Money matters

When the rains finally set in this year, I got a gang of workers from Valagapattu to clear some areas,dig pits and plant out another set of saplings. It was a gang of oldies who have worked for us for a few years now. Because of  my trips to Bangalore, it so happened that I called them to work, once, starting on a Thursday. (The usual week is Sunday to Friday; Friday evening is payday, and Saturday is the shandy at Karumandurai). I  said that they could work for two days, then go to the shandy, and restart the next week on Sunday as usual.

They said that they would get someone  else to go marketing for them and would work on Saturday also. It transpired that it rained on Thursday, and so they came to work only on Friday. I paid them for that one day in the evening, and the next week started the next day.

The next week on payday, I paid them for the one extra day (Saturday), but in a grand display of illogic, Ramasami said that I had to pay them for one more day because they had worked two days the previous week, and I had paid them for only one day.

I do the writing of the accounts, but since they can neither read nor write, this is of no use if I have to convince anyone of anything. I thought that using the confusing work pattern of the two weeks, Ramasami was trying to rook me by generating this doubt among his co-workers (all of whom nodded hard when he said something; but seemed to agree with me when I said something, too).

I refused to back down, and he left in a  huff. I was sure that having failed in his ploy to cheat me, he wasn’t going to come to work the next week.And he didn’t, though the rest of the gang did.

BUT

Looking at it from Ramasami’s point of view:

I have been working for so many years; of course, I can keep track of my workdays. And it’s not just me, the others, too, felt that way; they just nodded when saar said his piece… Saar must have made a mistake and forgotten to write it down. Anyway, I am not going to say it’s OK because it isn’t. I won’t come back here for work.

However, after a day’s absence, he does show up for work, and I smile and he smiles and we put that disagreement behind us ( I hope). Of course, I feel that he has tried to rook me, failed, was embarrassed and has now returned to work because work is money. And perhaps he feels that he has been rooked, but that I am not going to back down, and work is money.

The upshot is that I decide Never again will I hire workers on Saturday. And perhaps he decides Never again will he go to work on Saturday.

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