Mr. Phonewala was a very busy Chartered
Accountant practising over three decades; always running around income tax
offices, sales tax and service tax offices, audit clients, and many other
places. He could hardly sit peacefully in his office. Even while in office,
there was constant disturbance of phone calls, visitors, compliance deadlines
and so on.
He had come up
in life the hard way. He slogged and struggled a lot to establish his practice.
He sacrificed his family life and the many other pleasures of life; and was
dedicated to the profession round the clock. One secret of his success was his
soft-spokenness, public relations and goodwill. He never learnt to say ‘No’ to
anyone. Another quality (?) of his was that he was ‘always available’!
Naturally, everyone took him for granted. He did join some courses of time-management,
leadership training, delegation, etc.; but he remained the original ‘Phonewala’
Once he was
sitting in his office. A client came with an appointment at 2:30 pm. Mr.
Phonewala entered his office, back from the income tax department at 3 o’clock,
sweating and talking on his cell-phone. He just gave a smile to the client who
was waiting patiently and entered his cabin. After finishing the phone-call, he
called the client inside. Mr. Phonewala had had no time to have his lunch so he
ordered sandwiches. By that time some staff and articles entered his cabin with
many questions and queries of many clients. The receptionist entered and gave
him a list of messages. The client was sitting patiently as he had been
associated with him for 25 years! The client shared the sandwich and had a cup
of tea, watching Mr. Phonewala’s hectic activity – firefighting on many fronts.
At 3:45 pm he could utter his first sentence – “You see, Mr. Phonewala, I
have a property at Lonavala………” and there was a ring! Mr. Phonewala took
the call. There were so many interruptions –
Calls on landline and mobile
were simultaneously received – every five minutes.
There were a couple of
intruders dropping in for ‘five minutes’ but consuming 20 minutes.
Phone-calls were from
clients, tax departments, staff, friends, bank loan offers, booksellers, credit
card offers; and also from his residence for the evening programme. He gave