Rahul cursed the alarm clock for failing him yet gain and the sun for showing up so early. He jumped out of his bed and ran towards the washroom. Why did he get tempted to sleep for an extra five minutes, which ended up in two hours? He knew if he reached late today there would be no warning, just termination letter.
“God, please save my job, I can’t afford to lose it, at least not now,” he prayed. With the exorbitant one bedroom rent, EMI of his bike, payment of credit card loans, every month by the second week, his financial planning lay there decapitated.
In the washroom, holding his toothbrush, again he checked his face in the mirror. A wicked grin escaped, revealing the outline to his devious plan—the stage and the actor.
**** **** ****
“Is this the time?”
Rahul did not react and stood still, with a blank expression.
“Don’t you think it is important to at least let me know that you would be coming past noon? Don’t you have even basic etiquettes?” Neeraj, his boss was fuming.
He knew the cue meant for the actor in him to break into a soliloquy.
Rahul’s voice was loud enough to make the entire work-floor, which had more than hundred people, stop and look towards him. Neeraj, the floor manager, was shocked at the whip like rebuke, that too in full public glare. He gulped a blob of air and raised his hand to gain the lost ground but was interrupted.
“It was not important to call you and let you know that I would be coming late because this place doesn’t deserve it. Look at me, up since three am that too by an unfortunate call, trying to do whatever I could—contact my friends, rush to the hospital, arrange for blood, pray to God, arrange for money and what not. And here you are asking for an explanation for not calling you up.”
By this time, sensing a commotion, the entire floor had got up, trying to have a look at the reason of the outbreak. For some it was good to see the man with his draconian ways; Neeraj, getting bashed by one of them.
“I am sorry, but…” the guilt-ridden voice of Neeraj made a lame interjection.
“No Sir, you need not to be sorry. It is me who has to feel the same. After all it is my brother who is in the hospital, not yours. It is my brother who has been hit by a truck in the wee hours of morning…”
“I’m so sorry…” Neeraj tried absolving him of the cardinal sin.
“Sir, I have given my best to this place. I want this place to grow, and along with this place I want to grow. But how am I supposed to react if instead of a shoulder to lean on, you expect me to call at nine am and tell the admin that I wont be in?”
The employees at the floor nodded their heads in his support. He continued “and yes, amidst all this commotion I did misplace my mobile too.”
Like a true leader and a good boss, Neeraj escorted Rahul towards his bay, consoling him, offering any help. A wicked smile on Rahul’s face was a proof of his Academy award performance.
**** **** ****
“Rahul, there was a call from Fortis hospital. It seems that your brother needs more blood. I am sending few guys with you. However it seems there is some mix up. The guy who had called said that a truck hit your brother some thirty minutes back and they are starting the operation right away. You please rush.”
**** **** ****
Cover Illustration : Romanch Soni
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