Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Rendezvous with Charlie Chaplin

I was part of an audit team and we were camped at a Hotel in Dehradun during Nov-Dec 2012.  We were 2 Executives (I was one of them), 1 Asst. Manager and 1 Audit Manager, all sharing a double bed room.  We were not complaining as most of the rooms falling in our budget were booked in advance because of some VIP marriage and also during this time it was very cold in Dehradun, so foursome was not a crowd.
As there was only 1 bathroom attached, we had to time our rising up from bed.  When I woke up in the morning, it was already 6:30, and the other executive was up and watching TV, I guess it was some Tamil/Telugu Action Movie.  As I got up and moved out of bed, the executive watching TV left the chair and rushed to the bathroom, exclaiming that he would be out in 10 minutes.  For want of anything better to do, I took the remote control and started surfing channels.
 As someone who quit watching TV long time back, I have my sympathies for the current generation of TV viewers.  It is really tough for one to select, chose and view when there are thousands of options being bombarded from all directions; daily soaps, reality shows, sports, movies, news channels, fashion channels, music channels, all vying for one’s eyeballs.
Finally, I zeroed in on Children’s channel, Pogo I suppose, it was showing Charlie Chaplin’s movie.  You know, Charlie, always the unemployed tramp, is newly employed at a factory. 

THE SCENE:  The owner of the factory is not happy with the productivity and wants everyone to work more and increase productivity.  Charlie Chaplin is very much eager to prove himself at his new job, his job is on the conveyer belt and all he has to do is just hammer in a screw into a metal plate.  When everybody goes for break, Charlie Chaplin continues with his hammering and upsets the conveyor belt.  In the meantime, the cleaning women comes and asks Charlie to step aside.  While the cleaning women is bent and mopping the floor, Charlie who is now hammering every protruding object like a manic as he cannot stop his hand, spots a button on the woman’s butt, which looks like a screw waiting to be hit, finally he gives in and hits her with the hammer on the butt and the lady chases him around the factory for his (mis)deed.

I was laughing like a mad man while all this was going on.  The Assist. Manager woke up because of my laughing, wondering what the hullabaloo was all about? I pointed to the screen as I could not talk and I was breathless with all the laughing.  The other executive meanwhile came out of the bathroom and exclaimed, “Hey, you still watch all this stuff?”  It was sort of an accusation, after all weren't all of us grownups?
I immediately made a lunge towards the bathroom.  Fifteen minutes afterwards I stepped out into a different room, a room which was livelier, cheerful, and full of camaraderie.  My executive colleague was all dressed up and ready, sitting in the chair and laughing like a man possessed, giving him company were our Assist manager, sitting on the edge of the bed and Audit manager, still cuddled up in the bed with the blanket on.

THE SCENE:  The Owner of the company has bought some new machine which can feed the workers, so
that company can save time on the lunch break.  The person chosen as the volunteer for this is, yes, you must have guessed it, our dear Charlie Chaplin.  His grimaces while the machine is forcing food down his throat, then rubbing his face with napkin, again making him drink something,  is such that it is very difficult for any normal being not to laugh.

What brought this incident back to my mind was the FB status on my friend’s time line, which said, if you can still laugh watching Tom and Jerry, then it means life has been kind to you!
 While I have never had problems laughing while watching Tom & Jerry, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, perhaps the three of my colleagues, never had the chance or time or inclination to check out on these.  However, when chance came on a cold morning in December in Dehradun, none of them were found wanting!

 Thank you Charlie Chaplin,  Tom & Jerry, Laurel & Hardy for always bringing the kid out of us, and thank you Richa for your wonderful time line post, which brought this memory to the fore.

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