‘What can I say about Mr. Roy?’ was the HR lady’s unimaginative but honest start.
Toasts are hard, eulogies are harder. They are hard to deliver, perhaps even harder to sit through. Yet we indulge in them. We struggle and we hope to find meaning. The really good ones continue to be rehearsed and on TV!
This one is turning out to be excruciating. Mr. Roy is standing there in a flannel blazer surprisingly with no elbow pads. He is flanked by two similarly grey men.
‘I have known Mr. Roy for over two decades. Back then, we were called Supreme Pvt Ltd. Then we got taken over by Axel Labs in the year 1995. In the year 200…
…People leave companies. In our case, companies leave us.’
That was a joke.
A couple of forgettable recollections later, it is now Mr. Roy’s turn to try to utter something befitting the occasion.
He looks like a man not used to wearing a suit and not used to being the center of attention. He seems ready but awkward. He is sad but smiling, hesitant but resigned.
‘I joined this company in June of 1980. We used to sell brass polish back then. SS bras polish we used to call it…sold lots of those. Many of you were probably not even born back then. I have done pretty much everything there is to do here. It’s…it’s been good. This is a good company. My son is going to graduate next year…You spend so much time here, here in office, I barely noticed him growing up. I…I have spent my whole life here, 5 to 6 days a week, for my family. And you have become my family, of sorts. I…don’t know what I will do next, I have my pension, you know…’
The man behind Mr. R tugged at his arm, stopping him mid-sentence. A hushed conversation followed. Roy glanced towards the crowd smiling as if to reassure.
‘Thank…thank you.’ he finally said and walked out.
Later you see him clearing out his desk, talking assuredly with his replacement. He takes down the poster in his cubicle that says:
A true SlavesInc. moment.
You look up at your own poster, the one you have in your cube. It says:
‘I once had a dream that my world was bigger than these four walls’.