The ‘Embeeyay’

In this world thrives a creature called the ‘Embeeyay’. He (or she) is biped, penta-dactyl, mostly omnivorous (though the herbivore category is slowly on the rise!).He has a very potent weapon, it’s called: the BlackBerry. Powerful messages could be sent and received thru them. In appearance, the Embeeyay is mostly of medium height- five eight or five nine for the males and five two for the female. The Embeeyays are generally slow-reacting (except in matters of KRAs and PMIs), one-dimensional and superficial species. They are driven in only one direction. They have just one goal in life: achieve the TARGET. Pathetic, humourless, defensive is what Historians prefer to call this breed. They stay and move around in their own little bubble universes. We shall now attempt a CASE STUDY of one such prototype.

Meet Kishore Dhanuka. Plain looking, medium built, bespectacled. It wouldn’t have mattered to the world had his surname been Dhandhaniya or Dhanki, Dhariwal or Dasgupta. Today, he arrived at office a full minute late. He shuffled to his workstation, placed his leather briefcase under his desk and switched on his workstation. From behind, his colleague and now cigarette mate slapped Kishore on his back and joked about the girl they used to chase at MBA- School. But Kishore didn’t have the time or mood to reminisce. It was month-end and he had to achieve his ‘figures’. Now, a little definition of the word ‘figures’ in the Embeeyay dictionary. Figures: Sing. figure- noun- A set of integers greater than equal to zero; usually referred to by certain species as a target to achieve at the end of a month/year by way of ‘sales’. Kishore was a good sales guy. His boss had given him the highest target to achieve. Forty lakhs in thirty days. But Kishore was going through a rough patch. His dream car was waiting in the showroom but the bank was yet to process the loan. He had spent many sleepless nights worrying about this. Then there was his mother who prodded him every day at breakfast to talk about the girl he was seeing. Kishore wasn’t seeing anybody. Hell, who has the time to see when there are ‘figures’ to achieve. Yet Mrs Dhanuka had an uncanny knack of asking intrusive questions about women. Kishore spent many sleepless nights worrying about this too. He himself wondered sometimes whether he did miss something in life, whether there is a need, after all, to worry about women. And then of course, the huge education loan he was to pay back in seven years’ time. This was not Kishore’s first job as the Retail head of an insurance agency. He had already spent three years in this industry but there were too many worries catching up with him now. After a brief stare at the ‘Siddhivinayak’ desktop wall-paper, Kishore started his day by opening his mail.

Sales call at ten, conference at twelve, meeting with agents and prospective clients at four, travel to Messrs Ahluwalia to collect a premium cheque at six, preparing cover notes for tomorrow’s sales calls by eight, conference again at eight thirty. Still he was off-target by about two lakhs. Damn. The furrows on Kishore’s forehead deepened. Before even he started his work, Kishore needed a smoke- break.

Kishore’s office was located on the fifth floor of a swanky uptown office complex. The city’s best restaurants were just two blocks away. That place was also the hub of entertainment and the city’s night-life. For Kishore, though, none of this mattered. He worked twelve-hour days and if lunch figured, it would be greasy Chinese food from the street vendor just across the road for 10 bucks. Kishore wasn’t much into drinking or partying though his friends spent endless weekends driving down the city with beer cans in cars and hitting the discos and dancing till the wee hours. The last time Kishore had partied was four years ago in B-School. His eyes drifted from the excel sheet on his computer to a colour photograph on the red soft-board, It was of him with his friends in a hip club in Hyderabad. Man, what a night it was. The music, the food, the beer and the girls. But the picture now seemed like a relic from Stone Age. Before his mind could wander any further, Kishore began listing the clients he was yet to visit in the remaining three days of the month.

Kishore Dhanuka survived the monster called Month-end. Though he was close enough to his target of forty lakhs (He managed thirty eight lakhs, eighty thousand and seven hundred), in this industry, being ‘close enough’ could mean being non- productive. And for perpetual loss making institutions such as Insurance, there is no place for non-productive fellows. But Kishore is a survivor. He will keep surviving till the furrows on his forehead deepens to become bottomless pits of darkness.

Five years and two jobs, Kishore got married and elevated to the position of Retail Head in his new company. After dropping off his pregnant wife to the gynae, he drives his dream car into another swanky address in another part of the city. His appearance has become somewhat swarthy after he started drinking heavily with his male friends. His lanky fingers were adorned with a ruby, an emerald, a sapphire and a topaz. The furrows on his forehead were covered by an orange ‘tika’. He had grown a considerable paunch in three years and wore one shirt size too big to conceal his protruding stomach.

He reached his cabin on time and switched on his laptop. ‘Siddhivinayak’ smiled back at him this time as well. Missing were: the cigarette mate- for Kishore smoked alone now, the colour photograph on his softboard- for it had got buried deep under stuff while he was shifting residence. However, he did have a target this time as well. It was one and a half crores in thirty days. Kishore knew that he would not be there to see his first child right after birth. He had talked it over with his very patient wife Aastha. Kishore looked out of the glass windows in his cabin. The weather outside was dark and grey. It was winter time when everything looked old even the sky. A smile slowly spread across Kishore’s face. It was the first time he had looked out of the window in his new office on the fifteenth floor. It was the first time he had ever looked at the city from this height. He made an effort to get up from his chair and walk towards the window. He felt the familiar surge of pain shooting up his spine. He had failed many appointments with the doctor. But he just didn’t have the time…

Let me remind the readers that I am not attempting to write a biography here. It is up to you to infer whether Kishore finally got his back diagnosed, whether Kishore had a son or a daughter, whether Kishore was able to achieve his ‘figures’ this time or whether he led a happy life. The choice is yours.

Disclaimer 1: Kishore Dhanuka is a character created by me purely for the purpose of fiction. Any resemblance to any characters living or dead is obviously intentional because there ARE many Kishore Dhanukas living all across the world. And I feel sad about them.

Disclaimer 2: I have nothing against MBAs. I believe whichever field one is in, one has to lead a complete, wholesome and enjoyable life. Figures are not the end of the world.

Disclaimer 3: If it seems that I lack technical knowledge in the field of Insurance, it is purely because I am just an observer and have expressed my limited knowledge in the simplest of thoughts without using too much jargon.

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