While other people receive salary statements, we as govt employees receive salary slips or pay slips in government parlance. Any thing which is not tangible does not goes down our throat. The pay slip is not just a piece of accounting paper. It is everything what a slip is ordained to be.
It is born as a slip and it dies like one. You can fold it over and over, roll it, crumble it, or laminate it 15″x5″. The last being least recommended because of least profit and more effort.
The joy of a government employee at the sight of a neatly folded salary slip as the first thing on his office table is inexplicable. Sensing the worthiness of the immortal paper, the peon brings it like a pleated shawl, with full guard of honour. As though he is entrusted to deliver the Padma Shri to his immediate officer.
The officer also reciprocates with cheap love and a rare grin. In a spirit of celebration and generousness an all paid tea party is thrown to office staff with an added complimentary samosa.
Then arrives the moment of pride and satisfaction, sensed by a labourer having secured an evening meal after an exhausting day’s work. The employee lifts the slip up delicately and carefully in open palms as if it were a new born baby, caressing and savouring through eyes every feature of it.
A convulsion of emotions ranging from fear to ecstasy surrounds him as he slowly unfolds the slip. As if he were a groom and the salary slip his newly-wed bride whose veil he has to uplift to reveal the beauty hidden underneath. In both the case anxiety is at an all time high even though the product is known before hand.
What lies inside are messages encrypted in fonts once used by Soviets during cold war. The numerals are so well sized and uniform that it is hard to differentiate between 8 and 5. Only a lethargic mind seasoned under controlled government atmosphere can judge that his payment is 50000 and not 80000.
At the bottom, in clear letters one can read his exact Date of Retirement. It is a nirvana statement that makes very clear that your job is permanent but you are not. Next is the puzzle round. With abbreviations so tough that may bewilder even the geek god of social network acronyms.
For each ‘SLAP – Sounds Like A Plan’- type we get many slaps e.g NPS, GNPS, PPF,GPF,PF,DEDN,TRAN etc. DEDN may resemble Dehradoon but it is the most crushing reality of pay slips -Deductions. Our attitude towards our work load and deductions is equal- we desire both to be minimal.
No organisation has better believed in and practiced recycling than government offices. A paper is recycled and reincarnated so many times that it loses interest in its own existence. Once a dull grey texture evincing a sombre expression becomes part of a paper’s life, it is considered fit for pay slips. The pay slips are recycled so many times that the trees from which they are derived, if paid their due royalty then their offshoots would be millionaires by now. It becomes so coarse in due course of time that one can use it efficiently as a sand paper or in place of tissue paper to soak off oil from your face.
The favorite pastime of a government employee is decoding his salary slip. Unfortunately it is the most strenuous of all. So much so that I find standing upside down far more easy than understanding my salary slip. The much hubub surrounding 7th pay commission revealed to me realities of life and salary structure.
It became more like a Sudoku puzzle to find your new basic pay after the pay commission report. I am sure understanding a genome of an organism would be far more simpler than our salary structure. But old habits die hard. We seek pleasure in things which kills time, provided it is not ordered by the boss.
Well everything put to rest, as you start adjusting with a compromised bride as your wife so do you with the net salary in your life.(Mind you, it rhymed!). Salary slip is not just a piece of paper. It shows each one of us-in crude words- our actual aukaat and -in decent words- our worth in an organisation. Receiving it is a ritual, a practice, a festival celebrated in the last week of every month.
It is the choti Diwali before the actual one when salary is credited in bank accounts. It is the mortal hope and resembles the collective happiness of ever complaining but sincerely working government employees.