In India bosses are simply handed over to workers. Workers can shower choicest abuses on them, can gherao them, manhandle them and if they so decide can even stab them.
Earlier the very word boss existed only in the dreaded World of Crime. Boss conveyed the image of a mysterious man wearing dark glasses, overcoat, hat with a cigar dangling between his thick lips. Boss would invariably be trigger happy ruthless man having his pet kitten in the lap and favorite Lily darling beside.
Later Bosses evolved themselves keeping pace with the changing times and they became don, mafia king and legislators. The sissy version of boss is found in offices. This type of boss doesn't have the luxury of cat in the lap instead he has rats, pigeons and bee hives for company. There are no Lily darlings either rather over-aged, overweight/over-burdened women would pretend working.
Boss is the most favorite and evergreen topic of discussion (read criticism) Ridiculing boss is like having a fruit chaat, it is only masala which keeps varying according to one's taste. His each and every action is noted, mimicked, analyzed and dissected during lunch breaks and tea breaks. How he thinks too much of himself and is shabbily/gaudily dressed. He has no manners and keeps grinning or he has constipated face and seldom smiles.
You go early to office, Boss comes late. You go late, he comes early. Not dependable at all. To make phone calls at odd hours seems to be his favorite hobby. Sitting till wee hours in the office, he doesn't care a hoot for his family and expects you to follow his footsteps and yet be imperfect so that he could pick holes whenever he chose so. He can't see anyone happy. He is undisputed a cynic also. Sometimes he would cheerfully ask well being of your entire family but most of the times he stares through you with a blank face as if meeting for the first time.
Another important property of boss is liberal sprinkling of English words in Hindi conversation esp. words like bloody, oh hell, rubbish, Johnny, Chap, etc. Boss is normally found to be suffering from blood pressure, diabetes and heart problems. Boss is often a smoker too but in recent times smoking has given way to cocktails.
A good boss should rarely smile. Hearty laugh is a strict no no. This helps creating an aura around you. At times he should act cold with familiar people also, such as refusing to recognize them, being unable to place them.
Boss always runs, short of time, No time to respond to useless invitations. In case any invitation persists you may yield only to arrive late. Keep looking at your wrist watch as often as you can and excuse yourself at the middle of the program. After all you are a boss, no idler, Boss is never idle, even when he is, he does not show it, LBDN - look busy do nothing.
A good boss is that who can find several faults in the best acknowledged subordinate. For half a day leave he asks half a dozen questions. Boss would always be short tempered and keep losing it on the slightest pretext.
Bosses don't eat peanuts or plantains. They partake only cashew nuts and fresh juice. Boss doesn't read vernacular newspapers and magazines. A good boss always reads English ones and announces as often as possible how weak he was in Hindi, Bangla, Tamil as the case may be. Suit, safari, tie, sunglasses all are meant for boss. A good boss is invariably a bald boss. Boss doesn't go for movies at first place, when he goes he goes only for English films. More serious and bore the film is more it would be liked by the boss. A good boss must have visited few countries preferably on government expense. This helps him in beginning or concluding a conversation e.g. last winter when I had gone to USA .. a similar thing happened with me in London… the best ice-cream I ever had was on Eiffel Tower.
Boss doesn't travel by cycle or scooter. He travels by car and in no case lower than by chartered bus. He flies to other cities, draws salary through cheque, pays bill by credit card. A good boss has favorite authors, painters, actors and mind you, not Indian, have to be essentially foreigners. So these are few characteristics of a boss, the list can go on but does it augur well for a boss to write long notes?
(from the collection 'Bald is beautiful '2000)
published in Alive Dec. 1999