The Hope13 mins 192 13 mins 192
“Madam! Take this letter and sign in this book,“ said Gururajappa the peon, more or less in an ordering tone.
“What it is ?“ Shalini Patel asked.
“ See it for yourself", thus saying he handed over the letter to Shalini Patel.
Shalini received the letter and her eyes moved over the content, for a second she was dumbstruck and her eyes widened. Everyone stopped their work and were keenly observing both of them. Even the air stopped moving, such a serious situation was spread around there. Reshma could not tolerate the silence. So, she came out of her seat as she neared them and asked: “ What it is the matter ? “
Shalini handed over the letter to her. After Reshma finished reading the letter, she took the letter from her and handed over back to Guru and told to him to hand it over back to the manager and later she will speak to him. After a few minutes, she went to meet the manager. No sooner she left her seat, the others present there started enquiring and discussing whereabouts of the issue.
All their eyes were focused on Reshma who had read the letter and hoped that she will come out of the matter. Though the letter is being affected to Shalini, but right now Reshma is the heroine of the situation. Seeing their inquisitiveness, “ What else it could be ? the same old memo , that is all“ she let the cat out of the bag and cooled down their curiosity.
“ What was the matter ? “ a few of them present there once again pondered over the topic.
“ Without the bill how did you write the cheque ? is the main subject.“ said Reshma
"Oh ! that is the matter ?" said two to three people in a chorus.
“ I knew very well. He won't allow anyone to work in that section peacefully . He presumes that he is the succession heir to that section. “ Thus commented Mohan Rao.
“ He will see that any officer who comes there , he will pocket them either by threatening or by way of gifting them. If they don’t budge for his offer he will trouble them to such an extent , that they leave the place by getting transfer to any other place of work. “ Thus Govardhan another senior staff commented.
“ If they don’t take up transfer , he will bring political pressure and see his goal is reached , for which he will arrange a night party to the political party. He will see that no opponents are present there. We all hope such a troublesome person, why can't he take transfer to any other treasury branch? “ said the middle-aged Somesh.
“ Where will he go? He will not waste his sweat by working. Every thing is at ease here. In any other place, even if the staff keep quite, the public will not allow , if their work is not done well in time. “
“ What will they do ? Nothing, no higher officer will take any action against him. As days roll the public will become calm, “ Somesh.
“ Nowadays the public have developed awareness within them. They will hold the collar and neck him to the street and do slipper pooja, “ Geetha.
“So far, why he hasn't been caught? How many years of service he has put in?" asked Deepali , the new entrance to the place.
“ He has put in fifteen years of great service like these,“ said Reshma mockingly.
“ Not even once he was caught ? “ asked Deepali astonished.
“ Why not? Once he was caught and even suspended also. Later they turn the plate up side down and proved that he was not a culprit. Even though everyone had witnessed yet, he proved he was innocent and got exempted from penalising. He will never be seated in his chair not even for ten minutes at least. Always he will be dealing by moving here and there. Every day at least without a minimum of one thousand rupees of external income he will not go home. He has his own troop of people working for him who are all employed here. How many visited the office ? How many submitted the bills ? And for how much amount the cheques were issued ?
How many signed and collected the cheque ? Such information will be carried out to him by Gurajappa the peon. Who all pass comments on him or about the issue, in whose table how many people met ? How long they were standing ? Such reports will be carried by the sweeper Siddamma. How to distribute coffee to the vested interested people ? Coffee tea supplier Sidda will perform this duty sincerely. “ said Mohan Rao.
“ Is any one of our clerical staff close to him ? “ asked Deepali.
“ Why not! That poor chap Keshavamurthy has borrowed some money from him for interest and he his holding him in his clutches. To whom all he recommends he will have to put up the file, if doesn’t he will have to face the later consequences. “ Reshma says.
“ Why ! Does he have any weakness ? “ Deepali asked.
“ No! any such things. Once a file had come, which did not have much evidential proofs. So he refused to attend the file. For which both of them started dodging one another . Not only our section alone but other section people were also witnessing their quarrel. So he knew that all were for far Keshavmurthy, “ Why man you took money to put the file and now you refuse to do the work ? He cunningly told before the gathering. At that Keshavamurthy was shocked and retarted, “ have you gone mad, what nonsense are you speaking ?" But that person doesn’t bother for any such rebuking, he just went on telling “ didn’t you take money from this man yesterday?“ fingering at the person whose file was supposed to be attended. And also asked that person, didn’t he take money from you ? “
“ Sir ! sir... the matter is that , by the time he could continue “ tell me the truth, yesterday didn’t you give him money ?" he again interwined. “ "Sir ! the matter is ... before he could say anything he said “ yesterday he has gone to this mans house and has taken money, see the under dealings ? After taking the money he must do his work, isn’t it ? He taunted Keshavamuthy in a high tone. The person who had given the debt to Keshava Murthy got confused and felt the issue being taking another turn, his conscious did not accept the false statements of the section head, it is better to leave the place he thought and bowing down his head he walked away from there. But Keshavmurthy helplessly saw everyone present, he was burning with anger for the false statements passed by the section head, but said, “ See sir, don’t play crooks with me, I took a loan from his finance company, don’t add bribe colour to the issue, hold your tongue and be careful “ thus he warned the section head , at that moment Keshavamurthy forgot his status. The section felt insulted in front of everyone , and with fear that all of us will justify Keshav , he took the file and left the place and entered the manager cabin. He got the memo typed that Keshav has spoiled the office decorum and protocol to his higher officer. At this nobody could do anything. Yet we all went to protest against Keshava's memo. For which the manager though he knew the truth, yet he too was helpless against the section head, he wanted to over come the situation, so he just told all of them “ some things has to be knowingly ignored, by the by, why all of you don’t have any work? You have come in group , if you say union , protest and so on , I will take disciplinary action against everyone do you people understand? Come on all of you get back to your seat thundered the manager. Guru , come here, send all of them out and close the doors. “ said annoyingly. So all of us shut our mouths and returned back to our seat. “ Geetha says.
By the time Osama Bin Laden the nick named section head CS Patel, came there with a smile on his face and twisting his moustache, behind him came Shalini tensely.
“ What did he say Shalini ? “ questioned a little bit bold Srilalitha, the computer operator with no obligation as compared to that of the clerks.
“ That day you saw know, in the absence of Osama Bin Laden, the manager himself came to my table and asked me to write the cheque and told that the bills are with him. But now Osma is refusing to counter sign it. How come she writes the cheque without the bill in her custody ? Each and every talk she keeps on uttering , I will not write the cheque without the bill, I am so and so, I don’t care for any one and so on , if I have proper bill ... I will write the cheques within two minutes. I will live on our earnings and so on such type of pinpricking words she used to boast of her self. Now how did she write ? He is strongly protesting against the issue, “ Shalini said.
“ What did you say for that ? “ Reshma asks.
“ I told the manager boldly that he only directed me to write the cheque . But he kept quite in front of that Osama. He took this opportunity and said, “ Sir ! she is junior to me, let us call for explanation by issuing a memo. Henceforth let her be alert. Let her also understand that saying is easy and doing is not so easy, “ he thus suggested. But the manager refused his suggestions and told, “all such things are not necessary.” "
“ That means , it appears that both of you jointly done this work, “ Osama.
“ Dont’ talk rubbish? “ Manager.
“ Then what is the problem in issuing the Memo ? “ Osama.
Manager was annoyed at his adamant attitude and looking at me he said,“ do what ever you feel like doing and turned towards the almirah to avoid us.
Osma has typed the memo in his own way and has given it to me. Shalini narrated what happened in the manager cabin.
“ Let hot flames be thrown on his face, “ cursed Srilalitha.
The right and wrong thoughts were pounding in the mind of Shalini. She started getting a splitting headache. Now let us all go for coffee thus everyone took Shalini out. On the way Geetha told her not to be dull, it gives a way for Osama’s smartness.
“ No ! No ! I am not bothered of him. I am annoyed at the cowered act of the manager, “ Shalini.
“ You see! Everyone knows that it is not your fault, even the oldy manager also knows, that Osama also clearly knows it. But he wants to snub your spirit. He sees that no one should stand against him. That is why he has sent his first arrow to strike you. If you don’t alert yourself he will search for another issue. Until you keep quiet against him, he will keep on doing it. That is his only aim,“ Reshma says.
“ Let him create. I will teach him a lesson, hum ! hum ! “ Shalini.
In the mean time, they had reached the coffee cafe. Started drinking coffee. By that time the news had spread all over the other departments in the other buildings also. Shalini experienced peculiar inquisitive looks focusing on her, she felt embarrassed.
“ Hello !" Shalini she heard a voice come from behind her. When they came face to face, "I heard some hot hot news . What is the matter?" asked the audit section person known to her. The news had spread so widely and so quickly. "Am I a culprit? No !“ she thought in her mind. Before she could say anything, “dont worry, just ignore him“ he was advising her by that time. “ Hello! come, let's go “ his friend called out for him. “See you Shalini. If you want any help from me please don’t hesitate, contact me. “ By saying so he waved his hand and hurried off towards his friend. When they were returning from coffee, “ She was overacting, our boss set the net in such a way the fish got caught in the net. Today we will get the first-class lunch. Oh! Oh!" Loud laughter was heard by all of them. Outraging Shalini turned around and saw Gururajappa and his companions, they all shut their mouths and started moving towards the other direction seeing her, with a frightening look on their faces. No , I will not leave this matter easily, I must do something thus decided Shalini in her mind.
“ By the by will Vani come tomorrow to the office ? “ Shalini.
“ Ya! She is sure to come to tomorrow : said Geetha and Lalitha.
“ Then we will do one thing. Let all the four of us join together and give a complaint against that section head,“ said Shalini.
“ Oh ! it is only your illusion. A paper without a forwarding note from this place of work will be rejected. A rusted coin will have better value then our letter. It is like banging against air. Earlier there was a clerk by the name Gayathri. After writing the cheque, when this idiot repeated it, it was wrong. Gayathri altered the cheque but she forgot to affix her signature. This great man forged for higher amount. It became a big issue. Later Gayathri justified it by showing the ledger and it somehow got set righted. But, they issued a notice to her. Her husband took lot of trouble to solve it and got transferred to other branch. For him, no one should be happy, a sort of sadist." As they were talking they all entered the office and returned to their places and engaged in their work. They were all engrossed in their work to such an extent , they did know it was time for lunch break. Even that Osama was stuck to the chair, he never moved from his chair to such extent Shalini’s case had affected the environment of the office. Until Poovaiah from audit section came and reminded their lunch time and also complemented Shalini for her braveness. "But be careful. I wish you all the best," thus saying he left the place.
“ What Shalini, a new wave of wind is blowing in this place! You have tied that fellow to his chair, but be careful . And what was it ? Keshava Murthy was saying something to you. Shalini, you know, even Keshavmurthy was very bold , his problems had made him a debtor to that crook Osama, “ Reshma says.
“ Why cant he get transferred to other branch ? “ Shalini asks.
“ He even tried it and got transferred to purchase department. But that Osama got it cancelled. He demanded to settle his dues first and then take transfer. Before settling my due if you go away, he can't run behind you for that sake. By this way he has tied up Keshavmurthy to this Section. “ Geetha answers.
“ He seems to be very clever , how did he get into his clutches? “ Deepali asks.
“ Since he had financial problems and comes from a poor background family, once he got a phone call that his mother was instantly hospitalised and was supposed to under go an emergency operation. This message was received by Osama/ section head and he passed it to Keshavamurthy. He became panicked and was checking his pass book. Osama was watching Keshavamurthy’s movements . Before Keshavamurthy could ask for help, Osama came forward and offered the money. There was no other go, so he took the money and fell in his net . “ Geetha replies.
"Ok , let us all have our lunch, and think further and they all took lunch. Each one trying to find solutions within their minds and they all attended those days' work. After five ‘O'clock in the evening, they all left the office and returned to their homes. Thus the day came to an end . Shalini on her way back home, was thinking ,It is not so easy to write a complaint. If I write I will have to face future consequences, if not I have to face the humiliations. What to do ? Thus worrying she entered the house. Right in front of the door, she saw her beloved aunt, her mother's sister.
“ Oh! dear when did you come chikki ? Is everybody at home fine ? ” greeted Shalini.
“ Oh! all are fine. How are you ? How is your work ? “ asked her Aunt.
“ Hum ! every thing is fine," thus saying she burst into to tears, so long she somehow had controlled. Her emotions had burst open in front of aunt. She started weeping, hugging her aunt. Shalini’s mother, father and her uncle everyone were frightened at her crying. Until she could calm down her Chikki was patting her back, consoling her silently. After her crying came down, she came out of her aunt's arm and took coffee from her mother who was waiting over there. After drinking coffee , she took out the letter from the bag and handed it over to her uncle. Her uncle after going through the letter he said, “ For such small matter you are crying ? I thought our girl is very brave, what is this Shalu?“
“ No ! it is not that letter uncle, I never committed any mistake , why should I receive this memo ?" She narrated the entire episode and the prevailing environment over there.
After hearing to Shalini’s version, her uncle became serious for some time. Later he told her, “ See, my little one, you write a letter on what all went on. We will request the RTI Act office to intervene in this matter. Now many things have changed and have taken a new turn. Nowadays no one likes any one over powering them , they wont tolerate it. You write and give the letter to me , I will follow it . We should not allow this unhealthy growth, it should be uprooted. Let your Chikki contact one of the women NGO organisation and we will teach him a lesson. Now you go wash your face, I can't see your crying face." Thus he assured her. At this Shalini unbelievably asked with an astonishing face, “ are you sure uncle? “
“ Why not? It is possible, cheer up dear,“ he shook her chin.
Shalini with a hope of success hopingly went to fresh up herself. Shalini’s mother with a sigh of relief went to the kitchen to bring evening snacks for everyone. Bells of hope were ringing over there.