Satyaki15 mins 518 15 mins 518
Satyaki got down from the swanky Mercedes in front of a large 18 storied fancy headquarters of J K Satyaki Developers and Bola followed him. Satyaki, a six feet man with an athletic body wore a grey suit and white shirt with a matching shoe. He had a neatly trimmed beard and a massive moustache which almost covered his lips; the edges were sharp. As his ritual, Satyaki stood in front of the large table laid out exactly in front of the swinging automatic door, displaying in a square large glass box containing a Trowel! A golden coloured enameled brass board which proclaimed, “First possession of the owner”.
Bola ran Infront of Satyaki and pressed the button on the panel for the exclusive lift meant only for the MD. But the lift indicator was blank. Bola called out the security. The uniformed security came and whispered something in Bola’s ear. A shell-shocked Bola just turned his attention to the bank of elevators and pressed the button on one of them and as the door opened held it for Satyaki who had a quizzical look on his face, to enter.
Bola gestured that the MD’s elevator was not working. Satyaki nodded his head and looked ahead. The lift halted on the 17th floor – last stop for all elevators except for the one meant to be used by the MD which was the only one that opened at the penthouse on the 18th floor.
Satyaki got out and climbed the stairs. As soon as he entered the floor, the doorman who was standing in front of MD’s cabin saluted him but he did not move aside.
Satyaki who was already annoyed by the failure of the lift looked angrily at the security guy and said, “Why are you standing in the middle? Don’t you know who I am?”
The doorman bowed respectfully and said, “Sir. I know who you are sir. But got instructions from MD sir not to allow anyone inside as there is a meeting going on.”
“What? I am the MD here!” shouted Satyaki. The next cabin door opened and his trusted secretary walked out. She bowed in front of Satyaki who was fuming with rage and spoke in a soft voice.
“Sir. Please don’t scold the security or me, sir. All of us have been instructed by the new MD, Nachiket Sir not to allow anyone, including” she hesitated, “you Sir. Sir, the last cabin has been readied for you, sir.”
Satyaki stood shell shocked and looked at the secretary who had her head down and the security who likewise stood looking down and then looked at Bola who was rooted behind him, water trickling down from his eyes.
Satyaki strolled in to the last cabin which was used most of the time, for seating customers who came to see the departmental heads, still fuming with rage, flung his coat on the seat and sat down with a thud on the sofa and stared at the large photograph of himself standing with his son Nachiket who wore a suit tailored in London in front of the new building, taken few months ago.
Satyaki’s eyes blurred and without his knowledge, few droplets of tears rolled from his eyes. Did I make a mistake of showing too much love on my son who lost his mother at birth and was looked after by a granny? He recalled an event that happened many years ago, perhaps which was an indicator of things to come, which he conveniently ignored. He could remember every detail of that incident as if it happened, yesterday.
“Satyanna, Satyanna….” shouted an old lady of 70 plus as she neared the gate where Satyaki lived in a one-room dilapidated ancestral house. Thinking that he didn’t hear her voice, the old lady repeated, this time in an even a louder voice; “Satyannaaaaaaa…”
“Hey, old lady…. Why are shouting?” out came Satyaki from inside the house and shouted at the old lady in even a bigger voice.
Satyaki was around 35 years, had a burly moustache and matching flowing beard. He was wearing a coloured lungi, a checked dark blue shirt and had an angavastram (a sweat towel) on his shoulder. His eyes were sharp and missed nothing. Satyaki, though a mason by profession, called himself a contractor when someone asked about his profession.
Satyaki pulled up his lungi and sat on the bench with his legs crossed, looked at the old lady and spoke.
“Don’t you have any work? Why are you shouting early in the morning?”
“What to do Satyanna? The roof of my house is leaking even in this rain. If heavy rain comes, it will crash on my head and I will die. Please come and repair it Satyanna.” Pleaded the old lady.
Satyaki sharpened his moustache and spoke. “Why do you want me? Your son is also a mason, right? Why don’t you get it done from him?”
“What son? My son ran away along with his wife almost six months ago Satyanna, leaving this old lady to die alone.” Even as she spoke, the old lady started crying.
Satyaki laughed out loudly. “You guys don’t know how to bring up children. You only know how to give them birth. Let me show you how to bring up children. Wait, I will show you.” Satyaki gets up and peeks inside his house and calls out loudly. “Nachiket. hey Nachi.. come out. Daddy wants to show you to someone.”
A young boy of around 7 years comes out playing with his toy car. Satyaki lifts his son smooches him and asks him. “Nachiket, when you grow up what will you do?”
The young boy looks at his father and says, “I will buy a big car.” Shows how big a car he is going to buy by spreading his tiny hands.
“Tell me Nachiket. You will take me with you in your big car, right?”
Nachiket looks at his father and shakes his head. “No. I will not take you in my car. Why should I take you in my car? You come alongside in your old bicycle.”
Even as the old lady guffaws, Satyaki drops his son who runs inside. Hiding his face in a towel in the guise of wiping the sweat, Satyaki admonishes the old lady.
“You want me to repair your house or not? Then shut your loud mouth and get out of here. I will come in half an hour.”
Satyaki then turns towards his house and shouts. “Bola, hey Bola where the hell have you gone?”
Bola who is the trusted assistant to Satyaki, wearing shorts and a worn-out tea shirt comes out. Bola is around 12 but looks 8 because of his small build and height. He comes out looks at Satyaki and speaks, “Yes Satyanna?”
Satyaki turns towards Bola and speaks. “Take all the equipment to this old lady’s house. Once you go there, collect money from that lady, for buying cement and sand, she has plenty of it. Ok?”
Bola nods his head, goes inside and brings equipment’s and follows Satyaki who comes out and is about to get into his cycle when he observes that it has a punctured tire. He throws the cycle aside and walks alongside Bola to complete the old lady’s house repair.
Satyaki comes back to the present time and once again looks at his son’s picture and wonders aloud. “Was there something wrong in the way I brought up this boy?” Satyaki walks towards the large wall decorated with picture showing how his company progressed. He heaves a sigh when he looks at the journey, he has taken in the last 25 years.
His mind goes back in time once again.
Bola brings cement and mixes it with sand and adds water to make the material ready for plastering. He carries the mortar in a pan to Satyaki who was laying bricks. Suddenly, Bola looks at the crawling cockroach and virtually dumps the mortar on the ground and shoutts, “Satyanna, Satyanna, Cockroach. cockroach.”
Satyaki simply looks at Bola and says nothing. Bola, takes the trowel lying nearby, takes the mortar from the pan and dumps the lump on the cockroach and keeps a brick for good measure and starts jumping up and down shouting, “Satyanna, the cockroach is gone, it is dead.”
Even as Bola looks, cockroach emerges from the mortar, twirls its moustaches, and walks slowly even as Satyaki who saw the whole scene, guffaws so loudly, Bola’s face becomes red.
Satyaki sets his trowel aside, pulls up his lungi and looks, still smiling at Bola and speaks. “Bola, do you know what’s common between a cockroach and this Satyaki? We both are survivors. I have read somewhere, that cockroach can survive even the kind of bomb attack that was done on, Japan. They also say even when a volcano erupts and lava starts coming out destroying everything, cockroaches survive.”
Satyaki adjusts his towel on his shoulder, twirls his moustache and tells Bola. “This Satyaki too cannot be destroyed easily. Go bring another pan of mortar, we are getting late. I have a meeting with one of the biggest builders in Bangalore.”
The meeting which was attended by Satyaki in his best dress proved to be the turning point of his life.
The big developer who has a huge reputation in the entire country made Satyaki sit in front of him, though Satyaki preferred to stand. The developer looks at Satyaki and speaks. “You have a very unusual name, to begin with. Why Satyaki? I have never heard anyone going by your name in my life; trust me, I have met a large number of persons.”
Satyaki looks at the developer and speaks. “Sir my name is taken from the epic Mahabharata. After the war, there were only 12 survivors who participated in war! Satyaki is one of them.
He was a born survivor. My parents kept this name to me because all other children born before me, died when they were infants. I am the sole survivor in the entire family.”
The developer smiles broadly. “I am sure, Satyaki, you will always live up to your name. I have heard lots of stores about you and your confidence in what you do. But, everyone whom I enquired tell me a unique story where you slept in when there was torrential rain in an under construction building. Tell me why and how did you did it?”
Satyaki too smiles. It was the rainy season and a large marriage hall that was being constructed by Satyaki was to go for the mold (top portion of the building). The owner, a wealthy man came. Running to sea satyaki andpleaded with him to postpone the mold until rain receded. But Satyaki felt that leaving the walls un-protected might also cause damage to the pillars and went ahead with the mold work. As soon as they completed, that evening, torrential rain started and the owner came running once again to Satyaki’s house, virtually crying and terrified that the building will collapse.
Satyaki simply took a pillow, a bedsheet, and a mat and took Bhola along with him and slept under the newly laid out building the whole night. The next day, the entire population of the locality gathered to celebrate and facilitate Satyaki for his bravery and conviction.
Satyaki narrated the incident to the developer who listened attentively and clapped once the story was over.
“You know this is the reason why are you are here today; you have total confidence in you what you do. This is the largest contract you can think of. Once you complete it, you will never be the same man again, Satyaki. Days of you replacing me as the biggest developer of this city, is not far.” Said the developer.
Satyaki who traveled on his old bicycle for the meeting had hidden the cycle in a by lane and when he came out, thought of discarding the cycle on his return journey. However, he stood there and pondered for a few minutes and then decided to take it along with him. So, he hired a taxi and told the taxi driver to tie the cycle on top and entered the taxi smiling from ear to ear and tapped the currency notes bulging in his pocket.
Thus, started the journey of Satyaki and 20 years later, Satyaki is all set to inaugurate his very own building of 18 floors in the most prominent place of Bangalore city.
The car carrying Satyaki stops in front of the new building and he gets down from the car followed by his young foreign returned son Nachiket who is wearing a very expensive suit tailored in London.
Satyaki too is wearing a very expensive dress and has shaved off his beard. But his twirling moustache was a testimony that it was indeed the same old Satyaki. Bola who too, has grown to become a young man, wore brand new jeans and tee-shirt carried a glass box and followed Satyaki.
The reception committee to welcome Satyaki to his new building comprising the entire staff of the new building; the Manager, a retired man in his suit welcomed Satyaki and garlanded him and the entire staff applauded when Satyaki cut the ribbons to enter his new building.
Satyaki motioned everyone to stay even as Bola entered behind Satyaki and was holding the glass box covered in paper waiting for an assistant to put up a large table exactly opposite the sliding entrance door.
Once the table was set, the receptionist put up a large shining table cloth and Bola put the glass box right in the middle.
Satyaki tore opened up the newspaper cover dramatically, to reveal his trusted Trowel fixed in the middle of the glass box. Bola ran to the car and brought a silver-coated brass nameplate. The nameplate read, “First Possession of the Owner” and placed it neatly in front of the glass box.
“Satyanna. Satyanna.” Bola stands in front of Satyaki and speaks. Satyaki looks at Bola and realizes that he was lost in thought and was so deeply engrossed in thinking about the past, he forgot where he was sitting.
Satyaki looks at Bola and says, “Bola do whatever you want to. But talk to Nachiket. I want to see him immediately. I can’t understand what’s happening here. Go…and hey, don’t shout at anybody ok?”
Bola nods his head and goes out leaving a Satyaki who is yet to come out of the shock that his own son has displaced him as MD of the company built, brick-by-brick with sweat and blood.
Satyaki gets up and walks slowly and stand in front of the large window overlooking the city. He scratches his head trying to recollect how all of a sudden this could have happened?
Then he remembered the meeting which he attended, to form a joint venture with some Chinese investors, last month. As he walks thoughtfully holding his hands behind him, his heads bent, he could recall what Nachiket, said in the meeting.
The meeting room was full. All the twelve chairs were taken except the one meant for the MD. There were four representatives from a China-based investment company and the rest were Senior Executives from J K Satyaki Developers.
As Satyaki walked in, all the seated persons got up and Satyaki sat in his chair and looked at his son who was standing near the large screen, ready for the presentation. On cue, one of the assistants’ dimmed the lights and the screen was lit up with the presentation Nachiket was about to make.
Satyaki’s knowledge of English was limited. He could read and understand simple words but could not speak fluently; so were the Chinese as there was a translator who stood up to translate English presentation being made by Nachiket into Cantonese.
Nachiket made a wonderful presentation explaining the capabilities of J K Satyaki developers and supplemented it with several video presentations of completed as well as ongoing projects across the length and bread of the country. The translator tried her best to translate both Nachiket’s presentation as well as few questions asked every now and then by the four Chinese investors.
Satyaki sat down trying to absorb everything that was happening. The gist of the presentation became evident when the translator came up with the investment figures the Chinese investors were proposing; a staggering 700 million US dollars to take J K Satyaki to the International level for a stake in his company.
While all the senior executives of his company applauded, Satyaki stood up, looked at his son and spoke. “What is this Nachi? Why are we going for investment from outsiders? We are a cash-rich company and have more projects than we can possibly handle.”
Nachiket, upset with his father’s impromptu intervention went and whispered a few things to one of General Manager and lead Satyaki to a vacant room.
While Nachiket sits, Satyaki prefers to stand. Nachiket looks at his father and says, “Dad, the old-fashioned way of your working will not take our company forward. That’s why I decided to get investors to put in money so that we can spread our wings not just in this country, but abroad. And...”
“What do you mean I decided? How can you decide on your won when I am still the MD of the company? An annoyed Satyaki speaks.
Nachiket throws up his hands in desperation and looks at his father with piercing eyes and speaks. “Dad. The board has already approved appointing me as MD. Out of respect to you, I allowed you to come and sit in today’s meeting. Don’t you remember signing an authorization to conduct the meeting and appointing me as MD of the company? Now, why are you creating problems?”
Satyaki stands shell shocked. Oh my God, all those papers Nachiket got me signed a few days ago late night at home! He realizes that his son tricked him to signing explaining that the documents were related to the release of funds from the bank.
Bola comes inside the cabin and stands looking at Satyaki thinking how he should tell his master the message that came from his son!
Satyaki looks at Bola and knew instantly the answer for a question he was about to ask.
He tells Bola to pick up his bag and coat and walks towards the lift. As both Satyaki and Bola move towards the car, they are in for another shock.
The driver, a loyal servant of Satyaki for years bows and in a shaking voice informs that he got instructions not to provide the car to Satyaki’s use.
Satyaki can’t believe his eyes and ears. Not knowing what to do, Satyaki stands in front of his own building and turns to look at it.
He observes that on the 18th floor, he could see his son standing near the window and watching him. He looks at his son, walks slowly towards the entrance of the building and even before the security person can understand what’s happening, he takes the glass box, brings it outside.
He looks up and can see his son still standing at the window. He smashes the glass box to the ground and the glass box brakes up and pieces fly everywhere.
Satyaki walks slowly towards his Trowel which is lying on the gross, pick up and calls Bola and tells him something in his ears.
Bola goes towards the car and asks the driver to open the dicky and takes out an old briefcase, opens and takes out Satyaki’s lungi from it.
He walks towards Satyaki who puts on the lungi standing in front of the building, removes his pant, throws them in front of the door,
Bola meanwhile removes the old cycle which was kept in the garage and brings it and hands it over to Satyaki.
Satyaki boards the cycle, trowel in his hand, holds it up high turns and looks at his son who is watching him from the window above.
He shakes the trowel and says, I am Satyaki. No one can destroy me!”