“Can you come and see me tomorrow at 11:00 am?” an assertive and strong voice asked me from the
other side of the phone.
“Errr....Tomorrow?” I asked failing to judge the urgency of the situation.
“Yes please… is there a problem?” The voice came quicker this time.
“No, that’s ok. I’ll make it at 11:00 am.” I confirmed.
I reached on time and was guided to her cabin by another employee working with her. The cabin looked like a typical room from a corporate housing a large circular wooden table, three chairs and a polyphone. Behind her seat was a painting that was beyond my understanding. Perhaps that was an abstract painting. The room was filled with a frail smell of some room freshener. As soon as I entered I was greeted by a petite woman, with beautiful eyes, a simple smile, dusky and radiant complexion,nails well manicured and a poise to fall for. Then I could relate to the voice I heard a day before.
That was my first encounter with Mini. The interview with her went on well. In fact most of it was a discussion. Soon I was offered and I joined the organization. She was the one I was to report to. During my initial days I was busy with the knowledge transfer and hardly had any time to interact with her. For records both of us are seated in different locations in Bangalore. Thus, most of our conversations were restricted to either official mails or the occasional telephonic ones.
To a stranger Mini would come across as a very assertive and curt woman. I recollect and laugh when I remember how I had named her “Hitler” and would rave about her over the top attitude. I was in the initial phase of settling in a new workplace and understanding the gaps to be bridged and she was confronting some ugly realities of life. So, to cut long story short we were often “rude” to each other. I felt she was not around to help me while I failed to understand that she was battling through some difficulties all alone. The funniest part is that we both were often irritated with each other.
But then…..everything changed.
We sailed through those tough times and drove throughout successfully. With situations demanding it, we started spending time with each other at work. This was an opportunity in disguise which we understand only now. With demanding schedules we started knowing each other more and more and more. Time passed by and before we could realize, she had already claimed her place as my mentor and I happily found a place in a part of her heart (I take the liberty to say so).
Mini is not the micro manager type. She gives you all the space you need to do your work. But to be
honest, she is a task master. The most unusual thing about her is that she loves honest people. I still remember her telling me once, “If you don’t feel like working, tell me and go see the birds outside. But do not lie.” So we don’t need to lie to her. People who have suckers as managers envy me because I don’t have to create a story to her, ever. I call her and tell her the “truth”. Moreover, I can be myself with her.
I think the reason why I like her is because she is indisputably genuine. She is on your face. No buttering, no polishing and no sweet talks. She is to the point. And, she hates people sucking up to her to grow. Neither has she encouraged that ever nor does she do it herself. Perhaps, this is what sets her apart. And honestly while I type this, I am still in complete ambiguity whether to post it or just let it be. J
She has immense knowledge on our field of work. Perhaps it’s because of her pedigree over the years
and her experiences through life’s thick and thin. She is determined and can push you to the edge too. She hates pessimists and for us is the driving force behind everything we do. She has brought together a team that worked individually. Today we all swear by her. We look up to her as a mentor, guide, and most of the times as a Mother Figure. We have the liberty to open up our hearts to her and she shows concern. Though I still call her Hitler sometimes and giggle at it.
To tell you, Mini has a softer side too. Yeah, yeah, I know it is difficult to believe this especially for
someone who has been living her principles all her life. But trust me it is true. All of us bond with Mini mainly on pottery, quilling, painting and all that arty crafty stuff. Mini has this innate inclination towards all the earthy stuff that extends anywhere on the globe. Her hands automatically wave through the clay and out comes lovely little earthlings that are further sprinkled with vibrant colors. She can turn an ugly little thing in to a thing of beauty. In fact her art has become the talk of town in our office. Most of us have a lovely creation of hers gleefully beautifying our cubicles and cabins. Her vase/clay painting is so marvelous that we are bugging her to open up an online store so that the world can see what she holds within herself. When I was introduced to this creative side of her, I just couldn’t believe myself.
Well, all you can do is just be in awe with Mini. She carries herself with grace and pride. She is not
someone you can fall in love immediately. To love her, you have to know her and the more you know
her, the more you love her. Beneath this brisk, exacting and determined lady, lies a very subtle, gentle and warm woman whose heart melts with a word of love. She guides us, pushes us to do well and silently stands behind while we gather the glory of the world. Perhaps that’s what mentors are for.
Mini, as we celebrate your birthday, all of us wish you all the joys and wealth of the world. May god give you all that your loving heart desires for.