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There Are Heros In Our Midst

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by sln, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. sln

    sln Finest Post Winner

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    There are Heros in our midst

    The year 1956.A fully crowded Telegu Brahmin Street in Coimbatore..Families share accommodation in one premises called cluster living or call it dormitory type..One side of the courtyard is occupied by two families and the other side by another family,The accommodation consists of a kitchen and a hall and bathroom is outside in the backyard.This is called ondu kudithinam[ cluster living].People manage privacy though everybody participates in celebration and quarrels of occupants without any family boundaries..Able bodied men sleep on the elevated concrete resting place outside called thinnai.The main door is closed but not latched. Off and on thieves and robbers get caught by the decibal power of the women and numerical superiority of the thinnaiwallas.They tie the thief to a lamp post and shout, call Subbu mama.There will be a chorus subbu mama,subbu mama.This gentleman in his early forties takes his time to get ready as he believes appearances have a salutary influence on the victim as well as the cheering community.Have you tied him up properly? Before any one can answer ,his enterprising son makes sure that the rope is strong and gives the go ahead for the heroics of his father.Subbu is in action with every question followed by slaps and kicks while some one makes sure that the rope has not loosened.We are fortunate to have Subbu in our midst-none of us can handle such a situation deftly.No one acknowledges the role of the rope in Subbus heroism.The regular policeman comes and says to the dumb fellow-You are foolish to choose this street as six thieves have been caught in the last one year ant takes him away.. Subbu is the undisputed hero of the street .

    The scene shifts to cuddalore.The year 1962.We are staying in an old house with lot of open space in the back with two coconut trees not in their prime,wild growth all around but interspersed with coriander and chilly seeds ,sown by my mother and sprouting to have a ring side view of our house.Now and then and particularly on festival days,Bandicoots join the celebration by managing to sneak into the kitchen.On one such occasion my mother closes the kitchen doors and shouts Bandicoot.There are shrieks from my sisters two of them shut themselves in the bedroom. .Call Rajamani[my immediate younger brother] shouts my mother. One sister asks-Shall I call Kannanna?[that is me]Useless fellow my mother replies-he is just a wordsmith-Rajamani only can match the bandicoot in its adroitness.I feel relieved that I did not qualify for the encounter with the bandicoot in an alien environment.My brother quickly solves the problem after a lot of jumping,running around,things breaking etc .Girls rush to fan him and mother joins by handing over a glass of butter milk spiced with ginger,green chillies,coriander etc. My brother gives me a triumphant look. He is the celebrated hero of the house as far as the animal kingdom coexisting with us are concerned.

    The year 1994.Marriage proposal for my nIece has been finalised...Everybody in unison says –Kannanna is the right person to handle this.Not without reason.-I have facilitated and conducted twelve marriages by handling perception issues ,ironing out the differences etc..We have a group discussion for different activities in the marriage.Budgetting is my forte.Kitchen store will be taken care of by A.B will take care of the bridegrooms side.Cash will be handled by a tough person who asks for receipts and balance.One sisters FIL will be in charge of the purohits and rituals.None can beat Kancheepuram chaps in this skill. Ensuring good taste of the food is outsourced to my neighbour Rangachari.He is a connoisseur of food and when his palate is satiated he says “the food had celestial flavour and divine taste”. To summarise,there is consensus and clarity in identifying the activities and the right person to handle the activities. Brothers,sisters ,their in laws,all join happily and try to excel each other in their commitment and execution of jobs. My mothers responsibility is to sit tight in a room and keep a watch on the suitcases,handbags and valuables .She at 72 has also a role to play. My father used to say that guests will overlook all other blemishes and call the marriage a success only if the food is good. It is therefore appropriate that even though every one contributes for the trouble free conduct of the marriage Rangachari is the unanimous choice as the hero of the function and the satisfied look on the guests who had taken food is an eloquent testimony to his commitment, skills and supervision.

    Today the thrill has been taken over by catering contractors and the organisers of the function also relax and behave like guests,.Community sleeping in the marriage hall with music,jokes etc are no longer there.Close relatives join the queue for giving gifts immediately after mangalya dharanam After the ritualistic hand shake,they also rush to the dining hall and disappear after taking food.In a few recent marriages I felt that the spirit was missing and everything was done looking at the clock.Even brothers and sisters come to know of the finalisation of marriage only after everything is finalised.Sometimes these are done secretly.

    In the earlier days,community decision making was the order of the day.Identifying the strength of an individual and delegating a job to the concerned person contributed to the results.In addition there was better bonding and bonhomie among the members,cousins etc as they had a role to play.Some one or other emerged as a hero and every one cheered for the Hero. With nuclear family the only community affair is the clumsy dancing which appears to have become mandatory in marriages nowadays.

    Identify and build on the strength is a management philosophy but is equally applicable in a home or for activities involving collective efforts.Today this is missing and replaced by flamboyance and money power.The heros are missing in the process.
     
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  2. Amulet

    Amulet Platinum IL'ite

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    Nope... their super powers had been taken away, and now everybody knows that those were really not super powers.

    The very fact that totally-prepaid-package-marriages have come to the market, and succeed rather well, tells that whatever had been happening in years yon, have had a "need & even a want" that got fulfilled <how is that for management jargon...eh :tongue: >

    I am sure that one of those companies might launch a premium service with the nostalgic touch -- recruit the older people from both sides of the marriage liaison, and have them "act up" like in them old days. That would be sweet. An old story about "Wedding in Washington D.C." had that kind of fantasy written in that. I forget what year that was. Perhaps in the 1960 ?
     
  3. sln

    sln Finest Post Winner

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  4. sln

    sln Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Amulet,
    The story/article you are refeerring to washingtonil thirumanam by SAVI-the book was published in 2008 even though it was written around 1963.Find a need and fulfil it is supposed to be the key to success and becoming rich according to a research article.What is a matter for discussion is that even people not well placed borrow money and abdicate their responsibility to the caterers.Your idea to hire seniors to give a realistic touch is appealing.The fact remains that emotional involvement of the near and dear is palpably not evident.
    SLN
     
  5. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    I totally agree with you. The excitement, burst of activity, discussions/arguments - all these contributed to making a wedding memorable. Am sure there were ups and downs, but somehow families did manage to iron out their differences. That was another era where people had more time - jobs were 9-5 with remaining time for family, no internet, no TV ..... Now all these changes have made for major changes in lifestyle and each one being individualistic, no one has time for the other. Can't blame them. With people working morning to night in offices with time probably on a weekend to finish their own domestic chores, it would be a luxury to find the time to do things in the relaxed way in which things were done in the past. Our loss ..... but everything comes at a cost.
     
  6. jayasala42

    jayasala42 Finest Post Winner

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    A beautiful snippet that can be enjoyed by one and all, specially by septuagenarians who had first hand experience in this regard.

    Prior to 1970, all the weddings were conducted only at homes.Pandal would be erected five or six houses together.Marriage would take place in the bride's house.Next house will be for cooking and serving. The fourth or fifth house will be reserved for sambandhis or bridegroom's party.We had enough experience of conducting marriages right from preparing groceries vegetables list to distribution of tamboolam bag.A regular team was engaged in all these things and there was voluntary participation.Now no one is prepared to undertake 'cooking' on labour basis. You have necessarily to engage a contractor.In 1994, during my daughter's wedding,we supplied all the materials from various shops and engaged a cook.
    As you said the cooks were real stalwarts in those days.
    The parameter of deciding the success of any wedding is food, its quality and taste and not the costly jewels or the luxurious kalyana mandapam or the rosy floral pathways. The challenges involved are too many while providing thousands with tasty food.

    My father used to say that management is nothing but a lot of common sense, the ability to anticipate crises and be ready with an action plan and solutions.( I am forced to use typical management terms).This included in particular,the tolerance to untoward comments,keen observation and listening to free advices from unknown and unwarranted corners.
    Any I. T. product can be subject to checks, and even if it fails it can be rectified systematically and put to use again after a few months. But here there is absolutely no scope for rehearsal, stock return the served item on a banana leaf can never be changed or taken back.

    For a three day wedding there will be nearly 150 varieties of items involving nearly 30 to 40 vegetables and fruits.Though the menu is predecided, there is high fluctuation in the number of guests. In South Indian weddings normally there are no e-mail invitations with a request to ascertain the presence of number of guests for each occasion.
    We simply bless the couple and enter a dining hall, have sumptuous meals, return pointing out the lapse in a remote corner.

    There is a great risk involved in serving food manually to more than 1,000 guests on time with very less time left for taking care of cleaning and garbage management.

    I know many incidents where there had been fight over simple things as size of the laddu or taste of sambar between the families of brides and bridegrooms over the quality of food; Sometimes, the complaints were talked about for generations as though it was a life threatening issue.
    It was a marvel to see Saambu Mama at work. He used to give rapid instructions to fellow workers and he never missed any details.From the very smell he used to assess the quality of the item.
    He might not be aware of the business terminologies of Management science.
    But mutual trust between fellow workers and recognition of individual skill sets, the essential contributory factors for success of a business are strictly adhered to. His ability to delegate and distribute the work in a transparent manner depending essentially on experience, merit and capability - management guys have to learn.
    He does not intervene unnecessarily, but silently supervises. He has an expert who attends only to add salt to all the items, irrespective of the quantity involved.Normally they would have a winnow( muram) and go on adding the salt to the sambar and stop at a level. Salt will be to the exactly needed limit.
    Mama engages a person specially to take care of milk, the essential need for coffee lovers- a 24 hour availability.They know the knack of probable solutions ( like software solutions) for utilising spoilt milk too for tranforming into specified Sweets.
    The purchase managers, store keepers are also experts in the field.
    There is an expert in head count who converse freely with main hosts and collect more or less accurate estimate of guests.
    There are a few skilled persons, not so efficient in kitchen management, but dressed in decent robes welcome guests with a sweet smile , resembling a Reception desk.
    We cannot ignore the servers. They know the right sequence, right quantity and are keen to watch the eating efficiency with reference to the available stock of food item.

    Equal importance is given to cleaners and garbage disposers.
    There is a crisis management team who can manage sudden inflow of guests with some tasty items within 15 mts.
    Mama didn't attend any school. He was an ordinary helper. But his inquisitiveness to learn and his hard work and his risk taking mentality elevated him as a chief cook.He knows every nook and corner of the job and straightaway lands into kitchen if any worker does not turn up.
    His considerate temperament, team spirit and recognition of skills in others have earned him a covetable status.
    Mama's profession is time bound. Quality performance alone counts and there is no chance to repair or redo.He has learnt the techniques on his own without entering a catering technology institute. The techniques gained through sheer hard work and enthusiasm may not be imparted by even Harvard or MIT Business schools.
    Mama is an expert in HR, purchase, sales, distribution,marketing his popularity and what not.He is not an MBA, but a real MBA.

    Definitely he deserves to be honoured as 'hero'.
    Jayasala 42
     
  7. sln

    sln Finest Post Winner

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    Yes.You are right that time is a big factor.There is also increasing tendency that individual families can pull it off by themselves.This certainly costs the physical and emotional involvement of other family members.SLN
     
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  8. sln

    sln Finest Post Winner

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  9. sln

    sln Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Jayasala,
    As you rightly said there is no dress rehearsal or second chance to take corrective action.Mama with his multi tasking skills definitely emerges as the unchallenged hero.Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    SLN
     

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