Hey Ramu, Jai Ramu

He never keeps his word … He is never punctual … He cannot be rushed … He listens to his wife, only … He is a genius … He gets the other person stressed out … He still gets work. Hand over fist. Ramu, the electrician is brilliant. The title of the blog is what you will alternatively chant, if he happens to be working on your wires !

Ramu was introduced to us by Mr. Sampath Rao when we were getting our house re-wired. We were on a short deadline and we never managed to rush Ramu. He would come at 9.30 pm to start his work and Krishnan became good friends with him. He liked us, but he still would not come at the time he promised he would. We would keep calling him and he will pick up the phone and say “15 minutes” … And come three hours later. I missed my dad sorely during the re-wiring exercise because he loved everything about electricity and had done the wiring for this house himself. Would have been fun to watch him and Ramu working together. When Ramu would use the driller and cut switch boxes, lay pipes to carry wires – it would be a nightmare because we had to quickly move things away from his line of work. The fine dust didn’t bother him at all and he would drill with such precision that it was an art in itself. If only, he kept his word and came on time ..

When we came home on 21st, we realised that the water supply from the municipal corporation was just a trickle. Our tenants were struggling and we had to find a solution. We got a lineman to come and check the connection and he told us to get a motor to apply some reverse pressure. He felt there was some dirt or loose earth that was blocking the flow of water. We spent two days asking everyone we knew if they had a spare motor that we could use. When we couldn’t find one, I called up Mr. Sampath Rao and he said that Ramu will come over with a motor the next day. Ramu came but without a motor. Luckily that day there was no water supply from the corporation so he agreed to bring the motor in the afternoon and leave it at our place. When he came back in the afternoon, he tried the reverse pressure tactic once and the water flow increased. Mom was thrilled. He left the motor and said he will come back in the morning to take it back. 

At 10pm we found Ramu knocking at our door :). The person who had loaned him the motor wanted it back. We told him that the corporation will supply water the next day and we needed the motor to do the reverse pressure a couple of times when the water was being supplied. He promised to be back at 8 am the next day. 8 am … Hey Ramu. I must have called him ten times. His wife told me at 8.30 that he was taking bath. The water is supplied till 9 am with good force and then it starts to trickle. So we were frantic. Ramu came around 10.30 with a smaller motor and he tried applying the reverse pressure, which didn’t work. Finally after battling with it for an hour he decided to go and bring back the earlier motor that was really powerful. He left his tool bag at our house – a clear sign that he will come back. He did come back with the more powerful motor and applied the reverse pressure a couple of times and the water flow increased substantially and was on par with our neighbours. Jai Ramu !! My mother happily made tea for him and we paid him for his work because he lost a day’s work in trying to help us. 

Now, the question is, how do you deal with the Ramu’s at work ? The genius who does not come to work on time, does not deliver on time but the output is unmatched … Our corporate world usually struggles with this type of employee. To harness their genius you would have to create a complementary team around them. Also customer expectations have to be set upfront, otherwise there will be a lot of business lost. The creative fields like advertising, movies and theatre deal with “Ramu” all the time. It comes with the territory. But the production teams have to be top notch to still deliver the goods. It is tough to get Ramu to adhere to a schedule. Your deep breathing ability will improve significantly :). He works very hard, it’s just that he will make you work hard too because you will stay up the whole night after a hard day’s work. In Ramu’s case, his skill is an essential one, so you put up with the delays. Imagine if he was completely organised and punctual – he would probably be on the cover of some business magazine for heading a new age electrical company. 

Look for the Ramu’s at work and coach them to manage their time and plan better – you will have an innovator on your hands. For us, right now, we are in the “Jai Ramu” phase with our friend Ramu :). 

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