Random musings…
The ones that got written down.

when work alone just doesn’t cut it…

There once lived a pack of wolves in the jungle. They were led by a ferocious leader who was as wise as he was strong. He led the pack on  numerous difficult hunting expeditions on a daily basis and pulled off feats that were considered impossible. Rounding up deers and buffaloes and goats and sheep and all sorts of game animals that the pack devoured hungrily because hunting with the pack leader was no walk in the park. Slowly as time went by the pack grew in size as every wolf in the jungle wanted to be a part of this group. The group leader built his core team of advisors and lead hunters. At the center of this team was his council of ministers. These ministers were entrusted with individual responsibilities. One was entrusted with recruiting the right wolves, another managed the health of members and looked out for signs of slack so as to address them before they became a liability, still another was tasked with scouting for new hunting grounds and helped raise smaller teams of wolves who went around to far off lands looking for such hunting grounds. Hierarchy developed over time.

A young wolf came into this pack and quickly rose through the ranks. He was soon running with the pack leader, the best of the best. His acumen was unparalleled in fact so much so that oftentimes the pack leader, lets call him Raju, was not able to keep up but given that Raju was smart he accepted the decisions that this new upstart, lets call him Sonu, took. The core group was feeling threatened with Sonus rise. They had no reason to feel threatened however given wolf nature and the fact that with time they had become flaccid and weak made them wonder if they would be thrown out of the pack if Sonu was allowed to grow at the rate he was growing. Within a few months of his joining Sonu had already over ridden one of the most important core group members forcing that member into retirement. Now the others were worried about their place.

Sonu was a hunter, a well honed extremely skillful hunter. His raison d’ etre was hunting. He was least concerned about anything else, he had no interest in the ancillary activities of the pack. The pack lived and ate well because of this guy. They were happy because Sonu made sure that every member of his team of hunters was the best and nothing but the best were ever let in into Sonus team of elite hunters. Once in it did not mean that they could rest on their haunches. No, each member was severely drilled and exhaustively coached in the fine art of stalking a prey, out running it, attacking and finishing the kill. There was no downtime and whatever breathing space they did get was spent planning, practicing and rehearsing for the next kill. They went over each expedition in detail making sure mistakes if any were properly discussed and the whole team learned from the experience so that next time the same mistakes were not repeated. Success of this particular pack of hunters was not an accident, it was a well planned and precisely executed incident, each and every time.

Raju, and his deputy Vinny, who led their own elite teams of hunters were extremely impressed with the accuracy and effectiveness of Sonu and his team. When annual reviews were held on which teams contributed most to the whole packs success it was sometimes Sonu, who never counted his kills, was found to have done more for the pack than the rest. The wives and children of all pack members had food to eat because of the efforts of Sonu and his team for the most part.

Arko was a damaged wolf, he had grown up on a steady diet of hotel food having started his career in a city. Living with dogs and scavenging in dustbins at night Arko had not really learned how to hunt with any degree of accuracy. Yet Arko was a leader, of dogs. To the dogs even his running with them was a matter of pride because in the city a wolf among dogs was in itself an  advantage. Then one day Arko had found himself captured by some humans who were rounding up dogs in the city. They had first thought of him as a dog, but soon realizing that he was a wild wolf they had left him in the middle of the jungle. Arko had then set about telling anyone who would listen how he had led the pack of ferocious wolves in the city. Raju heard this story and decided to meet Arko. When they met Arko was sitting on top of a dead buffalo. The buffalo had been stricken down by old age and snake bite. However Arko made sure this little detail was not offered to Raju who came away supremely impressed by the single handed killer wolf. He had offered Arko a spot on the core team right there and then. In fact so impressed was Raju by Arkos amazing feat that he actually replaced one of the nine council of ministers, Nanzo, to make place for Arko. Nanzo’s team was handed over to Arko.

Within a few months Arko had managed to lose control of the hunting grounds that Nanzos’ team had so far controlled with an iron fist. He blamed it on the drought, on over hunting, on the injuries that some of the pack members had suffered, everything but his own inadequacies. Since Arko was completely unaware of how wolves hunted, together as a team in case you’re wondering, he used to stay home deep inside the woods and send smaller groups of wolves to do the actual hunting. Once in a while when his teams would capture an  old dying buffalo Arko would make a dash for the spot and then have Raju and Vinny come over to have a look. He believed in ceremony and pomp and show. Making sure that the king and the council of ministers knew whenever his team made a kill was important for Arko because the kills were few and far between. It however served it’s purpose. Raju and Vinny never got around to kicking Arko out of the wolf pack. They were shown just the trophies and never knew much of the story about the dwindling kill rates. Well at least until it was too late. Arko subsequently got to the stage where his team was down to five weary wolves from being a seventy five strong team when he had been given charge. He prepared and elaborate report blaming everyone and everything that he could think of except his own lack of leadership and experience. Raju and Vinny had no option but to help salvage.

Arko was now made a member of Sonus’ team. Sonu had protested however Raju and Vinny still believed Arko was capable of greatness. In his new role Arko was to work with the scouting parties. His job was to go to far off lands and identify new killing fields. For a wolf who cut his teeth in the city rummaging through the rubbish bins outside large hotels this was an impossible task. He had no clue what was involved. More often than not he would end up scaring away groups of game animals even while on a scouting mission. Game animals never return to a place where they have been spooked by a wolf earlier. Sonu understood this problem at the outset and wondered how best to keep Arko occupied so that he does not end up bringing down the effectiveness of the whole team. Eventually Arko was put on trainer duty. He would be given a bunch of below average performers from the team. This was a last chance for the below average performers before they were kicked out. Arko’s job was to retrain them and make them battle ready for the quarterly exams. Almost all the wolves sent to Arko’s academy failed the retests and were flung off the cliff, kicked out of Sonu’s team. Of course they continued to thrive elsewhere as even bad performers in Sonus team were pure gold for a lot of other teams. Standards of reference were much different.

Raju and Vinny, had been reviewing the performance of all teams in the pack. They as usual came to the conclusion that Sonu and his team had once again outperformed each and every other team in the pack. This meant only one thing. Sonu needed to be encouraged. Already promoted to the top most position as an in service wolf there was only one accolade left, member of the core circle. But the pack rules dictated that one of the core group members had to leave to make space for a new entrant. That was a dilemma, who to replace. Arko was doing great as per Vinny(influenced by the exhaustive campaigns and self aggrandizing that Arko indulged in)  and Raju after all had brought him in into the pack. There was a huge loss of face involved if Arko was let go. The other six members were great in their own specific roles. This was going to be a difficult decision.

Arko meanwhile was worried. He knew his position on the council was on shaky ground. However he was a cunning one. He started talking to Raju, after all Raju was easy to fool and Arko knew that. Raju was told of how Sonu had designs on his position in the wolf pack. Arko showed him past minutes of the meetings and reminded him of so many times when Sonu had overruled the decisions of Raju himself when heading out on hunts. That Sonu had been right was a different matter however going up against the king, the leader of the pack, that was unacceptable! It all clearly added up to just one thing, pure unadulterated naked ambition. Sonu wanted Rajus spot on the top of the pack. He was out to destroy everything that Raju stood for. He needed to be stopped before things got out of hand. Raju needed to make sure that someone he could trust was controlling Sonu at all times. There was only one such person in the organization who was capable, Arko. All the late night calls and back stabbing finally started to wear out Raju. He snapped at Arko for being so negative. Arko explained that he was just being practical and worldly-wise. That Sonu was becoming a one man army controlling the biggest team in the whole pack. His argument was that if this was allowed to go on then there was no saying when Sonu would turn on Raju and declare himself king. That scared Raju and out of fear or maybe even out of exhaustion a decision was made. Sonu would henceforth work under the guidance and leadership of Arko!!!

Sonu and his team were furious, when the message came to him. They chose to focus on the expedition they were on in a far off land at that moment. Closing in for the kill they captured fifteen stags. Dragging them back with them and not stopping till they reached the lair. For this team, work was worship, however the new decision communicated a few hours back was not acceptable. A rebellion was imminent. the well being of the team depended on working as a well oiled unit led by a capable leader who had absolute control over the ecosystem in which his hunters rallied. Being asked to follow the diktats of a nincompoop was going to be a risky affair. Lives would be lost because of the entry of this idiot who had earlier wiped out a similarly cohesive team.  Something had to be done….. for his part though after the initial surge of rage Sonu was calm. He knew there was no time to fight this fight or at least understood that fighting this fight would mean neglecting his core competence, hunting, and jeopardizing the rest of the teams existence in the long term. Sonu also knew that wolves like Arko did not have the tact and the stamina to keep up so the best way to handle this new threat would be to keep working harder and getting further ahead…. The useless laggards who were gathering to get a piece of the pie after sniffing success in the air would never be able to survive the pace at which Sonu moved…. So we just keep moving, the Arkos of the world will exhaust themselves at one point and fall off the wagon.

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