True Lies

16 09 2010

Mr Sharma was a young strapping man of 20 and was lucky to find a job as soon as he was out of college. The family was elated and he was found a suitable match and within a year he was a father.  He took his job seriously and had his set of value and ethics which governed his work life. He was far from corruption and the other in his office dread that he might blow a whistle on them but he never did as a matter of principle and maintained complete honesty at his work.

He started his day early at 6:30 am when the sun would just peek from behind the hill and lighten up the entire village with its golden hue and the warmth. After the morning rituals he would spend about an hour shaving not giving up until the tiniest of the stray strand was remove followed by breakfast which was put up in jiffy by his loving wife who had to mange the kids, him and his parents. Then he would change into freshly ironed clothes and would walk all the way uphill for 15 minutes and then follow the tarred road for 3 km to work and spend honest 9 hours in office on work days. He followed this routine for the first 5 years of his 38 years long carrier with the government until he was posted to an office in a remote district; he smelled conspiracy in that.

He stayed aloof and maintained distance on account of his nature and choice. Everybody reckoned that they didn’t see and hear of a more honest man than him. This is the story of the only true and honest government employee I knew of.

The phone rang off and he rushed into his boss’s cabin to answer it. It was 15 min past 10 am; he had just made himself comfortable and dusted the files on his desk. “Why is nobody answering the phone? I have been calling for the past 30 min” shouted the man on the other end of the line. “Sorry Sir, I just came in”, Mr Sharma replied in a shaky voice. “Is this the time to come to office? Do you come to office at this time each day? Each day call me when you come in and ask Mr Thakur to send me the file on the new project”. Mr Thankur was his superior and as a habit he would only stroll into office after 11 am.

This was the defining conversation. Mr Sharma could have lied or could have kept quite. Way back then they only had one line which was used in the office during the day and after the office closed the peon would hook it up in Mr Thakur’s residence which was just besides the office building to ensure Mr Thakur could be reached during emergency and odd hours. That day peon took a wee bit longer to hook it up in the office and had just done finished when Mr Sharma entered the office. Mr Sharma was too honest to shut up or tell a lie. He diligently called his super boss each day for a month reporting that he reached on time and ruing the day when he answered the call on that wretched morning.

Mr Sharma invited trouble now and then with unintentional show of honesty but more or less lived a respectable guilt free work life until he retired. After retiring to fill up his free time he started walking the grand daughter to school and back and helping her with her homework plus pitching in to help with the house work which mostly resulted in a mess up.

The time passed on and Mr Sharma eased into the retired life and tried to keep up with his old habits and duties. He spend time fussing over the cleanliness and his health. He was spending more time with the kid and they happen to be inseparable – eating, playing, studies, playing and the grandfather would tuck the kid in with sweet stories and some stern words.

On one fine day during the monsoon the kid complained of ill health and refused to eat. The whole house got worried and the kid was rushed to the hospital; the doctor diagnosed her quickly with a liver infection and recommended a complete rest for 3 weeks. The grandfather on learning about the infection instantly put the kids on home remedies and completely forgot about the medicines recommended by the doctor. In 3 weeks the kid recovered quite well and resumed school.

“Could you please come to school and take Sofi home as she seems to be feeling uneasy and is crying”? Mr Sharma panicked and picked the kid from the school and rushed her to the hospital. She was already feeling better after tucking into her lunch box; problem seemed to be that she had missed her breakfast. While they waited outside the doctor’s room grandpa told the kid that if the doctor asks if she had medicines she should say yes. The kid turned around and looked at her grandpa with disbelief and said, “But we don’t tell a lie”.

Mr Sharma was taken aback and it transported him to his early days at work. “Just don’t say anything if the doctor ask you about medicines, that way you would not be telling a lie”.


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2 responses

20 09 2010
Sara

I didn’t like it. Why not writing stories and poems about that Iranian girl with a big nose? lol

Where are you? Is everything ok?

26 10 2010
cheshta.s

wow…..mamu this is awesome!!
i like the ending!!

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