Wednesday, April 07, 2010

I Know I dont Know Anything

Notes from my diary

26th March 2010 ….it is 11 PM and I am busy with this job…

‘Oh sir come stand here, I would like to click a photo’
‘come boys, come on girls stand with sir,,, hamko photo uthaney do (let me click a photo)’
‘sir ready, smile, eh stand properly boys, that’s good, ready, done’

A group photo of me and my students standing together was clicked by a person with dark face and dyed moustaches. He had called me seeing me standing in the lobby of the old guest house. We stood infront of the nehu old guest house and he did his job.

I was remembering seeing the person during the inaugural session of the seminar where he was busy with his Nikon, stretching through his neck and its cover hanging around on the other shoulder, clicking the snaps, one after another from different angles and edges, far and wide, zooming in, zooming out. Oh I remembered further I had seen this person in the dark of yesterday’s night, I was introduced to him, I forgot his name but yes I remembered he was introduced to me by Mr Arnab Chowdhury, he was accompanying Mr CC Mitra (the chief guest of our seminar), I vividly remembered meeting three of them (Mitra, Arnab and him).

Just after doing his job, he came and met me, ‘sir, do you remember me, I met you yesterday night….’ ‘Yeah, yeah, so you are with Mr Mitra’, I promptly replied.

‘I have seen you clicking lot of photos today, would you copy some of them in our laptop’ I just requested.

‘Yes sir, why not, let me finish some more photos, I shall copy in your laptop, but sir, I am not a photographer’ he asserted his point and position. ‘I am accompanying Mr Mitra, he is my friend, this camera is of my wife, I just brought on my visit to Guwahati, Mitra ji asked me to come to Shillong with him, so I followed, and that’s how I am here.’ He stopped for a while. And opened his mouth with a very calm smile. ‘sir ham mitra ji ka kutta ki tarah hai, sir I am chartered and cost’ he was further making his position clear to me, so that I am through with any of my false feeling about him.

I was in a shock for a while, Yes I had misunderstood him for a photographer or a office staff of IIBM, Guwahati, I did not tell him about it, but he had already understood by the way I had asked him to copy photos, and that’s why he had made his position clear. This person, so simple in looks, so busy mingling with people and students, clicking photos of almost every capturable moment that one could think of. He was perfectly looking like a photographer, I, in my wildest dream could never have imagined that this person could be a chartered accountant (CA) and a cost accountant. I know pretty well what takes it to become chartered accountant and for that matter, even cost accountant.

I get nostalgic about my own past, when we were growing and studying in the college, had seen some people talking about chartered accountants and the profession, did not know till then that there is something called cost accountant as well. By age, I was 17 years when I passed my graduation. Some friends were planning to join CA, my inclination to do CA was already a non possibility, even for asking about it, because my elder brother, who was much better in studies than me and one year senior to me, had afforded to ask my mother about joining CA, and through the free consultancy offered by my uncles to my mother, it was ruled in the house that CA is meant for rich people, who can afford the expense, tuition etc etc etc… so we did not have any courage of going beyond this declaration and decision. May be we lacked that determination as well, it was ruled out that he or I would go for this professional qualification, rather we should follow traditional path for further education, though that also the advisors were not in approval of. But our mother was convinced that yes we should go ahead with our further education as far as it does not involve much of monetary commitment. We never complained that, we knew of our family much better than our younger brothers who were still in school. We followed our path….

Let me leave it here…. And get back to the point that I was trying to make that doing CA is not an easy thing, it is one of the course which has least passing percentage. It is one of the most difficult courses in accounting and well respected profession in the area of accounting and decision making.

So I was still finding it difficult to believe that this person possesses this qualification and is well versed with the development happening in the area.

‘I came here for my work as well’ he pointed out to me on the two young boys standing with their bikes and helmets, ‘sir do you see them, they work in my company, I came to meet them, they have brought the details, I would check things in my laptop and they would report me about the progress and my job is over.’

He asked some students to get a tea for him, and I knew tea won’t be ready so I volunteered ‘lets go, we shall have coffee together, I would show you commerce department as well’. He readily agreed. I was interested in knowing little bit more about him, and he was our guest anyway, so this offer was made. I took him in my vehicle and we followed our way through international hostel, university clinic, shopping complex, CDD, exam block, administrative building, nehu lake, small bridge towards the building of commerce department, and then to the Nescafe shop…

He checked his pocket and found one business card of himself and told me sir you are lucky, I thought I am finished with the cards but this one is for you, I reciprocated the gesture, so a very normal ritual of exchange of cards was over. I looked at the card which read: Amalesh Ganguly, Sr General Manager, Shriram Transport Finance Co Ltd, Kolkota. He started talking about his way of living, ‘sir main aapko bola tha na, main kutta hoon, ham sab kuttey hain.’ I was feeling little bit uncomfortable with the use of words that he was so comfortable with. I keep hearing this word from my wife at home, to whom so ever she does not like, she says ‘kutta hai’. I thought how this is so. He made his point again clear to me. ‘See sir, we all work for our bosses, dogs also work for bosses, everybody has a subordinate (dog) as well as a boss, so simple, ham sab kuttey hain, sabko boss key saamney dum hilana hota hai.’ I was not convinced to the core.

By now we had already built a rapport of sharing. So I asked him to drop the prefix ‘sir’ from our further conversation, he tried but failed, I kept insisting but failed.

He told me that he use to compose poems in Bengali, he likes making friends, he enjoys life as it comes and I was responding positively with all his likings, I told I too have interest in composing, primarily in my mother tongue (hindi) and sometime in English as well, I like making friends and yes enjoy the life as it comes. We shook hands, he showed a gesture of hugging me, but resisted. We were standing at the café, I ordered a coffee for him and a lemon tea for self.

He said ‘sir you know, I know, I don’t know anything’. I loved it. I know that the more we learn the more we know of our ignorance, it was simple. However the way he said it I felt like shaking hand again but resisted, maybe we were not yet that familiar. He started deserving my respect for his way of thinking and educating me on different aspects of life and to deal with different situations. He took out a cigarette from his heart touching pocket, offered one to me, in fact I wanted to smoke with him, but I was reminded of a self imposed discipline that I have been following since last 2 years of not smoking in Shillong, so I nodded my head in the gesture of thanking him for the offer. I knew fully well that I shall be denied of this type of company to smoke ever in shillong at least.

We kept talking, he recited a Bengali verse just two lines and told me it was composed by him, which meant something like relating men with life and the way we spent our life. He asked me to recite some of my own compositions in short, I promptly agreed (always hungry for people willing to listen the compositions), recited two-two lines of two of my compositions,,,,

यकीन होता नहीं तेरे यार होने का
वो यार क्या है जो वक्त पर दगा ना दे …

Another one (composed in 1984, while I was doing graduation):

विश्वास करके मैने हज़ारों ठोकरें खायीं
फिर भी रेखाएं हाँथ की उलटी पायीं
I translated them for his convenience but he told he understood the meaning. He said we would make good friends, offered me that whenever I am in Kolkota, I must meet him and stay with him. He kept taking puff of his navy cut and just when it was over, took another stick out of the packet. Now I was trying to reach to the seminar venue as fast as I could since the session was to get over within 30 minutes. He finished puffing and then we were on our way back to the old guest house. He asked me ‘sir aap polish kartey hain’ I did not follow, and asked him what, ‘sir aap apna baal polish kartey hain, dye kartey hain, ham to apna chool or muuch dono polish karta hooon.’

We reached the old guest house, I got busy in the work, he got busy with those two of his employees, and we followed our respective business.

This simple looking person, was he really simple…. looks true… a gem… very clear in his thoughts…… ham sab kuttey hain,,,,,,,, I know that I don’t know anything…… really I must know that I don’t know anything….I can feel better, I can deal with people better, I can walk on the ground instead of flying…..

I really know…. I don’t know anything… Thanks Amalesh for teaching me this. It is my fortune that we met… My seminar is done…

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