The Dabangg Attitude

Written by  //  September 20, 2010  //  Media & Popular Culture  //  1 Comment

A guest post by Sowmya Kumar. Sowmya is a corporate lawyer, but loves to let films distract her from the alleged importance of her work.

Trying to draw a connection between the latest mega-hit Dabanng and my present situation is at best tenuous, at worst, pathetic. What can a Ray-Ban wielding, belt-twisting dude, given to bathing and washing his enemies, have in common with a corporate lawyer thick in the middle of India’s Maximum City?

Well to be honest, both of us don’t know what we really do for a living and to earn the money we do. At least he manages to stash it away in some hidden locker, while I spend it watching blokes like him. Anyway, before I can even thinking about other similarities, the glaring differences stare me in the face. Just how in the universe does he manage to command the authority he does? One quirky small town policeman being top dog both professionally and personally and doing quite a stylish job of it.  It sure isn’t easy. I would know, for in this very fledgling career of mine, I’ve gleaned that corporate law is (sometimes/probably/depending on the facts and circumstances of the case) less about the law than about the corporate.  Which only means that I have to be an ace manager of people, both above and below me in the entrenched hierarchy. And somewhere in this, I have to also take care of my image and self respect, lest they both desert me soon.

Managing people above you is a grossly underrated art-form, one that requires months of patient practice, interspersed with a lot of venting on the terrace with smokers and generous doses of Dilbert. The first lesson, of course, is learning to dismiss the fear that chokes you now and then, when you realise that existence in the coveted position is entirely dependent on a Superior’s mood.  Just that. For the same action, reactions may range from a slight smile to a 10 minute yelling, during which your mind is pondering over sundry questions like the nature of the superior’s breakfast, the traffic in Bombay, the mood of the superior’s superior and so on.  Depending on a Superior’s mood, you may be entitled to a hearing on why you think the deadline is unreasonable or be faced with a deadly “Why is it taking you so long” ? followed by the slamming of the phone. You’re all but finished, until the next day at least.

Next category. Those below you on the food chain. Here, it gets more difficult. You are responsible for them, which means that there is no ‘you’ and ‘they’ anymore; you get blasted if they go wrong. They are but poor ignorant people, perched low on the learning curve. You’re expected to brief them well, get them to understand the issue, solve all their real and imaginary hurdles and correct their drafts – all within the shortest span of time possible. You cannot appear too aggressive, for you are by nature a nice person and have sworn that you will not inflict what you yourself have endured, no matter how ridiculous their excuses. However, you’ll have to ensure that your niceness is not mistaken for ‘doormatism’. Worse, you have to be mature and not snitch when your Superior finds an error in a draft that you have supervised.

Some lucky people exude that sense of ‘quiet authority’- they manage to straddle getting things done without being too mean about it and also manage to convey to the Superior that the blasting was unwarranted. But how do I develop this attitude, especially with the genetic makeup of a mouse? Even watching Dabanng a second time, pen and notepad in hand, didn’t help. I only ended up listing out ten reasons why his situation was better than mine.

Maybe turning to philosophy is one of the ways out. I can start believing in the illusory quality of things and how one day nothing will matter anymore; everyone will just curl up and die. Or I can slowly will myself to relish conflict; abstract myself from the problem, focus on solving it, instead of expending efforts at bemoaning my fate and cursing the Superiors. Honestly, this option is too difficult. Think I’ll  just wait for the day to end and get home and sleep. Tomorrow is another day; I’ll try and get early to office, with my I-pod plugged in, listening to the Dabangg title track on a loop!

One Comment on "The Dabangg Attitude"

  1. Subramanian September 20, 2010 at 2:29 pm ·

    I dont know if it will work for girls – but I have taken to wearing 2 pairs of ray bans – one on my face like normal and one on the back of my shirt collar – you will be amazed at the amount fo confidence you get by doing this.

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