Pic.: Alwyn Mathias

“If a man is not faithful in minor matters,
he is not to be trusted in major matters.”
 - Roy L. Smith

I received two phone calls this morning. This Post is inspired by these two calls.

The first call was from my eleventh-standard student, Harsha*. She called me a minute before 9 ( Her batch was to start at 9) just to inform that she would not be able to come to class as she was sick.

Now, Harsha joined my class, with her two ‘thick’ friends, late. They belong to one of the ‘best Commerce-colleges’ in City, come from well-educated and well-off homes, had done schooling in one of the top ICSE schools around. But, ever since they joined my class, I have had an issue with them regarding their attendance and punctuality. If one got up late, all got up late… If one came late, all three came late… If one didn’t turn up, none turned up... If one fell sick, all fell sick… If one went out, all went out… and, yes, you can add this: If one jumped into a well, the other two, did, too!

What would you call that – Herd mentality? Peer pressure? Growing-up? College life? Lack of priorities in life? Drifting in life? Sleep-walking? Or, being casual, insensitive, dumb or stupid?

Call whatever you like, but the fact remains: Harsha and her two friends have made themselves undependable, untrustworthy.

I had been telling them – in fact, I tell it to all my students, everyday, tirelessly… that, no matter how high they score in their exams, I would never call them ‘great students’ unless they showed me that fine quality of being dependable, trustworthy. There are many students, who may not score well in their exams, but they score well on this count… You can trust them, depend on them… You can feel their earnestness, sincerity. I, always, tell my students, that when we are earnest, sincere, there is not only great hope, there is great scope as well. Teachers in school make the trustworthy and dependable kids class monitors; at home, parents entrust greater roles on those kids who are more trustworthy and dependable… And, ditto when it comes to workplace. Which employer, in his right senses, would make an untrustworthy and undependable employee a leader? Check this out in any field – films, sports, social work, music, dance or even in matrimony!

They all – we all – want trustworthy and dependable guys around us. Period!

So, this morning, when our trio – Harsha and her two ‘thick' friends – fell sick, all together (one bothered to inform me while the other two didn’t) – in spite of my repeated, repeated and repeated attempts to sensitize them about the kind of education I wished to impart to them…. yes, today morning, when I was saddened to see the insensitivity in my young-and-sophisticated students, I told others in the class about Milind Zende.

Who is this Milind Zende? 

Well, unlike Harsha and her two friends, let me not hide Milind’s identity. His name is Milind – Milind Zende. Yes, just like the iconic Bond - James Bond…

There is pride around that name… a ring, an aura… Power!

I had blogged about Milind Zende some years ago. I am, once again, doing it, now.

Milind has been the drainage-cleaner in our housing Society, where I am the Hon. Chairman. You know the work of a drainage-cleaner. The gutter-cleaning - most of us call that work. (Actually, we should think a hundred times before we undermine the 'dignity of labor'.)  But, this guy – who hasn’t gone to school, who lives somewhere in a slum, who is paid Rs.1,500/ per month by us for the work he does… has taught me the lesson on trustworthiness and dependability so well… that, I confess that no school or teacher  has taught it to me so well...

Milind is totally dependable. He accepts your call even if you call him in the middle of the night… And, if he says, “Sir, I will come and do the work tomorrow eight in the morning,” you can go to sleep, rest assured. The next morning, at 8 sharp, not only Milind will come and complete the work, he will, also, call you and report. And, if, by chance, for any unforeseen reason, he is unable to come at 8, he will call you up before time and re-workout his schedule.

Milind doesn’t give missed-calls. Never. He ‘will’ call you back, if he sees your missed-call. Any additional work, if you give him, he will negotiate with you like a gentleman… Once the amount is fixed, you know, he will carry it out, come what may… and will never, ever crib over it.

There is a lot more to say about Milind Zende. My ‘not-not-seven’… my James Bond!

Yes, as I was telling the class about Milind, this morning, I received a call from him. He had called me to report on the work he had just completed. Last night, he had given me the promise, “Sir I will come at 8.30 in the morning tomorrow, sleep assured!”

Yes, I had slept assured, last night!

“Dependability is the base upon which all confidence rests in full security,” said Robert E. Hicks, “Confidence may be termed the active result of basic dependability.”

Finally, may this be the last quote, today:

“Dependability is more important than talent.
Dependability is a talent, and it is a talent all can have.
It makes no difference how much ability we possess
if we are not responsible and dependable.”
 - Floy L. Bennett
*Name changed


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