A Hijacked Intelligence

His eyes revealed a somber cry for help. Words were scarce from his feeble mouth which like his sunken frame was dry and without much movement. There was hardly any sound but it was hard to let the message from his eyes go unnoticed. After all, it is only with the eyes that we really speak, words from the mouth are rarely of any real significance unless one considers confusion and miscommunication as an effective way of transpiring information with one another. It seemed like he was dying. There were many people in that room, which was very bright unlike the person lying and struggling on the bed. The walls were white and there was plenty of sun light entering the room through the two mid-size windows of a typical apartment within the concrete jungle of this fast paced city. Life for the rest of the city seemed just about fine as people rushed from one place to another, short of breath and time. But for him, lying on his bed, encountering the final moments of truth, time seemed hopelessly standstill and he was literally short of breath and time. It wasn’t hard to see the men was going somewhere far away from the confines of his bed, but it was very hard to believe for the rest of the people in that room. What was obviously happening in front of the eyes seemed like a distant dream as we hid behind the veil of ignorance that maybe it was just a fleeting moment which will pass and we will not have to encounter the painful experience of his death. After all, the most significant and definitive event of living is rarely discussed by us in the hope that we may escape its grip on our being through indifference. In a sudden moment of flash, his face turned bright and his eyes popped up all the way and what seemed like a remorse event just a few moments ago became a moment of salvation. The body which was unable to move just a few minutes ago became agile and he was seen folding his hands and bowing down to people all around him. It was hard to tell if he was doing this out of a sense of gratitude or defeat, but regardless, the expressions in his eyes were so real that it seemed he was trying to communicate something important from the beyond. It seemed like in that final moment of living, a sudden wave of hidden wisdom took over his senses and he chose to say goodbye to everyone. The next moment, his body lay still again and he was gone. For the remaining, who chose to stay back, only memories of his presence remained and for the more fortunate ones a deep desire to find out what happened to the person who was so delicately hidden behind the solid frame of his body arose.

ūüćĀ

The markets did not respond much to his absence that day; neither did the weather guy have to speculate anything drastic in terms of rains or snow. The trains ran on time, the masses commuted from one place to another without much fuss to finish their chores. The bank account which he had so meticulously managed over the years still gathered the interest and showed an upward movement. Everything seemed to be just about fine in spite of his absence. It seemed very strange. How could nothing have changed now that he was gone? All his thoughts and demeanor always suggested otherwise when he was still around. It always looked like if he had not taken care of any of his daily task with enough fervor, the stock or the bond markets, banks and people in his circle of contact would have ended up in deep trouble. But, reality revealed the moment of truth. Nothing really changed. Everything and everyone was just about doing their own thing after his sudden dramatic disappearance. If he was watching this from somewhere, I would think he was up for a rude awakening, figuratively speaking of course! Such seems to be the irony of our lives. We live life within a self-created realm of our own thoughts based on certain very creative imagination and give so much momentum to it that it seems to be the only cause for which we choose to exist. Then comes the moment of truth, in which we perhaps open our eyes for the first time, to realize the grandeur of the platform, in which we exist, and which was taking care of us to begin with, but only a tad bit late. All our thoughts and emotions seem like an over-sized version of the Wrigley’s bubble gum which is just about to burst, in an instance,¬†when the curtains of our drama are about to fall. It doesn’t make sense! How can it be like this? After all, we are so used to asking the ROI (Return on Investment) for every thing that we do, that how could it be possible that we completely missed out on asking what is the ROI for any or maybe all the activities that we are choosing to do in our lives while the inhalation and exhalation is still happening? It really seems quite silly to be remaining deprived from such a fundamentally strong and existentially rooted question ūü§Ē

ūüćĀ

Intelligence is something we take for granted. We always think that the other person is the problem, especially when I feel I have¬†the solutions. Unfortunately, the other is feeling the same way about us. This essentially creates a frustrating circle of confusion for both. Within this circle, we choose to exist, creating different dramas of various sizes with the multitude. The multitude ain’t stupid, they react back with the same dramas with different intensities based on their ideas of wisdom. This play seems to be eternal until one actor disappears into oblivion. But, as mentioned earlier, intelligence is something we take for granted. If one actor disappears, it stimulates a sense of victory in our mind rather than wonder, because we praise our self that the opponent was stupid to begin with before he chose to play with us. The whole irony is that even if the opponent was indeed stupid, the fact still remains that he just vanished into thin air all of a sudden without any pushing from our side and the same is going to be our fate in due course. Now, if this reality, even if¬†supported by a¬†strong logic and pie-charts was discussed at the drawing board of any top-level management team at Microsoft, or for that matter, the mom-and-pop store down the road with regards to their business, it would be a definite show-stopper for any business plan, no matter if Bill proposed it or Doug opposed it. Because, it makes simple sense, to question something whose “end is certain” for what it is worth and why are we investing so heavily in it? After all, playing games is a good way of passing time, but if the player himself is going to be the fatality in the end, it requires a certain amount of functional and coherent intelligence to say how much I am going to stay invested in such a nail-biting game where the finish is always dramatic and the loser not the winner is always predetermined! Life definitely seems to be such a game. It is so vast and so exciting. We can weave an enormously complicated web of things which we want to accomplish in it and still fall short of achieving it. It gives such a fantastic rush in our system as we go about checking the list of things we have noted for ourselves that we wish to attain. Life in itself is the best adrenaline booster available. There is money, fame, power, love,¬†lust, knowledge, friendships, cultures and nations to be explored. There is shopping to be done and matching the pants with the tops is never a certainty. There is a need to fly to the moon and back, go down to the bottom of the ocean to swim with the sharks and scare the hell out of them, neatly bundled in an iron-cage. There is no boundary to everything that can be and should be done. After all, the scriptures say, and it looks like science agrees with it now,¬†that life as we know it for now seems to be endless and ever-growing. Now this gives us an immense possibility to keep on exploring only until the explorer ceases to exist.

ūüćĀ

Intelligence is something we take for granted. Even the dictionary defines it as “The ability to comprehend; to understand and profit from experience“. Now, if we break the meaning of the word intelligence and choose to explore how we can “profit from experience” we are bound to open up a can of worms here. But, at this juncture in life, this is my full time job and I can say I derive enough exhilaration doing the job without much pain or suffering. It’s my opinion, that, fundamentally,¬†one should¬†systematically go¬†deeper into one‚Äôs own¬†life, to expose every wounded¬†experiences, that we may have patched up with repressed band-aid’s, because, an exposed wound could lead to many answers, which we may be running away from. Coming back to the question of “profit from experience” in relation to the definition of “intelligence”, what exactly are we profiting from our experience when we say that? This definition is certainly not pointing out to the profits which we make in terms of monetary benefits derived from certain financial dealings. Nor does it indicate the assiduous approach which we take in remaining profitable when we indulge in creating relationships, be it personal or impurely business. This “profit from experience” is an obvious attempt, to expose the nature of things in life, and that intelligence is in “learning” from life experiences itself, be it bad or good, and remembering to use it every moment so as to thus profit from it. In other words, a person can be said to be allowing his intelligence to function within him only if he has learnt something from the various experiences of his life. Now, this can only happen if he is “gently alert” at every moment and is learning as he is experiencing. Because what he is experiencing is the only thing that he is capable of learning in that given moment. Any other knowledge or observation which is learnt later on and not during the experiencing can be just a heap of philosophy which is useful in discussions but cannot have any juice in it, because that moment is over. This definition may seem vague and even confusing, but if looked properly without the bias of prejudice, can reveal a lot about us. If this definition seems reasonable, then we can very abruptly say that one of the most important experience of life, besides the usual dating, shopping, working, gambling, marriage, delivering babies, creating empires, waging wars, conquering nations, etc. is death.

“An intelligent person will naturally wonder about death, because, no matter what he chooses to indulge with in life, he is bound to be aware of this final¬†encounter, as an impending¬†predicament in¬†everything he is currently¬†busy with.”

Even the markets have a “bottom-line” when they speak about the rise and fall of trading in different equities. A bottom-line cuts through the crap and puts everything in the perspective of realism, without much delay. It is a good approach and there is plenty to learn from it. An intelligent person will definitely want to know the bottom-line of living, and if he sincerely chooses to cut through his crap, he has to come to the conclusion very soon that death is actually a living reality for him too as he indulges with the various plays of life. It is not an¬†occurrence,¬†which keeps on happening to others. As he inhales he is living and as he exhales he is dying. It is a real &¬†simultaneous occurrence.

ūüćĀ

Intelligence is something we take for granted. No matter what we do in life, if we have not put the value of death in the right perspective, our lives remain incomplete, disconnected with reality as it becomes easier for us to hallucinate and most importantly, we miss out on the “bottom-line”. That is a big deal! This seems like an easy thing to remember but when we carefully inspect our ways of living, it becomes very apparent that we consistently miss out on this single-most reality at every stage of our life, particularly the interests in which we are heavily invested. Neither does our genetic make-up, education nor parenting have any significant influence on us when it comes to remembering this reality. It perhaps is an impediment.¬†So, when carefully looked at, it seems like it is neither nature nor nurture which defines us, it is simply a matter of our moment to moment choice. Personally, I have found myself baffled at how important using intelligence is, at every moment of my life, and when graphed against its usage on the Y-axis, how feeble the graph actually looks. This led me to look at other people’s life with the hope that I don’t feel singled out with this disability. The results of my looking at other people’s life were very gratifying to my utter dismay. Most people were replicating the ways of my living or to be humble, I was replicating the ways of their living with minuscule difference in our approaches, as far as living intelligently is concerned. This confirmed within me that most of us were like a¬†sheep in a herd, and we follow each other protected within the umbrella of our knowledge, traditions, culture and religious philosophies. Not that anything is wrong with this umbrella. But the problem seems to be that we do not use the benefit of the umbrella consciously, instead we follow it unconsciously, as if hypnotized in an automated state. This seems to create all kind of problems in our life.

“What we do not choose consciously cannot be a meaningful experience in our life and this seems to be how we miss on tasting the living juice of life, instead compromising it with some pseudo cocktail which is usually stale and borrowed.”

ūüćĀ

A device works very smoothly when applied consistently with some trust in the beginning. The trust is not implicit but is very useful in the beginning stage. For example, when we start our education process in a school or college, we enter the institution with a certain amount of trust, which in reality is unfounded, because we really do not know what we are entering into or going to get, until we finish the course. But, we anyways, enter the institute because we have a desire to acquire knowledge, based on which we can actively fulfill our wishes and ambitions. In this example, the whole system of education, is nothing but a device, because it helps as a stepping stone for us to reach somewhere we wish to go. The first thing which one realizes when they make a choice of joining an education institute, is that, they do not have the education they require to achieve their desires. The next step manifests into actually getting in an institute and being educated. Without the first step, which is very much intrinsic to a person, the actual act of taking the second step of actualizing the desire cannot have much depth. And this seems to be in many ways, the foundation of the human psyche, where realizing the lack of something results in the actualization of it. This seems to be the key to any progressive development. And this remains the absolute forte of an intelligent person where his realization that he is not adequately using his intelligence in certain or all areas of his life leads him to higher and higher possibilities. Logically, this seems such an easy observation, but when we carefully look at the way we live, it becomes a shocking realization that we really keep on missing the first step to most of the things in life.

ūüćĀ

The understanding of death can be effectively made use of as an “ultimate device” for activating the hidden reservoirs of our intelligence. If one honestly looks at himself and the ways of his being in various life situations, one has to come to the conclusion that there are forces beyond our grasp which really defines each and every moment that we live on this planet. But, to come to this kind of conclusion requires an acute self-observatory skill, which most of severely lack or at least pretend that we do not possess. If through introspection or being mauled by the processes of living one comes to the conclusion that he is actually not using his innate intelligence actively; then and only then, the device of traversing deeper into the realms of what death is becomes very significant. If everything that I do is going to be abruptly halted in a single moment when the breath stops, it is better I begin to live and actualize my life with a deeper understanding of this significant event called death. Keeping an awareness of its reality every moment can definitely bring one closer to living sensibly and showing respect towards the life force which governs everything around. This is another way of saying that I am allowing my intelligence to function. With the release of this intelligence comes lot of nice things. Our attitude could change from rushing off¬†to being here in this moment. And this fundamental paradigm shift can rejuvenate every area of our lives. Our relationships, personal or professional can be beautified. Our need to be chasing each and every desire can be sincerely curtailed through this new understanding of our fleeting existence over this¬†lifetime. Most of our anxieties and worries are purely psychological and this understanding of death can axe it in one shot, because, it can allow us to remain rooted in the now. Talking and discussing about being in the moment is one thing, but the ability to actualize it and remain rooted in the present, which is the intelligent way of being, can only be realized if we have a certain tool or device which we can use. This awareness of death can help as the tool.

ūüćĀ

Intelligence is something we can choose in a moment and only in a moment. And it cannot happen later. It seems like it is the need of our time for every individual to realize the need to activate his intelligence, and rely on methods or devices, so as to get out of the grip of day dreaming and settle into the abyss of the present realities. If we look around us and within us, this seems to be the only trouble that all of us individually experience and that is the compulsive need to be somewhere else, away from the current realities of the now. Although, there is a rush which one can get with a compulsive approach, it comes at a tremendous cost and for most of us the cost is dying without experiencing the ecstasies of being thoroughly absorbed in the current moment. Realistically, if any real significant moment of joy an individual has to experience, it can only happen if he learns the knack of squeezing the juice out of life in this moment. Otherwise, the only moments of joy are psychological, in a dream-like state, with open eyes, because we will always be rooted somewhere else. Adopting and experimenting with the “device of death” is a worthy cause by itself. If individually we want to bring joy and ecstasy back into our life and collectively make any changes in the way we live our life, applying this device and obtaining a deeper and realistic understanding of life is perhaps a good thing.¬†Contrary to popular belief, there is no need to alter one’s fundamental way of living; just a realistic addition of a¬†deeper inquiry into life and death has to be made as we go along doing various activities which sustain our life. This inquiry in no way has to be burdensome, but just a constant gentle background observance from the eyes of our being, which will guide us into living sensibly¬†with higher and higher possibilities. It might be¬†a good way to resurrect our hijacked intelligence and surprisingly there is nothing to lose but our own decorated kingdom of insanity.

ūüćĀ

The innocuous businessmen

The institution of small retail¬†business in India is neither small nor very business-like.¬†¬†Entering a store which represent such an institute is like entering into the game of chess. The buyer and seller represents the two teams. Invariably, the game is long, often annoying or amusing, rarely enjoyable and always one-sided. The seller never looses but always manages to provide an illusion to the buyer that the game has ended in a draw, completely aware that the buyer’s attempt at playing was itself¬†his defeat. The buyer usually¬†leaves the store with some pride thinking the game ended in a draw. Very rarely, some buyers feel they actually won the game, which is the ultimate accolade a store owner can receive for the foolishness exhibited by the opponent. The seller knows that the structure of this game is always favorable to him as it is a win-lose game.
 
For most such businesses, the price of their products, attitude towards customers and inventory management vary based on no fixed set of rules. The customer service totally depends on the customer’s ability to spend. Foreigners are looted with full dignity and grace. Foreigners who are white-skinned are called¬†‚Äúangrez” (the British) regardless of which country they come from. All foreigners, including Indians visiting home, will be looted by the stores because their ancestors were looted by the British some 350 years ago before the country’s independence. It almost seems like, small businesses as a group wants a strong vengeance and is sincerely inclined towards recovering the cost of the “kohinoor diamond” (a very large stone) which allegedly the British had looted from India way back and hold it still as a display in one of the museum in England. A deep rooted anguish over a long forgotten era and incident! Anything that you intend to buy from them is claimed to be the “best quality‚ÄĚ or¬†‚Äú¬†exclusive” which you will never be able to find at any other competitor’s store. Ceaseless bargaining with the merchant is the only way to feel you are not looted completely. The small-scale¬†Indian businessman is one of the shrewdest person alive in the world of commerce. He is the original MBA, without any degree from an ivy-league college and most probably¬†can beat the rookies from Harvard and Stanford in a jiffy, at least in the short term transactions. He is not trained at knowing processes or systems, he just naturally¬†understands the human¬†psychology and¬†is good at applying that as his¬†primary business skill.¬†He can analyze your capacity to shop and can scan your whole mind and wallet without the need of an X-Ray machine. He playfully toys with your emotions, plays with words to please your mind, deliberately favors your culture and religion to gather support, orders a few soft drinks and¬†‚Äúchai” (Indian tea) and gets you to be comfortable before he begins the game. He has set the bait very diligently and is not in a habit to miss a catch. His arsenal is loaded with ancestral experience, personal shrewdness, vocabulary of the sweetest words in multiple languages, deceiving¬†gestures of the hands and eyes, innate ability¬†¬†to analyze the buyer’s psyche, especially the female gender and finally being able to bundle all these tricks. It is a nice setup for a game of half-truths and full lies. People play this game in order to find value to their abundant need to shop and fill their closets and¬†it is part of the culture. Very few businesses avoid this game and my understanding is, those businesses do really well.
 
After a deal is struck, as a consumer, there is no good way to know how badly were you ripped off. As a general observation, if the merchant is still smiling when you leave the store, you can happily assume you overpaid at least 50% of your hard-earned monies. One learns to ignore that smile as he lights an incense,  opens his cash drawer and puts away your money in his box but only after praying to god and thanking him for the chance to play the game of business with you.
 
 
While in New Delhi last month we were fortunate to participate in the purchase of a¬†‚Äúheavy” (rich in its making and price) sari from a merchant at Chandni Chowk for a friend’s sister-in-law’s engagement party. The whole afternoon was memorable. Knowing well that the purchase is for an engagement function, we have a dedicated sales rep’ who pretends to be¬†pompous yet with the sweetest voice. He calls the bride “beti”(daughter) at every instance as he begins to play. He has already marked the person who is going to pay for the purchase through the corner of his eye and deliberately ignores him in the beginning. His target is self evident as he focuses on cajoling only the women folk in the room. In the meantime, cold drinks and tea are ordered as he conveniently finds out the date of engagement thus gauging the desperation of the purchase. He shows all varieties of saris and is constantly monitoring the feedback of the bride. He picks on the “keywords” the bride uses to describe the previous displays and very tactfully uses those words in the next batch he is offering to sell. Occasionally, he teases with the emotions of the male folk, who are anxiously awaiting their turn to play when the time has come to pay the bill, only while awaiting the decision of the bride for a final approval. He has mastered the art of salesmanship and is aware that every moment of his is precious. He knows he is needed for some other sales as potential customers are pouring into the store as the month of May is a heavy “marriage-season‚ÄĚ in North India. But he has not caught the fish yet, in spite of the bait and is unwilling to move. Finally, after coaxing the bride and the women folk to try a few saris, clearly enforcing with a gentle authority that without a trial a decision would be impossible, a deal is struck as the sari to be purchased is decided with everyone’s approval, especially responding to our sales rep’s incessant attempts at sharing his liking for this particular piece of cloth which apparently is an unique design only manufactured by their store and of course leans towards a higher price. He knows¬†his job is done as the struggle for the pricing will begin next and its time for him to move out of the scene of purchase. After throwing a random figure as the price for the purchase he gets the owner of the store involved for further negotiations. He makes an equally swift exit as he had entered as the male folks suddenly gather strength, wake up from their boredom, fix their postures, adjust their eyes in an earnest attempt to save their hard-earned monies, while the female folks are completely oblivious to the¬†creation of this new mutiny still discussing if the color and shade of the sari goes well with the bride’s skin tone.
 
The owner is a bigger shark than the sales rep’ as he pretends to recognize the whole group from a past purchase at his store ignoring the fact that this is our first trip to New Delhi. His only job is to sell the sari closest to the hefty price already¬†quoted¬†by the sales rep’. The male folks only job is to buy the sari at the lowest price than the quoted price. It is an intriguing struggle where bodily strength and muscle power don’t mean much, only sharpness of the mind and usage of occasional lethal and sentimental words could potentially help. This struggle looks original and genuine but the owner is always in a stronger position. He not only is the only person in the room who is aware of the cost price of the product, he also has an abundance of experience in negotiations along¬†with the support of emotionally charged words, endearing statements and arbitrary comparisons to other customers. In a moment of complete frenzy, as the whole room has now woken up, the male folks are howling¬†louder at the same time and nobody is really listening so as to come to a “final”¬†price amongst the vagaries of bargaining and just when we think things are not going our way, the owner in a moment of triumph announces loudly and sharply the “final” price which is accepted by both the teams and the deal is struck. Smiles arise, sweat is cleaned, more cold drinks are ordered over the conclusion of a two hour saga. No one is particularly hurt, at least physically, except the person who will reach for his wallet. The selling price is fixed at half the quoted price. I am gasping for air after I figure out the price differential and now I don’t know whom to believe or trust anymore in India, especially any small-scale¬†retail¬†store owners.
 
Being a spectator I am enjoying the comedy sitting in a corner and sipping my “chai”. I am just amazed at the whole game. It is pre-decided and energy consuming. I wonder, wouldn’t it be better if there was a fixed price where the profits were marked up by a certain¬†% and the buyers wouldn’t argue, as we have the habit of being ripped off in the US by the big department stores. In the meantime, the boys helping in the folding of the saris have conveniently emptied the whole space where the game was played and momentary peace exists, so that nobody can change their minds; especially the female folk if they see anything new. The owner has disappeared as his role is over and a¬†complete stranger has appeared who is smiling because he has come to collect the cash. Another sales rep’ in the meantime has sneaked in and is attempting to strike another deal with the accompanying¬†women folk who have not bought anything yet. The game is finally over when the money is handed, guarantee of alterations before a certain time is made and we walk down the dark and dangerous steps towards the crowded main road of Chandni Chowk. Shopping with small retail¬†businesses in India is indeed an experience of unique skills. Even a game of chess was never so hilarious nor pre-determined. Strange are the rules of business of an ancient land but the chai was¬†delicious and worth the banter ūüôā

Beginning of a beautiful friendship

It turned out to be a successful and unusual day. I settled down in the townhouse of 3 years old, with a lemonade on a moderately warm and sunny Friday after having finished a busy week filled with deadlines and living circles. It was unusual to have skipped the chores of meetings scheduled on this Friday afternoon to be meeting my boss privately over lunch to discuss the raise in my remuneration. It was over a year and it was time to have the dreadful discussion of having to demand a raise for the service I was providing as a hired consultant with the firm. It never felt comfortable within me to demand such things, but I was in America, and as they say, when in Rome do what the Romans do. But, since I was in America, I was ready to talk like a capitalist and demand some dough for all the code mowing I had been doing at the corporate headquarters of an international chemical company with the software project I had been associated with.
 
 
I had been employed for over a year as a software¬†consultant to this client who needed the job to be done. Needless to say, I went with an intention to get the job done. When your intentions are clear, clarity is never a choice in retrospect. Also, “listening is an easy art when you don‚Äôt have a¬†need to be heard.‚ÄĚ I was clear on listening to the need of the client and it became very¬†obvious that the manager who had hired me through my¬†consulting firm was keen on¬†introducing a concept which he was passionate about and had concluded within himself would be good for his organization. Apparently, he was facing some resistance for his concept in¬†his own organization and had strategized by convincing his management to hire some consultants to be brought in to create a prototype for his concept which he can present in their core meetings, gather support through various dialogues which he apparently was very good at and thus have a much better chance of¬†succeeding in getting his concept implemented in his organization for the¬†betterment of others. That is how I ended up into his field of vision.¬†
 
 
It was nice to see a middle aged man who was so passionate about his work etc. It was easy to see the teams which weren‚Äôt on his side and weren‚Äôt going to play nice. I had a difficult job at hand but that is what they were paying me for and my goal was to get the job done. So, I put my hat of being a “softly ambitious” person, which I actually was, having been raised that way to see opportunities with an element of gratitude over going berserk on fulfilling¬†my wishes when an¬†opportunity presents itself, that wasn‚Äôt my style. I knew I had to be cordial with my manager‚Äôs team who was supposed to actually implement this work and make them feel comfortable about this whole thing. Along with meeting my manager regularly,¬†to understand his requirements for the prototype, I also made it a point to¬†greet &¬†meet the employed¬†developers of the organization regularly over lunch time or an occasional stopover for an afternoon¬†friendly chat perhaps with that dreadful coffee and sometimes a donut. I ensured that the developers understood, I was not a threat to their job, position or stand¬†in anyway. It was¬†necessary for the developers to know that I was a consultant whose only job was to help the manager realize his goal for the concept via a prototype which he can present to the¬†management. I was also the same consultant with an attitude of soft ambition, whose other job¬†was to make the developers understand that a prototype is not a product¬†which can be launched and profits made an accolades won and that¬†it was all good.
 
It took a little while but the developers slowly became friends, the manager became a mentor and the management suddenly became interested in the¬†‚Äúquick‚ÄĚ prototype which was developed in less than two weeks time, which was considered impressive, modest in its look & feel and had the sense of a job-well-done written all over it. An immediate and useful phone call went to my boss sitting some 50 miles away in a busy street of a suburban town indicating that they had sent a very useful consultant to their site, who apparently understands their work¬†requirements and culture¬†well and they wanted to keep the consultant hired for a one year¬†contract to convert the prototype into a befitting¬†product. They also promised my boss the need to hire 2 more consultants for administering the database and quality control of the forthcoming product since they wanted to keep the entire project outside the realms of their daily business affairs so as not to disturb their developers who were strictly involved in managing their existing systems along¬†with two hour¬†luncheons and occasional sick leaves on Mondays or Fridays. This sudden twist of events must have inspired my boss to pick that phone and¬†call me for that lunch on that Friday afternoon before I reached home and had that lemonade as mentioned in the introductory note.
 
 
My boss arrived on time in his¬†luxurious and newly acquired Ford Mustang with the top open to feel the fresh air, although warm for an Indian guy but quite refreshing for an American¬†guy who spent most of his life on the east coast. I didn‚Äôt mind the breeze as I had a cropped hair cut then and also I knew he had called the meeting for a raise. We toasted cheers over a glass of cold¬†water and he blurted without a pause:¬†“What the hell have you been doing at the client site, they love you?‚Ä̬†
 
I smiled back and replied:¬†‚ÄúI‚Äôm getting the job done.‚ÄĚ
 
He smirked:¬†‚ÄúWell, let me tell you this much, you sure are doing a heck of a job in getting the job done, because they approved the¬†prototype and are looking to get two more consultants to work with you in getting the product ready.‚ÄĚ
 
It was my turn to call upon the newly adopted¬†capitalist in me,¬†smile and inquire:¬†‚ÄúSo, is the 33% raise which I was anticipating a deal?‚ÄĚ
 
He unhesitatingly replied:¬†‚ÄúListen, in my¬†entire career in this field, I have never given such a high raise to anyone¬†in the second year of them being with me. I‚Äôm making an exception and hope you understand it?‚ÄĚ
 
I gestured at him in complete faith and told him:¬†‚ÄúIn my¬†entire career, in this field, I have never demanded such a high raise in my salary in such a short time of¬†joining a firm. And that, I totally understand and the only reason this is going to work out, is because we both understand the needs of the client comes first and to get the job done also means to get it done rightly where the client is not only satisfied with the outcome of the work but also is satisfied with the team’s working¬†ethics, moral values and professional¬†culture, which has been¬†going down over the years as corporations get more affluent and the values displayed by consulting firms have been outright unfair, conniving and parasitic”
 
We both finished our luncheon with a certain sense of peace and admiration towards what was happening and what lay ahead. We bid goodbye with a happy exchange of shaking, followed by¬†waving our hands and that‚Äôs when suddenly¬†an appropriate visual from the 1942 classic Hollywood movie¬†Casablanca¬†came into my mind where Rick says to Captain Louis Renault:¬†‚ÄúLouis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful¬†friendship.‚ÄĚ