*** A Question of Office Space?

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Images Offices – For Demonstration Purposes Only!

January 2nd 2014

*** A Question of Office Space?

Or more sinister forces at work here?

My peer friend Sameer Abdul Razak – SAR – was complaining loudly to The Stranger – The Office Implementer (TOI)! TOI was an expatriate brought all the way from the London Head Offices to come to oversee the offices changes – and moving people around the Offices! Highly paid too – with excellent privileges, perks and benefits! As if this was too much needed expertise that the locals lacked – and somebody from the outside the country had to be brought in to look after and oversee this particular element! TOI reported to The Strategic Head – TSH – also brought from abroad. Both TOI and TSH reported directly to The Offices abroad – though there was a thin line of formal reporting to The CEO – who too was a man from abroad. Below him in the reporting channels were ‘our good boys and girls’ – and you never made to these lines – unless you were really good!

Sameer was complaining loudly – for the whole world to hear! My job entails dealings with the outside the company – for services to the staff – mainly for the interests of the expatriates’ benefits more than for the locals! How could you do these things to me? He kept screaming and shouting loudly – more for the benefit of the Staff under him in the adjoining office. More as he saw me coming in! The usual jovial fun thing coming from my side were met with complete disdain and disinterest manifesting on his face! He looked at me coolly and sharply! So I asked – one more – this time more seriously – So what gives?

Tell him – SAR said to me! Tell him – why I need this Office for myself alone – and not to be shared with someone else – especially that someone that comes from another function and line of responsibility – and not linked to the job that I do here! Tell him – SAR almost begged of  me! Tell him – about our culture – about ‘The Image’ thing – when the people I deal with come to visit me – as sometimes they do – and find me that I am a mere nobody – not an important person – despite the job that I do – and sharing my Office with someone else! And that someone else – is not even linked – or has any bearing to my job’ aspects? Tell him, M! – he implored of me!

TOI was just directing the Indian Office Mover to move SAR Office to which part of the room – and put the new furniture for the new guy coming in on this part of the room! The new coming-in guy was also coming from outside the country – his job ‘was special’ – and with exception of a few – no one knew what he was really doing here! And why put him in this Office – out of all offices? Unless he had a special task and mission – and no one knew even that what it was! With exception of the those ‘in charge and in control’ of the new twist of angle and situation.

TOI said to SAR – I will need you to remove all these religious placards and sayings – because the in-coming guy is from another faith! We do not want to upset! Besides – you have forgotten – this is an office – not a religious place! Put these things in your house – or anywhere else – but not here! This is not the place for it! Please remove them – he was saying – and facing the Indian foreman. SAR was so angry – I have to get out! – he said to me in Arabic – or I am going to hit this man – and they will terminate me instead!

It is good you are here – TOI was saying to me! I am coming to your Office next! I need to cut that office in half too – you too will be sharing with someone else too for that matter! SAR stammered – it seems to me you are only targeting locals who have single offices – but not the people from your own countries? Why is this so? This is highly irregular – and highly unethical, biased, unprincipled – and non professional too! You people should feel ashamed of yourselves – after us going all the ways in making you all feel welcomed and esteemed!

I got up from the chair – and walked to The HR Director offices. He too was an expatriate. I banged on his door – he opened the door. Inside was TSH with him! They were going through some strategic points and plans quietly together  – when they were rudely interrupted by me! I gave them – in a very loud voice – the very same points that SAR had given – all in vain! They were determined to split all those locals in single offices – and share with people from home base who were given sudden quick new job responsibilities and aspects!

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Images Offices – For Demonstration Purposes Only!

If it was a question of space – they should have started with The Director’s Office. It was not an office – but more resembling a cinema hall – with even sliding doors! It was certainly not a question of ‘needed more sinister offices’ – but more sinister forces at work! That he was now certain off! These people will not stop at anything – till they have destroyed everything – including themselves in the formula! It is said if you see something good – and prosperously growing for you – protect and nurture it – let it grow for you! Do not spit on your food! Do not put sand in your coconut pie – the East Africans like to say!

I shouted loud – if you want just to know what is going on in the offices – and this is why you are doing this – why don’t you just install ‘hearing bugs’ – or better still Closed Circuit Recordings (TVs)? Why go to all these hassles and extents? This is really going overboard! You will alienate everyone now – even those that were your supportive in the past! Do you realise what you are doing now? The repercussions and the after effects? You will switch off everyone – and we will just do our jobs quietly from now on! And communicate if we must in non-English communications! And even pretend our understanding and hearing of English has suddenly taken a dramatic twist and turn of going down far too low!

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Images Offices – For Demonstration Purposes Only!

In switching us off – we will protest quietly – until someone from the Top our side intervenes! Or even from the few good peoples your side do so! You know what? We will act and pretend too – to be very hardworking and busy – but actually and literally doing nothing! Do not teach us old dogs’ tricks at this stage! The losers will be everyone – including those who sent you – and those who allowed you to do these things to us – from our own! We will no longer act responsible or try to be dynamic and proactive – and yes – even if you ask us – and even if we know of a situation – or anything else – we will not inform you – even if you ask us! We will forever keep you in the dark from now on! This is our way of protesting quietly – all on our own!

It is then he woke up with a start! His wife by the side was snoring slightly! Yet they say women do not snore – only men do!

Even in his dreams they took his books themes – especially the Arab Management ones! All at www.myownmajid.com Take Care!

By Majid Al Suleimany

*** All names and incidents are fictitious. Any resemblances – if any – are coincidental – and based on a dram The Writer had!

Short Story! – No Money For The Crayons!

No Money For The Crayons! 

At  first she thought she was dreaming – but the stiffled incessantly crying got louder! More louder now! She made a silent prayer to herself more – what is that crying? Who is crying? Is it a Jinn? A ghost? Who could be crying this late at night. She looked over at her husband sleeping by her side – snoring loudly!

The poor man! He had just returned from his taxi business – and the situation was not good at all! He had never seen things so bad like this before – not only people were not using taxis – but they continued to argue endlessly on the rates! Everyone preferred the mini-buses taxis – and the few National buses that sometimes – and infrequently – plied on the same routes! Early morning – after dawn prayers – he would take just a cup of tea – and start on his routes! Breakfast – if any – came far later in the day!

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Children Art Images – For Demonstration Purposes Only!

Against his will he had been given early retirement – and the pension was not enough to pay for the installments for the small house he had built from the mortgage loan he had taken! A distant relative had given him the taxi – on condition he got 50% of the returns – and the service and maintenance of the taxi was left for him to do!

Thank God I am a Believer – he cried from within him – and I believe in doing good things in life – otherwise I might have done things my family, friends and relatives would have been ashamed of me! Good things come to those that are patient – the Religion said to him! I must keep going on – even if the struggle and life is all uphill – and there was still no light at the end of the tunnel! I must keep going on – at least for the sake of my family – if not for anyone else!

** Umm Khadija started to get up from the bed – slowly and not to wake her sleeping husband. She sat by the bed – and listened intently where the crying was coming from. She was not imagining things – the crying was audible clear and real. It was coming from the bedroom of the girls’ bedroom. She was debating whether to wake her husband or not? What if the cry was from a Jinn? Could she handle such supernatural things on her own. She had heard of these stories before – but she could not believe it! It was now all coming to her – haunting her – and worrying her to the till!

As we Arabs say – beat your chest with your hand – and go out and see what it was all about? Why are you crying, my child? – she asked her eldest daughter Miriam. Why are you crying child? What is wrong? Pray please tell me – what is wrong – and why are you crying? Do you know it is late at night? These things are not good things to do at this late hour! It brings out bad things – and misfortunes – bad luck only! Crying for no reason! Why are you crying, my child?

To this the child Miriam burst into loud weeping – and the tears poured down her cheeks. Her eyes were red hot for weeping – even could be seen in the dim light of the room. Mummy – the poor child cried – I put off the Air conditioning.  Dad always complains about the electricity bill. We must help him – all of us Mummy! If I finish school – and go to College – I will help in the household – I promise Mummy – if I get my first job! Pray for us Mummy!

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Children Art Images – For Demonstration Purposes Only!

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Image – Omani Taxi – For Demonstration Purposes Only!

Child – are you crying for this reason? You are too young to take all these load on your shoulders – dear child – first pay attention on your schooling – and get good marks and results. All these things will take care of themselves – trust me child! Is this why you are crying now?

No Mummy – I feel so sad and sorry for poor dad! He has to look all of five of us – and we have a long way in school to help him! He always comes back from work – dead tired and worn out! Poor man – he tries hard to feed and look after all of us – with the poor taking he gets from his taxi! And all his pension almost all of it goes to the bank loan. Last month the electricity was cut – because he could not pay in time!

Mummy – the poor girl finally lets out! I had joined in School the Arts class as one of the social studies – extra circular studies. All of us in class are required to join one class or the other. You know Mummy – I like drawing, no? Yes I know child – the mother replied. So what is the problem, child? Mummy, they need us to buy crayons, paint box  and canvas paper! I dare not tell Dad – with all the troubles we have already, Mum … you know?

Mummy, you know in school – some of the kids come with very good sandwiches and meals – we come only with the Lebanese bread – with cheese only, Daughter – the Mother retorts – do not only look at those ahead of you in life – there are many others far behind you! I know Mummy – that is why I share my sandwich with my friend! They come to school always empty – and in break they all go and sit under the big tree – looking at all of us with meals brought – whilst they are without! The poor girl cried out again – deep and in pain – hurt read all over her face!

So how much does all the things cost? – the Mother Umm Khadija asks finally her daughter ** Miriam. I do not know Mummy – maybe between ten to fifteen Omani Rials! I dare not ask dad – last time I needed a Compass Box – he shouted at me! Yet a Compass Box is only three Rials at the most! I am scared and afraid Mummy – what can I do now? I like the Arts class – something close to my heart – and my hobby! What can I do, Mummy? Please help me Mummy? When do you need to buy these things? As soon as possible Mummy – because in the class I just watch the others draw. They do not share with me – and the Teachers are not really interested – if we draw anything or not. It is a class they have to monitor – that is it is for them only – Mum!

Okay I will get these things for you my daughter – do not worry about it. Tomorrow I will go and buy these things for you. Write for me what you need? In English or Arabic, Mummy? Does not matter – there will be someone in the Stationary shop for sure who can read Arabic. Do not worry child – go back to sleep now – okay dear child? Sleep now – you need all the rest. She kissed her daughter goodnight.

As she enters her bedroom – her husband Hamza looks at her. What is going on? Oh – it is Miriam – she had a bad dream – but now she has gone back to sleep. It is those horror films she likes to watch on the TV – how many times I tell her – but she does not listen! Let it lie – husband – she is sleeping now. You go back to sleep too – only a few hours to Morning Salaat Fajr (dawn) prayers!

Next day in the morning – Umm Khadija is at the Gold Shop. This was her last piece of gold left she inherited from her late Mother – and what was left from the dowry. As usual the Indian shopkeeper looked at the bracelet from a distance – disdain and disinterest fully manifested on his face. Nobody wants these types of all gold things – I can give you only thirty Rials for this! Surely it is worth more – Umm Khadija pleaded – to no vain! Look Madam  –  the retort sternly came – do you want thirty Rials or not? Please do not waste my time – I have other customers waiting for me! Now tell me? Okay – what else I can do?

As she walked away from the Gold shop – she was crying deep all inside her – with deep hurting pain and wounds – but at least her daughter can now attend the Art class – finally!

Footnote Sayings –

  • There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds!Laurel Hamilton
  • One thing that you cannot hide is when you are crippled inside!John Lennon

** All names are fictitious and any resemblances are just coincidental!

Take Care!

By  Majid Al Suleimany