Mythologist | Author | Speaker | Illustrator

May 2, 2011

First published May 1, 2011

 in Corporate Dossier ET

The waxing of the waning employee

Published in Corporate Dossier ET on Feb 18, 2011.

Chandra, the moon-god, disobeyed his father-in-law, Daksha Prajapati. Daksha had given him 27 wives and told him that he should love all wives equally.  Chandra, however, preferred only one of them. An angry Daksha, therefore cursed Chandra, that he would suffer from the wasting disease. Each day, his luster would wane and eventually he would disappear forever.  As a result, the moon started to wane.  A terrified Chandra did not know what to do. Being a Deva, a sky-god, he turned to his king, Indra, and begged him for help.  “The only person you can turn to is Shiva,” said Indra,  “because he is not a Deva.  He is a Maha-Deva, greater than all gods put together.”

Chandra went to Shiva but Shiva was a silent god, with eyes shut, deep in meditation.  Chandra sat before him, trembling, afraid, desperate for help.  Shiva opened his eyes, looked at the miserable moon-god. Without speaking a word,  Shiva picked Chandra up and gently placed him on his forehead. Instantly, the moon began to wax once again.  Daksha had caused Chandra to degenerate; Shiva had helped him regenerate. Chandra realized why Indra had addressed Shiva as Maha-deva; he was not just god (spelt without capitals).  He was God (spelt in capitals). Chandra established the festival of Shiva-ratri each month, at the tail end of the waning half of the lunar month.  And once a year, he established the Maha-Shiva-ratri, to mark the end of the winter months and the waxing of the summer seasons.

Offices are filled with Daksha Prajapatis and Shivas.  Daksha Prajapatis are colleagues who cause us to wane. Meeting Daksha results in loss of luster, mood and enthusiasm.  We feel depressed. Shivas ,on the other hand, have a calming effect. Without doing too much, just by their mere presence, they can energize and bring back enthusiasm in the most depressed of colleagues.  Shiva is the colleague we seek out when we have the blues. Daksha is the colleague who we shun as he causes the blues.

Sandipani Mukherjee, an architect, is terrified of meeting Rakesh Rathod who works in the same design firm.  Every time Rakesh joins a meeting, Sandipani feels depressed. Rathod is cynical and shoots every proposal down.  When Sandipani comes up with an idea, Rakesh finds holes in them, and invariably makes Sandipani feel small and incompetent.  But Sandipani cannot wish Rakesh away, they work in the same team and the same department and are on many common projects. Sandipani tries to rationalize the situation.  He knows Rakesh does not mean ill but that is the way he is, unfortunately.  The only way to survive is to walk across and meet Paritosh.

Paritosh is the admin manager who seems to be at peace with himself. He never gets angry, never raises his voice, and somehow gets every job done without much effort.  Sandipani just goes to Paritosh’s workstation and sits there.  They don’t talk. Paritosh simply goes about doing his work and just the gentle rhythm with which things gets done around Paritosh, energizes Sandipani.  The world no longer feels like a terrible place as it does after an encounter with Rakesh.  A cup of tea later, Sandipani returns to his desk, like the full moon, shining brightly, secure in the knowledge that should Rakesh make him wane, there is always Paritosh who will help him wax.

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