Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Oversight

The Consultant”, read the board. An arrow mark on the board pointed to the first floor.

One might mistake it to be an arrogant declaration of unchallenged supremacy. Yes, the consultant was arrogant and supreme in his own ways, but the reason for putting no other text on the board was to remain as general as possible while attracting clients.

His office had a bed and a chair. Clients were always made to sit on bed. That suited his methods. He believed in attacking the roots of the problems without worrying about the details. Clients were barely allowed to finish telling their troubles. He would talk of fundamentals and show remarkable understanding of time and space and all things wrapped in between.

Crucial to his work, there were notes stuck on the wall. They read:

“This is not your problem. This is not your problem. This is not YOUR problem. Truth be told, this is not even a problem.”

“Lament not. Have a massage if indulge you must.”

“By the time you finish reading this sentence, four humans would have died. Go on, read it again. Eight more will be dead by then.” **PS Footnote at the end**

“Measure yourself not with what you can do; pleasure yourself with what you can get away with.”

“Who cares?”
There were four notes with this caption.

He had a large sheet titled “On this day…”, which typically looked like:

Year 2040984 BC- The first ape to walk straight fell off the tree. Humanity set back by a thousand years.
Year 1330 BC- Tutankhamen did not like his oranges.
Year 1941 AD- Some president signed some bill to attack some country.
Current Year- Mr. Client has a problem.
Year 4918 AD- Planet Earth splits into two.
Tick the odd one from the list above.

His business thrived. Folks from all walks of life found solace in his office. Many revisited. A few competitors tried to copy his model, but none of them had the combination of the conviction and nonchalance. It stemmed from what he called “The Japanese-Man Wisdom”.

Some said the wisdom was better than Zen; it filtered out only the grief and let the fun be with you. It was the ultimate tool he used if nothing else worked. It went like this:

Client1: I bought five shirts in a sale for the price of two.
Consultant: Congratulations.
Client1: I didn’t notice that all of them have a hen painted at the back.
Consultant: So, what’s the problem?
Client1: My colleagues make fun of me.
Consultant: It shouldn’t matter. Do you remember what your colleague wore a year ago?
Client1: But what about the present?

Now that the temporal shift technique hadn’t helped much, it was time for using the Japanese-Man wisdom.

Consultant: Look at it from the third person’s perspective.
Client1: He too will ridicule me.
Consultant: I am not done yet. Look at it from a fourth person’s perspective; from the fifth; from the sixth. Are you with me?
Client1: I suppose.
Consultant: Let’s keep going. From the seventh; go beyond your neighborhood; cross the borders; look at it from the man-in-Japan’s perspective.
Client1: He can’t even see my shirt.
Consultant: That, my friend, is the point. When in trouble, you must look at yourself from the Japanese man’s perspective and everything will be alright.
Client1: Profound. Thank you. Here’s your fee.

Let’s take a look at how another client was satisfied.

Client59: Do I invest in commercial real estate or keep my money in stocks?
Consultant: Doesn’t matter.
Client59: Would you care to explain?
Consultant: Look at it from the third person’s perspective… Look at it from the man-in-Japan’s perspective.
Client59: Brilliant. I would rather blow it all away in Vegas. Thank you. Here’s your fee.

And so it went. Until one day, when Client666 dropped in.

Client666: I think I am in love.
Consultant: Good for you.
Client666: I haven’t met her yet in person. But we talk everyday.
Consultant: What’s the problem?
Client666: Should I propose to her?
Consultant: Doesn’t matter. Look at it from the third person’s perspective…from seventh...Go beyond…Cross borders…Are you now looking at it from the man-in-Japan’s perspective.
Client666: I am. I am.
(Client 666 sounded awestruck. Consultant waited for the Japanese-Man Wisdom to deliver again; always has been his rock.)
Consultant: So???
Client666: I don’t think Mr. Tomiro Nakagawa is going to like that his wife is being proposed to.

That was the death of the consultant’s conviction. Client667 never happened.


** Footnote**
1.8 humans die every second on an average.
Average reading speed is 300 words per minute.
The sentence had 13 words.
Number of deaths have been rounded off to the closest integer.


Nicky said...

Finally, something that is not too insightful, not too 'other worldly'!

I love it!

Preeti Shenoy said...

Great perspectives and loved the way you illustrated the paradigm shift! :)

Thoroughly enjoyed this read. Well written!


BrownPhantom said...

Thank you Nicky :)
Good to see you back after a long time. :) Where have you been ? :)

Thank you so much. Your appreciation matters a lot :).

Shanu said...

Wow loved it :)

Grayquill said...

You had me going - I wondered what was going to be significant from client 666 - you didn't choose that number by accident. So was it one lie winning over a lesser lie?
Interesting piece and a bit beyond my pea brain.

Neha said...

Hey have you you been? I think you deserve the beautiful blogger award. Visit today's post...

Have a great day ahead!

Anonymous said...

Wow and lol...So simple, ain't it?
A very intelligent piece of work. Kudos. :)

Shruthi said...

Brilliant! loved it :)

BrownPhantom said...

Thank you :)

The key is to not to think much of it :). Thank you.

Thank you Neha. I would have preferred it to be "Handsome" :). Thank you so much.

Thank you :).

Thank you :).

Eveline said...

I'm speechless... oh, come on!
You can't tell me you didn't see
THAT ONE coming...
Truth be told, you were the high point of my day. Write on. ... Great post! :)

shraddha said...

good one!!

very interesting!!

Saurabh Panshikar said...

gr8 post.
very entertaining!

Footnote is scary!

Mamta said...

You know what...I visualized your post... hehe! Very interesting.

BrownPhantom said...

Thank you so much for the kindest of words :). Glad for the "high point" bit :).

Thank you :)

Thanks man :)

Really ? :). Thank you :).

Ranjitha.P.R said...

good one :-) liked it

Nicky said...

@phantom boy

I guess Neha meant thet your Blog was beautiful.


BrownPhantom said...

Thank you :).
I know you :).

I know, but wouldn't want this blog to be "beautiful". Too mushy for the content.:)

C G said...

Ah to have one's bubble go pop ...Something about the chronic believing syndrome of the human nature, depicted here (among other things), makes me wanna read it again and again..Awesomely told!

C G said...

And don't worry. I think your blog is sleek, minimalistic and reader friendly. ;)

Stupidosaur said...

LOL! 'Man in Japan'! Good spin on all the Japanese and Toyota & Zen kinda management and art of living theories!

I was laughing more at the hen gag (when Japan man wisdom was first revealed!) and Vegas gag (for the "hell with it!" reply of client) than at the punchline gag.

Hilarious! Japan man wisdom! LOL! I think I am gonna use it on people, though not commercially ;)