Evening at Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, May 2015
and so does everything around... the situation, the people, the perspective, the needs.... and we too change.... the wise and courageous seek change.. because only change is constant!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

186. Exhibition

A call from an unknown number. I cannot have the luxury of not answering calls from unlisted numbers. In a way, this phone is for public purpose, I keep on receiving calls from 'unlisted numbers'.

"Good Morning," there is a woman, from Delhi. She tells me her name and adds, "Mr. X has asked me to contact you." I know Mr X for many years. He is associated with one organization who does a bit of social work. I don't really appreciate what his organization does but I appreciate the commitment and dedication  of Mr. X.. So if someone approaches me through the thread of Mr. X, I generally offer whatever help I can.

"Good Morning. What do you need me to do?" I ask directly.
"Mr. X has told me that you have a lot of information," the woman says vaguely.
Now I have crossed that phase when one feels happy at the praise showered by strangers. That woman may not know it.
"What information do you want?" I ask again.
"Women," is the answer.

Now 'information on or about women' is a broad theme. Until this women tells me what exactly she wants, I won't be able to help her.
"Which women? On what theme?" I try to steer the conversation.
"Oh! Obviously Indian women! Any theme that you want," the woman speaks calmly.

I am bit irritated with the vagueness of the dialogue. However, because of the reference of Mr. X, I am not in a position to end it immediately.

After spending another few minutes what I realize is this: the organization with which this woman is associated (the same organization where Mr. X is also involved) is planning an exhibition on Ancient Indian History. They need some help from me in this regard.

"Have you listed some names?" I ask.
"Well, we have your name ..." the woman seems to have a good sense of humor.
"I am talking about historical names. If I know what kind of preparation you have, I will be able to help you better." I say politely.
"Sorry, I did not have enough time. Whatever you want, can be done. No problem." the woman says, again with the same calmness.

I smile. There won't be any problem, because they have not given any thought to exhibition. Anyway, I can always provide them few names.

The exhibition is in Delhi, so the write-up needs to be in Hindi.
I ask, "If I give you information in English, do you have someone who can translate it in Hindi?" I expect affirmative answer.
"No, we don't have any person who can translate. Why don't you give us information in Hindi? You are based in Delhi, so you also should be able to write Hindi..." that is undesirable. .

I decide to leave the matter for some time. I can always discuss these details with Mr. X.
"You are going to have posters ..." I am thinking aloud.
"Probably..." the woman says.
"Who is going to do the sketches? Or you will be using photographs? What would be the size of the posters? There cannot be too much of matter on posters, so we have to choose the information thoughtfully ...." my train of thought is going fast.
"Don't you have drawings, sketches or photographs?" the woman asks me in a tone of disbelief.

"No," I reply. Even though this woman has given me reference of Mr. X, now I am reaching the limits of patience.
"Then what will we do?" she asks.
Who is planning the exhibition? I wonder.

"You decide and tell me," I say little curtly.
"There is no time for decisions and discussions," the woman is also irritated now.
Curiosity overtakes my irritation and anger. Here is a woman whose organization wants to plan an exhibition; she does not know anything about the topic; she calls me for help and trying to order me; she does not know me and still she is getting irritated with me for no reason. I note to tell Mr. X that he should not provide my mobile number to any Rama, Seeta and Laxman.

"Yes, time is always short for such tasks," I try to understand her position.
With enthusiasm (which is my habit!) I add, "Kindly discuss with your team about all these points. Then we can sit together and work out. Don't worry, everything would be fine," I try to assure her.

"Can you come to my place today evening?" she asks.
"Sorry, I am out of Delhi for a week. Maybe....". I say.
The woman does not allow me to complete the sentence. "You are of no use then.." she announces.
"What do you mean?" I control myself but still can't help asking the question.

"The exhibition is planned on this Saturday-Sunday." the woman tells me.
"Sorry, I can't help you and best wishes to you..." I say and cut off the phone.

Exhibition, of what?

Exhibition that I work for a voluntary organization? Exhibition of my interests in History and Culture? Exhibition of our attitude to take everything casually? Exhibition of 'right to expect from others'?

Exhibition of many such aspects of how human beings think, and how they work!!


  1. It is hilarious and unbelievable! Seriously, you sound like a saint with your self-restraint.

    I am sure that I wouldn't have had so much patience! :)

  2. Sunilbhai, sainthood seems to be an easy profession nowadays!!

    In this case, the credit for my patience goes to Mr. X .

  3. Appreciate your tolerance level! Phew!
    It is people like these that give NGOs a bad name.

  4. magiceye, agree, but we should always differentiate between individuals and institutions!!


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