What’s essential is what we know and the known is just a drop.
Mr. Sharma gave a tea party for his team as he bought a new car. Chandu is one of his lead programmers. Chandu has six years of experience in this software development. Now he is almost being considered as the project architect for a new product that the company is about to begin. Chandu reached this position very early with his hard work, dedication, and obsession towards finishing things.
“So, you own an Osweld OSX right?”, The forty-five-year-old Sharma asked Chandu.
“Wow! Chandu?”, Priyanka another manager of his.
“Yes, he loves costly stuff. He right now carries almost 3 to 4 lakh rupee worth of gadgets in his body.”, One of his teammates.
“It is not about being costly. But things I find essential and worthy to have.”, Chandu gave the most obvious reply.
“I used to spend a lot when I was young like you. And then I started saving up and started choosing my things wisely as I got matured.”, Sharma said.
“How much you paid in total for this car Sharma?”, Priyanka.
“It is 9.27 Lakhs including everything. What’s the cost of your Osweld Chandu?”
“About 25 Lakhs.”
“Oh.. That is on a loan?”, Sharma.
“I am paying that off. I’d finish that sooner than expected.”
Everyone was looking at Chandu while Chandu was looking out of the window taking a bite at his samosa. He did not like that samosa.
Chandu is not careless or stupid like the other costly car buying 28-year-olds. A week before that party, he went through the interview process from one of the world’s biggest tech giants conveniently named Giants. He did the whole process extremely well and he was waiting for their response. If he gets selected, The annual package he is expecting is more a crore Indian rupees. He could not share that information with the samosa eating low efficient bot crowd sitting in the table with him.
Chandu has super extra self-respect too. One day he found his computer’s plug not connected to the socket. He won’t crawl under the table. He called for IT support guys and got that “fixed”. He also escalated that issue and almost got a sweeper fired.
Then out of the blue, Sharma spelled those words.
“But the Osweld and mine have the almost same engine.”, Sharma said that with at-most proud.
Chandu thought, ‘What? What same engine you are talking about beggar? Your car is a public garbage collecting vehicle. Cheap guys should just shut up!!!’ and said, “Okay, it is like comparing a Chinese smartphone with iPhone right?”
“iPhones are crazily overrated too.”
“Yeah, these imported cars carry a crazy amount of tax on them, right?”
“Osweld is an amazing car. But not worth the price we pay in India.”
“Yes, Sharma’s car comes with six airbags, right? Osweld has what? four?”
“Yeah, they both provide strikingly similar premium features to me.”
All the non-Giant worthy workers around the table started contributing oil to the Chandu’s fire in his heart. Chandu hated every one of them. He tried to stay there for that ten minutes but was too hurt. He called his friend, stood up and walked away.
A month of rants
Chandu started listening to the reviews about Sharma’s car right after he got into his car. He kept doing that for at least most of the upcoming month. He mostly got bad news but a few good news too from time to time. He eventually started ranting it out loud while driving and while being alone in his apartment.
“Ohh… what is this plastic dashboard you beggar have in here? Cheap plastic! That is what you deserve right? That is what you deserve!”
“You think, I don’t know you book “shared” cab when your car goes service? You can come by bus right Sharma? A bus? As a poor guy among other poor unbathed people?”
“I’m sure you are paid lesser than me, Sharma. What do you think you need to be paid for your MS Word and emailing skills? I’d pay you ten thousand bucks per month. Or, I can create a bot that works infinitely better than you.”
He did not always find console in ranting out. He once opened the phone and typed, “What car do you think is the best in this world? I want to know. I am planning to buy that LOL”. He tried to make that friendly but deleted that soon after typing.
“What do you know about cars, you… lunch box carrying bus comer? Why do you carry a lunch box every day? You do that to save a hundred rupees? Oh, not even hundred, its sixty-eight rupees. I have seen you eat only curd rice when your wife did not give you lunch box. If you ask me, I can buy you a 2 hundred rupee full meal. Do you want that? You want that?”
Chandu was standing in front of his bathroom mirror when he did that you want that? expression. His face looked so arrogant.
“Carpooling? Na Na Nah.. It is different. What is that… You are a cab driver! Oh, my Gawd I did not realize that!”, Chandu laughed. He could not control the laughter. “Where is your uniform, Sharma?”
One other morning after bath, he was looking for a shirt to wear.
“You know what? This is a shirt I bought for 4 thousand rupees.”, He took a shirt from the closet. “And… I am going to put fire on that. And it does not affect me financially at all!”. The shirt burnt into ashes. He called the apartment service and paid them to clean the mess.
“I can burn anything and can earn them all in a few quick months. You can not Sharma. You can not earn anything with MS word. You may think it is a powerful tool. But MS Word in reality is just a text processor!”
He was never happy all the previous month. He did not sleep well. It was very disappointing to see the Giants not coming up with his offer letter. He skipped a few meetings with Sharma as He was afraid that he may yell, “You stupid curd-rice-eating cab driver!!!” just like he does every time he is alone. He thought of hitting the car somewhere intentionally and fix it. He did not do that as he has already exhausted his credit card. He drank every night. He started fighting on YouTube and Facebook comments whoever supports Sharma’s car. He did not burn anything after that but slowly grew erratic.
“I never saw you after that tea party. You skipped all those meetings. I’m worried about you.”, Sharma said.
“Huh… I’m going through some personal hard times, Sharma. I know the management wants the workers to keep performing 100% day after day after day after day. But let me come out of thi…”
“No no no no… See this is not about that.” Sharma looked at him closely with a worried look. “You completely missed the point. They hired some other resource as the development lead for that new product.”
“Oh, but you cant develop software with MS-Word.”. He said that. But a thing about Chandu is he will stand the ground no matter what. Nothing he did or said ever is wrong.
“What?”, Sharma asked completely confused.
“Excuse me, Sharma.”, Chandu left the room. That was a wise decision.
The next day Chandu woke up at 4 in the morning. He tried to watch a movie last night and went to sleep before 3 hours only. He felt tired. His body and head ached. He decided to take off from work and sleep well that day. He did not have a good sleep for long now. He was sweating and wanted to drink some water. When he tried to get up his left arm failed him and he fell from his bed. He felt a sharp pain in the chest. He felt hard to breathe. He started panicking. He wanted to make a call for rescue.
He could not find the phone immediately. It was not on the bed. It was not charging. It must be in the bathroom. He left that there while he was ranting in front of the mirror as usual. He crawled towards the bathroom grunting. He found his hands very numb. But he wasn’t the kind of man to give up easily. He pulled himself up, holding the washbasin. He found his eyes going dizzy. He reached the phone, grabbed it and fell on the floor.
On unlocking the phone, he saw the Facebook app open in the foreground. It said, “Write something here…”
“I gave my life and soul to my work for the last six years for this company. Human beings are terrible by nature. We hunt down and eat whichever did not fight back. I have been mentally tormented by Sharma, my manager. I could not tolerate anymore. I don’t have any other choice. I am not a coward. This should help improve the work environments in this industry. Respect people. Treat them with dignity. Goodbye.”
Chandu spent enough of his willpower and heart cells writing that post. But his hands went unresponsive and slipped the phone down before clicking the post button. The phone slid away in the bathroom marble. He could not move his body. He saw the water jug on a table six feet away near his bed.
He felt very thirsty. All he wanted was some water in the jug that his eyes were looking straight at. It amazed him why he is not getting up?
He slipped into unconsciousness wondering, How has a simple act of grabbing water in the table become so hard suddenly?