This COVID and Post Lock-down period has made me think a lot about what is happening around us. In my earlier Blog I had written about our fellow citizens, who we dubbed as ‘Migrants’. In today’s world where we have a limited ability to concentrate on a subject, I think the issues facing the unfortunate ‘Migrants’ has started leaving the mind-space of the general public. This is what the smart politicians know – public memory is short and they believe that some carrots to the unfortunate ones, as elections approach, will settle everything. That is what we have all become – votes to the leaders. Okay, but this is not what I want to write in this blog.
I notice that many companies are retrenching staff and forcing them to adjust their leave against the days they did not work during the lock-down etc etc. Part of salaries are being ‘with held’ to be paid later, in some instances. Of all what I have heard off its only the ‘with holding’ that makes some moral sense.
People are asking for renegotiation of all the terms of the agreements that are in force. Force Majeure is the term used to seek a bail out. Now, I can perfectly understand when companies that are struggling financially and have no means to pay, seek such adjustments. Not those who make public payments to various COVID’ Relief’ funds ( as huge PR stunts ) and also have resources to ensure that their staff are not short changed. I want to know which owners of large companies that cut staff salaries and perquisites decided to sell a part of their fleet of expensive cars and replaced them with cheaper ones or sold personal assets and still found a shortfall. If that was done, they are justified in seeking cuts. If not, I ask, where is the Spirit behind your Agreement? You have an agreement with your staff, your clients and various entities. On a personal front you have an agreement of love with your family. So, do all these agreements go null and void when times are tough? Do you push the other side under the bus, so that you survive?
I read somewhere that a NBFC with a name resembling the sign of a Zodiac Star paid a huge amount as a donation to a fund for COVID ‘Relief’ and promptly sacked 2000 employees. Dammit, its like ” If the COVID doesn’t kill you, we will “ . Are Agreements only for the good times and not for the bad ones? I really am confused at how staff and management relationships will evolve when agreements are seen as one sided? What will be the relationship between parties when the party that got hit knows that his opposite part had the money but still did not pay. The Hindu reported how ‘Migrant’ labour had to use the help of the police to be paid’back wages’ of huge amounts by a firm that had made a PR show of payments to the right political persons, to help COVID ‘Relief’. How does all this gel? People talk casually about renegotiating salaries because staff are not sure of their positions but cry when product manufacturers escalate prices of items they require. In the end they pay the escalated amount despite all the noise. Really, where is the fairness in all of this?
I then thought of another relationship most of us have – one with God/our maker. Those of us who pray always ask God/ our Maker, to look after us and take care of us and protect us. Somewhere in all these prayers we try to establish a relationship or deal with God/ our Maker. In many of the conversations we have with our Maker we seek a blessing for which we agree to do something in return. Now, it is assumed that an agreement has been struck when we do our side of the bargain. This could be by making an offering, in cash or kind, or something that we can give or do. Will we be happy, if we hear, from our maker – My Child, I’m sorry, I have had a better offer of two gold sovereigns more from your opponent, and I have to help him better you in your transaction with him. Sorry.
You will protest vehemently and say that a deal is a deal. You cannot change this. Its not fair. Why is it not fair, asks the Maker? It’s not fair because we had an agreement says the ” The Child’. What is the value of an agreement if you are not going to honour it by forgetting the spirit behind it? Will we, at this point, introspect and see if we have kept our side of the bargain always or have reneged on the spirit? I doubt it. Now, please do not think that I am taking a higher moral ground in all this – I am often guilty too. My way of becoming a better person is to try and ensure that the number of times I am guilty of wrongdoing are not increasing but decreasing as I get older and wiser. That is the best I can do.
Think about The Spirit behind the Agreement, before you renege on it. Ask yourself if you have done everything you could to prevent the breaking of the agreement or whether you will make up for it in future, when you have the means. In the end YOU and ONLY YOU are the Judge of whether you have kept up your side of the Agreement. This is because, whenever we sign an agreement, both parties tell each other – its not the words in the agreement but the spirit that matters.
(I have always believed that a good word about you behind your back and a fond memory when you are gone from this world is all that we have earned. Both these are very tough to get but they are invaluable to those you leave behind as it spreads goodwill…stay safe and do not forget the Spirit behind the Agreement)