Hello! Suitcase Officer…..!!!


I had never heard this word – Suitcase Officer – during my service career but while going through a book by a senior Indian Administrative Officer which I purchased last year because of its title as I@S – the tale told by an IAS.  In the preface, he has boldly admitted that this ubiquitous IAS community is barely known beyond stereotypes like ‘bright and corrupt’, ‘just babus’, puppets of politicians’, ‘power mongers; and so on.

Postings and transfers are a part of a job irrespective of status.  Sometimes these are by virtue of individual’s choice or most of the time; it is unwanted because of the choice of the politicians in this democratic set-up.   However, there is a soft corner in the case of the female employee.

Definitely unique and ingenious methods are used to arrange these prolonged temporary transfers with some friendly help from colleagues or by recommendations from the seniors or miniseries or local politicians. However, sometimes the government makes a policy to keep the official at his home place or nearby station within the last few months of the retirement.

I recall that there was an honest, sincerely and dedicated officer - DK and he will be confined to the service rules and instructions from time to time.  In other words, he is the decision making authority will not go out of the box, with no flexibility irrespective of any references from his seniors.  He would strict to the office timings from 9 am to 5 pm.

What I feel is, such type of working is free from any stress and facing any consequences of the service rules framed to punish the officials.  But it is not a baby for all the officials; one has to be bold enough to take the right decisions which may be wrong in the eyes of others.  Whatever status one may be holding in service, he is known as a service provider to the customer.  

In the words of JeffBezos which befits well for such officers are – ‘The best customer service is if the customer doesn’t need to call you, does n’t need to talk to you. It just works”.

He was once called up to give the explanation when he was found in a drunken condition on the visit of his senior.  His simple reply in justification was in one line. Sir, you visited the station after 5 pm and one is supposed to enjoy his personal life after office hours.  No further correspondence was exchanged on this issue but he was transferred to some other station after some time. As soon as he got the transfer order, he picked his packed suitcase and joined at the next station.
When once asked about the reasons behind this outlandish behaviour, he would say, “What’s the worst can be done to me than transfer. I have already seen the number of postings, let it one more. My suitcase is always ready in the morning and unpacked in the evening if there are no orders”.


Frankly speaking, the other day I got a call from unknown number, not saved in my cell phone but I recognized him from his voice from the other end and he was surprised to hear me when I addressed him as, Hello! Suitcase Officer.
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