Machiavelli. Carnegie. Gardner. Greene.

Relocating always exacts a toll on my composure.

Though this time around I try self-calming, visualizing our new address.The Firm’s swank Presidential quarters.

The movers van has just left the driveway.

The Wife and kids are following them in the suburban. I have the place to myself now.

I dislodge a loose brick from the parapet and grope around in the dark till I find my stash.

Fiddling a gudang garam between my fingers I saunter through my deserted home.

Broken and  old  stuff is trash. The rest goes to goodwill. And do not forget to get the donation acknowledgement form.” My wife’s instructions ring clear in my head.

As I wander into our bedroom I notice  the four undisturbed occupants on the  mantelpiece.

Your Karaneshu Manthri, Bhojeshu Mata, Karyeshu Dasi and Shayaneshu Rambha, as the Wife would often tease me.

I bind them together with tape. Unsure, if to donate or trash.

Innovation makes enemies of all those who prospered under the old regime, and only lukewarm support is forthcoming from those who would prosper under the new. ~ Niccolo Machiavelli

Officer1 had this quote as his desktop wallpaper, conference room projector wallpaper and  a framed motivational poster opposite his desk. He would keep stealing glances at this poster in-between replying to e-mails. For you see, O1 had been for quite sometime, trying to usher his ‘New World Order’ into the firm and also take down O2, O3 and O4. During the interview he described the internship as, ‘ To type typo free memos from my copious hand written notes.’  Before mailing out my well formatted documents O1 would always add a cover sheet with THE quote.
On my last day of he gifted me a copy of The Prince.Wage for my unpaid work.

Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.~ Dale Carnegie

I worked for O2 during an audit of his TPS reports. O2 was the most inept and laid back boss I had had till then. Everyday after my herculean sifting efforts on his unyielding binders we would go up to the Firm’s rooftop and smoke up. This is when he would ramble on about his divorce, his dog and how he was banging O1s’ secretary. During his moments of catharsis unwilling to get involved in his drama, I would nod in agreement to his blabber. At the end of the audit he was sad to see me go. As a token of appreciation he presented  me a well thumbed copy of  How to win friends and influence people.

I understand that the world was nothing: a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears. i understood that, finally and absolutely, i alone exist. all the rest, i saw, is merely what pushes me, or what i push against, blindly – as blindly as all that is not myself pushes back. i create the whole universe, blink by blink. ~ John Gardner

O3 was the Firm’s big boss. Commendations from O1 and O2 made me a blip on her radar. Her secretary called me in for a meet and greet. I was a few hours late in coming. She sat me down in the large vacant conference room, looked me square in the eye and asked if I respected her authority. I shook my head in affirmation. She said, ” I’m like that monster in that John Gardner novel. I have to do the things I do because It is my job to whip this asylum into shape. No one understands that and I get called the villain. But it is OK as long as I add to the bottom line… Have you read Grendel ? “

 ” I’ve read Beowulf “

Never outshine the Master ~ Robert Greene

The 48 Laws of Power was the cherry atop the stack of Savitha magazines I inherited from the Brother on my 18th. I’d finished reading and internalizing it by the end of the day. I would use the enshrined sutras, only many years later.

O4 had the job I wanted. But he never felt threatened by me because of the chasm between clerks and Presidents. When he was late for meetings I signed-in for him. An another day I’d answer his phones and sort his mail. In cabinet meetings I’d sit behind him recording minutes. He later on remarked, ” Last week you signed for me. Yesterday you answered my phones. Today you are sitting right behind me. What’s the plan bossman?  The ides of march ? “

Though he always self-congratulated himself on being intuitive and alert he did not possess an iota of imagination about the coming days of doom.