Fiction: Cause and the Effect

October 2, 2015 Fiction , POETRY / FICTION

writing

By

Kaushik Chakraborty

 

It was already 9:30 and Mr Burman was still asleep. Getting up early in the morning was his strongest dislike. Even on weekdays, he never compromised with his long sleeping hours. Rather, he would sacrifice his breakfast to reach the office on time. It was his wife who took the pain of waking him every day either by pushing him, shaking him mercilessly or by giving random missed calls to his smart phone. But all her attempts failed on Sundays. On that day, he carried on till 12:30 in the afternoon and merrily wished “good morning” to everyone after getting up.

However, this time he couldn’t make it until 12:30. Although it was a Sunday, he had to get up much before, thanks to his smart phone that rang for the fourth time now. He got up with all the gestures that insinuated his indolence. His lazy left hand picked up the phone and slothful eyes discovered an unknown number on the screen. Then he closed his eyes and said, “hello.”

From the other end somebody enquired, “Am I speaking to Mr B.B. Burman?”

Mr Burman said with reluctance, “Yes, speaking.”

The other person said, “Good Morning Mr Burman… I’m Satish Choudhury. Actually I want to meet you. Can I come today?”

Mr Burman was not in the mood to carry on with the conversation any further. He just consented and disconnected the phone. As he was settling down for a second spell of nap, his wife barged in with a cup of tea.  She kept the tea on the bed-side desk and said, “Come on; it’s almost 11:30 now. Get up and get fresh.”

So, Mr Burman began the day at 12:30, still quite early compared to other Sundays. Since it was early for lunch, his wife prepared for him a big glass of orange juice that would compensate his breakfast. He came to the living room and sat down on the sofa, holding a king-size Marlborough between the lips. Then he picked up the newspaper and started reading. As he was over with the first page, somebody pressed the doorbell. He asked his servant Vasant to open the door.

Vasant opened the door and saw a young man standing. He took him to Mr Burman. The young man said, “My name is Satish. I called you few hours back and you told me to come now.”

Mr Burman looked at him and said, “Yes, I remember. But how did you know my address? I didn’t tell that to you over the phone.”

Satish said, “Actually, I know it. Somebody has given me your address.” And he smiled.

Mr Burman also smiled and asked, “Who?”

Satish said, “The one who has given me your phone number.”

Mr Burman found it amusing. He asked Satish to sit. Satish gently took his seat and said, “This year I’ve completed my diploma in business management. It’s a one-year post graduate course. Before that I did my BCom in Accountancy. I scored nearly 55%.”

Mr Burman said, “It’s fine. How much did you score in business management?”

Satish replied, “58%”

Mr Burman exclaimed, “Oh! Just missed the first class.” Then he stopped for a while and asked, “What’s you plan now? Will you go for further studies or look around for a suitable job?”

Satish said, “I badly need a job now.”

Mr Burman said, “I can understand; and I guess you’ve come to me for a suitable job.”

Satish didn’t utter a word. He just looked down.

Mr Burman continued, “Have you worked anywhere before?”

Satish replied, “No.”

Now, Mr Burman slighted deviated and asked, “By the way, who sent you to me?”

Satish replied, “Mr Manish Kumar; your tutor who taught you humanities for ten long years.”

Mr Burman was stunned, “How do you know him?”

Satish replied, “He’s my uncle. He has so many well established students here but he has sent me to you. He believes only you can guide me in the right way.”

Mr Burman asked, “How’s he now? He must’ve grown old? Does he stay in the same house in Barrackpore?”

Satish replied, “He’s keeping fit and fine. And always takes pride in his past students, especially you.”

Mr Burman smiled out of gratitude and said, “Look Satish, recruitment scenario over here is very bleak. Downsizing is a common practice in all the companies now. As far as our company is concerned, there are no plans of recruitment for the next two years.”

Mr Burman’s words somehow discouraged Satish. His face turned pale. Yet, he spoke out, “Isn’t there any hope?”

Mr Burman said, “No; at least in our company. But I can’t tell about others. In general, the situation is very bad. Anyway, have you enrolled your name with the placement agencies? Only they can do something for you.”

Satish replied, “Actually these placement agencies charge a lot. On top of that there’s no guarantee.”

Mr Burman said, “One favour I can do.”

Satish looked up. He thought, maybe Mr Burman would come up with some assurance. But it wasn’t like that. He took out a visiting card and said, “Take my visiting card; forward your CV to my e-mail address. In case there’s any opening at the trainee level, I’ll forward your CV to our HR manager.”

Satish took the visiting card and put it in his pocket.

As Satish left, Mr Burman’s only daughter Raka came to the living room and sat on the sofa. She asked Mr Burman, “Dad, who’s he?”

Mr Burman said, “He’s looking for a job actually.”

Raka asked, “How educated is he?”

Mr Burman said, “Nothing special; just average.”

Raka paused for a while. Then asked, “So are you taking him?”

Anyhow, Mr Burman was not in the right mood for such a discussion topic. He kept the newspaper on the table and switched on the television.

In the evening, Raka switched on her laptop computer and signed in to her dad’s e-mail account. She found an unread mail in the inbox. As she clicked on it, she saw a CV. She was inquisitive, and started going through it.

During dinner, Raka told Mr Burman that Satish had already mailed his CV. Listening to this, Mr Burman asked her, “How do you know that?”

Raka said, “I signed in to your account and found it.”

Mr Burman was a bit displeased. He asked, “How come you know my password?”

Raka said, “Actually, in my laptop all our sign-in passwords are put in memory. It pops up automatically; you needn’t type it out.”

Mr Burman didn’t utter a word. He finished dinner and went silently to the bedroom. Raka realised that she hadn’t done it right.

Next day, in college, a senior professor called Raka into the faculty room and said, “I know that your father is holding a coveted post in an MNC. Now I badly need his help.”

Raka couldn’t assume much, so she gazed at the professor as he continued, “My nephew has completed his CA intermediate examinations. Results are yet to come; still he has to get in somewhere for on-job training. If your father can help him in that… Actually, I want my nephew to do his training in an MNC.”

Raka was in a fix. Yet she said, “I can understand Sir, but you know the job scenario in this part of the world is really bad.”

The professor said, “I know that. And I’m not talking about a job; it’s an on-job training. Your father would understand it better. Tell him to talk to me once.”

In the evening, when Mr Burman was back home, Raka went to his bedroom and said, “A professor in my college wants to talk to you.”

Mr Burman asked, “When?”

Raka said, “As you wish…”

Mr Burman looked at her and asked, “Is it official or personal?”

Raka said, “Personal.”

Mr Burman thought for a while and asked, “Is it about you or anything else?”

Raka said, “He wants you to put his nephew in your company.”

Mr Burman exclaimed, “O shit! What do people think of me! Do I run a factory of jobs! Yesterday my teacher sent some Satish for a job; today your teacher wants me to arrange a job for his nephew. They’re all crazy!”

Raka looked down and remained silent. After a while she said, “I’ve told Sir that you’re not in a position to give a job to anybody. I’ve also said that your company has no plans of recruitment for the next two years.”

Mr Burman looked at Raka with surprise in his eyes. He asked sarcastically, “Who told you that my company has no plans of recruitment for the next two years?”

Raka said, “Why, only yesterday you told this to Satish. I heard it from my room.”

Mr Burman closed his eyes and looked with utter disgust. Then he shouted, “Who asked you to say all this to your teacher?”

Raka was nervous. She thought that her father would love to hear that she tried to dissuade her professor. But now it appeared that she made a mistake somewhere.

Mr Burman cooled down and said, “Listen Raka, it’s not a question of giving somebody an opportunity in life. It’s all about your future.”

Raka couldn’t get it at once. So she looked at her father and listened to what he said.

Mr Burman said, “If I refuse to place your teacher’s nephew, he would also refuse to give you good marks in the exams. Then you’ve your dissertation and others. He can make a mess of everything if he wishes too. So, it’s better not to meddle with it much and see what best we can do for him and his nephew. Ask your teacher to mail me his nephew’s CV.”

On the very next day, in the late evening, Raka opened the e-mail account of her father. This time Mr Burman himself asked her to check the inbox. As she opened it, she found the CV of her professor’s nephew. She downloaded it and saved it on her laptop. She also looked for Satish’s mail, as she thought she would download and save his CV too. But it was missing from the inbox. She called Mr Burman and asked, “Remember that day I told you I saw Satish’s CV in your inbox?”

Mr Burman said, “Yes, I remember.”

Raka asked, “Where has it gone? It’s not here.”

Mr Burman said, “I’ve deleted it. I don’t want my inbox to be full of trash.”

Raka looked up and grimaced, “Trash! Come on Dad, somebody’s future is lying in it.”

Mr Burman said, “I know. I’m not concerned with others’ futures.”

Raka asked, “Then why did you tell him to mail his CV when you’re not concerned?”

Mr Burman shook his shoulder and said, “It’s a mere gesture and nothing else.”

Raka asked, “Then what about this CV?”

Mr Burman said, “Yes, this is my concern. I’ve to do something for this guy.” And he started going through the CV minutely. Raka sat beside him and looked at him. She knew how much her Dad loved her, but somehow she couldn’t accept it wholeheartedly. She didn’t like the way he treated Satish. She felt guilty of depriving him. But, she knew, her Dad wouldn’t listen to her if asked him to do something about Satish.

Within a few days, the professor’s nephew got placed in Mr Burman’s company. He would start as a trainee and would become an employee later. The professor called Mr Burman and thanked him over the phone. He also thanked Raka for letting things go well for his nephew. But Raka was not happy. She still felt that it was Satish who deserved this job, not her professor’s nephew.

From then onwards Raka started maintaining a certain distance from her father. Mr Burman noticed it. One day he called her and asked, “What happened dear? Why are you so aggrieved? Have I done anything wrong?”

Raka was indifferent. She didn’t even bother to answer.

Mr Burman asked again, “I’m asking you something Raka…”

Raka looked outside through the window and said, “Nothing; just like this.”

Mr Burman asked, “It can’t be Raka. There must be something. This isn’t your attitude towards me.”

Raka didn’t answer. Her eyes sometimes looked outside the window, sometimes at the walls or through the door. Mr Burman looked at her eyes and asked, “My sweet little girl hates me so much that she doesn’t even like to look at me!”

For a moment Raka looked at Mr Burman, then again moved her eyes away.

Mr Burman put his hand around her shoulder and asked, “At least tell me where have I gone wrong?”

Raka looked down and said, “You’re right. I was wrong.”

Mr Burman asked, “Right, wrong about what?”

Raka said, “Forget it; it’s all over.”

Mr Burman moved his hand from around her shoulder and said, “Look, all I’ve done is only for your good. I don’t know your teacher, or his nephew. Nor do I know Satish. Yet I took care of your teacher’s nephew because he’s your teacher’s nephew.”

Raka retaliated, “Satish was also your teacher’s student.”

Mr Burman reciprocated, “My academic chapters are all closed. Yours aren’t. Try to understand this. It’s only the first year. You’ve to spend two more years here, under the same teacher. He’s your head of the department. If he feels. he can ruin your academics. And I don’t want that. Do you know how much trouble I had to take for that guy. He hasn’t even completed his education. Satish was at least a post graduate in business management.”

Raka asked haughtily, “Then why didn’t you take Satish when he’s better than my professor’s nephew?”

Mr Burman said, “I would have taken Satish had he been your teacher’s brother or son or nephew or even a servant.”

Raka asked, “That means you’ll only help those who’ll matter to you or your family.”

Mr Burman smiled sarcastically and said, “Of course.”

That night, when everybody was asleep, Raka signed in to Mr Burman’s e-mail account once again and looked for the deleted mails in the trash folder. There she found Satish’s mail. She opened the CV that was there in the attachment and typed out Satish’s contact number on her mobile phone. Then saved it.

Next day, she went to the college and called Satish over phone. She said, “Hi Satish, you won’t recognise me as we haven’t met yet. Can you just come over to CCD Salt Lake today?”

Satish asked, “Yah, I’m free now, but can I know the reason?”

Raka paused and said, “Actually I’ve a job offer for you. Are you interested?”

Satish was excited. He said, “Oh yes! Definitely Ma’m. I’m coming in half an hour.”

Raka said, “Thanks a lot. And my name is Raka. Kindly save this number. It’s mine.”

Satish reached CCD Salt Lake at 11:30. He saw a young girl sitting on the stairs of the coffee shop. She was reading a book and puffing away. He went to her and said, “Hi! I’m Satish.”

Raka looked up, threw away the cigarette and said, “I’m Raka.”

Both shook hands and entered the coffee shop. Satish asked, “Why were you waiting outside in the Sun? It’s cool inside. You could’ve waited here.”

Raka took her seat and said, “Yah, I know. Actually they won’t allow you to smoke inside.”

They ordered two cups of cold coffee with cream and continued to talk. Raka said, “You came to our house last Sunday, in the morning. My father, Mr B.B. Burman, gave you his visiting card and asked you to mail your CV, right?”

Satish nodded his head.

Raka continued, “Actually, your job has been given to somebody else who’s less worthy of it.”

Satish lowered his head and muttered, “Oh; I see.”

Raka said, “That guy is my professor’s nephew. And my Dad’s excuse is that if he doesn’t give the job to that guy it’ll offend my professor who may even ruin my academics.”

Satish nodded his head and said, “Maybe he’s right.”

Raka said, “Yah maybe. But if that had to happen, then it’s certainly not right.”

Satish stared at Raka. He couldn’t get the point that Raka was trying to convey.

Raka said, “Now, what has happened has happened. But I want to teach my Dad a lesson.”

“What?” Satish was surprised.

Raka said, “My Dad says he helps only those who matter to him. And I want to put him in that trap.”

Satish seemed to be feeling nervous now. He lowered his voice and asked, “How?”

Raka said, “I want him to give you a job in his company. And he won’t give it to you until you matter to him. In that case I’ll have to marry you. And you’ll become his only son-in-law, an unemployed son-in-law. Then he’ll definitely take you in his company.”

After listening to this, Satish was really out of his senses. He could never think of such a thing even in his wildest imagination. He was absolutely mum; out of words.

Raka tried to pacify him, “Look, you’ve got to get the job. And I want to make you get the job by my Dad. In any case, after getting the job you’ll go for marriage. So why not get married first and get the job after that!”

Satish was slowly coming to senses. He found it interesting. He was from a middle class family and lived in a small town in the outskirts of the city. All he had in the family was his ailing mother. For him it was not only an offer but also an opportunity to rise above his level. Maybe he would have to leave his mother and live with his wife in the city. And also give up with his petty friends’ circle. Still, it would be far more rewarding.

Raka asked, “What do you say?”

Satish said, “I agree.”

Raka said, “Fine. Then we must know a few things about each other, right! It’s better I start with myself first. I’m doing my graduation in humanities. I’ve plans to pursue higher education abroad. I like to party, go out with friends in the weekend, watching movies and eating out. Oh, I’m also a chain smoker; I drink occasionally and had quite a few break-ups in the past. In fact I’ve had physical relationships with quite a few guys. Do you have any problem with that?”

Satish said, “No; not at all.”

Raka asks, “Fine. Now tell me about you?”

Satish took out his CV from the folder and said, “Here’s all about me.”

Satish and Raka got married in a month. Their marriage was solemnised by a recognised registrar. After getting married, the couple came to Raka’s residence. Till now, Raka’s parents weren’t aware of it.

Mr Burman was furious when Raka insisted he place Satish in his company. He asked, “What the hell have you got to do with Satish? Why are you so concerned about him getting a job in my company? He isn’t my relative. Why should I back him?”

Raka asked in turn, “Then why did you give a job to my professor’s nephew? Was he your relative?”

Mr Burman said, “But he was your professor’s relative.”

Raka said, “So Satish is my husband. Now give him a job.”

Mr. Burman was speechless. Was she joking, he thought. He turned back and looked at his wife. She was also flabbergasted. Raka’s words reverberated to their ears like shockwaves. What is she telling us, they wondered. Has she gone crazy, they pondered. Still, nobody could believe it. Mr Burman sat on the sofa and put his head down in dismay. His wife stood beside him, sobbing in shock. Raka came closer to her parents and said, “Satish is a very good man. He’s only lacking a suitable job.” Then she looked at Mr Burman and said, “Dad, you told me you help only those who matter to you. Satish is my husband. Won’t you help him now?”

Mr Burman couldn’t imagine that Raka would take his words so seriously. Now, there was no point in protesting. So, he kept quiet. But he kept the promise that he had made to his daughter. Satish joined his company as a junior executive. After a short stint here, Satish and Raka moved to another house. Raka completed her graduation and went to England for further studies. Satish left this company and joined a British MNC, posted in England. And there they lived on the same page together.

 

 

 

 

Kaushik Chakraborty

Kaushik Chakraborty was born in India in 1980, and grew up to be an advertising professional. From his school days, his short stories, poetry and articles appeared in leading English and vernacular dailies in India. After completing education, he plunged into the world of mainstream advertising with a zeal to move to the top. From a copywriter he rocketed to the position of the creative director of a reputed advertising company. Currently, he is working with Sauce Brand Solutions as director of strategy and planning.

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply