Monday, December 15, 2008

THE SALEM PAYBACK

REPOSTED THIS STORY OF MINE FOR ALL THOSE WHO HAVEN'T READ IT:
******************************************

THE SNOOZER: March1, 2008.10.00 pm.
An old hut, Salem.

The old alarm clock goes on in an obscure, little hut in Salem, the steel city of the south; it's around six hours by road from Chennai, which in turn is the cosmoplitan hotspot of South India.

He has hardly slept four hours-he’d been drinking all evening and quite a lot lately. He turns the alarm off, walks to the corner of his one sparse house, washes his face and hands off his drunken stupor and eats an early breakfast, served by his wife - some rice porridge and thick fish curry. Fish curry is a delicacy in his house, what with his miserly sole earnings mostly feeding his kallasarayam (type of local hard liquor). He gets set for his extremely early morning shift- he works as a driver for PTC buses plying from Salem to Chennai and back.

His two little girls in torn nighties are fast asleep. He gives them a kiss each. He would never let anything hurt them- he should get them new nighties. His wife gives him his towel and a bottle of water. She seems to be worried- he must remember to get her some mallighai poo (jasmine flowers). Chellapa clearly didn’t like seeing people unhappy or hurt in the smallest possible way.

‘You should drink a little lesser, and sleep a little more,’ she silently, almost carefully admonishes.
‘Kannama, don’t start. I work like a dog, and dogs have to be fed. My kallasarayam is the only thing that could really feed me. Your family gets its food, the kids get their education, and no one else is harmed, I have never hurt a fly- so I can keep drinking more and sleeping less for all you care, why are you bothered??’

No one else is harmed, I haven’t and wouldn’t hurt a fly….

He walks towards his bus with sleep-filled eyes.
***********************************************


THE SINNER: March 2, 2008 10.00 am.
Sales office, Chennai.

She sits in her open cubicle, biting at those already cropped-to-the-flesh nails. Her eyes flash around the brightly lit office, the usual commotion and noise in her sales office suddenly a stranger invading her senses. As a Major Account Manager for a set of named/unnamed accounts only in Chennai,
she sells desktops / laptops to these accounts. Officially, she isn't allowed to sell to accounts outside Chennai.

She swallows hard as her palms break into a sweat. She stares at the purchase order that has just landed her outlook mailbox. It is a purchase order for 160 desktops from ‘Bharatiar College, Salem’. She then closes the mail, closes her eyes and tries closing onto a peaceful trance.

These are the various conflicting statements from her colleagues, over the last few days that color her blanched peace:

‘Jennifer, never pick a deal/order from outside Chennai. It is against ethics, and you could lose your job.’

‘It isn’t wrong to pick an order from outside. Everyone does it here. Even losing a wink of sleep over that is fruitless- losing your job is out of question! ’

‘Ethics in business is always ahead of the business itself,’

Ethics in business is always ahead of the business itself, only because all the malpractices and wrongdoings serve as the backdoor junk backing the business from behind’

‘These are small things- why bother?’

‘There is a God of small things watching you always!’

Two schools of thought- one telling her it’s all wrong and one placating her anxieties. Her eyes remain shut and her eyeballs motionless. She wills the guilt away, but then, it simply keeps gnawing back at her.
In the end, this is what repeatedly pounds her eardrums as eerie whispers, ‘I’ve done IT. Everyone does IT. THIS shall also pass- Salem can never get back AT me, it's after all only a city’
************************************************


THE SUFFERER: March 2, 2008: 10.00 am
BBA Classroom, Loyola, Chennai.


HE sits at his desk, looking at the OB (Organizational Behavior) teacher with a fixed, occupied stare. His sister had helped him with, read ‘completed’ his HR Case Analysis late last night. She was his sitting duck- he loved making fun of all her: ‘full flab, flat nose, flat figure and flat feet.’ However, she had always been his ultimate saving grace when it came to completing assignments, giving tips and ideas on how to go about his BBA and lending innovative/inspiring ideas on shaping his future career.

HE turns his attention to OB- Obnoxious Bozo aka the Organizational Behavior teacher, and wonders how someone has the patience to go on for hours and hours talking, and he thinks ‘she must probably be suffering from ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).’

His stomach groans, thinking of the Chicken Rice that was waiting for him in the Loyola Canteen. He looks across at Ashwin who is sticking pencils in Ann’s frizzy hair. ‘You Rotten Onion Burrito, here’s my pencil for her hair- way to go!’ he giggles and whispers to Ashwin.

The teacher suddenly disrupts him, ‘Jaison, how do you think the Govt. could improve the working conditions of a Govt. bus driver.’

HE gets up with a blank stare, and thinks to himself Who knows, and more importantly, who cares.
************************************************

THE SALEM PAYBACK:
March 28th 2008, 6.00 am
Traffic signal, Kathiparab Junction, Chennai,

CRASHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

Everything in the whole wild universe comes to a standstill. The deafening crash and the ensuing silence completely overpower ‘She will be loved’ playing on the Sony player. HIS body jerks forward as if a word called inertia never existed. His seat belt is like a warrior armor strap that pierces into his own chest. His head is just a nanometer short of crashing right through the windscreen.


He just about encounters death for what seems like the longest picosecond of his life.

As if it were a preconceived shot in a blockbuster movie, he suddenly sees how it happened. A huge ‘something’ had hit them from behind, while the car was stationed at the signal. He looked at his driver, seated beside him- he was ALIVE. Shaken beyond words, he finds the door handle, which is surprisingly not jammed, and opens it. He looks for any missing body parts, but the God of small mercies had gifted him yet another life.

He steps out of the crashed car. His mind gets transported to what happened around two hours ago- at home.

***********************************************

THE SAVIOUR: March 28th 2008.
Chennai, 4.30 am
Home sweet home, Chennai

HE and SHE (Jennifer and Jaison) help their mom put her bags in their Swift’s boot. She is leaving for Muscat, to see their dad, who works as a teacher there. Her flight takes off at 7am. SHE stays home, while HE hops in alongside the driver and his mom plops herself in the backseat.

They reach the airport in about forty five minutes. Before leaving, Jaison’s mother rattles ‘Jaison, take care of your sister, eat food on time, set three alarms to wake up both of you, say a little prayer every day and call me once in two days at least. Let’s say a small prayer before I leave Son.’

‘Dear Jesus, protect my children when I’m not there, and constantly be with them. Our Father who art in heaven………………………………’

************************************************
March 28th 2008.
Chennai, 6.03 am

Accident site, Chennai.

He looks at the slightly frontal-dented PTC bus, almost 10 metres behind. The bus driver sits with his mouth agape, as if he’d just woken up- from a dreamless sleep- he’d obviously been dozing when he’d hit the car. Everything still remains a traumatizing still shot, as if the director of the fictitious movie hadn’t said CUT yet.
As his eyes automatically move their line of vision to the back of his car, his eyes momentarily misses out on something.

The signboard on the bus reads ‘SALEM’.

The bus that'd hit Jaison's car came from SALEM…………’
***********************************************
Life is truly a full circle. It exactly ends where it all began.
The snoozer:

'No one else is harmed, I haven’t and wouldn’t hurt a fly…… '
AND HARM HE DID- AN OBJECT THE SIZE OF A MILLION FLIES PUT TOGETHER ALMOST LOST ITS WINGS.
The Si
nner:
‘I’ve done IT. Everyone does IT. THIS shall also pass- Salem can never get back at me, it's only a city…….
AND GET BACK IT DID, THE BUS FROM SALEM GOT BACK AT JENNIFER WITH A BIG BANG, QUITE LITERALLY; HER PRECIOUS BROTHER WAS THE APPLE OF HER EYE.
The Sufferer:
‘Jaison, how do you think the Govt. could improve the working conditions of a Govt. bus driver.’
H
E gets up with a blank stare, and thinks to himself ‘Who knows, and more importantly who cares.’

AND CARE HE DID, WHEN HE ALMOST LOST HIS LIFE, WITH A SLEEP-DEPRIVED GOVT. BUS DRIVER CRASHING INTO HIS CAR.
The savior:
‘Dear Jesus, protect my children when I’m not there, and constantly be with them. Our Father who art in heaven………………………………’
AND PROTECT HE DID- MOTHERS KNOW THAT PRAYERS NEVER GO UNANSWERED.

***********************************************

Every little thing we do meets the master surgeon in the eye; call the Master Surgeon God, Destiny, Science or any thing you wish.

Every wound sewed.. Every drop of blood accounted for.. Every aching muscle put to rest.. Every sagging nerve brought o justice..

Every little action of ours deserves the Surgeon’s meritorious reaction- good or bad, depending upon our action; he has got to complete what we started in the first place, it’s his job.

It’s the law of his nature’s balance and the nature of his penultimate balancing law.
In the simplest of words- 'IT'S SIMPLE KARMA-
what goes ar
ound comes around.’
I’ve gone around penning a true story. Now, you come around to my comments section and tell us how you’ve avenged and been avenged.

45 comments:

sawan said...

jane, u proved to be a genious! thats an amazingly wonderful narration!

Think Tank said...

god jane ..i havn't read something so gud for quite some time ..brilliant

brocasarea said...

wooooww!..awesome!!....reminds me of PULP FICTION movie.....where everything makes sense in the end...:)....

vishesh said...

true,different circles do intersect..yet it is we who decide how are circle goes...sometimes we can escape by taking a tangent out..it is within that saves us..the greater knowledge or intuition not the arbitrary:D

JollyRoger said...

Wer r u madam, i need ur autograph or soon u may be winning a booker and I wont get a chance

Heart'n'Soul said...

BRILLIANTO
oh ji tussi cha gaye ho... its not awesome... its WOWsome :D

not been arouns for long and now i find this,,,, too good

The Rat... said...

yup its one complete circle...

it gets validated almost daily with me... every piece fits in to form d giant jigsaw puzzle...


JaNE.. who have a way with words... way to go, amigo...

Sriram said...

OH MY GAAWWD! This was sooo awesome :)

Hats off!

Resonator said...

Jane...simply gr8..i jus loved reading tis story...

happy blogging
Prema

Cess said...

hi Girl,

hope u had a cool Xmas and i wish u an great end of 2008.
tc
C.

Chriz said...

sure.. we get paybacks in full..

i am back to blogging world.. jan1st tmrw night.. check my new post

Shruti said...

uii maa.. wowie!!
hey wish u a very happy new year! :)

maverick said...

hey..happy new yr..hope u ve a great yr ahead of u

Beauty and the BEast said...

ok woman!! This is it!!! it was gripping and thought provoking and narrrated with an ease which keeps the reader reading till then end...

Very will written indeed

But beyond all.. fantastic thought process!!

comfortably numb said...

too too good!!!

Lovely Almond said...

wow!! tht's beautiful!!! man..AWESOME!!

gunj said...

superb!!
words cannot do justice to how brilliant a storyteller are you!
:)
love u fo ur skills!
muah

Satanic Angel said...

man! this was awesome! kept me riveted throughtout..u rock..mwahz!

Sal said...

Wow Jane, that was awesome.
Very profound message indeed. You surprise me.
Keep them coming.
Cheers,
Sal

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