Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sufficiently efficient

We move into this new location in Delhi in the hot summer month of June. We have 5 air-conditioners to be fitted. We are frantic and sweaty.
The AC guy comes with a black tool kit. He takes note of the ACs and counts off the 5 rooms into which they are to go. He peers into the ACs and shakes his head, like a worried headmaster. Service karna padega. They are dirty. they need service. OK do it. we say.

He takes the one window AC into the bathroom. Half and hour later we look for him. Where is he?
He is still with that one AC. Going into every curve and crevice with a fine toothbrush that he has attached to a thin wooden rod. The AC is shining. clean and happy. cleaner than it was even in the factory it came from!
we are impressed.

Two hours sail by. He is with the third AC. Why don't you fit in one AC? Let all ACs get service. Then all ACs get fixed. He says firmly, as if to an 'unreasonable demand of an impatient kid'. I don't want to mess with his feelings. he is doing a fantastic job. By 7 in the evening Our wallet come out. And notes get counted. Kaam ho gaya? Job done? we ask. ready to pay and send!

He ignores us. He walks up to the ACs with a clean cloth and wipes off marks that he has left while fixing it. In true spirit of the Japanese ACs he has come to fit. aaah! OK. done? we ask and open the wallet again.

He traces steps to the hall. He re-positions the stabilizer. snap! the wire link is off. So he connects  it again. and wipes it clean. Now are you done? the wallet is open again.

He almost has his hand out. But no. He remembers that he has left the bathrooms messy. He asks for a broom and cleans up the mess. Ooof! this is way too much efficiency. NOW are you done?

He marches off to the various rooms where he has left the ACs on. Come saab. See the ACs working. He says and diligently turns them all off again... keeping the remotes securely in place. Aaaaah! now he is overdoing it. OK GO! Thank you we tell him. and open the wallet

He stands erect for the first time. Looks up and says... What ever we do, we must do well. Kaam saaf hona chahiye. Our work must be clean and good.

I ponder over my feelings. I admire his commitment. But I am not willing to give him the time. If a job has to be done well, it demands that much time and attention.
How do we reach that optimum point of sufficiently efficient?

  • economy of time 
  • coupled with perfect completion.


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