Friday, July 27, 2007

The ant and the grasshopper

Quite some time back, I had attempted to borrow the format of the golf stories of P.G.Wodehouse, that involved ‘the oldest member” and posted three stories here, here and here. At the risk of testing your limits of tolerance, I nervously add more to the same series.

The Walkie-Talkies were strolling down the pavement, along the Marina, blissfully unaware of the fact that they were blocking the passage for faster walkers and joggers behind them.

Nike Shorts was animatedly recounting how he had enjoyed the movie, ‘Sivaji’, the previous day and how Rajnikanth had surpassed himself. “That man is amazing”, he concluded. “What breathtaking style!”

Adidas track-pants agreed, but wondered, “Amazing all right. All he does is shake his legs a bit, fling a cigarette into his mouth, stroke his hair back nonchalantly and his movies go on to become big hits. Whereas, Kamalahasan, poor chap. Will don ten roles, will change his voice, weight, and mannerisms for each character, valiantly do all the stunts himself without a dupe, energetically sing quite a few songs and generally slog it out, only to see his movies flop in the end..

Polo T-shirt philosophized, “Yes, that’s life. Hard work is not always the mother of good luck. All this talk about success being 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration is pure nonsense”.

Bata Thatha interjected at this point and said, “Ha, let’s not fall into the popular error of supposing that hard work begets success. You have all been influenced by the Aesopian fable of “Ant and the Grasshopper” where the hard-working ant is shown to be better-off in the end than the lazy, fun-loving grasshopper. Whereas, the reality is that incidents in life tend to be more like what happened to Tom and George in Somerset Maugham’s version of the fable, if you have read it. Take the case of my neighbour’s sons.

My neighbour (continued Bata Thatha) had two sons. The elder one was hard-working, did his homework diligently, passed all his exams with flying colours, completed his engineering from IIT, went on to do his MBA in the USA and was grabbed by a top consulting company at a mind-boggling salary, for carrying out complicated financial analysis for clients .

The younger son fooled around in school, got into bad company and bad habits, never cleared his exams and was finally thrown out of school. He ended up selling tea in a roadside stall.

Lotto Shoes enquired with a quizzical expression, “But, doesn’t this validate the Aesopian fable? The hardworking guy has been rewarded with success, whereas the lazy one has been punished.”

Bata Thatha couldn’t contain his irritation at this rude and unwarranted interruption, when he was midway in his story.

“Wait, you haven’t heard it all. Two years back, the elder son lost his job, as his company had outsourced the entire operations to an IT company in Sholinganallur, near Chennai. Complicated financial analysis for the Wall Street Journal, these days, is done by kids in back-offices here. Poor chap tried to find employment elsewhere, but the reply was same wherever he sent his CV. All jobs in the USA had been passed on to India. He is still unemployed and is roaming around penniless, having lost all his savings.

“What about the younger son?” asked Polo T-shirt?

“The younger son, as good fortune would have it, had set up his tea stall just outside the IT Company in Sholinganallur. He is doing roaring business. He is looking for franchisees to replicate the business model outside all the companies in the IT corridor. He has quite graciously agreed to pay for an air-ticket for his brother to return home.

84 comments:

Blogeswari said...

Ha ha..Grasshopper vaazhga!

Anonymous said...

reminds me of pilliyar and murugan story of the mango,always be local when you are not global

Raj said...

blogeswari, paavam erumbu.

anon : yes, you are right.

Ashu said...

good one!
BTW you have been tagged :
http://worldofash.wordpress.com/2007/07/17/ani-ek-tag/

Anonymous said...

good one :-)

- Shankar

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ashu, anon shankar : thanks

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