Chennai: Employees of Daawadol Corp were taken aback with morning when they were served their daily idly-sambhar breakfast by their CEO Swaminathan Reddy. That it was not token gesture at restoring the dignity of labour was evident when long-time caterer Sushil Prasad was seen sitting in the CEO's chair in his cabin all day.
This drastic upheaval was caused, believe it or not, by a spoonful of chilli pickle. Reddy, who is a regular at the cafeteria, always took an extra spoonful of the aforementioned pickle with his lunch thali, a privilege that Daadwadol Corp assures us is available to all employees without discrimination. However, last Monday, Sushil Prasad noticed that not only did Reddy not ask for the extra pickle, but did not consume the standard issue dosage either. Suspecting that something was wrong, Sushil immediately checked with the cleaning staff if Mr Reddy had made more than his usual visits to the restroom. Having confirmed that the pickle avoidance was not due to indigestion, Sushil talked to Reddy's driver Navneet Singh "Rikky", who confirmed that there had been no angry exchanges in the Reddy household that morning, and in fact Mr Reddy had been most cheerful when he got into the car. Soon after, he had received a call, where an angry voice has very loudly abused him and his female relatives in Punjabi, and Mr Reddy had responded only with polite "sorry, sorry…I will try my best". Rikky had offered to respond to the caller, but Reddy snapped back at him and asked him to look ahead and not drive over any more cow tails for the day.
Sushil then put two and two together, and figured that the angry caller was none other than Mr Bhatia, the Sikh gentleman who had lunch with Mr Reddy in the cafeteria last month. Sushil remembered Bhatia's remark of "oye yaar, roti shoti nahin banaatey? Main yeh beemaron waaley dahi chawaal nahin kha sakta". He had heard from the office boy that apart from roti shoti, Mr Bhatia had demanded lassi shassi during the long meeting, where there had been a lot of talk about some internal audit, which the office boy was sure was the short form of Indian Idol audition.
Sushil had then put four and four together, and from there it was a simple case of short-selling large volumes of Daawadol stocks, and sitting quiet till the company drowned of its own accord. When Mr Reddy was ready to hang himself from the airconditioner in his cabin, Sushil offered to buy him out with his own money, and even offered him a job in the cafeteria. The rest is history.
While Mr Reddy learns the ropes of serving 20 very sadistic ex-direct reports with the exact amount of chilli pickle all at once, Sushil Prasad talks to us in his cabin over lunch his wife has prepared for him. He remarks that while other caterers spend their time observing the botched up flirtation rituals of techies in their cafeterias, he had spent his time picking up the basics of trading, which is what many employees seemed to do all day.
With his deep understanding of every employee's true self, something that can only be gleaned from across a cash counter and not across a CEO's desk, Sushil Prasad plans to revamp the company into a lean, mean organization. As the ex-CFO and current office boy brings in two glasses of lassi, we raise a buttered toast to the bright future of Daawadol.