An email from Ahmadabad

Have you guys read the new book by Chetan Bhagat, “Three mistakes of my life?” I almost lived in Chetan’s shoes last weekend. This is how…

I was about to wrap up and go home on a lazy Friday when a mail popped up on my  CE account. One Devesh Shah (name changed) had written me a heartfelt request. In his mail this guy from Ahmadabad congratulated me on featuring in the news paper. (This was in connection with the suicide of Sandeep Shelke and the discussion we had on CE. Read here.) He appreciated my views and said he was in a similar situation. His employer was exploiting him. He had an option to quit, albeit he was bound by a service agreement (bond… in layman’s term.) He tried to negotiate but they threatened him to hand over to police and ruin his career if he fled. The guy was running out of options and was seeking my help.

The mail left a morbid feeling in my mind. I gulped some saliva and replied asking him to keep cool. I told him to talk to his manager and also offered to talk on his behalf as his elder brother. The guy replied saying he feared the worst was nearing him. In a feat of fear, I also offered to search a job for him in Mumbai. I wrote a lengthy mail detailing various ways of escape including how to break a bond. This guy didn’t reply and I had no other way to contact him. I couldn’t enjoy my weekend. I checked my mails to see if he replied. He didn’t. My nerves were getting colder when finally on Monday, I received a reply. He thanked me for the support and said he managed to negotiate with his Manager. He offered to complete his project in exchange of relief from the bond. (I forgot he was a Gujrati, hence good at negotiation.)

A breather for me, but this guy sure unsettled my nerves.

9 thoughts on “An email from Ahmadabad

  1. Oh well. Is it? I didn’t do any thing, just merely tried to relax that guy. He was stressed out.

    This has again opened the debate whether companies are really looking at pushing the employees to the brink.

  2. I disagree. If I were you Mayur, I would have referred him to a counselor. Even Ahmedabad has them. There are also helplines widely advertised. Such callers need trained hand holding.

  3. @ramana: I dont think this guy needed counseling. All he lacked was courage to face the situation. Moreover, as some of my friends call, I could be a good counselor. If only I got a chance to speak to him on phone.

    Anyway, I have received such emails 3 times in last 2 weeks from people who were troubled by their seniors or the company as a whole. Even in past I have come across such situations. I wonder what people find in me 🙂

  4. Very often, a simple willing shoulder to cry on is good enough. As long as you are willing to listen, or in these cases, read without being judgmental about the contents of the communication and offer advise only if asked for, you are indeed providing an invaluable service. The important thing to be aware of is to draw the line between being a willing shoulder and either a doormat or a counseler.

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