Narrator: It was 1 O’ Clock in the morning of 24th July 2016.
Two security guards and a lady were whiling away their time at Gate 4 security checkpoint discussing frivolous stuff as if it was the most important discussion that could save humankind from extinction.
Ravi was logging out late that night. Not because there was lot of work. But because it was the last day of the quarter and he wanted to get as close as possible to the 9.15 average office hours.
Yes. The world has progressed. India has crossed 10 billion in population, Paul Octopus predicted that India will come within top 110 teams for next FIFA qualification (2018). KKR failed to qualify for semis for the 10th time in IPL and Sachin is still playing for Indian Cricket team. But, the attendance policy of 9.15 hours remains.
Ravi unzipped his bag for security check and since there was no one else apart from these three, he keenly listened to their conversation. He gathered they were singing odes to Sudhakar, the software engineer who died five years ago.
Guard1: Sudhakar was a very hard working boy. He was awarded many ‘On The Spot’ and performance awards.
Guard2: You knew him personally?
Lady (All excited): He must have made lot of money from these awards
Guard1: Yes! I knew him personally. He was from my native, he seeked my blessings every time he had a code release and touched my feet once in 6 months when he had his appraisals. And No! It was recession in 2009-10, so they only announced awards to keep employees motivated and never paid any money.
Lady (disinterested): That is sad. Poor him.
Guard2: (Nodding his head) poor him, poor him.
Guard1: But he never complained. Because, if not anything else, the company gave him his lady love. Just that she was demanding. The cost of her clothes (which obviously he bought) was inversely proportional to their size. The clothes grew smaller and their cost increased. But he never complained. He was happy.
Lady (All excited): I am sure their parents would have disagreed, did they run away and marry?
Guard1 (with a sad face):No. His happiness was short lived. Recession had changed the company for ever and Salary Cuts did what all the HRs and Planning team cannot do for ages. Employees started quitting the company in hoards. But Sudhakar, he asked my advice. I told him he has a good future here and he must not quit. He took my word and stayed back. Uday denied him the appraisal rating, Nandan denied him the promotion and Krishna denied him the VISA he deserved. As if this was not enough, his girl friend changed boy friends just as their fortunes did. She replaced Sudhakar with Anil from opposite cubicle who got promoted, got a 5 rating in appraisal and his VISA was also initiated.
Lady: Really???? .Who was these people you mention.
Guard1: Oh! There were his PM, GPM and DM. In that order.
Lady: So Sad…
Guard2 (nodding his head): Really Sad really sad.
His nodding was getting on her nerves. She tried to ignore him and concentrate on story.
Lady: what happened next?
Guard1: Sudhakar lost interest in Life. He busied himself with work and was always lost in thoughts. And then one fine evening while crossing the road, he met with an accident and died.
Lady (tears in her eyes): Life is so unfair.
Guard2 (nodding his head) very unfair, very unfair.
The lady lost her fuse and started screaming at Guard2 and he retorted back. Guard 1 jumped in to sort it out. Ravi excused himself and started walking to the cab grinning. Sitting in the cab alone, he was searching his bag for the ear phones. He was still grinning thinking to himself “Such liar’s people are. There was no Sudhakar, I just floated that story some months back for fun and now the security guard says he knew Sudhakar personally. Such liars!!”
He felt a hand on his shoulder and the person asked “They will do anything for gossip na?”
Ravi (shaking his head and looking at the person): Yes, anything for gossip.
And then he gets back to his work. He at last found his ear phones. When he is pulling them out, the truth dawns on him. He stops midway and thinks
“Wait. I was alone in the cab, so who is this person?”
Afraid, he slowly turns his head to his right and sees a GHOST.
The ghost grins from ear to ear.
Sweat dripping down his forehead, aghast and horrified Ravi continues to stare.
The Ghost asks: “Now tell me. How did you learn about my story?” the ghost winks nudging Ravi at his arm.
Ravi has his eyes wide open. He shrieks, screams and faints. His earphones still half struck in the bag.
The Ghost roars in laughter.