The Little Joys of Breaking Rules

In school (yeah, I start nearly all my posts with something or someone I met at school, but clichéd as it may sound, I learnt everything about life at school… and I also learnt that after school, everything went pretty much downhill) there were always two kinds of kids (broadly classified): the abiders and the breakers. The rule-breakers invariably, in little schoolish ways had more fun than the abiders. The abiders were never famous, except in the staff room. The breakers – notorious, infamous – the robin hoods in the eyes of the fellow students, the outlaws that the staff roomers rarely spoke about, and if they did, the stories were followed by a long spell of silence.

But, I am digressing here. Preambles aside, I’ll get to the incident. I use our office’s well-arranged, spatial, employee-friendly shuttle system to commute to and from office (I am not being sarcastic here – compared to the cabs I used to commute in earlier, the shuttles are wayyy better). Like most company-arranged transport systems, there is a trip book or a trip sheet to be signed. Now, in the *mornings*, employees are often tired, and in dire need of sleep, and at no cost should be disturbed by something as silly as signing a trip sheet. The ones who did get a good night’s rest are busy on their mobiles Running around Temples or Secretly Slashing Fruits for salads or Collecting Coins off Subway Stations (since we are never paid enough!) They are too busy with their “parallel sources of income” to be bothered with the trip sheet. So the trip sheet is often signed by the jobless insomniacs. And due to sheer laziness, most of the details are skipped and substituted with a “-do-“ and if “-do-“ takes a second more to write, it is substituted for the shorter and more convenient ‘ “ ‘ (sometimes even in the Employee Name column!). Until one day, when the angry driver counted the number of employees and the number of rows filled. He passed the book around and made sure everyone wrote down their name and ID. Of course, being “just a driver” (while we not-just-drivers were busy collecting fake gold coins for our pots) he was not taken seriously. People still refused to put in their IDs. The driver, furious now, stopped the bus and said, “We are not going anywhere, till everyone writes down their employee IDs.” Now that was the grown-up equivalent of “No one will go home today unless you finish writing 1 to 100 in words.”

And so, the book was passed around a third time. The book was given back to the driver a third time. And he realized that two people have still not put down their names. He asked them to raise their hands, but, hey that was taking it a bit far, people felt, and this wasn’t school. No hands went up in the air. No one stood next to their seats. No one stood ON their seats! The driver called up the transport lead and complained about the delinquent employees. It was all a big LOL moment.

But from that day on, people religiously fill each column, ID, name. Some people even fill in the “kilometer” column! The trip book feels heavier. And the smartphones have less Ninja scratches on the surface!

PS: We have a different driver in the evening. People make sure they fill the book only with “-do-“s (and no one writes their IDs. Signatures are often just wavy lines). When the driver is away, the employees often play.

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