Occupational Hazards
by Vivek Atray

From the outside, certain jobs appear to be a lot cushier than they actually are. Administrators, for example, may seem to be having an easy time of it. However, there are in actuality several potential hazards that dot the landscape. What’s more, some of these can lead to precarious and often hilarious scenarios!
Some years ago, a senior officer with a fiery reputation decided to visit a Chandigarh based centre of education, soon after joining his new posting. As the Director of the concerned Department, yours truly was at hand to welcome him and to hand over some flowers. All was in order until, for some reason, the senior decided to smell the flowers. To my utter chagrin, as soon as he tilted the bouquet to do so, a substantial amount of water sprinkled onto his trousers!
I held my breath in anticipation, fearing nothing but the worst.
‘Occupational hazard!’ he declared most magnanimously, after a pregnant pause, much to my relief.
As the chief guest oneself, on motley occasions, one finds other kinds of traps in store. The lamp lighting ceremony is one such. The cotton wicks simply refuse to light up, you see. They are either too thin, or too thick, or too dry or too oily, depending on the ‘school of lamp lighting’ to which the supervisor in-charge belongs. After years of practice one has managed to reduce the time taken to light a lamp, but one still has to wait endlessly for a significant number of significant-others to follow suit. The minute-to-minute schedule at such a ceremony can go for a toss if the lamp lighting ceremony takes inordinately long, which it usually does.
Another game changer is the sound system on stage. At times one does not know whether the mike will last the course or will let one down mid stream. At times it behaves like a moody lover. One never quite knows what to expect with it!
Attending a wedding can be a truly traumatic experience for an administrator. As soon as one starts enjoying the ‘kulfi faluda’, some worthy will stride up and want to discuss solid waste management or some such entirely unpalatable subject! It is only by being stoically silent and nodding absentmindedly that one can put an end to his detailed exposition on the subject.
To top it all, having met thousands of people along the journey of life, one tends to get into a real fix at times. There will always be someone who walks up and expects one to know everything about him. The man will be so sure of himself that one just does not want to disappoint him by confessing that one does not have the foggiest idea of who he is.
All one can do on such occasions is to ask him about his children and where they are studying, before pretending to receive a call and walking abruptly away!
Hazards of the occupational kind can indeed come up unannounced and uninvited, any time.

2 thoughts on “‘Occupational Hazards’ By Vivek Atray- The Spice of Life in the Hindustan Times”

  1. Wonderful Sir!
    What i could get from your write-ups is “Important to listen my heart”! I am deeply impressed.

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