The Protocol

‘Devanathan, you need to get my approval before sending the note to the management,’ said K.R. the Office Superintendent at Corporate office Neyveli. K.R. was Appa’s boss.

‘But I had shown you the two drafts. You had approved them,’ said Appa.

‘That’s right. But the final note needs to go from me.’ K.R. had indeed approved the note and was on leave for a week when Appa had to send the note to the higher-ups. K.R. further added,’That is the protocol.’

Deepaavali was on the anvil and the Worker’s Union had called for a strike. Appa had prepared a note presenting his assessment of the strike and the precautions that needed to be taken to prevent a communications shut-down with the Coal Ministry in Delhi.

K.R. was on leave for two days when the strike had intensified. Appa had left the final draft on M.R.’s desk two days earlier and K.R. had not touched that.

A week later, a furious K.R. summoned Appa.’What is this? The note on the strike is not yet delivered to the Ministry. Have you not sent it?’ He had apparently been hauled over hot coal by his boss, the General Manager.

‘K.R, as per your instructions, I had followed protocol and placed the draft on your desk two days prior to the strike. And as per protocol, the Ministry should receive the note after you have signed it,’ said Appa in the most nonchalant manner possible and added,’ I am sure you would have sent it. Was there a postal delay?’

K.R. never insisted on his approval from then on.