Monday, June 11, 2012

An ‘AGM’ through my looking glass!

It was a Sunday afternoon, quite windy and sultry. I accompanied my mother-in-law (mother, by nature) to an ‘AGM’ (Annual General-body Meeting) of ‘Flat Owners Association’! Curious, since I was no flat owner for good’s sake and still attending the one, so how could it be! Known issue for discussion was the broken lift and its upliftment followed by a cup of coffee and biscuits. Over! Is it so? …… No!

Well it was a potluck with different minds, different say, different wavelengths etc., with one idea of dedicated time and space for discussion and problems solving.

We reached the destination very early and we visited the ‘tenant’ house there. They were extremely polite and sweet. The house lady not only served us with nice tea but also sat close and conversed with us. We left to attend the meeting.

We were still early and had a privilege to choose the desired place to ‘participate’. We chose a comfortable place and waited for the invitees to fill the hall. Every face entered was welcomed with smiles and hellos by everyone present. Everyone entered with conscious and delicate smiles. It was a neat neighborhood for several minutes!  

The ‘President’ started the ‘meeting’. Well, I did not think it would be so official (I would not say professional!) since it was a conversation of neighbors. Felt happy that they are doing it all so organized and corporate! Yes, I hatched the word, its ‘Corporate’! I should say it was in all ways corporate.

Our ‘President’ of the meeting is a great orator, an amazing person in charge who grabs the attention of the gathering with his loud and authoritative voice. “He should be a personality development coach” I thought, may not be because of his personality but because of his persuasion skills and language.

The decorum of the community hall started getting warmed up as the discussion passed on. Old, young, mid aged people, everybody presented their way of body language to the meeting.

I must first apologize to ‘my dearest friend’ who is not here with us today, who has misinterpreted my concerned words as ‘abusive’ which I never exercise, which I never have rights to impose on others. If his misconduct is noticed and question by the so called ‘President’ which is me, if that is considered to be offensive and abusive, then openly, in public, I wholeheartedly apologize!” – Oh! This was the welcome speech of the ‘President’. I was listening to him carefully guessing his nature of job!

The heat increased more when people opened up to speak against the President and one another. This didn’t differ in any way than a corporate organization! I could see an easy toggle of individual ego raising up and satisfying the selves in their own manner of talks and gestures.

Some seemed arrogant, some seemed sincere, some were just curious like me since they were new to this meeting. I could hear an old voice murmuring from behind saying “Its always the case, we never discuss any productive things in our meetings”. Noticeable was his attempt to please the young and cute lady next to him!  

The convincing voice of President again, “Coming back to the issue of the broken lift, I don’t understand why people hesitate to pay the requested amount. I saw Jagan uncle the other day, an old man who was struggling to climb the stairs (imitated) from arthritis. I had tears in my eyes looking at his plight”. The lady was gushing to climb I said, “sorry amma” all these are because we are unable to repair the lift since our good neighbors are not paying the nominal amount!” “Don’t we have the heart to think and act upon this issue!”, “He is a real gentleman” I thought.

My husband has a knee fracture, he cannot climb the stairs, he never comes down since the lift is under repair”…..the voice of an old lady. She grinned with pride on flattering the crowd with her English skills. “I agree with Mrs. Sathyanarayana, I am having so much trouble everyday to go up and down without the lift”…..another fan of English language sufficed her tempt of raising her voice amidst the crowd in English. However, due respect their genuine suffering!  

I smiled within thinking, its not their mistake to feel English as a great language, it’s the generation at which they were born when we were being ruled by the English. One thing was sure, that the old people out there had the better (or I should say purer) English than the younger crowd. Generation again!

Everyone pointed out fingers at one another for the lift not being repaired. Everyone are sorry for the old people, everyone are suffering, feeling bad. But still, the problem is not yet solved! Why?!

Ok let us not embark over the things past, let us concentrate on what has to be done”, a voice raised from a more sensible and knowledgeable person. He had abundant knowledge on the legalities and commercial issues. “How much funds do we have with us right now”.

Around 4 to 5” a gentleman said.


4 to 5……..hundreds? thousands? We had, 4 to 5 lakhs as backing funds from the association!!! And still, the lift is not ready, we get ‘tears in eyes’ for old people suffering, we feel sorry, still, the lift is undone! Only reason being, still some of the house owners have not paid the charges for lift repair! I was shocked! We have enough funds to get the lift repaired several times!!

Ok….anyways…we got into a conclusion to get the lift repaired ‘immediately’! Now, is the question of its maintenance, how do we maintain it!

Let us not allow the housemaids, vendors to use the lift” some voice said!! Wow…! This is amazing…..we, sitting below the ACs and fans feel the pain of claiming the lift and we command the housemaids, the toilers to use the stairs!? Is it a sign of slavery? Are we not supposed to respect our maids with the work they do? It is true that they may not be literate enough to use the lift properly but isn’t there any alternative than banning them from using it?!

How do we control them from using the lift, we should inform the security”, I was astonished to listen to this from an old lady who is nearing her 80s!

When anyone family is shifting the house, then please switch off the lift”!! another voice from a well dressed young lady!

I don’t understand this grammar! Suppose if a family is in 4th floor and wants to vacate……then the lift will be shut?! More bothering issue was, the crowd nodded in agreement to this point!! Don’t we have any alternative such as suggesting them to use less weight at one time of shifting!!

Where are we all heading to! Where is the concept of “Vasudaiva Kutumbakam”?! We cannot revere our own neighbors, and we are heading towards having a “global village”!!

Let me remind, its not anybody’s mistake over there with the way they reacted!! I seriously feel so! It’s the entire wave of society that’s making all of us more selfish and narrower!!! Is it all the money or is it the act of middle class emerging into the upper class chaos!

I might have also reacted the way they did, if I were to be in their place, never know, since I am also a part of this society! But, as per now, as an outsider, I felt extremely conscious and concerned with the way the society is being tuned up and accept the ‘Corporate’ way!

We all departed with the conscious smiles back on our faces!   


Anonymous said...

First of all...a very good write up Samyuktha! Neat job!!

And then with the subject, I am with you all the way thru, and must insist that since you were not a part of the piece everyone owned and were discussing about, it just didnt make you react...atleast not in the way the crowd in the meet did!! However it just gave you an opportunity to zoom out and see the whole act as an isolated being!! And thats what is exactly needed!! zoom out ,view and analyse, why are we here, why are we just yelling at each other, what are we trying to achieve, ...what did we bring that we are making sure to take with us!!
I think all of us are tuned in such a way that only if we are estranged can we zoom out, alienate and not be so materialistic...but otherwise we are all in the same race!

alright...time for me to go hit the bed, so I can present those slides tomorrow!! Did I say estranged? ;)

kanasu said...

Thanks "Anonymous". Nimma hesaru barediddare chennagiruttittu! :)

Anonymous said...

if the Lift were to be alive and attended that AGM meeting it would have pleaded for mukthi...