Friday, December 14, 2007
No day is without incident
Galdola Farm House, Godagama, Kirimetta, Meegoda
I sometimes wonder if I am living in a real life soap opera where all these different parties have their own agendas, which impinge into my life in one way or another.
Monday was my usual busy sales day in Colombo getting home exhausted. Tuesday morning saw Menika my home helper's clothes strewn on the fence in front of my shop.Her estranged husband had done the deed at night and when she came to work she was so embarrassed she said she was leaving and persuaded her not to as that would just give into this alcoholic's whims. He had then come again to the shop later and purchased some items, and when he was confronted by the lady who is the overseer of the farm, had scolded her in foul language in front of some of the staff, and she came crying saying she is leaving, as she was upset. I had business to do in an office and so went to Colombo after that incident thinking nothing of it, and was informed by phone that some of the staff had stopped work as a result and the animals needed to be fed and they did not have enough grass. I was told later that they had changed their minds and come back.
The next day Wednesday, no one came to work except for an old timer Siripala, who said he would go to cut grass for the animals.Leslie the man who climbs the trees came to cut the King Coconuts. As there was no sign of life from the workers, I went with Amila to the environs round the farm and cut 555 King coconuts in bunches of 15 to 25 and hauled them from the tree to the cab to transport them back to the farm as my farm does not have any at the moment. My trees are in the dormant period for the year and have to get my supplies elsewhere.
Remember no staff no breakfast or lunch, and in the after noon session I spent the next 5 hours cleaning the chicken sheds and hauling 50 bags of chicken manure all the way to the front of the shop to sell them. I realized then that what I did in that short time my workers each takes about 8 times longer to do especially those who struck work. I needed to hand the sheds the next day to the man who I rent the cages to.I had agreed to clean the cages, for the manure. I now realize my staff cost to clean the shed costs me many times the worth of the manure, and realized those who struck work were more trouble, so I was hoping they would never come back.
The next morning I sold all 50 bags to one person who hauled it away in a truck and all the workers turned up like mice with not a sound realising they were jeopardising a good thing for them.
All this time I had not confronted them as to whys and wherefores of their behaviour and acted as if I had no care in the world. When they turned up I only pointed out their laziness and showed them what I was capable of doing with no help, and told them to be ashamed of themselves, and left for Kitulgala to my other assignment trying to put some order in another comedic situation. That story is for another occasion.
Just to finish this one, the poor girl whose husband did the scolding was asked to leave by the old lady, and she rightly said there is no reason for her to leave. This was because the old lady's kids said either she or her mother! leave. These kids, supposedly pillars of the local community, in their attempt to defend their mother from verbal abuse from a drunkard, got some thugs to beat him up and turn his house, actually owned by my maid, upside down, and told the maid not to come to work. What right have they to ask an honest employee of mine to leave to satisfy their personal grievance against this estranged alcoholic wife beating husband.
Such are the petty games and I am glad I kept out of the fray not interfering in this at all and lets, time take its course. The old lady had commented on my lack of interest in the matter by not going to her house to ask her to return! I was not party to the incident so why should I interfere, and she is welcome to withhold her employment, and I will be the beneficiary not having to deal with personal vendettas.I only want performance for just pay, and I will not interfere in their lives.I am sure I have not seen the end of this as I am sure this lady who has been at the farm for over 25 years will try her best to get this girl off the place, and will try to influence my father, in the matter.It will be interesting to see the next move, and what sordid story will be cooked up to achieve this end. In the meantime I am trying to write a skit for a comedy, based completely on this story as I only see the comedy unfolding in this otherwise tragic case. Their is a lot more to this story with this girls two kids being hounded, a boy of 19 and a girl of 10 so villagers can be nasty. I think this is a case of one family who rose from the gutter to a status of wealth and power, not letting another rise from the gutter,for fear of being surpassed in the gutter stakes race!
It was pouring with rain today, Friday, and so the King coconuts cut have no market as Sri Lankans dont by the stuff on rainy days. I have a big loss on my hands.Thats the unpredictability of life. Each day had a share of unpredictability. I had to at 7 this morning go in search of Coconuts for my shop not knowing how many I will return with. I foung 200 at 30/- unhusked to sell on Saturday market day in the shop as my trees are dormant. I will only sell at a 1 rupee profit, but that is the price to keep the customers happy and ensure their return in the future.