If too many people are invoked in cooking a particular dish each might add a different ingredient which, in the end, spoils the entire dish.
Likewise when too many people take up a job or project, they are likely to make a mess of it due to lack of coordination.
Unless there is proper planning and demarcation of responsibility, the job will not be done. This is the meaning of this proverb.
The annual day function of any school is an event that everyone looks forward to since it’s a time to celebrate the achievement of the school in various fields of activities. It was the same at Aravind’s school too, where he worked as the Maths teacher.
It was going to be different this time since the entertainment part of the function was to be organized by the students themselves. The Principal had asked the teachers to coordinate with the students and had appointed a representative each, for the teachers and for the students.
Mr. Mathew was the teacher-representative, a man who did not believe in giving students so much responsibility. The students on their part had agreed to organize everything in their enthusiasm but had no idea on how to go about it in an organized way.
The day of the function arrived. The students in their enthusiasm had concentrated on the costumes and music but had completely forgotten every aspect of stage management. Each group thought that the other was looking after those details.
There were not enough mikes and they had not checked to see if the audio system was working effectively with the result that the audiences were unable to hear them properly. Similarly they had not checked if the curtains were working properly.
With the result that the curtains got stuck midway through giving rise to some hilarious moments as the audience could clearly see all that was going on backstage. Fear and tension confused the students further messing up the programme.
But luckily the Chief Guest for the evening was a very nice person who understood the situation clearly.
He encouraged the students and told them
not to get depressed by the turn of events and told them to learn valuable lessons which would help them do better next time.
Things would have worked out well if everyone had been assigned specific jobs instead of the entire student lot getting involved. It was clearly a case of Too Many Cooks spoil the broth.