has a new lady boss (LB) and, like most men, he doesn't know
how to deal with it. "It's like living like a bonded slave",
I heard him call up his mother the other night, "I am tongue-tied
at home with the Wifey around, I feel choked in the office with
my boss around. Ma, what am I to do?" If he broke down
over the phone, he kept it discreetly private- you know it,
the sort of melodrama that bonds a child to his mother, more
correctly, an adult son to his mater.
he trying to find solace in, I mused? My M-I-L (mother in law)
herself is a feared, if revered, boss in her arena of excellence-
that's teaching university students. When she zips by, the peons
at the university shudder, the pillars shake, the students shiver,
and the colleagues quietly skip to another alley. At home, my
F-I-L brokers solitude by immersing himself in gargantuan works
of scholars, the D-I-Ls have long figured out that a un-questioning
'yes boss' is all it takes to keep the big boss's forehead crease-free.
Only the sons, The Hubby in particular, can get away with a
bad joke. Even an innocuous joke from any of the rest of us
is stretching our luck too far.
We can only
play guessing games about what his mother advised him on dealing
with two bossy women (let's for a moment assume she counted
herself out) in his life. Whatever it was, and looks like she
asked him to march ahead on the offensive, it didn't work. He
tried it at home first. Had the temerity to suggest that we
watch India-vs-Pakistan while my favourite soap was on. I growled,
threatened to buy another television, and that was it. End of
discussion, and of any further dissent. If he tried a similar
tactic at office, God save him from being handed the pink slip.
agree that, coming from a LB herself, the efficacy of such a
suggestion is doubtful, so I wonder how the MIL couldn't come
up with a better solution to deal with this mega-crisis in her
son's life. But it also only strengthens my belief that lady
bosses at work (and thank the kind Lord, I am not one), after
all, are incapable of seeing clearly even if a mirror is held
before them. Male bosses are an even more peculiar category-
they will not allow a mirror to be brought in, in the first
place! But with male bosses, at least you usually know where
you stand. Everything about lady bosses is as enigmatic as their
nods and more nods.
disposition to pre-judged generalisations about all women thinking
and acting alike, The Hubby started trying his deconstructionist
skills at women's one-liners. Suddenly his mail-box was flooded
with the forwarded spam circulating in cyberspace on 'what women
mean when they say yes, or no, or say nothing at all'. He nearly
thought he'd cracked it with the LB, when one day in the middle
of the day he calls up distraught saying he'd messed up because
he had misinterpreted her firm no as a firm go-ahead on a certain
him! This LB makes him slog, think, stretch, and then work some
more. The Hubby look flustered these days. He has already aged
ten more years in a short span of a few months, and he walks
around like a sapless, lifeless zombie. If you thought life
would be a joyride with a lady boss at the helm, after seeing
The Hubby, there's this sincere piece of advice- forget it.
I have seen
this LB once, from a distance, and was impressed by her dynamism.
She could effortlessly win the 'Best Turned-Out Boss of the
Year' award. I think, some of the sense of well-being that goes
with dressing well has rubbed off on her subordinates too, The
Hubby in particular. Now I don't see him stepping out in mismatched
socks, he keeps his moustache nattily trimmed, and he's started
paying more attention to his mildly greying hair. Last week
he nearly went in for a psychedelic streak, I had to remind
him that soon his son may be old enough to start competing with
him, so the thought be laid to rest peacefully.
pays to keep the boss in good humour, so we all know. Even my
baburchi knows the right words to say to me when I
dictate a new recipe to him, "Madam, what a recipe, the
best I've taken down ever"! Lately it was made public that
the LB is passionate about Hollywood flicks, both old and new.
Everyone at The Hubby's workplace has become a silver screen
aficionado since, with movies becoming the first language at
work. Management pundits have long theorised that it helps to
talk the same language within an organisation, as it forms a
more cohesive team.
I saw The Hubby struggling with the monstrous Merriam Webster's
Collegiate Dictionary. Apparently, playing Scrabble is the other
passion the LB openly talks about. And I have a feeling that
she casually mentioned it at lunch yesterday that she was looking
for a competent partner for a forthcoming competition. We know
what all the employees did last night!