Sunday, 29 June 2014

THERE'S ALWAYS A WAY OUT

   Ugh... what's the time... 6:45 already! Get up, brush teeth... absolutely white... a salesman's smile sells the product... waking so early on a Sunday... wish i was still at school... take a bath... shave.... comb hair... no styling, only decent hair... must look like a banker... what's the time... 7:01... I'm doomed... wear clothes... take cellphone, wallet... get out of house...
    "RICKSHAW..."
    Climb in... always there is traffic when you are late... reach office...
    "Good morning, sir."
    "Ah, Mishra, welcome to hell."
    "Sir?"
    "Did you see yesterday's sale record? No? Well, apparently you haven't sold a damn thing yesterday. I hope you know that your job is in my hands."
    "Yes, sir."
    "Well then get lost, or you will find yourself as a newspaper delivery boy again. And sell something for Christ's sake."
    Damn Christian... not all may be bad, but this is one stupid idiot... but I'm sure he's serious... take articles... make a move...
    As Rajan Mishra made his way to the first house, he took a comb out and redid his hair. Any person seeing a skinny salesman walking and combing his hair would have been surprised, but Mishra's hair had a stubborn habit of standing up. I should've been a musician in a band, he mused. He knocked on the first door. It opened... and slammed back shut. Idiot... find solace in hell, will you? He knocked on the second door. The person inside actually saw Mishra before saying that he was not interested and slamming the door shut. Nice... that's an improvement. Thus it continued. By the time he failed to even contact a potential customer, he was fuming.
He found a potential customer when he banged his fist on the fifty-first door. The old man invited him inside. A good half an hour later, when he thought that the old man was going to see some of his goods, the man said that he was least interested in buying anything from 'random vendors' and sent him away. He could've given me at least a cup of tea... He, in frustration, kicked the fire hydrant, only to find himself cursing at the officials of the municipality. He went through another building till the top floor. Now seriously irritated, he stormed down the steps. Soon, the anger gave way to depression and he slowed. His eyes moistened with tears as he sat on a platform near the building's entrance. What now? He sighed. He could see everything crumbling around him... his life... the rest of his family... There's a way out... there always is... He heard his mother speaking. Determined not to disappoint her, he went into another building. Rejected. He startes going down the stairs. "Excuse me... what do you have to sell?" He whirled, tripped on the stairs and landed on the steps in a perfect split. He thanked his gymnastic classes, but just then, he heard his pant tear with a triumphant 'rrriiipp'. Great... just great. 
"Are you all right?" The old woman who had addressed him earlier appeared concerned.
"Yes, ma'am."
"Do come in..."
An hour later, he left an old woman's house. Happy with his progress, he registered the number of items sold and went to meet his boss.
"How many customers?"
"One, sir."
A sigh. "How many items did you sell to our lucky customer?"
"All of them, sir."
"Wha- all of them?"
"Yes, sir."
Silence. Mishra enjoyed watching his boss's jaw drop. The boss suddenly regained his composure.
"Well, then, you may go now. But come on time tomorrow"
Happy, Mishra set off for home. Not getting yelled by his boss was a first and Mishra was sure he could do better to get an actual complement. Silently, he thanked his mother. What would anyone do without mothers?

Saturday, 28 June 2014

YOU ARE WHAT YOU THINK YOU ARE

    As he entered the extremely small lane, he stumbled. A bit giddy from an overdose of the alcoholic beverage he had consumed, he placed a hand on the neighbouring wall for support. Inspector Raj Mehta walked further to the entrance of his ancient building. As he climbed the five floors of his building, he thought about the day's incidents. Thoughts rushed through his mind. Inspector Mehta, improve yourself... Inspector Mehta, stop drinking... Inspector Mehta... Inspector Mehta this and Inspector Mehta that, he savagely thought. That rascal can't handle his own finances, and he's the boss. Deep down, though, he knew that the Chief Inspector was right... Drinking had effects on him... And they were not positive ones. He looked at his large belly, which his buttons were straining to hold in place. It was humiliating as a policeman, and often he'd hear people whispering, "THAT'S a police officer? No wonder Mumbai isn't safe..."
    Discarding his thoughts, he proceeded to his apartment and slammed the door shut so hard that his parents' picture frame almost fell from the wall. He immediately straightened it and sat on the bed, gazing at himself in the mirror. I'm a loser, he thought. A hopeless wimp. He was due to be fired tomorrow for lack of conduct. He used to be the star of the Mumbai police... feared by all outlaws. But a failure in nabbing a corrupt pharmacist changed that. He immediately lost all hope and failed in the rest of his assignments. He saw his parents' picture's reflection. I'm sorry, baba...
    His moustache quivered slightly as he thought of the days when he was the pride of the police force. He saw his father's photograph reflected in the mirror. Mehta Senior's eyes seemed to bore into his drunken son's. He heard his father's trademark words: You are what you think you are... He pondered over them. He tried to use his father's method of boosting self confidence. He stood up, faced his shadow and thought of it as his enemy. Then he started shadow-boxing while muttering simultaneously, "I'm the best... I'm the best..." But the only thing that happened was that his beer-belly too bobbed up and down to signify its existence, thus dejecting him even more.
   Frustrated, he sat back on the bed, only to get up again for a stroll. Dressed plainly, he casually walked the lanes of Mumbai. Maybe I should become a tour operator after getting fired... Suddenly, he heard someone say his name.
    "What if Inspector Mehta uncovers our plan?"
    The voices were coming from a cafe which was undergoing renovation.
    "That drunkard? He can't even walk properly now-a-days..."
    His blood boiled. Me... a drunkard?
    "But still, I don't want to take any chances. I think we should get the drugs out of Raghu tonight itself."
    "Alright, we will, at one in the morning... now stop irritating me. I'll never understand how you always get your way..."
    Mehta had heard enough. He immediately turned about and went to the police station.
    Inspector Ramesh Khanna was busy with his paperwork when the door opened. Bewildered, he looked up. First a pot-belly came, followed by a six foot tall man. When he finally figured out that it was Mehta in plainclothes, he saluted him, and was replied by a salute.
    "Khanna, do we have a warrant for raiding Raghu Club?"
    "Yes, Mehta, but why?"
    "Report to the Chief Inspector- or no... I'll do it.Tell the others that we are raiding them today at-"
    "TODAY? I thought tom-"
    "Yes, today, at midnight. I want everyone ready by 11:45 pm. And make it quick."
    Without waiting for Khanna's reply, he picked up the phone and dialed CI Rahul Bhosale's number.  He picked it up at the first ring. "Sir, we are..." and he explained the situation to Bhosale, who rose up to the situation, reporting at the station with 15 other armed policemen. Together the 45 policemen raided the club they had been monitoring.
    The next day, Mehta saw an uncharacteristically grave expression. "Well, Raj, you helped us a lot yesterday." They had wrested large amounts of narcotics and cash from the smugglers.
    "Are you sure you want to resign since the decision to fire you has been withdrawn?"
    "Yes, sir... some other youngsters deserve a chance."
    "But what will you do now?"
    "Tour operator, sir."
    "Really?"
    "Yes, sir. My own company, sir."
    "Well, at least people will feel safe travelling through your company."
    "I doubt so, sir... I'm a known drunkard."
    They laughed loudly. Mehta submitted his resignation form and Bhosale accepted his resignstion. "Do keep in touch, though."
    "Of course, Rahul."
    The CI glared. "How dare you... oh, yeah, I'm no longer your boss."
    They laughed again.
    As he bade farewell and wished every police officer all the best, he spoke to his father. You know what, baba? You were right. You are what you think you are.