FLIP SIDE Magazine

Squeezing the last drop out

The writer's core principle is to squeezing the last drop out of everything.  

I sometimes add some lime juice to my cola to give it a little bit of zing. But I have to ensure that I cut just the right amount of lime before I squeeze. Otherwise, the resulting concoction ends up tasting more like lime juice than cola. But why is the size of the cut important, you ask? Why can’t I simply squeeze as many drops as I want and stop? Well, that would mean throwing away a slice of lime that still has some juice in it and this goes against my core principle of squeezing the last drop out of everything.

It doesn’t matter whether I’ve paid my money for something — like the lime — or not: I’m equally steadfast and honourable in standing up to this principle. For example, my lime-squeezing performance peaks when I’m staying in an expensive hotel paid for by a benevolent employer. Let me relate my exploits during a business trip a few months ago.

Paddy Rangappa
“The meeting’s at 9 a.m.,” my colleague told me as we checked in together at the hotel in Bangkok at 10 p.m. “So let’s meet at 8.30. The office is down the road, about 20 minutes away by taxi, ten minutes by foot.”

“You mean the other way round,” I said, laughing.

“No. On Sukhumvit Road — and indeed many Bangkok roads — it’s faster to walk. But let’s take a cab — we don’t want to arrive panting and perspiring.”

I managed to meet him at 8.30 a.m. by skipping breakfast. But as I greeted him, a cold shiver ran down my spine. I had forgotten that breakfast is part of the room rate in this hotel.

“Sorry, I need to take care of something,” I said. “You carry on. I’ll walk across.”

When he left, I trotted to the restaurant, and in seven minutes flat, stuffed two muffins, a croissant and a jam roll down my throat, aided by a glass of orange juice. Throwing a banana into my pocket, I walked briskly from the hotel to the office. I reached the meeting feeling physically hot, sweaty and stuffed, but in high spirits. I had squeezed a respectable amount of juice from my entitled breakfast.

I felt even better the next morning at 8.30, having allowed myself enough time to order an omelette filled with everything (the room rate includes all fillings). But having remembered breakfast, I had forgotten something else. Requesting my colleague to wait, I rushed up to my room briefly.

“I had consumed only one of the two free bottles the hotel provides daily and had forgotten to hide the unused one in my suitcase,” I explained when we were in the taxi. “Housekeeping would have replaced only the empty bottle with a fresh one if they found the other lying around, unused… and I’d have ended up getting only three bottles of free water at the end of two days, instead of my entitlement of four. By hiding unused bottles each morning, I avoid such a deficit situation from developing.”

Instead of applauding my cunning, my colleague asked, “If you want more water, why not simply ask for it?”

“You miss the point,” I said sharply, “which is about getting the full authorised quota. For example, at the end of my last five-day trip, I had six bottles with me. I gulped down two but had to leave four unused ones in the room.”

“Why didn’t you carry them with you?”

He had touched a raw nerve. “Airport security confiscates them,” I said morosely.

I think he murmured something about sarcasm and thick skin that I didn’t hear clearly because I was busy on my phone. I called up the hotel and asked to be connected to my room. To utilise the hotel’s free voice message system with the facility for personal greetings, I had — after four attempts — recorded an excellent greeting last night. But to squeeze the full juice out of this service, someone had to call me at the hotel, which was not likely to happen because my wretched mobile phone number is known to all the people I know (and many that I don’t). So I made the call myself.

“Hi, this is Paddy Rangappa,” said a suave and distinguished voice at the other end of the line. “I’m sorry I’m not available at this particular moment to take your call…” — I smiled, because I already knew that – “… so please leave a message.”

“Hi, old chap,” I said, “Sorry to have missed you. Will connect later.” And I would too, by listening to this message when I came back to the room that evening.

“Who was that?” my colleague asked.

“An old friend,” I said, which was quite true. A man’s best friend is himself, says the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. It may not be the complete truth, but after hearing his lukewarm reaction to my water-bottle manoeuvre, I didn’t think my colleague would appreciate the full story. With sadness I realised that he was not a Squeezer of Juice at heart.


Paddy Rangappa is a marketing consultant and trainer.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 8:59:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/magazine/paddy-rangappa-on-making-the-most-of-everything/article7796696.ece

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