Life beyond Black and White

The Toughest Day @ Vannam

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I am sharing an incident in my life which completely supports the statement ‘Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.’

Today, we faced the toughest moment in Vannam’s history.

3 weeks back, the head of our biggest and the oldest painting team Sankar (Name Changed) was asked to go out of the site as he came drunk due to some personal issue. When someone does wrong, he is sent back home irrespective of him being the head or tail of a team. He had 5 sites under his belt and challenged me that if he leaves the company, all his people wont work and all our sites will be in trouble.

I couldn’t get along with someone disregarding the integrity of my company. I told him that I will run Vannam without him and I wouldn’t sell my ethics for his threats. We took it as a challenge to employ new guys, train them in short period and got the sites working again.

After a week of him turning sober, his wife called and pleaded saying “We lived under thatched roof for years without proper food and education for my kids, but today, we have all that because of Vannam” and begged of me to take her husband and his team back for work.

We got the order of a company which had a major client visit and wanted a revamp of a major part of the office space in 2 nights (07th and 8th February). The client paid us the money on time and the person in charge left the entire space for us to work under the trust that we will deliver on time and we will never compromise.

Since, Sankar was repeatedly requesting me for work, I called him and asked him whether he would be interested in taking up this night work and he readily agreed as he wanted to get back into the company.

He finished the 1st day’s work successfully. On 8th Morning, we had a 3 member team working during the day and Sankar’s team of 7 had to report for work at 8pm for the night shift. At 9.30pm, he calls and says that his team wont come and he can’t run the site. This was his way of taking revenge for the day I sent him out for coming drunk to work.
I requested him to work as I personally cannot stand breaking someone’s trust. He still denied and stood his ground.

Last night at 10pm, I was completely broken and shattered not knowing what we can do. I called up my supervisors Ajuin Das and Franz Sen and informed Sankar ditched us and his people wouldnt be coming. All that my supervisors told me was ” If a person on the wrong can act this way, how strong should we be when we have always been on the right?”. He said that this was the time to prove that we can get this done even without Sankar.¬†Then they again reassured saying “You go and sleep in peace. We will request the morning shift painters to work all through the night and the site will be ready for the client visit.”

That’s when I thought, I should be a helping hand in the struggle those 2 boys were going to take just to uphold my commitment to the customer.

I decided I will become the 4th painter for the night and went to site at 10pm to do the painting myself. At 11.30pm, I felt, we will fall short and put up a message in our office whatsapp group, that we needed help.

Shyama Sivasubramanian (Chief-Marketing) who could have enjoyed a movie last night,
Mahiema Aditya (Chief – Admin) who could have spent her birthday at home, and
Aditya (My Brother) who could have celebrated his wife’s birthday relaxing at home,
came to the site at 12am to help the 2 confident lads.

Each and everyone of us took up the role of the painter with only one motive in mind. We scraped the surface, We levelled the Putty, We painted the walls, We cleaned the floors and we did everything a painter does in his normal day.
I feel extremely proud of everyone who rose up like a boss, took the burden on their shoulders, got their hands dirty, stood for what is right and fulfilled our commitment before 6am today.

This is our toughness,
This is our might,
This is my team and
This is Team Vannam.