"Project Manager…," I read from the card which this gentleman handed me and looked up with what I am sure must have been an expression of puzzlement on my face.
"I think you have come to the wrong address…I mean what do I need a project manager for?" I said to this man, "You must be looking for some office address?
"You have children? School going children?'' the gentleman said with a polite smile.
"Yes of course but what…"
"Then I have come to the right address."
"I don't get it," I said my own smile struggling between exasperation and politeness. You see when this man rang the doorbell he had interrupted some pretty important (and frustrating!) work that I had been engaged in at the moment.
"Let me explain, sir. If you have school going children in your house I am sure you are worried about the 'projects' that the school tasks them with especially in the vacation time.
"Yes! Yes!" I nodded my head emphatically.
"Well we have launched a company to address this particular need," he explained.
"Oh why don't you come in!" I enthusiastically waved him in and warmly led him to my drawing room.
"Please excuse the mess," I said for the room looked like a minefield with all sorts of objects strewn all over the room, "You see I am trying to make some models and projects for my children as the school is opening in a couple of days."
He nodded understandingly as he gingerly stepped over an assortment of boxes, craft paper, charts and loads of stuff that I had got down from our attic so that I could piece together some semblance of the assigned projects and models.
"That's a nice rat," he picked up one of the 'projects' that I had finished after a great deal of effort.
"Rat! Why that's a model of an aeroplane!" I shouted in horror.
"Well! Well!" he said trying to convert his grin into a grimace of concentration as he pretended to peer closely at the 'model', "They sure don't make them like this anymore. Maybe this is an older model."
"What is this company that you were telling me about?" I tried to distract him from my other 'creations'.
"Ah! Well I and my partners are well aware of the problems faced by the parents when their kids are asked to make these models and projects. In fact it is quite a traumatic experience for most mothers and fathers and I have known parents to lose their sleep over all this. Why some even had to seek medical attention for the extreme anxiety that this can provoke!"
I nodded my head emphatically for I had been taking medicine for calming my nerves for nearly a fortnight before the schools opened. "You know what, it is difficult enough to get started when it comes to making these models and projects but it is even more difficult to complete them. Last year a colleague of mine took off from his office for a couple of weeks and started making this model of a bridge for his son. The day the model was to be submitted the bridge was not even half way through. My colleague had what he thought was a brilliant idea. He submitted this incomplete model of the bridge labelling it as the 'Ram Bagh flyover'."
"That's funny!" he said laughing and shaking his head.
"Well the teacher didn't think so!"
He cleared his throat and said, "I understand! In fact a week before the schools are scheduled to open attendance in offices falls drastically as parents prepare for the school opening. Pending projects become a burning issue and this happens every year and affects almost all the households. I and a couple of my MBA friends sensed that not only did this afford a huge business opportunity but it would also fill an important need and bring relief to otherwise harassed parents." he said.
"Oh I understand now! The 'project' manager is about making school projects?!" I said barely restraining myself from hugging the fellow.
"At your service sir!" he spread his hands, "let me show a catalogue of our services. Since you seem to be interested in a model of an airplane…" he opened his briefcase and took out an album, "…here have a look."
The album contained scores of pictures of lovely aeroplane models of all sorts. "Ahem…not quite the vintage stuff that you have designed but I think the school authorities must have had something like this in mind," he said with a mischievous smile.
I laughed. "Do you have models of castles?" I said glancing surreptitiously in the direction of my own efforts at making one which despite several days of designing and construction looked like a bombed barn if anything, and that too when imagination was stretched to breaking point.
"Sure!" he said and flipping the pages of the album revealed a collection of magnificent castle models, "Whatever model or project you need you just have to whatsapp us and we will deliver it at your doorstep without any delivery charges!"
Relief for beleaguered parents at last! Why the guy deserves a Nobel! Due credit must be given to schools as well for having inspired yet another business. Indeed schools have come a long way from those primitive times when a school was just some place where you went to get an education. No doubt it is still kids who go to schools but the schools have grown up, not only up but down and right and left and in every conceivable direction and would give business conglomerates a run for their money. Schools nowadays are interested in every aspect of our children's lives except their education which of course has been outsourced to tuition classes and coaching centres…
(Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at firstname.lastname@example.org)