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Our syllabus was entirely different

‘Appa waits for an opportunity to worry and keep on worrying about it,’ complain my children.
‘There are people who worry on insignificant things like a mole on the neighbor’s face,’ I tell them.
Worrying about a mole on another face? Are you joking?
No, I’m not. Just one example. You know my father’s customer Pazhanichami Pillai, timber merchant? He was in the habit of worrying about the mole on the neighbor’s face. And this was how it started.
Pillai’s wife Aatchi was chatting one evening with his friend Mudhaliar, unusually for a long time. She was the best friend of Mudhaliar’s wife PAtchi, but recently they broke their friendship for some valid reasons. Atchi wanted to know from Mudhaliar in minute details whether his wife was feeling sorry for the rupture in their friendship. But,  her loving husband, misunderstood the purpose of the long conversation. Unable to stand the sight of his wife spending too long a time chatting with Mudhali
( ‘no respect for him. I will call him just Mudhali,’ he decided ) he cried, ‘enough of it!’
His wife didn’t hear the warning and continued with the chat.
After his friend left, the shrewd businessman, asked his wife, ‘what topic of international importance did keep you engaged with that ‘Chaembu moran Mudhali, for over an hour?’
Chaembu is an ugly root vegetable or tuber called Taro. ‘Moran’ is one with a face which looks like that root. Not a complement at all.
The self- prestige of Mrs. Palli could not take that assault. ‘There is a corn on his chin. Do you have it on your face? No. He has it. That is why he is admired by my friends’
‘How could a mole add beauty to a wrinkled, disarrayed face like Chaembu?’, Pillai tried to figure out and lost his sleep that night. He didn’t have the courage to ask that question to his wife.
Anyway, from the next day onwards, Pillai started looking for a mole in any face that came across, especially if that face used to come anywhere near his wife.
That worry was unnecessary, as you will agree. The worst part was his worry became my worry, when he came close to me and planted his eyes on my face to search for a mole there!
Another mole story:
I was selling clothes of a reputed brand after retirement and had to supervise the sales of some thirty retail outlets. The owner of one shop, Meera Ben was known to my sister Ambujam Ben in Ahmedabad. She was in her mid seventies, though in her Franchisee application, the date mentioned was 43. ‘Instead of 73, by mistake, you wrote 43, Meera Ben?’ I asked her at the personal interview.  ‘You want your products appear on the windows as they are or look smarter and younger, as I’m?’
My reply for that question was the Agency Agreement Form., duly signed on the spot!
‘We want business,’ my boss used to remind me often, ‘whether the guys enter our office wearing  Pancha or pattu is not our concern”
Meera Ben had a small problem, not really related to the cloth – sales . She had a mole on her right cheek which was the highlight of her facial beauty during her peak hours. ( Seek your apology for using that business language. By ‘peak hours’ , I meant ‘during her young days ). When she reluctantly moved to old age, her beauty emblem got eclipsed in the folds, wrinkles and wraps of the facial skin.
A salesman should know how to sell his goods and I knew my job. I used all my tricks to sell my goods, means clothes of my company and one of those was my Ayurvedam expertise, acquired during my peak hour, as the Kottakal pharmacy was close to my house. I just explained to you what ‘peak hour’ is.
‘Are you sure you can help me?,’ asked Meera Ben when I told her that there was a solution for every problem in Ayurvedam.
‘What do you expect from me, for your service?,’ asked the Gujarati lady, without mensing her words. That is how a business man or woman should start a deal- no beating around the bush!
‘Nothing much Ben,’ I explained, ‘I’m old, you are old’.
‘You are old, not me’. She stood up from her seat. That was to tell me, she didn’t require my services.
I pulled out from my pocket my company’s Order Form and told her, ‘200 bed sheets, 300 bath towels, 500 shirts, 500 saris, I’m ordering for your shop . Please sign here madam. The rest is my responsibility’
‘What about my mole treatment?,’ She enquired,  pushing the Order Form aside, even without looking at it.
‘You want to keep the mole in its present form or use my expertise to showcase it smarter and younger like you?,’  I asked in the language she employed at the time of her recruitment.
Then I made her to sit and moved my head close to her face. ‘Let me first, have a good look at your mole and then decide which leaf or root to use to rejuvenate it’.
It took a minute or two to adjust my eye- glasses.
Exactly at that moment, entered my boss, a restless young man, who dreams only sales, market and money . In fact , for his age,  it was ideal for him to dream something better.
‘SP garu, eami chesthunArandi- what are you doing? ‘  Nirmal Setty fumed.
‘She has a mole on her face, Nirmal,’ I explained. ‘I’m trying to locate that to promote our sales’
‘She has a mole on her face and you are looking at it to promote our sales?’ His annoyment was understandable. He continued, ‘that  was not taught in our Ananthapur MBA. Your business management course taught you that?’
‘Yes, Nirmal. I studied business before you were born,’ I explained, ‘the old syllabus was entirely different, you see’
‘What is your problem, anyway, Nirmal?’ asked Meera Ben. ‘After all, he is old, I’m old)
I jumped from my seat and yelled,  ‘Meera Ben, you are not old!. Recall what you told me a few minutes before’
Meera Ben pulled out the Indent form from the drawer, signed it even without looking at it once and handed it over to me.
‘SP garu, mee tricks bAga natchindhi , naakku. superb sales-skill, I like that very much,’ said my boss, ‘these tricks were not taught in our MBA’
‘Our syllabus was entirely different you see,’ I told him.
Ocala, Florida
March 20,  2015

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