It was a usual day at work.The daily prayer and morning exercise was over. All the workers and officers were heading to their departments or shop floors and I was heading towards my department.Just around the Engine Assembly Hall Mr Gupta appears. I must have mentioned earlier somewhere, Mr Gupta was the chief of Project Engineering Department.When there were people, all moving towards their departments, I was wondering why this fellow was standing there as if waiting for me.And wait he did for me I realised the very next moment.“You” – he yelled at me which was rather audible to all the people who were moving towards their departments as I was.I was zapped, why would he call me like that, he knew my name and we had interacted so many times.“Come here” – he saidI had to go.“Where is the translation job that I had asked you to do, and how many days has it been?”– he asked“Sir, I thought since everything was understood, I did not feel the need to do it” – I answered“Who the f_ _ _ do you think you are to decide which document is important and which is not” – the way he said this was a bit louder and it was definitely embarrassing.I was still wondering why was he talking to me like that in front of all the people who were moving towards their department when this could be talked in isolation also.Let me first tell you what was the document that he was asking.Last month we had a project review meetings of the next motorcycle model that was to be launched. They called it P-30. The meeting was held with around 25-30 participants and the Japanese Technical Director along with his team of technical advisors was heading the meeting.I was the translator explaining the developments being briefed by Mr Gupta’s team to the Japanese Technical Director.Simultaneously I was taking note of things Mr. Gupta said and all this I was writing on a screen in Japanese Language for my bosses.After the meeting was over. Mr. Gupta was sitting alone and waiting for further instructions and the Japanese team was discussing a few things. I guess since he had nothing to do, he called me to his side and said “Take a print out of what ever you wrote on the board and translate it in English and give it to me”.“But sir these are the things that I wrote from what you just told me” – I argued“I still need it – translate it and give it to me for record” – he insisted“Fine Sir” – I agreedA few days later Mr Gupta had been called to Japanese Department by one of the technical advisors.I was busy talking to the chief of heat treatment plant on behalf of the technical director on a table at the corner. Since there was no other translator Mr. Gupta was made to wait in the adjacent room which Japanese people called a guest hall, but it was way too small and was capable to seat only four people.After some time when I was free I went to Mr.Yoshida – Technical Advisor and took him to the guest hall.Mr. Gupta was waiting there.Meeting began and ended. Yoshida went back to his seat.After meeting on our way back, Mr. Gupta cornered me and asked me about the translation job that he had given me.“Sir actually I have been very busy lately because of the breakdown in the other plant I have to go there also, that is why all the desk job is pending” – I said“You can sit in the evening and work late or take it home” – he continued“I agree sir, I will definitely do it today sir” – I said“See you sit till late tonight or do what ever but it should be on my table aaj ki tarikh may – on this date” – He was fuming.I did not understand why he was so angry. He should not have done that.It was a small job actually putting English words against those Japanese words written by me.I did it on that very print out sheet. But failed to deliver it to him.Now come back to this morning.Prayer and exercise was over and everybody was moving towards their department but I was blocked by Mr. Gupta who did not seem happy.“Sorry sir, actually I did the job the moment you told me but I could not place it on your table because I had to suddenly leave the factory to go to the other plant with one of the technical advisors” – I said“Look, don’t try to screw around with me – OK. I can throw you out of the organization. You get that.” – This was equally loud and audible to all the people who were slowly moving towards their departments.I was zapped, and the people who were all moving towards their department were also zapped at what just happened. I quietly moved on.It was like everyday at my department. All the Japanese sat on a circular table and drank black coffee. I avoided sitting with my bosses for two reasons, one they normally talked obscene subjects and I found it embarrassing two I did not like black coffee and milk was not allowed to come in the Japanese room.I went straight to my seat searched for Mr. Gupta’s papers and had it sent to his office.Then as I sat, I thought over what happened. I did not like it. I knew he could have avoided it. There was no reason to make it such a large issue and make me feel so bad and that too right at the beginning of the day.At the same time I pitied his position because he did not know what I could do to him. And what I could do to him is much worse that throwing some one out of the organization. Much worse that warning to be thrown out of organization in a loud voice that too in front of so many people who were walking towards their departments after the morning prayer and exercise.I decided Mr. Gupta will have to pay.Outside in the factory and the corporate office there were problems.The recently launched motorcycle was not selling in the market even though it was the largest ever-sold model in the world – called the Honda CUB worldwide and STREET in India.Marketing people were doing market research to find out why it is not selling and coming up with suggestions from sales department. These were then being discussed with the Japanese team.There were several meeting of the marketing people with the design specialists of Japan. The Japanese Technical team was very upset because manufacturing defect is not acceptable at all. The Technical Director was very upset he called the departmental heads of the related components where defects were found and gave them good firing. I was all the time instrumental in this firing exercise.My Japanese Boss i.e. the Technical Director and I had a very good understanding which was built over two years after working closely with him. I was very used to his style, in fact without listening to him I could tell what he wants to say. He also liked my style because my translation used to be relevant to the situation. This is the reason why it was only me who accompanied the Technical chief in all his meetings.Let me narrate one of the meetings at an ancillary unit in a close by location. There were faults in a welded component of the motorcycle called arm swing. It is a very important part of a motorcycle and for this the technical chief decided to go and see the situation himself.The President of the Vendor company was at the gate, obviously scared because there was some component defect reported.We went to the shop floor and the technical director saw the entire process from start to finish observed a lot of things and then we went to the meeting room.The production manager and his engineers are called. All the valuable tips about welding techniques and faults observed are explained through me.After the Technical people next is the meeting with the President.The meeting begins and my boss starts on a serious note and talks in Japanese that may not sound nice when told in english. I took charge of the moment because I knew this factory belonged to one of the group companies and the fellow in front of us was related to the chairman of our company.“Listen to what I have to say with your ears open – OK” – Boss says“You must have realized the matter is very serious” – I translate“Yes sir, Yes Sir” – He replies ( that is what should have been the reply of the hard tone message which my boss gave )“The quality that I saw is so bad that we might have to review the procurement agreement if it is repeated. Do you understand !” – My boss saysI know, being a group company the procurement can not be stopped from here, the only thing possible is the quality can be improved.“The technical people have been sounded about the defects, please ensure that you personally take interest in ensuring that remedies are implemented” – I translated.The reply was again “Yes Sir” my boss was content. He must have thought he just scared the shit out of the fellow in front of him and perhaps that was the best way to get it done. But I knew that way it wouldn’t have worked.What I am trying to say is, even though the Japanese may be right in his way of speaking but I tried to maintain the conversation in such a way that the meeting results to a meaningful exercise.Many a times when he would furiously shout at some vendor and might say things that I did not understand I never went back by asking what he is saying unless it was something technical. I would go ahead and make my own sentence to that effect.In any impromptu address that he may be requested to give to the workers of the factory. It used to be actually my impromptu speech rather than his. Many a times, seriously, I did not understand a single word in his sentence. But I always said something that would definitely result in claps by the audience. In a worker speech, I would normally begin by appreciating the achievement of the factory and call upon their further support to continue to be the number one company blah blah blah.That perhaps impressed my boss that I always understood the situation and took the conversation/speech ahead without abrupting his flow and disturbing his speech.
Suddenly everyone was busy for two reasons first the recently launched world’s largest selling model was not selling in India and second the technical director was not satisfied with the recent quality update.The bigger problem is yet to come.It seems the P-30 i.e. next project the new model is delayed. This is a very critical issue from the Technical Director’s Point of view because he will be answerable to the Board. The design team has not been able to do its job and the components to be indigenized, were yet to be finalized. Importing was ruled out.The next review meeting was only a week later. The technical director did not know about the project. He is too occupied with the quality control for which he might have to hear from his bosses. So he was working hard to save his position.If the project is delayed then it will be the last nail in the coffin, he might be sent back to Japan for incapability to manage project and quality.He does not yet know about the project being delayed.The project engineering department, with one of my friends in there, was working seven days a week and till late hours. And he was the one who leaked this information to me.Hell broke loose when the Japanese Technical Team came to know about this big failure in the project Engineering Department.Nothing could be done.The technical director and his advisors hold a meeting at the Japanese room. They decide to prepone the review meet to understand the situation so that the facts are better understood to be presented before the Joint Managing Director next week.The meeting is called.All departmental heads ( Paint Shop, Press Shop, Welding, Head-Treatment, Frame Assy, Engine Assy, etc. ) and the key members of the Project.These people were the very same people who quietly move towards their departments after the prayer and exercise in the morning at the factory.Mr. Gupta is damn scared. But he does not know how are the Japnese Technicians feeling at this moment.Only I knew and I had the right to share that info or keep it to myself.In the meeting of Japanese people it was decided that they will take it easy and motivate the indian engineering team to work harder to achieve the target rather than scold or reprimand. Only I knew that.I further made the engineering people scared by sending a message through my friend in their department that the Technical Director will tear open the Project Engineering Department and that is the reason why he has called this urgent meeting. And heads will roll was the message I made sure made rounds in the Project Engineering Department.I knew Mr. Gupta would be shitting in his pants on his seat in his cabin.He deserved it and it was my turn.They were all in. I was in the usual place, standing near the board with my pen.There was silence and the technical director starts in humble tone.“You all know why we have gathered today” – T D says“The matter is very serious and some heads must roll” – I translate I had to.“Mr Gupta you have the largest responsibility now because you have to use your experience to get us out of this situation” – T D says“Mr Gupta you are the most irresponsible person I have seen. There are many more engineers who I see are much capable than you. How on earth could you delay the project and not keep us informed” – I had to translateI went on to translate many more things in as embarassing language that I can. You will not believe I even told him that I could throw him out of the organisation. By the end of the meeting I was the most satisfied man around.Mr Gupta in front of all the people who he must have warned to throw out of the organization being scolded by the technical director of the company (me) must have felt like melting right there when I created so much embarrassment for him.All this could be avoided had he been more humble by talking to me in person rather than speak in loud voice in front of so many people who were going to their respective departments after the morning prayer and exercise.My friend knew what I was doing.It seems he leaked this to his collegues and it went to Mr. Gupta’s ears.What could he do, the damange was done. I felt more happier that he knew what I had done to him.I do not know what happened to the project because I left that organization for further studies a few months after I had scolded who I had to