Kukhnya (Kitchen) is a Russian comedy serial, which depicts the life of a group of people working in a Moscow restaurant. In one of the episodes, a customer got furious over a badly prepared dish and started scolding Lui, the chef who had prepared it. All the restaurant staff were scared and nervous. At that time the head chef was heavily drunk and sleeping in his room. Suddenly, one of the chefs Leva went into the head chef’s office, put on his coat with the badge, and came to that table. As the customer was about to punch Lui, Leva grabbed his hand and spoke in a stern voice, “I am the head chef of this restaurant. Whatever complaint you have, please put it directly to me. I take responsibility for this badly prepared dish. But I would not allow anyone to harass or scold anyone of my staff.” The customer was frightened and let Lui go; the latter felt deeply touched by the gesture of his colleague. Well, when the head chef woke up and came to know of the whole affair, he scolded Leva for his taking liberty of wearing his coat. However, while Leva was leaving his office, he called him back, and spoke in a soft voice, “You know what . . . whatever you did was correct. A head chef shouldn’t just look after the kitchen affairs. Being a leader or a chief means taking responsibility of failures also, and not just credit for success. You did the right thing. I am sorry.”
It was a nice scene with a very simple message. It made me think of various instances where the behaviour of individuals or organizations is usually quite opposite to what the head chef said. The first example that comes to my mind is the attitude of parents towards their children. Don’t you find it amusing that when a boy comes first in a sports meet, or a girl stands first in the class, both the parents boast in their circles — ‘My son won the gold medal!’, ‘My daughter passed with distinction!’ But as soon as the girl had a stupid teenage affair, or the boy crashed his bicycle against a car, the applause turns into — ‘Your daughter has ruined my social prestige’, ‘Your son can’t even ride a bicycle!’ Whenever I hear such arguments in families, I always wonder whom do the children belong to!
Any political party in government takes credit of all the achievements and projects; sometimes the results are exaggerated, and sometimes even contrary to the actual picture. In addition, there are several projects that failed to take off, some plans that backfired, some schemes that showed misjudgement. It is the job of the opposition to criticize the government so that a balanced movement towards progress could be ensured. That is why, although there are differences in ideologies of different parties, there is an apparent unanimity in the overall philosophy of the nation — whichever party be in the government. However, if the government keeps dodging off the criticism by opposition by attributing it to malicious design, and altogether blatantly deny any wrongdoing, then definitely it is an unhealthy approach. I am yet to hear about any politician who had the integrity and grace to stand up to the opposition and admit that a mistake had been made, responsibility is taken, and assurance is given that it won’t be repeated . . . and to mean it. In reality, if any action at all is taken, it is just a demand for resignation and sometimes its implementation.
During board exams of 10th and 12th class, students have to take private tuitions for more than one subject. One of our teachers made this remark — “Isn’t it funny that when a student passes with fantastic marks, or cracks the JEE or CPMT, all the credit goes to the private tutor. However, in case the student fails, the parents simply complain – ‘Oh! They don’t teach properly at school!'” But yes, even at tuition and school separately, not all students succeed. The teachers and tutors also take credit only for the successful ‘products’.
I do not argue whether I’m my father’s child or my mother’s, whether my son’s tutor is better or his school teacher, or which political party is most fit to run the country. I simply suggest that you take responsibility for all successes and failures.