After Freedom at Midnight Domnique Cashier comes back with his thrifty reporting on 7th pay cuttision atrocities and presents the Mayhem at Midnight. A book that shattered the dreams of always moaning but always working govt employees (What? That was not a Shelden Cooper's uhh...huuh sarcasm. They actually work).
The book opens with a famous speech titled Tryst with Penury:
“At the stroke of the midnight hour of December 31st when the world sleeps, except the BPO employees of Gurgaon, Babus of India will awake to misery and mayhem. A moment comes, which comes after every tenth year, when a Govt employee steps out and dares to stare from old brands of costumes to new, when a decade ends and when the soul of his wallet, long suppressed by inflation and his wife's burgeoning demands, finds utterance.”
A pity govt staff eyes every pay commission as the decadal avatar of Lord Krishna and its report as the only Gita-Saar known:
-Yada yada hi Salaryiyasya glanir bhavati Babusaaheb !
Abhyuthanam inflationasya, sambhavami yuge yuge.
Paritraanay Babunaam, vinaashaay cha Privataam!
Grade payam Sangsthapanay, Sambhavami dashakey dashakey
To those who piously opted but miserably failed in Sanskrit in class 8, here is a never-to-perfect Google translation.
-Whenever there is decay of Salary Structure, O BabuSaaheb !
And there is exaltation of inflation, then I Myself come forth.
For the protection of the Govt Employees,
and for the destruction of his flamboyant Private counterparts,
For the sake of establishing a respectful grade pay, I am born from decade to decade.
Thus every 10th year the staff’s devotion towards his duty increases manifold, he takes a holy dip into his own mystical river of sweat, chants incessantly the chalisa of his financial wounds inflicted by the sharp edged inflation, reasons out like a shastra pandit on why the Govt employees deserve a raise of galactic proportions. He keeps fantasizing with several final reports published across social media. Any news suggesting a minimal raise makes him mentally torment the writer and his ancestors, while a picture of a news clip justifying a significant raise finds a seat along with his favourite actress in the saved images folder .
The days counting up to the report of any pay commission is tensed and difficult to wait up to. Like a kid experiencing goosebumps prior to the final report card when he knows he has not performed well, a govt staff too experiences metabolic disorders ranging from extreme perspiration to persistent constipation prior to the finalization of pay commission report.
Buoyed by the chances of exponential growth in salary few fundamentally Be-positives pre-order their tailors to stitch an extra large pocket to adjust bigger wallets for expectantly bigger reward . Few others heave a sigh of relief for no more self justification that Riibok is more comfortable than Reebok. No more waiting of a SALE season and no further tilting of MRP tag on the pretext of judging the quality of a merchandise before annoyingly suggesting to salesman “Bhaiya kuch achha dikhao” when they actually mean “Bhaiya kuch sasta dikhao” .
The govt offices are converted into temples of philosophy where a vision document of govt. salary structure is prepared over an exhausting debate about the economic scenario that can make a JNU Professor doubt his abilities. Softwares are coded and data encrypted - read Excel sheet formation- to forecast expected salary- if Basic is hiked, HRA is kicked, GP is thrashed ,DA is merged or TA is submerged and what not. The lonely computer, which was always left to brood in a dusty corner, surprisingly finds its moment of oomph. A sudden flash of attention makes it confident to become the genesis of the next Big Thing on earth. Every thing seems well just when the electricity rises upto its expectation and goes off. Beep… beep… beep… and the poor computer without any life support fades again into oblivion.
Then comes the time for the experience to make a count. So several cups of tea - lemon to ginger and sugar less to an extra sugar - is sacrificed. Anecdotes are shared by the old yet overtly smart ones about the Pay commission report from the sources he tells he can’t name and he doesn’t knows either. Some young enthusiast –who keeps knowledge of all trades but his own – dexterously explains the economy behind Pay Commission to the rapt attention of oldies. He mixes all the flavours from Polity to International Relations, drops in some heavy jargons ranging from Wholesale and Consumer Price Index to Purchasing Power Parity while ensuring to bring in the most despised word ‘inflation’ now and then to the affirmative nodding of all.
As the year ends the clouds of Pay commission looms large over all govt offices. The dreamy and droughty eyes of a govt staff pleads for that drop of rain which can sprout the seed of happiness on the land weathered by rising prices yet tilled by hard work over a decade. The likes of Mishras, Guptas and Agarwals uncover their grief of not fulfilling their family expectations . The atmosphere inside the office becomes heavy with simple sarkari dreams of simple sarkari families- dreams of converting a two wheeler into a char-chakka so that an entire family can fit in together, dreams of marrying a daughter to a well off family, dreams of saving enough money for their child’s best education, dreams of gifting his wife a sari woven of tasar silk and not suti anymore. Dreams that are as magnificent as Himalayas for them yet as simple as a road side pebble for many. Dreams that sustain not on the trivial reports of any pay commission 7th or 8th but on the solid hope and desire of the ever happy sarkari family.
Thankyou for reading