I served as Managing Director of the UP Handloom Corporation during the year 1987-88. At that time, this job was considered to be important as well as glamorous. The turnover of the organisation was almost one hundred crores and it had a large number of showrooms all over the country. It was quite a challenging and interesting job to run them efficiently. Every year, a good number of showrooms were renovated and it involved a huge expenditure. One of the expensive items in the renovation was the ‘False Ceiling’. This term always amused me and I often wondered why such a beautiful piece of work was called ‘False’.
Once I inspected a showroom during its renovation when the work on the false ceiling was in progress. I could, therefore, see the inside of the false ceiling and I found it in bad shape. The wiring, pipe-fittings, ducting, etc., were done badly, probably in the knowledge that they would not be visible after the false ceiling was fitted. The quality of wiring was also poor, which I learnt, was done deliberately in order to increase the frequency of repairs. While I took the necessary steps to correct the situation in the process, I also understood the significance of the word ‘false’.
Subsequently, I held many important posts which took me around the country and abroad frequently. I like meeting people and have had an interaction with a large cross-section with widely varying backgrounds. I can modestly claim that I have been able to understand human nature to a great extent and do not get upset easily when someone hurts me or behaves in an unexpected manner. I have found a large number of people who are apparently very well-behaved and project themselves as our well-wishers, while the reality is different. Initially, such a situation used to upset me, but now it is no more so. The incident about the false ceiling also helped me greatly to understand this aspect of human nature. Most people try to hide their faults with false behaviour and a disguised appearance. The reality is known only when we see them closely. Unfortunately, in today’s fast world, such opportunities are rare and whenever one tries to do so, the result is a clash or conflict. The only option, therefore, is to watch oneself closely and remove those faults, which we dislike in others.
There is a need to behave well and decently, a desirable quality of a good human being. Good behaviour becomes undesirable only when it is false, but sincerity and genuine goodness will reap rich dividends not only for oneself but for others too. Unfortunately, most of us feel that it is more important to appear nice than to be really nice. It may be true for a short while but it is not so when life is seen in totality. Sooner or later, the false appearance and poor contents inside are exposed and there is no option left but to discard the object in totality. Someone has rightly said, ‘It is good to be important but it is more important to be good’. If we believe in this, there would be no need for any ‘False Ceiling.