Kanwar Raghu, 26, was a dynamic, upbeat MNC executive. An MBA, he was ambitious, popular and successful and his recent promotion had added colour to his rosy cheeks. In nutshell, he was enjoying finest phase of his life.
But you could never make out that Kanwar had an ‘uncomfortable secret’ to hide, because from outside, it was impossible to tell. That's right. He suffered from a ‘fear of authority’. Despite hiding it well, he had difficulty facing up to people in powerful positions. The bigger scare was the overwhelming fear and helplessness with whom he had an ‘emotional block’. Not even his closest buddies knew about it. But it finally surfaced in the form of his boss - the commonest authority in our minds.
The new boss was a burly gentleman who meant business, from day one. Shortly, his frosty temperament ‘distanced’ him from the entire department used to a flexible style. He had given Kanwar a typical, unkind look the very first day in the cafeteria. The second time around, Kanwar didn’t get off that easy.
Some new recruits in his team had been slow learners. After allowing them reasonable time, Kanwar decided to escalate the issue and take it up with his boss. As he walked into face the man, Kanwar’s palms started sweating. His nerves were failing him when he needed them most. He also knew his powerlessness in that kind of a situation. Predictably, unable to carry himself with confidence, Kanwar failed to make an impression. The boss didn’t buy his ‘story’.
Instead, he gave Kanwar a deadline to ‘get things right’. Kanwar knew the trainees were never upto it, so the deadline didn’t matter. He was caught between a rock and a hard place. The deadline and went without any significant improvement in the trainee’s performance. Kanwar was held responsible for not mentoring them adequately. His unforgiving boss made Kanwar suffer a public verbal insult. When Kanwar began to explain, he was blown off rudely. Predictably, Kanwar featured right at the bottom of the appraisal list.
Kanwar was a shattered man, questioning himself. He was looking straight down a road that was leading nowhere. His career, and his future were in ruins. In desperation, he considered a million ideas. ‘Talking it out’ with the boss was not feasible, for none in the office really knew about his mysterious heart. An uncertain future stared him.
The Kanwar that walked into the Ishh office on a Friday afternoon was a very different Kanwar from the one who used to party with his friends in uptown Gurgaon. He had heard about Ishh from a Chandigarh-based colleague. We were destined to meet, for his case was exactly the challenge we relished. Here was a perfectly nice man in distress.
Here was an otherwise successful professional with no outward weakness, struggling with a mental issue our society tends to associate with ‘losers’. Although he was feeling hopeless at the time, deep down, Kanwar Raghuvanshi was no loser. And we knew that that had to be our starting point.
The sessions that followed were a unique blend of traditional instruments and ‘new age therapies’. Progress was slow at first, but the second month on, he showed distinct improvement. It’s important to remember that Kanwar was the victim of a deep-seated emotion. Alive as a deadly snake in our sub-consciousness, they attack when we are the weakest. And Kanwar knew exactly how poisonous the bites could be.
To his credit, Kanwar was gifted with a mild, generous nature. It was the ‘lack of a solution’ that bothered and confused him more than anything else. He was willing to listen and learn. Kanwar and Dr. Sethi soon became good friends, a critical breakthrough in the therapy and things improved by leaps and bounds after that. We are happy to share that the day Kanwar left our office with a promise to meet his boss the coming Monday - he had that familiar smile back.
Kanwar had eventually found a way to ‘talk things out’ with his boss. No, they didn’t become pals, but the matter was broached with amity and harmony from both sides. Today, they share a healthy working relationship, one of the few in his department to achieve the feat!
If we were to analyze, the toughest part was convincing Kanwar (denial is a big hurdle), and that, he had to take the first step. The therapies augmented the treatment, making his journey holistic, and helping Kanwar recover. He isn’t entirely out of danger, for such things cannot really be eradicated. But Kanwar was much more aware and able now, and prepared to take on an ‘attack’ the next time. Either from his boss, or from his brain.