Sheela was arranging stuff at home, like she always does on Saturday mornings. One piece stood out as a sore sight – a rather cheap wooden showpiece gifted by her maid. Radha was a very good, devoted maid who had worked for about 6 years before moving to her native, few months back. She always insisted on giving gifts but Sheela would dodge it somehow, knowing well that the gift would end up more as a burden. Last year Radha had been adamant and this piece had ended up in the showcase on Sheela’s birthday. Sheela managed to keep it out of sight by carefully arranging other stuff around it. As employers go, Sheela was a good one, she gave 2000 as salary, two advances every year, a day off every month and as a parting gift, she even gave one of her sarees to Radha. But she didn’t want to put up with piece anymore. Then she remembered that her colleague Nithya had invited her for a dinner tomorrow. She didn’t particularly like Nithya, but you have to be in good terms with everyone these days. Aha. How about packing this as a gift to Nithya. Wouldn’t that be one stone – two mangoes. Sheela relaxed and smiled to herself.
Her husband didn’t think it was a great idea but he wasn’t against it as well. The dinner was good and they were back home by 9.00. At 10.00 Sheela got a call. A very excited Nithya was at the other end. “Thanks Sheela for such a costly gift. We saw it once at a reputed antique shop and even though we liked it a lot, we couln’t bring ourself to part with 10000. You probably know that it is from Indus Valley Civilization times. I didn’t know you were into history . . .” Sheela ears were failing her and her eyes had gone to take a bath.
Anyone would have wanted to swap places with Aditya Menon that day. He had been awared the best businessman of the city, third time in a row. He was beaming his big smile for tomorrow’s ‘News Today’ cover, but only he knew the turmoil inside him. His only son – Rahul Menon, his pride, his source of happiness had stormed out of the house that morning. He was so angry that he pushed maid rajamma on his way out. Rahul had always got what he wished for, being raised by rich parents who had substituted money for their love, care and time. So, when his father couln’t give him a decisive yes for his latest wish, Rahul was heartbroken. Rahul’s close friends and his school crush were all set to study in the city’s most prestigious college engineering college ‘SKIT’. Rahul also wanted to go there with them. Problem was – he didn’t do well in the entrance exams conducted by the selection committe of SKIT, an autonomously run department.
Aditya Menon had pulled all strings even before the exams, to get a copy of the questions, but apparently the breed of honest people had not gone extinct and he failed. Failure! – Hah something that went shivering out of his sight several long years back was trying to creep in again. But Aditya Menon was ready with his tricks. It is not for nothing that he is the best businessman around. He had done a huge favor to the VC of SKIT once. He called to remind him and give him an opportunity to repay the debt. The VC was a bit hesitant but the persuasive sweet talker that Aditya was, it barely took him a couple of minutes to push the VC into submission. But Aditya wasn’t going to sit and wait for the VC to work his magic. Time was limited and the results were to be out by evening. So he called the education minister. Aditya knew that elections were around the corner and he wanted to play all his cards. Even the minister only gave a non-committal promise.
The Principal was in deep thought. He had always been an epitome of honesty but the call from VC had shaken him a bit. The VC had told him that there was a request to include someone in the final list. It would mean offering the only quota seat meant for a support staff Raju’s son to be given away to some undeserving rogue. Just then there was a soft knock and the troubled face of the head of admissions. What now, thought the principal. As the head of admissions started narrating his phone call with the education minister for a similar request, the principal started smiling.
News Today: Breaking news! Attempted suicide. Famous businessman’s son admitted in Apollo.
Principal on phone: Sorry Sir, We had another demand from the minister. If I give it to either of you, the other would come to know about it and be furious on me.
Raju’s home: Rajamma! Your son is now an engineer in our college.
As Rahul woke up, he was suddenly transitioned from a beautiful dream to the ugly reality of monday morning. He hated his job and hated it even more on mondays due to the legendary Bangalore traffic. Rahul was in his car and driving towards his office. He couldn’t even remember when he had taken bath, gotten ready or wished his wife bye – the monotonous life has been surely pushing him around. As he was preparing to stop at the red signal, he heard someone behind him honking. After a split second he saw the mad driver zipping past him. When will people learn that saving a few seconds might cost someone their life. And what are they going to achieve with those extra few seconds – cure cancer?. Rahul also knew that most stupid drivers were not ‘Yellow board’ cab guys as everyone seems to want to believe, but decent office going engineers and managers of reputed MNCs. Take the guy who jumped the red light, he was driving a Swift with a white board. For that matter Rahul also drove a Swift, a white one, but he was aware that most Swift drivers were either born crazy or developed the habit after they bought the car. Of course with a few exceptions like him.
“You Bxstxxd” !! yelled Rahul. Right in front of him someone, cut sharp to his lane. In fact the stupid guy was driving on half of both lanes. When will these guys learn. After they die? This was another thing that Rahul hated while driving. The lane discipline or rather the lack of it. People went all over the road. Rahul had been to US and marvelled at the way people stuck to their lanes and signalled like good school going children before moving out of it. Rahul knew it was just another 3 kilometers to office. But in Bangalore the 3 kms can be reached in 3 mins, 30 mins or even 3 hrs depending on where, when and how you are driving. Sometimes, the traffic dynamism of Bangalore makes Rahul wonder if it also depends on people’s astrology forecast for the day.
Rahul could see his office now. But he still has to take the final ‘U’ turn. Now, logically speaking, the rightmost lane is the one meant for ‘U’ turn, but in Bangalore’s rule book the ‘U’ turners take up all the lanes and ensure that those going straight are also held inspite of it being empty. As he approached the turn there was another specimen of Bangalore’s endangering species that was trying to take the turn from the leftmost lane and almost hit Rahul’s front bumper. Rahul lost his cool again and started with “What the f..” and checked himself. The mad driver seemed familiar. One of Rahul’s fear on road is that he might shout at someone he knows, a fried or worse his manager. That too so close to office. He wanted to take another look at the driver but just then that guy zipped past, brushing Rahul’s front bumper. Rahul BP shot up and he wanted to teach the guy a lesson. He just got a glipmse of the number plate KA-51 L…. “Hah..” thought Rahul. His area RTO. As he pressed the accelerator, he caught up with the White Swift – ‘Really’. Now Rahul was neck to neck with him and turned to look at the mad driver. He caught his breath. He saw his twin smiling at him. “What the ” and he lost the words for the second time that day. As he raised his hand, he saw his twin or mirror image raise his hand in disbelief. “Poof” everything was gone and God was standing in front of him similing.
Rahul I just wanted to show the taste of your own medicine. All the erring drivers you saw today were replays of your own driving over the past several months. How did you enjoy it. “Poof”.
Rahul woke up with a start. His wife was sleeping beside him. He saw the clock. Same Monday morning but a different Rahul.