Friday, January 7

My Ustaani…

She is your colleague and over-powering too. Can you handle her?

Miss Coolwater was trying to conquer everything coming her way. All-the-time-right sort of lady, she was bent upon proving the same–‘Hey! What-so-ever I say or do is the only right.’ She knew every thing and that too in the best possible manner. She considered herself lady to the nail. When this know-all Miss Right is working with you for about eight hours a day, your interaction with her is a must and unavoidable. It simply means: ‘I will make a hell out of you’.
Miss Coolwater was known to me for over seven years prior to her joining the college. Initially detached from the ‘gang’ of the office, she had nothing to do with the bickering of the old colleagues. Every body thought that she was different and easy-going fellow. She used to come to teach only and move out of the college premises as soon as she had taught her classes. The Old Man, that is our Principal, was happy with her. We could not figure out the connection though we knew the OM (Old Man) a bit more than his wife even. ‘Having a clear bent of mind for females’ was his approach towards all the ‘bold and beautiful’ teachers, and always took to task all the males around. ‘Look how neatly dressed females are!’ ‘Why don’t you people clean your table after taking tea?’ and many other sermons delivered on daily basis. Sickening our life was at the campus, but we remained there till we had had any better working opportunity.
Beg your pardon for the digression! I was talking about Miss Coolwater. Her working ethics remained distorted throughout our span of working there. She knew every thing, but resented doing it with her own hands. She was Masters in English Literature, we always wondered at her English language, both spoken and written. We were always drowned in our paper checking; she was never! Always relaxed! Later, we came to know that her strength was her Class Representatives. ‘Hey! Why didn’t you do this thing?’ was her usual rhetoric. Every CR was slave to her. Every class was happy with her, and almost all the colleagues were looking for an opportunity to talk to her. She was the best teacher. We, on the other hand, were the worst workers, and OM knew no time limits while talking to her. We were there to crib endlessly, and our rave and rants did not have even the slightest effect on OM.
After some time, Miss Coolwater was our friend. Then we came to know about her real prowess. The only daughter of a federal secretary, and ‘every thing big’ was in their house! We were at a loss–how to treat the Majesty! ‘Friends! Shame on you poor souls… used to be an instant conscience reply.’ Then what! ‘A colleague! No way! Such a beautiful lady shouldn’t be another man’s friend.’ What happened next! She was ‘our’ friend. Then the real person was there in front of us. All the stories of Saas-Bahus, Ghar Jawais, over-powering wives, quarrelsome neighbours, Qibla (all-respectful) wives, and…please you think on these lines and fit her in all the pictures. She was so diverse and easy-going person that we had had the usual bickerings in the college even on the pettiest matters. ‘Why didn’t you do this thing for me?’ ‘Why didn’t you make a cup of tea for me?’ ‘Why were you sizing her up?’ And what not… Then the time came, when we started feeling as if we the worst fellows on the face of this earth. This guilty feeling made us quit the college and work some where else. Recently, the college peon told me that Miss Coolwater is still there and working the same way and with the same degree of success.
Frankly, I could not find any solution to our problems with Miss Coolwater despite certain discussions with the wisest of all the men. Ultimately, we had no choice but to say ‘adieu’. Please you do the same as well because to me, this is the only choice if you can work somewhere else.

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