May 1, 2013


It's a tough choice you know. If I have the dreaded disease, then, well, I'm diseased. If I am (as all test results indicate) perfectly physically healthy, then the truth is I'm well on my way to going completely bonkers. To put it mildly, neither of the two are welcome twists in my story. 

On the other hand, thankfully the work-life is a big fat A+ right now! :) Scary too-big-to-handle project is coming to a close with only the expected number of issues cropping up. Training all the government officials on election procedure in a country like the Islamic-Republic is an endeavor that is fraught with tension. For me, the project has literally boiled down to crisis management - minute-by-minute. I suppose this is to be expected in projects with an HR of 3000+ people training a target audience of 700,000+ people. What strikes me as pretty high up on the tragi-comedy humor scale, however, is that we have had our share of problems: there have been bomb blasts (oh-so-many-bomb-blasts), pamphlets have been passed around (by our lovely Tehreek-e-Taliban, who else) threatening to dismember (or worse) anybody who participates in the National Election, there have been kidnappings and other security-related incidents galore, there have also been a huge number of HR issues - people have quit, people have been fired, people have law-suited  us for unfair practices, people have lodged harassment complaints against other people. There have, certainly, been the standard plethora of issues that are predictable when one is dealing with the Government of our lovely country. 

The point is, there are a bzillion issues that are cropping up, but the SINGLE, most PRESSING, most BURNING, most DISTURBING issue for the masses, the one we have gotten multiple letters and calls from the Election Commission itself is: The quality and quantity of the LUNCH-BOXES. It's amazing! Deep discussions on the quality of the rice grain, long deliberations about whether to have one chicken piece or two. To have it charbroiled or roasted, less-spicy, medium-spicy or let-em-cry-it-out-super-spicy. There have been philosophical musings on whether to add fruit to the lunch-boxes, and heart-stopping disappointments when the bananas-have-gone-bad. Ultimately, after days of monitoring each-damn-district, I have come to the conclusion that it matters not if a monkey is training the buggers. It matters not if they get not a single iota of knowledge from their days effort (what's-the-point,-they-probably-knew-it-all-anyway) - the FOOD has to satisfy. Bomb blasts, we have discovered, barely faze our target audience. The training continues after a few minutes disturbance (ostensibly after the obligatory phone calls to relevant people asking them if they're still alive) and is rolled-out again the next day. But if the food doesn't measure up to lofty expectations, all-hell-breaks-loose. People riot. People threaten. People literally rip the district coordinator's clothes off. The media is called in to lodge a public protest. It is a VERY-BIG-DEAL. 

Oh well. Tragi-comedy it is. And this is why weekly meetings have now begun to engage in what we call laughter-therapy. Instead of crying, or getting angry at all the many mishaps, we have begun to laugh about them (in a dark and twisty way). Team members are amazed at themselves, and have actually begun to look forward to (instead of dreading) our weekly meet up. Little do they know, for one of their team leads, laughter-therapy has just become a way of  life. 

Laugh-on, my friends. Because what else are you going to do? :P

1 comment:

kf said...

I think it's common to the process of democracy- and stake holder building, particularly with the emphasis on Muslim women, you tend to get these kind of inane comments, like that other place when they're harping on that kind of thing, and people make a big deal about the coffee cups, rather than transparency.