Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
         Volume 11 |Issue 13| March 30, 2012 |


 Cover Story
 Current Affairs
 Special Feature
 Straight Talk
 Cartoon Strip
 Star Diary

   SWM Home


The Myth of a Fool-proof Plan

Aasha Mehreen Amin

The biggest lesson to learn in life is that nothing goes according to plan. No matter how much of a maniacal perfectionist you are, there will always be that one slip up or oversight that will turn things upside down. We must account for something called human error that may turn an apparently hundred percent foolproof plan into a nightmarish series of goof ups.

Photo: Courtesy

Say you have to send an important document to a neighbouring building within the following morning. You tell the office assistant to take the document to the fifth floor of the building and deliver it to the reception there. Everything seems to be going according to plan until a frantic phone call the next morning tells you that the person to whom you had sent the document to has not received it. Naturally you blame the person's receptionist who must have misplaced the envelope. Especially since the office assistant insists that he did deliver it on time. Something is not right and suddenly you ask, with a sinking heart, where exactly he had delivered the document. The office assistant confidently announces that he has delivered it to the fifth floor reception and they had taken it though, on second thoughts, a little reluctantly. He had given the said envelope to the security guard of the fifth floor of your building. The security guard meanwhile using his own discretion had left the envelope on the desk of someone who had a similar-sounding name. The receiver having decided to spring clean his desk that day looked at the envelope perfunctorily and promptly threw it in the bin. Needless to say that the trauma of trying to find an envelope in the series of garbage collection, is quite deep. If the documents include your passport or voter ID card, it is worth going through the garbage no matter how stinky it is, if it hasn't been hauled away. Otherwise it is best to just give up this futile paper chase.

Thus, sometimes a plan goes awry because of a series of unexpected variables. A lovestruck Romeo once decided to run away from home because his father had stopped allowing him to use the phone (during the landline years) because of his atrocious grades that had sunk to an all time low. The sulky teenager decided to write a letter to his rather indifferent girlfriend that he was going away but one day would come back for her as a better man. But then he decided to first say goodbye to her in person. After a brief goodbye (as the girl was more anxious about the consequences of the visit rather than his running away), he parted by saying he had left something under one of the sofas in the verandah. After he left she looked under the said sofa and there it was, a message of true love – a big sized potato. After straining her brain trying to find some deep meaning in this much-loved vegetable, however unattractive, it may look on the outside, the girl began to think it was some kind of stupid practical joke very typical of her prankster boyfriend. Predictably, that little love story did not have a happy ending. It was only many weeks later that her mother informed her that a silly little love letter had been left lying about in a corner of the garden. The housemaid had swept the verandah and had thrown the dust-covered folded piece of paper into the garden. As for the potato, it was not a symbol of undying love and the anguish of separation. It was just a potato – the cook had brought in the groceries and had not noticed a potato rolling off and getting lodged under a sofa leg creating such a series of confusing conclusions.

Thus, in every fool-proof plan, there is actually a fool (sometimes more than one) lurking within the layers of meticulous follow ups and vehement assurances that the job will be done. Usually plans do get executed eventually with some minor hitches. As for the ones that go completely haywire, the only form of consolation is to tell oneself –it just wasn't meant to be.


Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2012