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(Thanks to Subroto Bagchi, for bringing “The Professional” to the world, and to my loving son for getting me lay hands on “The Professional” while at a bookstore)

Mahadeva came to cosmopolitan Bangalore, as his dear mother walked out of her native village and her own family in a huff. Mother and the child Mahadeva took to the streets of Bangalore for a living, and the mother does chores to grow child Mahadeva. Until a day she became unwell, and had to get herself with son to the Government Victoria Hospital in Bangalore. As she is treated for a terminal illness, Mahadeva makes the outside of the hospital his playground, gets a new world, full of acquaintances, and a sense of kinship in this world.

Then one day, someone came and told the little Mahadeva that his mother was dead (Dead, What? – little Mahadeva) and the mother was buried as the hospital could not wait for the little son to come back after his play.

The boy has nowhere to go, and also refuses to go back to his native village even as a few people in the hospital ward raise money for that purpose. He made the hospital his home, and as he grew, started running errands there, like the person who did the same when his mother was brought in to be treated at the Government Victoria hospital.

The hospital was Mahadeva’s Universe; and he had grown up; one day, the cops asked Mahadeva to bury an unclaimed body and gave him Rs.200/- for the job. That accident turned to be Mahadeva’s profession, and he eventually became ‘the’ guy to go to forBangalore’s unclaimed bodies. He carried out the task religiously, and every time there was an unclaimed body, the man summoned was Mahadeva.  His rigor was like : Pull the stiff body from the morgue, hire a horse drawn carriage, take the body to the burial ground, dig the soil and bury the corpse – all by himself for just Rs.200/-. After every such burial Mahadeva would be back, hanging around the hospital waiting for the next assignment! As years passed, Mahadeva bettered his job – even paying due respect with flowers at the time of burial – a practice he got when he once buried someone close to his heart.

With the kind of passion, dedication and commitment to work, Mahadeva was much in demand – he had his own horse drawn carriage and later, thanks to some nice human beings, he got an auto-rickshaw.

His business has grown now, and the horse which was his carriage and died later is now his logo in his business card. Now his son has joined him too.

Till date, Mahadeva has buried more than 42000 corpses, and has won accolades and phenomenal recognition for his selfless service to the community! The Chief Minister of Karnataka has felicitated Mahadeva for his selfless service to the city ofBangalore. Even the petrol pumps he goes to fill in fuel for his hearse-auto do not charge him!

Mahadeva is proud and happy of his work, and contended.

Mahadeva, the high-performer; and a true professional.

Lessons:

A professional is not someone who is just professionally qualified, or carries the designation on his business card. A professional has the ability to work unsupervised, and has the ability to certify the completion of his work.

Like Mahadeva, who needed no supervision; who attended to his call of duty, come day or night, hell or high-water! He certified the completion of his work! He has no employer – for the Victoria Hospital, he is just an outsourcing agency for disposal of unclaimed bodies. He does not have a boss who writes his appraisal, gives him feedback….!

In most work environments, people who produce anything of economic value need no supervision. A person who needs supervision is NO professional. He is an amateur, even an apprentice!

So, are all of us true professionals?!

(Inspired by “The Professional” by Subroto Bagchi, Penguin Books India 2009)

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