The Protagonist of Excuses

The Protagonist of Excuses

A Story by sursantosh

How habitual shammers ruin the career of even ardent professionals..


Nikita’s search for the perfect protagonist of excuses never came to end until she toiled in an employment of a very professional firm. Many of those she had encountered during her high-schools and college days would certainly shape into the perfect champions of excuses later in life, she had had a firm belief. But such figures nowhere lingered in her mind when she was up to join a professional corporate firm. She had heard that in corporate work culture one has to deliver or else exit with pink-slip. She would be lucky to get a hard working team of professionals. She reminisced of her team of very genuine classmates in school and college times, but never ever dreamt of coming across some such tragic characters of ‘excuses’ - the ones she had had in her school and college days- in professional establishments. These awful characters were always sad for very unserious reasons. She found them always cursing, crying and passing the buck to all others on the solemnity of their perfect innocence. Champions of negativity and despondency they were, and their company made her sad and nervous unnecessarily.

These miserable characters during her schooling and college, she thought, were depressed because they were yet dependent and poor in many ways, and might not be as lucky as many of us who are born to financially sound parents. How could she forget Arpit’s everyday story of not doing homework because of power cuts? Or Rohan’s not bringing lunch-box because his maid came late. Like Arpit and Rohan she met many such glum faces such as Swapnali, Richa, Rakesh and Neetu and …. “Oh! When will they be able to not miss the bus; not forget to bring the books; or miss the whole thing by becoming ‘seriously ill? Oh my God, how could these people manage to pull themselves ahead while ‘missing’ so many things, and how indifferent are they while putting others in uninvited troubles because of their ‘awful missings’ ”, Nikita wondered.

“Anyway let me concentrate with my new team of professionals, the chosen few, the filtered ones with the rigorous process of competition and interviews. I am sure no such character will be able to deceive the system as some of my friends of ‘missing theory and ‘excuses’ used to do”, she mumbled to herself. “See our Team Manager Mr Gopichand Gohil - cool, composed, cordial, charismatic and clear in ideas whether oral or written. How wonderfully he presented the series of steps to achieve the goal of any new project.” She remembered her first meeting with him in the corridor, and the mantra that he delivered to her on her joining day when he was walking out with his leave application from the chamber of the boss, for a week workshop in Chandigarh. He promptly offered me a piece of sweet and said, “a few pieces left, rest I gave to the boss. He loves sweets. I am proud to have you as my team member. Boss has delegated me to groom you for our new project that starts from Monday. A team is like a living body in which every part needs to participate. Hands and limbs alone cannot deliver if eyes and ears do not support. All have to work- the hands, legs, eyes, ears, heart and mind. If one fails or starts giving ‘excuses’ the other will suffer and the final goal will suffer.” She was really impressed by his practical vision. ‘A task - a team- a road map- effort- and finally task accomplished. Nice illustration, isn’t it?” she quipped.

With these thoughts, Nikita was excited to meet her team leader Mr Gopichand Gohil formally. Her other team members senior to her used to address him ‘GG’, of course, not in front of him. Mr Gopichand Gohil kept her waiting for hours. Everybody in the team was unconcerned of his late coming except she. She yet was eager to meet him officially for the first time at the workplace. When he came, almost after two hours, he just threw a terse glance towards other team members busy in their work and hurried in the chamber of the boss.

Some 15 minutes after he came out and approached the familiar juniors first. “Oh last week only I changed the tyre of my car but when I started for office I noticed two of them were flat. You know corruption is everywhere - we curse government set ups but even in private companies for example see the one that makes tyres, there is corruption, poor quality tyres. The mechanic repaired them but warned of its saggy rubber”. He then turned to me, “Oh! you look to be new face. Are you Miss Nikita? Yes we met briefly only a few days back, I remember. I just heard from the boss about you. Come to the chamber. I have handled some twenty projects till now.” He said vehemently moving to his chamber. While following him, Nikita was getting impressed but could not make out why other team members were giving her amused looks and suppressed giggles. Mr GG sat in gracefully and continued- “the boss has told me of the new project with me as Team Leader and you as my assistant. I know you are new but capable. We will do it together. Miss Nikita, tomorrow I have to get my wife to a joint replacement centre. It may take two full days. Take this file and prepare the profit tables of the project. You can take the help of any other team member in my absence.” He pushed off. The giggles turned into laughter when she turned to one of his juniors but she could not guess much.

On the third day after leave, Mr GG had come before she reached. He was having very swollen face looking very depressed. “It is better not to have children. See I got a call in the morning that my son slipped in the bathroom of his college hostel and fractured his right arm. I have to send fifty thousand rupees immediately but these banks open only after 10:30. In the night my wife’s teeth started aching. Throughout night I was sleepless”. He wanted to continue with some other crisis but Nikita sympathized, “Don’t worry sir you go to bank, I’ll take care of the work”. “I know you have the potential to finish the entire work. Please keep doing. Once I come back then you need not worry”. He replied with liveliness and hurried out of the chamber.

Nikita had sat for number of hours in the night for the project because this being her first she had to give her full effort. She was tense as it needed to be submitted within two weeks only. Tired she got up a bit late in the morning and rushed to the office to seek out Mr GG’s supervision. As usual Mr GG was in the office of the boss. The moment he came out, holding a paper in his left hand, and a carry bag of a famous sweet-mart, she remembered him ‘boss loves sweets’. He asked Nikita whether she was having any engagement in the morning as he was waiting for her for the past one hour. Nikita told about her labour and development of the project. “No issues. Just keep it up. I know you have the potential”, Mr GG complimented. “See my father rang me in the morning saying that the heavy rain had washed away the front part of our home in the ancestral town. He himself, being seriously hurt, is admitted. Boss understands the call of duty at such situations. He has granted me four days leave. I know you are doing the project alone but I also know you have the potential. Do show me the final copy before submission”. He pushed off before Nikita could even express her helplessness and formal sympathies.

When Mr GG came back from home, he was coughing and sneezing and had even more complicated problems that made her sitting with him almost impossible. Nikita’s mind was now perplexed on the notion of ‘No Excuse Zone’ in the professional set ups. She realized that like the Einstien’s Theory of Relativity, the ‘theory of excuses’ was almost universal. She realized why her other team members used to giggle. She had realized to complete the project on her own. Tomorrow after tomorrow and after tomorrow passed but the problems of Mr GG never came to end. He had time for problems and for sitting with the boss. Boss was very much pleased to relish the ‘sweets’ and know the updates of the project from him. On the day of final report of the project Mr GG was first to put his signature and stood in the centre for the team photograph. Nikita knew that one of her senior school-college boys of ‘misses’ and ‘excuses’ has risen to greater ‘misses’ and ‘excuses’ to survive through the professionals. Nikita realized the one such child actor of morbidity has turned into the ‘protagonist of excuses’. She was now sure that such profound dupes, the ‘heroes of excuses’ will keep existing and she will keep doing her duties beyond these odds.


© 2019 sursantosh

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Added on September 9, 2019
Last Updated on September 9, 2019
Tags: Profession, Sham, Awkwardness, Sycophancy



Pune, Maharashtra, India

I am a professor of English, a keen reader of history and civilisation. I am also MA in Indian Classical Music and a vocalist. more..