk.
‘Grip it hard, and place the washers before nuts’ Chacha replied, staring at my hands on the nut-runner.
‘What?’ I was not expecting such an answer. Anyhow it was not related to my question.
‘It’s hazardous to lose your grip, on Iron and Woman’ Chacha again, it was a typical Chacha style and it was irritating.
‘Hmm... .’ i muttered, while pretending to hold my nut-runner more tightly.
‘So, for how many years…. ‘ Amitabh tried to bring the topic back.
‘Thirty nine years, since 1973’ Chacha interrupted, with raised eye-brows.
‘You must be feeling bad, uncle! Thirty nine years! It’s really a very long time’ I knew it was a little obvious question.
‘Hmm.. Not that much, why should I feel bad? My age is old enough to sit at home and take rest now’ Chacha replied, this time after taking a long pause.
‘They should gift you a tractor.... after all, you made thousands of them’ I tried to tease Chacha, with this tricky statement...
‘You people are going to become engineers soon, but you are not serious for work, you are not professional, it’s not going to work if you will continue like this…’ Chacha replied, this time in a little irritated tone, with mixed Punjabi and Hindi...
I felt it’s better to tight the nut-bolts, then mocking Chacha. And kept silent for a while. 
‘Hmm… They sell a plastic model of these tractors as a gift item , earlier it was of Rs.50, then it became of Rs. 100 and now it’s of Rs. 150, but the company never gifts us that small model, So how could you expect them to gift us a real tractor ?’ Chacha said breaking the silence,he picked some bolts in his hands and while showing them to us, continued, ‘Even if today, someone will put these small bolts in my lunchbox and if security guards catch me with these bolts, they will call police… no matter for how long I have been working here...'
And I was clueless... Why the management is so harsh? So, after a pause I asked again,
‘Uncle! Why are they so unkind? Why don’t they trust anyone here?’
‘That’s called "professionalism" boy’ Chacha replied quickly, with a feel of victory in his eyes...
‘Hmm…’, maybe it was one of the best lessons I learnt in these days of my internship.. or maybe it was the first one.. PROFESSIONALISM!!!
‘May be that’s the reason why you are not attached with the company’ I said, and I felt that it was inappropriate for me to have said that.
‘It’s not like I am not attached with company or people here, but I am satisfied with my journey in this company, so I am happy to retire’ Chacha made his point.
‘hmm.. that’s right..’ I nodded.
‘I had twenty rupees and a Charpai(bed) with me, when I came here from my village, and today I own a property of more than a crore rupees here.. So why should I not be happy?’ Chacha said again.
‘That’s a big achievement uncle, you must be proud of this’ I replied, ‘So,how do u feel about your journey till now in the company?’
‘Hmm.. Now I feel it nostalgic when you call it an achievement’, Chacha sighrd proudly.

We were all set, to listen the story of Chacha “from a twenty rupees man to a crorepati”
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2

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            “I spent my childhood in a village of Punjab. My father was a farmer. Though we didn’t have too much of land, but my father was a very hard working person, he was an honest man and always taught me the value of hard-work in life. 
              As a child, I was studious and active student in my school. In those days, the school fee was not mandatory for everyone, people used to collect chanda(contributions) for the school. Despite of our poor financial conditions, my father used to make contribution every month on time. And never had I demanded anything else from him. Being the elder son of family, I was well aware of our financial conditions, and so never I complained for anything.
             My school was very far from home, it was out of my village and the path to school was rough, full of stones and dust. During summers it was very tough for me to walk even a few steps on that road with my worn out shoes. While returning home on sunny afternoons, I used to walk a few steps followed by resting for a few minutes and then again few steps and then again rest. The heated ground was unbearable, but somehow I managed to face this daily trouble without giving some extra pain to my father.

              One day master ji came into our class and said, ‘An inspection is going to be held in school, and some of the students will demonstrate some physical exercises in front of inspectors, those who want to participate can raise their hands, students will have to perform in a dress code of a white shirt, brown half-pant and black shoes.’ It didn’t took me a second to raise my hand. But it was a trouble for me since I didn’t have a brown half-pant and neither good shoe. But I had my only pajamas similar to the brown, So on the day of inspection I cut the pajamas to make a pair of shorts and applied some hair oil on the shoes to make them shine. When I went on the stage, mastar ji noticed my uniform and shifted me from first to the last row on stage.Because of that day, I spent my whole year with a half-pajamas.

                When I reached my high-school, the days used to be very hectic; in mornings, I used to take our cattle out with me for grazing, then school and after that I used to help my father in the fields. Because of all this, many times I got late for the school and even missed the school many times. I didn’t ask my father to buy me books, but when my father came to know about this, he sold one cow to buy me new books and stationary in high school.all his actions motivated me to work hard in studies. And as a result, I was among the district toppers in high school. My father was overwhelmed with my achievement. He borrowed some money and sent me to the nearby town to join the ITI (Industrial Training Institute). 
           The fee of ITI was just ten rupees and it was refundable. For the first time I was out of my village. For the first few months, it was not easy for me to adjust, but I used to like ITI very much, because I had a keen interest in drawing and our teachers used to praise me a lot for my mechanical drawings.
             During one of the final exams in ITI, I completed my exam half an hour before the time, having the extra time, I made a clean isometric projection of the figure given in question paper, and submitted the answer sheet. I was unaware of its consequences, but the examiner gave me five extra marks for that drawing apart from the marks I obtained. Again I topped the ITI in the final exams. 
              After passing out from ITI, in the year of 1973, I came here to shahi-majra village of mohali, where the Mahindra-Swaraj (formally Punjab Tractors Limited) was in its starting phase. I am one of the first few employees here..

            When I joined the company I got an offer letter from ITI to join back as an instructor there,they were offering a better salary and opportunity for further studies. I went to our supervisor and showed him the letter and said that I want to leave the job. Supervisor took the letter in his hands and after reading it, told me, ‘Avatar! You may leave the job whenever you want, but I would not suggest you to do so. Look! Here you will grow more than in the teaching field, you will earn more for your family with this company.’ Now I don’t know if he was right or was just bein selfish, but I turned back leaving the paper on his desk, and never turned back to switch this job. This company helped me in my tough time, so the thought of leaving this company never got into my head again . 
                As years passed, I got married, earned for my family, became the father of two sons, purchased land and built my own house here. And As I told you I started my journey with twenty rupees and a charpai..today I am ending it with an assest of more than crore rupees.. So I must be happy with it. Isn’t it? I won’t be in any loss till I won’t go below the twenty rupees.” 
With this last sentence Chacha ended his story with a smile and his glittering eyes. It was all silence in the shop now. Clock joined hands; it was 12 pm,as if giving homage to Chacha for his successful journey. Suddenly the rolling sound of tea trolleys broke the silence; It was a tea-break in the company. Everyone washing hands and rushing towards the trolleys with washed tea-glass in their hands. We left Chacha’s place, a flood of thoughts was tormeting our minds. May be it was the first time; we had a silent tea-break.
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On the  next Monday, there was Farewell message displayed on the notice board of company for Mr. Avtar Chand, Assistance Engineer; from the Mahindra’s HR department. Finally Chacha was retired from Mahindra now...
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EPILOUGE

             Few months back I wanted to buy a new guitar, the old one was old enough to be replaced now, but I was out of budget, I felt very bad but I was helpless. In middle class families it’s common to compromise for financial reasons. An expensive bike, branded clothes, new gadgets, for many things we put some extra pressure on our parents to stretch the budget, and many of us get angry with our parents for not fulfilling our fancy needs. But after listening Chacha’s story, I feel our parents do the best they can do for us.
               May be I didn't get a new guitar, may be my cupboards are not full of branded outfits, but I am happy that with every possible effort, My parents made me so educated to develop my own independent thinking and made me sensible enough to learn from these experience in life.
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