Yogesh is diligently typing on his desktop computer. He has to submit a proposal by 2 P.M. to his boss Dr. C. Singh. It is a proposal for the communication campaign on sterilisation. It’s already ten past one, and he isn’t even half way done. He has decided to skip his lunch, his favourite part of the day, when he savours and empties out the contents of his lunch box that have been lovingly packed by his wife, Sunita. Today she has packed two lunch boxes full of Mutton Biryani, from yesterday’s Eid lunch. He had planned to enjoy and share his sumptuous lunch with his colleagues; but as luck would have it, Dr. C Singh chose this very day to ask him to submit the Sterilisation proposal, that too at such short notice. Yogesh thinks to himself, “Karma, is a bitch. I think I’m being punished for enjoying the long weekend.”
His colleagues are sitting in the conference room, sharing their lunch and engaging in some mindless banter. Yogesh peers from his cubicle, that looks out to the glass door of the conference room, where they are all seated, laughing with gay abandon, as they dig into each others lunches. Yogesh wishes to drop everything that very moment and join them. After all the sumptuous Biryani that Sunita had packed early this morning, “hopefully” awaits him, as his colleagues already seem to be polishing off his share too. She had also packed the sweet Sewai, alongside the Biryani. It’s also Amar’s birthday and they would be cutting a cake, once they are done eating.
Yogesh has no other choice, but to focus back on his work, finish writing his proposal, take a print out and make sure he reaches Dr. C’s office at five minutes to two. Dr. C is a stickler for time and has an eye for detail. He hates to see any glitches in the proposal; he likes bullet points and a neatly typed proposal. Yogesh continues to type furiously.
It’s 1:45 P.M. He is done, thankfully. He takes a print out and storms out of his cubicle and takes the elevator to the 11 floor – Dr. C’s office. He is out of breath, when he knocks at Dr. C’s door. A hoarse female voice asks him to come in. Yogesh walks in and is taken aback to see the Executive Director (ED). She is a terror and is always ready to tear everyone apart, sometimes for no reason at all. Yogesh, still in a state of shock wonders what she is doing there. And as though Dr C has read his mind, he quips, “Yogesh, my boy, the ED is here to save us some time. She wants to see the file along with me, so that we can finalise the proposal immediately and get cracking on the campaign.”
Yogesh’s heart starts beating so hard, he can almost hear it. His mind is racing overtime and he starts conjuring up the mistakes he would have made, all because he was thinking of that stupid Biryani!
Dr C reads through the proposal and passes it on to the ED. He has an expressionless look. Yogesh doesn’t know what to make out of it. The ED looks at Yogesh condescendingly, pulls her glasses down from her forehead and brings it to her nose and starts reading. She is the Lord of Files; known to write the most atrocious and angry comments on files, and there have been instances where she has hurled the files, at her employees. Yogesh is literally shaking like a leaf. He fears the worst. But the worst is yet to come.
The ED looks up from the file, and for the first time in his ten years he sees her mouth curve into a smile. “Good job done here, Yogesh. You nailed it and that too on such a short notice.” “Well, we are ready to roll this campaign. Call the agency and let’s get started.”
And here’s what the worst is all about – endless days in the rural belts of Uttar Pradesh, minus Sunita’s piping hot, delicious food. Endless days in the scorching summer heat. Endless days in the squalid, small town motels, minus any power. But then, on the lop side, the Lord of Files has been so kind, gracious and generous.
Disclaimer: This is a piece of fiction and resemblance to any person dead or alive is purely coincidental.
This is my fiction entry for the fifth day of #Barathon 2017, the forthnight-long blogging marathon, organised by Blog-A-Rhythm. Today’s prompt is “Lord of Files”.