It was a cloudy night. The sky was dark barring the far lights from the distant factory. Ramu put out his unfinished cigarette and turned to look at the beautiful sight. “This is the rising sun of India”, he thought smilingly. He dusted off his hands and jumped down from the high cement pedestal. A whistle blew.
“Pathetic watchmen. What a waste!”, he blurted out almost loud enough to be heard. Walking fast, he reached his apartment door and started snoring as soon as he fell into his bed.
Early next morning as he got up, Ramu sat down to have a final look at his powerpoint presentation. The boss would reach at 8:30; another couple of hours. He skimmed through the slides. “Theory behind proposition… Application to market… GOD! Where is the graph?”
Ajay and his retriever came running into the room.
“Ramu, is everything alright?”
“The graph!! It’s not there anymore. I’m sure I put it at number seventeen.”
Ajay looked at his watch and then at his dog. He looked at a distressed Ramu scrolling up and down. “Calm down, dude. Check your hard drive. Here, Boxer will give you company.”
“Ajay, I’m not kidd…” Before he could finish his sentence, the dog jumped into his lap. Ramu pushed it back angrily and screamed at Ajay, asking him to leave him alone.
“Älright dude. Just take care.”
Ajay called his dog, and after one last look at Ramu, left the apartment for his morning jog.
Ramu got up and went to take a shower, all the time thinking about what his boss would say. “I’m sorry Ramu. The clients said no”. He punched the bathroom tile hard.
The boss looked at Ramu. He phoned his secretary and ordered two cups of tea. “So Ramu, are you ready. The clients will be here any moment now. Ths is an mportnat deal for our company and I have entrusted you with this assignment. You are one of my best managers”.
“Of course, Sir. This deal is ours”. Ramu attempted a forceful smile while trying his best to avoid showing any sign of weakness. The secretary brought in the tea. She looked at Ramu, who was constantly looking at the Boss. She placed the two cups on the table.
“Amrita, be ready with the letter draft to Bearings this afternoon. I will have to update that. And yes, also remind me to talk to Rastogi about the golf thing for this weekend”.
“Yes Sir”. She left the room.
As Ramu too started to get up from his seat, the Boss suggested that Ramu remain in his chamber till the clients arrived. Reluctantly Ramu sat down again. He could feel his feet trembling now. A drop of sweat fell on the table.
The phone rang. The Boss picked it up instantly.
“What? They cancelled? How could this be? Write a mail to them asking why this utter nonsense behavior!! … Yes yes, do it your way”. He slammed down the phone, threw away his tea and held his head. Ramu was too perplexed to make anything of the situation. He waited.
After two minutes which seemed like two hours to Ramu, the Boss finally said, “Take the day off. See you on Monday.”
Ramu couldn’t believe his ears. Slowly it dawned on him. The clients were not coming. The presentation was cancelled. Ramu was saved. He tried to contain his joy, made his best grim face and left the room. The secretary seeing him leaving, got up to say something but he was already on his way out of the office. Just before he turned at the corridor end, she caught a glimpse of his smile. She smiled to herself and sat back at her desk.
Back at his home, Ramu rang his bell. He was too excited to contain himself. After five rings, Ajay with the dog at his feet opened the door.
“Ramu? you’re back! Are you okay?”
“Yeah dude! Want to go for golf tomorrow?”
“Golf? Sure, but what happened? I was worried for you this morning. Look how happy Boxer is to see you are fine.”
“I was thinking let’s take Boxer along for golf tomorrow. What do you say?”
“Hey, that’s great idea!”.
“And also remind me to talk to the building watchman later today. The roof needs some cleaning. These guys know stuff around here.”
“Huh? ok, alright.”
Ramu lit another cigarette and looked at the sunny day outside. The lush green park in front of their apartment building looked grand in the golden sunlight.
It was a beautiful sight.