Monday, July 6, 2009


Way back in my salad days, I was in charge of a motley of earthmoving machinery, lorries and other construction machinery. As I was a Civil Engineer, I had to depend totally on my boss who was a Mechanical Engineer and a stalwart in the maintenance of machinery. I remember having under my control a fleet of lorries, not much, just about what you can count on your fingers but enough to keep me pretty well occupied.

One of my duties was to send the fuel injection pump (these were diesel engines) from a lorry for servicing and fix the one that was available as a standby in the particular machine from which the pump was removed. When the pump returned from servicing it was kept as a standby till the replacement became due in the next lorry. On every servicing I had to report to my boss the fact which pump had been serviced and the vehicle where it was due to be fitted next. This cycle was repeated and it went on for some time.

It so happened that one day my boss wanted to know where a particular pump was fitted, mentioning the serial number - you know what kind of serial numbers machinery parts carry. I said that I will look up the records and let him know. To that he asked me if he should tell me where it is fitted. Being caught on the wrong foot and not immediately having the information, I kept quiet. Then he told me the vehicle where that particular pump was fitted and asked me to go and check it up. I did, he was correct, and when I informed him of the fact, he wanted to know as to how it was that he could keep track of the pumps whereas I, who was on the spot and doing the actual maintenance, could not. I told him that he had a better memory (in fact he had a phenomenal memory). To which he said: "Rot, I don't have a better memory. God has given you and me the same amount of memory. It is only that you are not interested in your work whereas I am and that is why I can keep track of the pumps".

Wouldn't you say that he was right?