Those who have studied in PS will acknowledge the fact that the place was terrificly managed. Though there were about a thousand children, everything worked in clockwork precision, and there was always second helping of everything, and you were a happy, well-fed, cog in the wheel. But the HS (and comparing the two has become something of a hobby now)was a different story altogether. Here are some examples of some lessons for managers, in how NOT to manage things.
Lets begin with the lunch. In PS, since there were so many children, everyone was not
'called' for lunch at once. Instead, each class would be called for lunch one after the other. So, that way, by the time one class was called, almost all the other guys would have finished their lunches (except those who ate slowly who would be made to sit in the sisters' side, and then eat slower). However, the system in HS was something else.
A bell would signify we could leave school and walk to the hostel. And then another in the hostel to announce that lunch was ready. Then, a second bell to say we better get our asses in the hall, and quickly. Now, when everyone was in the hall, everyone would take their plates, get served (“Brother, some more vegetable? Limited. Brother, some more dal? Limited. Brother, some more buttermilk? “Sai Ram”, a divine way of saying 'Buzz off').
We would wait for everyone to take their plates, and after the last guy has taken his plate, the prayer would begin. Now, imagine the plight of the guy who was the first to take his plate. Poor guy must have been hungry, and probably ran to take his plate, but now has to wait for the last guy, who would sashay in at his own sweet pace, and take his seat. Then, the prayers would begin, but not before Rammohan sir would first give some important announcements, or just some arbit gyan. Once that was done, Om would be chanted thrice, followed by the gayatri mantra, chanted thrice, in slow motion. This was then followed by the Sai gayatri, thrice, in slow motion, followed by Bramharpanam, in slow motion. Now, think again about that hungry guy who was the first to take his plate. His mood feels like shit, and his food has gone cold, but he has to eat it nevertheless. And there will be two 12th std guys standing by him, in case he turns to tell the guy next to him that his food tastes like shit.
Another rule that perplexed me was the whole 'not entering other's room' thing. The history behind the rule was that once, Swami had said, “Boys are not studying. They only keep going to each other's rooms like cats and dogs.” Now, anyone with an IQ over 100 would tell you, the emphasis is on 'not studying'. There's something called inference. But no.
The rule was that you could not enter others' rooms. So, if you wanted to talk to someone, you had to do it while standing on the threshold of the room. And if you wanted to talk something in private, well, you know the kind of implication saying, “Aye fellow, come out na, I want to talk to you about something in private” would have there.
And now, what happened if you broke the room? You were made to live in that room. Your luggage would be shifted into that room, and you had to sit there during study hours too. I found this rule baffling, but extremely enjoyable. During my three years, I stayed in a number of my friends' rooms, and it was always great fun. Of course, you had to endure a few PHWs on the way, but it was alright.
Among the other gems was the one for money spending. Now, we all knew spending money is a vice and it was important to think beyond the banal, and the materialistic. Point noted. Now how we do go about it? Don't let the students handle money. In its place, introduce a total kickass foolproof, desire-curbing method that made the Lehman brothers seem like Lava and Kusha. It went like this.
If you wanted to buy something, you did not use cash. Instead, there were yellow slips on which you wrote your name, your roll number, the item you wish to buy, and the price, and then signed on it. This was terrific, for those who had money and wanted to buy. It was also terrific for those who wanted to enjoy life's little pleasures (like Fruit Salad for dinner) without having to bother about little obstacles like paying for it. So what you did was you took a slip, thought of the biggest asshole in the class, wrote his name, roll number, and signed on it. There, you had what you wanted, without having to stoop into the maya of the finances of it.
Not surprisingly, some people of the class had a negative 3000 rupees in their accounts, inspite of only eating Satwik produce that was prepared by Dr. Nilakantha under the able hands of cooks who sometimes burnt their sins along with the food. After about two months, everyone realised that this would not work. To the utter dismay of many of us, this system was replaced by another terrific system, the Credit Card system. The Credit Card system was announced to us in the Prayer Hall by Rammohan sir, as being the Masthishka Putra of Janardhan sir.
The Credit Card was another stroke of ingenuity that would put investment bankers to shame. The Credit Card was a rectangular card, that had numbers printed on both sides. So you had 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2... and so on till 50. If you want to buy something from the stores, you approached your class sir for a card. Your finances were checked and you were issued a Card. The guy in stores would take your card, and punch on it whatever was the amount of the item you took. If you wanted to buy something more than 50 bucks, you had to take two cards.
Our swindling brothers got around this one too. You first bought something worth 5 rupees or so, and then hold the card from the punched side, covering the hole that had been punched. But it was too much risk and if you could got caught, you'd get punched yourself.
The end result was that you thought of the process of buying from the stores too cumbersome. Instead, you walked past the stores, looking longingly at the all the things you would have bought, if not for this galeej idea. Your desires were never curbed, they were only limited to 50 bucks.