My Cute Koyangi
How are you? I am sorry, I couldn’t write to you earlier. Not that I didn’t have time, I was lazy as usual. I do remember you want to know about the place where I stay in Kuwait, and what I do etc; here it is
I stay in a big building, rented by my Employer. It has 8 floors and each floor has 4 flats.
There are three bed rooms in each flat and one person occupies one room, so 3 persons per flat. The drawing and dining space is empty in all flats except for one flat in each floor. This living space is well furnished with TV, music system and all.
The ground floor is the dining hall with kitchen, cold storage and a strange little bird in a clean cage, pet of the Korean head cook. I think it is a Mainha, can’t speak, though.
The basement has a state of the art gymnasium with all gadgets and three golf driving nets. That reminds me, the other day my wife called me up from Delhi.
“Where are you?”
“I am sitting in the gym, watching others exercising, one guy to my left has already run 45 minutes at 10.5 km per hour, on the tread mill, amazing isn’t it??”
“You mean to say, you are sitting there watching others exercising? Disgusting…” and slammed the phone.
These are the few hazards of having a Doctor wife, who is very concerned about your health, when you are healthy. But I do believe in her beliefs and the classical 1st principle of living, “Give up drinking, smoking, high cholesterol food etc and exercise every day and you will definitely die healthier”. In spite of few hazards, she is a great doctor an wonderful lady and a wife too. (I wish, she opens and reads this blog, but no chance.)
Sorry, Sekki Koyangi dear, I just strayed away from the main topic, so coming back….
I stay in the laundry located in flat No 4, 1st floor, in room number 4-1. The rest of the building is occupied by 95 Koreans, my excellent friends. Flat No 4 is basically the service flat. The other two bed rooms are ironing room, house keeping store etc. The big room, which, once upon a time was designated as kitchen, is now stuffed with washing machines, dryers, detergent bags etc. The massive drawing –dining space is empty, except few stray vacuum cleaners lying around here and there. In one corner, I have my state of the art kitchen, comprising of a hot plate, a 10 inch non-stick frying pan, a drawer taken out off my cupboard , used as a stool, and some Indian spices, mustard oil etc.
Koyangiya, you must be wondering, how come a top of the line manager of a global leader, multinational Company, staying in a laundry? Yes I stay in a laundry by choice, not by compulsion. Many times I have been asked, requested, ordered, threatened with dire consequences by top management, to move out to a top floor room, over looking the sea.
I have managed to stay on because I always operate with 1st principles.
If you are destined to stay in a hotel, Company guest house, service apartment, residential complex etc where there are common facilities shared by others, the applicable 1st principle is CORRUPT THEM, corrupt the whole lot of service people , right from the gate keeper, cook, laundry man, house keeper to the estate manager, service manager etc etc.
By 1st principle means here is Corrupt them all by giving a fat tips immediately on arrival . Tipping 1st principle is “Tip them before the service is rendered." If you go to a Restaurant apply 1st principle, tip the waiter, before you place the order. (There is a risk element to this, but more often than not you will be benefited)
Now I have 12 boys, from kitchen, gymnasium, Laundry etc as my great admirer.
The other day big boss saw me in the lobby, and exclaimed, “Hey! I always notice, you wear nicely ironed clothes, how come it is not so with my dresses? I have expressed my dissatisfaction to the service contractor so many times!! Do you iron yourself?
“From now on you will get like mine, sir"
"How? Even the service contractor is not doing any thing, I am thinking of changing the contractor."
“Sir, there is no need to do so, he is a nice guy. (If the contractor is chalked out, I will be in trouble. I will lose the whole bunch of highly efficient, motivated corrupt lot, whom I have developed over several months and with good investment.)
“Sir, you & service contractor are big shots and doing staff function. I am the self appointed laundry manager, I have the line authority, and my words are laws in flat No 4. So dont worry, you say it and you get it." (I did not tell about the 1st principle).
The boss was very happy, the contractor was so happy (as he did not lose the job) that he instructed all his boys to take special care of me. Of course I had another advantage, I am Indian and the boys are Indian.
A typical Evening
In the evening when I arrive, Mohan the press chap will be waiting in ambush at the stairs, and no sooner did I reach, than he would snatch my lap-top and run up the stairs in one breathe to my room. He will quickly pretend to check if every thing is alright in the room.
I will stretch myself on the chair while thinking of starting the laptop for a usual marathon chat..
“Sir shall I give a massage? Mohan would ask very affectionately
- No need
- No sir, you are looking very tired, sir, you will feel good.
-OK, if you so wish. (Tone here is very important; he should feel that you are doing him a favor by taking a massage)
2nd press boy will come rushing and ask, “Sir tea or coffee?" (There is a small pantry on each floor, self service and provided by the Company free).
“Bring what ever you want" (again doing a favor).
Ashiqui, the semi-cook would come then from the kitchen, down stairs.
“Sir, what is for snacks? (Koreans eat early and dinning hall or kitchen is empty by 6-30).
“What do you have or can make?'
"Sir with drinks or without?"
“I am hungry. Dont irritate me “(That means idiomatically I may have a drink).
“Sir I was thinking of making crisp fried lamb strips, in Honey with sesame seed and green chili. (I had taught him last year while using the main kitchen. This apparent favor I had done to make him feel, I was really interested to make him a good cook someday. But I had other vested interest, which he would never know.). And this Joker today has cut strips from kitchen supply secretly and kept for me. (Corruption has great power indeed)
" Sir shall I make light Tuna salad, you taught me, with extra virgin olive oil, dash of lemon, thin slices of onion, greed chili mixed with grated parmesan?
“Who is it?”
- I am Ismail, sir (the 2nd semi cook. He is under punishment, demoted to lower corruption level, Lower tips). Promotion and demotion from a particular corruption level is a usual action to reduce risk.
"Ok Ashiqui, make one Omelet, ensure that no onion, green chili or ginger pieces touch my teeth. Ensure that juice of the ingredients is only used. Actually I want to have the Tuna salad, but have to ignore due to tactical reason. Also I have to settle for omelet, to prove to all, who are present there, that I am the boss around here. I take decision and can ignore suggestions, however good the others may sound.
Coming back, watch the situation, one chap is massaging my shoulder, the other one making tea in the pantry, two guys are trying to impress me with nice snacks (not provided by the Company).
Managing a Corrupt lot (with reference to service sector only) is a challenge by itself and a nice pastime too.
The 1st principle will apply, "Divide and rule" as taught in the Panchatantra .
For the maximum benefit, I must ensure fierce competition among service providers and at the same time I must see they all are bubbling with aspiration to become more corrupt. (Get more money I mean).
The aspiration handling is tricky. Here I have to apply 1st principle "slippery pole and the monkey".
Koyangi, you remember, we used to do some Mathematics, where the monkey climbs 2 ft up a slippery pole and slips 1. 5 ft etc etc. So I have to de-motivate them, by encouraging them in TQM style.
Like I would say “Ashiqui, you are cooking excellent dishes but you are no where near Ismail, as long as Tuna salad is concerned. You need to improve". I never blame them; I always encourage them to improve. (Which is as good as saying you are worth 5 $ and not 20 $ this month).
Last but not the least “Fear is the Key". They know I am a big gun (actually not), and I can remove them from the job in seconds (I have never said so, but they think so) so “Even if Sahib is not tipping much these days, we will work for him, else he will get us sacked....”
There are many other incidents. I have developed a soft corner for them. The boys are always very nice to me. Many people are very good at corrupting people. I corrupt them with a feeling and with lot of love too.
So these are the benefits of being a self appointed laundry manager. My immediate boss and the admin boss wonder, why I am not shifting to the 5th floor room, where they will give a kitchen and Indian TV connection. They are also surprised at my flimsy excuses for not being able to shift.
Take care, miss you really. Hope to see you soon, Neh Yaonga