The housing society meeting was convened by the President to discuss and resolve the pending issues. Members were seriously discussing on only one agenda. It was about Raghunath, secretary.
“Who said Raghunath is a dishonest?” asked Niranjan President
“Yes! I say he is a dishonest.” Said Anurag
“Before leveling charges against a particular person, you must have valid reasons.” Said Vishwas
“His attitude is a main reason for suspicion.” Said Mahendra
“Can you give me few instances where he found dishonest?” said Niranjan
“How many times, we have reminded him in the meeting to present the income & expenditure statement of the housing society? He disregards our requests. What more do you want?” said Ambarish
“The delay in submitting the account is not good. Let him clarify the reason for delay.” Said Tarakpur Ram
The above heated discussions among the members were going on in the meeting of the housing society. Raghunath was present in the meeting and he was silently observing the conversations.
He said, “I request the honorable members and office bearers of the housing society not to brand me as a culprit. All of you know that I am holding responsible position as a branch manager of the bank. I find little time to attend society work. Please allow me to present the accounts in a couple of days.”
“In that case, why did you accept the responsibility of secretary?” said Mahendra
“It was my mistake.” Said Raghunath
The committee allowed him two days time to present the accounts. The meeting was concluded without discussing the other important issues. Entire time meant for the meeting was spent in blaming Raghunath.
Three years back Prashant colony was formed. It is situated on the outskirts of Pavanpur Town. The colony is situated in the midst of beautiful nature; the members selected ‘Prashant’ as an appropriate name. The residents of the colony belong to the various public sector companies. The overall development of the colony was possible due to the sustained efforts of one individual. He was none other than Secretary of the housing society and bank manager Mr. Raghunath. Some of the office bearers of the society were not happy with him. There was a clear division among the members. Some were having good opinion on Raghunath. Raghu’s wife Sumati was insisting him to come out of the responsibility entrusted by the society.
In the ladies meeting, the participants were seriously discussing about Raghunath.
“Sumati, your husband is an asset to the society. He has done exemplary work for the progress of the housing society. Why do you force him to relieve from the secretary of the society?” asked Vanaja an active member
“My husband is a human being commit mistakes. Some members in the society are creating problems by accusing my husband. I do agree that my husband has not submitted the statement in time. Everybody knows my husband’s contribution towards the development of the colony. I am fed up with the behavior of few members. I told him to resign.” Said Sumati
“I totally agree with your opinion. Please have patience and take right decision at right time. You should not give room for others to form bad opinion about your husband.” Said Nayana
“Why your husband is not submitting statement within the stipulated time.” said Meera
“Where there is a smoke there is a fire.” Said Meenakshi
Majority of the ladies present in the meeting were of the opinion that Mr. Raghunath must step down from the position of secretary.
It was a well known fact that Raghunath was simple, hard working and honest. He had special quality and skill of organizing the things in a perfect manner. Whatever work entrusted to him, he used to complete it. Out of affection, residents call him as ‘Raghu’. He suggested collection of Rupees five hundred each month from every house towards the development fund. At the end of the year a sum of rupees three lacs collected. This fund was deposited in the bank.
During the year, there was expenditure towards the development. The secretary was supposed to keep the account up-to-date. But due to his own problems, he failed to show the account. In the last meeting, he had to face awkward position. He failed to submit the statement of account for the reasons best known to him. He gave a false reason that he was not well and need a complete rest for fortnight.
On 16th day, he prepared statement of account and submitted to the society. The reason behind telling lie was a secret. He revealed truth only to his wife. An amount of Rupees twenty five thousand being the collection of one month was with Raghu. He wanted to deposit it in the bank on the following day, as the day of collection was Sunday. On Monday morning Raghu received a telephone call from a staff member that one of the colleagues admitted to hospital due to cardiac arrest. Raghu went straight to hospital to see him. At the reception counter, the patient’s wife was weeping as she could not arrange amount to be paid as advance to hospital. On seeing her pitiable condition, Raghu gave her required amount from society money. She issued a post dated cheque and requested Raghu to present it on salary day. With this unexpected development, Raghu failed to deposit society money in the society account on that day. He somehow managed to adjust the amount till salary day. The delay was 20 days.
He was aware that when the society account audited, they will certainly point out the discrepancy of the date. In that situation, Raghu has to defend his action by telling another lie. He submitted statement of account exactly 20 days after the date of promise. The committee accepted the statement. Auditors pointed out the irregularity in the account. The committee condoned him keeping view of the excellent contribution to the society. Thereafter, he gave resignation from the post.
The housing society was inactive for about a year. The new office bearers decided to take up all the pending issues on priority basis. Vighneshwara temple and park was on the top of the list. Some members took objection to this. They were of the opinion that basic amenities like water, power and drainage should be taken up first. Raghu was an ordinary member and helped the new office bearers in every stage. Within two years every thing was over and the Prashant colony became a model colony. All the members were impressed about Raghu. Those who insulted him praised and requested him to continue as secretary. He politely refused and expressed thanks to them. Prashant colony is having 50 identical houses spread over in 5 acres. All the houses were constructed with similar plan. There are five lanes with 10 houses on each lane. The serial number starting from 01 to 50 was allotted to each house. Each lane was named as Ganga, Yamuna, Krishna, Godavari, Narmada. Raghu’s house no. 21 is situated on Krishna lane.
One day Raghu and Sumati left in the morning by car for shopping and returned at 1 p.m. Sumati got down opening the main gate. She went inside to unlock the main door. Raghu went straight to the garage to park the car. While coming outside, he saw the things like broom, bucket and flower pots were thrown in haphazard manner. He thought it might be the work of a street cat. Just few steps ahead he saw a big cover in the corner. Out of anxiety, he took the cover to know from whom it was received.
Without opening the cover, he was in a position to know the contents of the letter. His heart was beating fast and could not control the mind. Next moment, he became normal. He recollected the previous incidents and became nervous at that point of time. Sumati was repeatedly calling him to come inside. If Sumati saw this cover there will be a great trouble. To avoid this, he wanted to keep the cover in a safer place. He took quick action and kept it in the flower pot. Even after 10 minutes, Raghu did not come.
Sumati rushed outside and asked, “What is the matter? I am calling you repeatedly. Have you heard my voice? Why you have become upset? What is the reason? Are you not well?”
“ Sumati, I heard your voice. I wanted to come immediately. But all of a sudden I remembered something. Due to this, there was a delay. I am perfectly alright. Why did you ask me about my health?”
“Raghu, let me know what you have remembered? Your face reveals something. You are keeping something secret.”
“Between us, where is the secret? In the morning, you know we went to Mahalakshmi Silk Store. We purchased of silk sari and dress for the wedding anniversary. I gave credit card for payment of bill. In a hurry, I left the card there. I need not worry. The store proprietor is our bank’s customer. It is better to get the card immediately.
Raghu had no option except to tell lie.
“Raghu, your age is 40 you will be turning 60 after 20 years. Those who reach 60 years develop the habit of forget. Please for God’s sake don’t create such situation.” Said with loud laughing
“Sumati stop cutting jokes. I remember I have given credit card in the store.”
“Raghu, you have given me credit card after swap.”
Raghu was fully aware that he had given credit card to his wife. But he had to act in front of her due to the situation.
“Sumati, when you possess the credit card, you should have told me. Why did you laugh? Do you know my status?
“Yes sir, I know you are a branch manager of a bank having number of assistants with daily transaction of crores of rupees. You are enjoying respect in the society. I am an ordinary housewife with no status in the society. Please excuse me.”
“Okay! In future please take care.”
“Yes sir, this is equally applies to Raghu.”
“I am happy that you know the art of conversation. Please keep it up.”
They went inside the house continuing their chit chat.
By the time they were in home, it was 1.30 p.m. Sumati went to kitchen to prepare food. They had breakfast at 8 a.m. She asked Raghu to wait in the hall for half an hour and spend time reading news paper or watching television. He followed her with romantic mood. Sensing the situation, she took him to drawing room and told not to disturb her. She had to drag him physically due to his unwillingness to move. When the food was ready, both had food. They had lunch silently without entering in to discussion. Both of them wanted to have rest lying on the bed. Sumati was in sound sleep. Raghu could not sleep due to unrest. He immediately went to garage and took the cover kept in the flower pot. He preserved the cover in a safe place. He returned to bed room to take rest.
At the same time, somebody was knocking the door. Sumati got up to open the door. Raghu also followed her. The person, who knocked the door, was Postman Vinay.
“Sir, I have got urgent work with you. Can you spare few minutes.”
Raghu told Sumati that he will be back within half an hour.
They went to a nearby restaurant and ordered coffee.
“Vinay, what do you want from me.”
“Sir, I want to know whether you have received the cover.”
“I have received it. You can inform me this tomorrow.”
“Sir, after seeing the cover, I thought it may be important cover. I was unable to drop the cover in the post box, due its size. Therefore, I jumped inside and put the cover in a safer place. While doing so, I had to remove things like broom, flower pots and bucket.”
“Thanks for your service. Vinay, you can go now. If I delay, my wife will ask me several questions.”
Before leaving, Vinay told his experience right from jumping inside to coming out.
By the time Raghu returned to home, he saw Sumati was weeping holding cover on her hand.
“Sumati, what is the matter? Why are you weeping?”
She gave the cover to Raghu.
“Raghu, you have deceived me. I will not forgive you.”
“Sumati, I wanted to tell everything at an appropriate time.”
“You are a liar. Please allow me alone for sometime.”
Before his marriage with Sumati, he had an affair with a lady colleague Pankaja in the bank. She was a young widow with no issues. Their marriage could not take place due to the attitude of Raghu. In the beginning, he showed interest in her. Later on, he decided not to continue relationship with her. One of his friends told him not to go ahead as she was suffering from incurable disease. Observing his indifferent attitude, Pankaja wanted to teach a lesson to him. She came to know that Raghu married with another lady. Pankaja took it as a prestige issue and decided to move the matter in a court of law. She had enough evidences to prove her case. She sent a legal notice with copies of love letters with photographs in a big cover.
Sumati was holding the same cover in her hand. She opened it and read legal notice, copies of the love letters. She saw photos of Raghu and Pankaja together in garden, hotel, cinema house and different locations. Raghu kept it secret and failed to reveal the matter to his wife Sumati. How Sumati got the cover?
On that day, when both returned from shopping had a long romantic conversation. In the afternoon, when they went to bed room for sleep, Sumati was pretending to be in sound sleep. She had developed a doubt on Raghu on the basis of his suspicious movement. He went inside in the garage, she followed him secretly. She saw the cover was kept in his wardrobe. She was anxious and waiting for the opportunity to take out the letter. By the time he came back to bed room, she was on bed pretending sound sleep.
He went outside, when Postman knocked the door. Sumati utilized the opportunity and took the cover in his wardrobe. She was unaware of the contents of the letter. She came to know the matter only after opening it and read it many times.
After some time, Raghu came in a jolly mood. When he saw Sumati in terrible condition, he realized that the secret of cover has come out. He tried to console her. After continuous persuasion, she accepted compromise provided he resolve the legal tangle with Pankaja once for all. It was not an easy job for him. He consulted his lawyer to find solution. After going through entire file, he told him either he has to face imprisonment or pay compensation as fixed by the court or both. The lawyer further suggested him to settle the matter out of court.
Raghu was successful in arranging the meeting of lawyers of both parties. In their meeting they arrived to a solution. Accordingly, Raghu has to pay suitable compensation to Pankaja and she will not file a case in the court. It was conveyed to Pankaja. Initially, she was reluctant to accept the suggestion. Her lawyer’s initiation, she accepted not file suit against Raghu. An agreement was made between Raghu & Pankaja. She promised him to return all the original documents only after the compensation payment was paid. Raghu paid the amount immediately and got back all the original documents.
Raghu was saved from another legal tussle due to the efforts of lawyers. He learnt a good lesson from the past experience. Raghu changed his nature and applies his mind before taking up any work. His wife Sumati also gave cooperation to her husband in every stage.