15 October 2013

The elevator guy

In the office buildings in India, there is this curious phenomenon called the “elevator guy”. The elevators are very modern – completely automated and all that. But this guy has hung around in a throwback to the yesteryears.
All he does the whole day is sit on a stool in the corner with his right arm constantly on the panel with the floor buttons. He sits in that claustrophobic elevator and goes up and down the whole day long. With that expressionless face. Deep in his thoughts the whole way up and then the whole way down.
Moment a person walks in, with all due respect he stands up and then goes up and down as before.
Why he lacks the confidence in our ability to press the proper elevator buttons, I will never know.
And then, occasionally when the elevator is full and it stops at a floor to let people in, he raises his left hand like a traffic cop preventing anybody from walking in. His right hand is still on the button panel! The whole irony is lost on him that if he just let us press the buttons, we could have let two more people in, in lieu of him and his precious stool!!
As I stepped out of an elevator in the Air India building, I asked him how long has he been doing this. 17 years, he said!!! Wow! He certainly has seen a lot of ups and downs!!!

Posted October 15, 2013 by Rajib Roy in category "Vacations


  1. By Kihtrak Srin (Post author) on

    ‘the lift’ and the lift guy you mean! The lift guy and his stool prevent 10 more from getting in 🙂 This is Mumbai – even the dog wags his tail vertically.

  2. By Åmændeep Midhä (Post author) on

    Not just employment opportunities … but also in the name of security from vandalism & equipment tampring, as you can see them in modern software technology park as well where 6 elevators employ 6 of such guys! 😉

  3. By Ranajoy Ganguli (Post author) on

    I am very tired today. But I can give you a dozen instances of more ludicrous “namunas” in American corporate ethos. Stay tuned.

  4. By Padma Parthasarathy (Post author) on

    My husband and his friends once examined various jobs to determine which required the least effort for the maximum return. The lift operator job won hands down.

  5. By Subbu Subramanian (Post author) on

    Years back, while working for Tata Steel at Tata Centre ( it has 17 floors) at Kolkata, some floors were occupied by a public sector bank. With a lot persuasion, posters were avoided in the lifts though bank union leaders felt they should be allowed as bank shared a part of the expenses. The bank floors were full of posters starting just outside the lift shafts. I felt that if somebody stood there too long, posters would be stuck on his / her face and back too ! Now you can guess why public buildings have lift operators.

  6. By Manoj Turkhia (Post author) on

    I think a good competitor to this was the one in UTI years ago where all this guy did was to polish the brass nameplates of all executives! He would start in the morning – cover all six floors in the building during the day and start all over again the next day! Wonder if he is still at it!

  7. By Ranajoy Ganguli (Post author) on

    Well, as promised, here is a little insight from me. Not so long ago when I came to USA after a 17 years stint in India and other parts of the globe(mainly Europe), I was also shocked to see the following :


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