Crony, chum, vassal, henchman none of these words can adequately connote the meaning of Chamcha- a colloquial Hindi word. It literally means spoon. If you happen to be a bureaucrat or politician you must have realized the importance of Chamchagiri (spooning) and indispensability of a Chamcha. During farewell speeches one tend to believe all the goodie goodie stuff said about one's tenure, achievements and gentle ways. Don't you believe a word of it. You are only as great as your wife and children take you to be. No more, no less. Rest all is illusion, mirage in the desert of formalities and civilization.
The capabilities and role of one Chamcha differs from another. Therefore, better it is to have more than one Chamcha and to assign them different duties. To each as per one's capacity. Let me assure you nothing is impossible for a true Chamcha. No feat is big enough that it cannot be taken in hand and no task is too mean to be allowed to slip by unnoticed. Bosses may come, bosses may go but Chamcha stands tall and firm. Chamcha is as crucial a link between you and rest of the world as is 'middleman' in any conventional Indian marriage. When the boss is fading away on transfer, Chamcha's condition becomes quite pitiable. Fear of unknown grips them. Though seasoned Chamchas do not get perturbed by such worldly changes.
Before the advent of gift cheque and 'envelope' culture it was indeed difficult to gift' the newly weds. Result-several similar looking table lamps, lemon sets, tea sets, electric irons. Farewell gifts more or less have been firmed up. Depending on your budget- suitcase, wall clocks thermos flask, pen set etc. On the D day the 'subject' of farewell is brought dressed in a woolen or safari suit. All eulogize him in familiar tongue simultaneously making mental calculation who will replace him, what will be the new pattern of inter-personal relationship and group dynamics (read Chamchagiri). Sharma may again come in lime light. He is very shrewd, as if done Masters in Chamchalogy. May be Gupta is recalled. He has lived enough in oblivion. Though he has seen best of times and can still teach a thing or two to these cell phone toting Chamcha breed of today who talk more and perform less. Remember Mrs. Gupta how close she became with boss's wife, many wondered whether they were Siamese twins. Gupta believes today's Chamchas have done lot of harm to the art of Chamchagiri. They have crudely exposed the sublime and made Chamchagiri from subtle to obvious, reducing it from a fine art to a thing of ridicule, often bringing embarrassment to both practitioner and the practiced.
The Chamchagiri needs full fledged R&D. The field is sadly lacking in source material. This can bring to light many, hitherto inexplicable phenomenon. Why Chamcha always wears a fix grin on his face. At what angle lips are required to be stretched to pass as a genuine smile. How many days practice it needs. What is the magnetic field of Chamchagiri. There is a need to develop unit of measurement of Chamchagiri so that the concerned in particular and others in general know the standing of a particular Chamcha. Alternatively, we can also think of evolving a scale similar to Richter's scale. This will go a long way in objectively assessing the Chamchas and will help in determining their intense seniority and worth. In the absence of any such scientific device and unit, Chamchas have, justifiably so, lot of resentment against present primitive yardsticks such as your work in office, your sales/marketing statistics, file clearance, your attendance record etc. These are all outdated concepts and an absolutely obsolete way of assessing the intrinsic worth of a Chamcha. By distributing it free with soap, tea, coffee Chamcha has been cheapened. Have you ever given it a thought why only Chamcha and not plate, bowl or bucket. This only goes to prove ever popular and integral existence of a Chamcha. Nonetheless, such a free distribution has led to deterioration in the status of Chamcha. Mind you if cottage is burning, palace is not safe for long, thus spake Disraeli. Similarly if the status and existence of Chamcha is jeopardized how can you function with sheen, secrecy and sin, not necessarily in that order.
High time we did away with the present system of confidential Reports. It is inadequate and incapable of bringing out the best and latent talent of an appraisee. There are no columns where an honest appraiser can record the real worth and real achievements of a Chamcha. The reputation of a Chamcha good or otherwise( there are no bad Chamchas, it is contradiction in terms, he ceases to be a Chamcha the moment he is bad) has to be communicated successor after successor by word of mouth. Any gap or break in this communication can spoil the career of a Chamcha. Thus, continuity is an essential factor. Nature abhors vacuum. One of the reasons why Indians are backward is we have no record to rely on, of our own achievements in the field of geography, mathematics astronomy etc. Result we look upto those very countries whom we claim to have taught the meaning of civilization . Chamchagiri is heading towards the same doom. Several religious sects and sports in India- land of their origin, have become extinct. Chamchagiri should not be allowed to extinct from our land. We need to ponder. In the absence of any authentic archival record the Chamchas who were to be the super stars are reduced to pitiable extra. A new format of C.R. has been devised. It will continue to be called C.R. but instead of confidential Report it is Chamcha Report.
YEAR ENDING . . . .
1. Name of Chamcha:
2. Age of Chamcha:
3. Designation (otherwise) of Chamcha:
4. Dep't/section (otherwise)
5. Previous experience of Chamchagiri:
(Attach Merit Certificates)
ASSESSMENT BY APPRAISER
6. Role during reception/farewell/parties
7. Does he gladly
Escort your children to & fro school
Fetches vegetables, gas, provision, promptly at competitive rates.
Average how many times he wishes you in a day
While wishing the angle (bend) between bodyline and floor
Average number of times (percentage can be given) your family has been chaperoned for outing
How many times he gave precedence to the work assigned by you over and above office work (list occasion on a separate sheet)
Is he fit for promotion (to be filled keeping in view capability of Chamcha to willingly accept higher responsibilities.
Mention special qualities.
Earlier there was neither syllabus nor any facility available to systematically learn and study various subjects like Astrology, Palmistry & Magic but today we do have courses leading to degree and diploma. Similarly, I suggest course in Chamchalogy. D.Ch., B.Ch., M.Ch. etc. ICI ( Indian Chamchalogy Institute) IIAC (Indian Institute of Advance Chamchology) are proposed to be set up in every state for balanced and even growth. There would be projects devoted entirely to the research on various fascinating angles of this great art or science (to be ascertained) How, why and exact period during evolution of mankind when his tail withered away. Seminars, symposia and workshops would be organized all over India. There will be contests and competitions. Chamchas in recognition of their services will be nominated to titles such as Chamcha Ratna, Chamcha Shri etc. Like yoga, herbal and meditation we have to promote Chamchalogy in international field. We could not popularize Hindi but the day is not far off when UNICHAF will have to be established with India as a founder permanent member.
published in Alive Oct. 1999