“You received an award?” Lulu, my parrot, asked while he nibbled at the chillies.
“Yes, the South Gujarat – Surat Chapter of National HRD Network presented me ‘Lifetime Service Award’ last week.” It is a bit puzzling when you find Lulu, my parrot, known for his condescending tone and attitude opens a topic which holds a promise of appreciation.
“Not Lifetime Achievement Award, but Lifetime Service Award?”
“Yes Lulu. That’s the title of the award.”
“Interesting. Who works till reaching they’re sixty these days? There is no lifetime employment, how can there be lifetime service?” Lulu continued his nibbling chilies while ignoring me.
“Oh Lulu! The word service in the award means service to the society, not employment in the industry. Aren’t you pulling my leg, Lulu?”
“Oh, no. By the way, congratulations!”
“Did you make an acceptance speech?”
“Yes, of course I did. It was short and impromptu.”
“What did you say?”
“I said that this was an award I received without the bell curve at work!”
“Ha ha! That’s the most hated curve in the world. Eighty-five percent people think they are victims of the bell curve. Okay, tell me, did you thank your mentors?”
“Actually, no, I did not! I was so overwhelmed.”
“Did you thank your wife? She has played a major role in your work and success.”
“Hmmmm ….. No, I am sorry, I am feeling bad, I did not mention her.”
“Did you mention anyone who shaped your life in a positive way?”
“I do not know what to say …. No, I did not mention anyone.”
“What an ungrateful man you are!”
“I feel ashamed, but I was overwhelmed. I only mentioned that I rededicate myself to the service of the society. That was my commitment.”
“Okay, not too bad. Do you realize that the impact of many people on your life is the fulcrum of your success?”
“I get it. There are several people who have made me what I am. Oh Lulu, you have been questioning me as if I am Kasab on trial! Can’t you be more friendly?”
“Okay.” Lulu looked at me. It was like a Scotland Yard detective’s gaze at Vijay Mallya or Nirav Modi. “Tell me about your work which made you think made you worthy of the Award?”
“That’s a difficult question, Lulu. But let me think of some …. I was instrumental in getting solar electricity for two schools. With solar panels fixed, the schools are self-reliant about their electricity, they generate their own required level of electricity. Their electricity bill is zero!”
“Yes, that was a good project. And you could do it because Mr. Jalaj Dani was kind to donate adequate funds.”
“That’s right. And I led the project for providing one hundred bicycles to girl students in three village schools. Girl students drop out if they have to walk long distance to the school in villages.”
“That was a good project too. And it was primarily funded by Mr. Hemant Mondkar, Chairman and MD of HyTech Engineers, right?”
“Yes Lulu. And I did several investigative stories on labour matters which were widely appreciated. That was primarily my work.”
“Not really. You could not have done it without the support of your long-time friend Arvind Shrouti. How can you forget him?”
“Yes, yes. I stand corrected. You are right.”
“You could not have done anything without the help and support of others. I repeat what I told you – ‘the impact of many people on your life is the fulcrum of your success’”.
“Yes Lulu. There is no doubt about it.”
“But you were not given award for these so-called achievements.”
“I do not get you, Lulu.”
“Remember the Lifetime Service Award was given for the impact your work had on you. Not for the impact your work had on the society. Do not think it made a huge difference to the Society; no way! Selfless work fires up insatiable appetite for service to the society. That is recognized by this award. Award is only an encouragement to do more and more. I guess the award would have made you more focused on service, and not on self.”
“I take your point Lulu. As I said, I rededicate myself to the service of the Society.”
“And remember always that you are standing on the shoulders of many men who have supported you. Things will work for you as long as you remember this while at work.” Lulu looked at me, gave me a friendly look (at last!), fluttered his wings and settled on my shoulder.
Vivek S Patwardhan
“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” / Read more Lulu blogs in my book ‘The Lulu Duologues’