As Karan Singh's men start shutting down their rented computer terminals, he picks his Nokia X2-02 mobile phone and skips to the music library, typing "lakshya".
The office starts crooning with "haan, ye rasta hai tera; tuney ab jaana hai. haan ye sapna hai tera, tuney pehchana hai..." from the movie "Lakshya".
Probably this is to marshal his men, probably this is to marshal himself !
If his men are not being able to sign-up the retailers today, it will not be failure of his men, but his own.
After all, the men are only as good as the captain !
Shaking hands with everyone, and patting their back with "chak dey phattey", he stands on the door of the office and watches them move out of his sight, one by one.
He decides to have a smoke, to get rid of his anxiety and moves to the tapri outside, and there he find his men, in a sort of huddle. He did not interrupt, but on seeing him, they quieten down and sort of disperse. Two of his men, buy their smoke, along with him. He lights his own, and then of another guy and then throws away the matchstick.He lights another one, and then lights the smoke of the second guy.Even inadvertently, there should not be any bad omen today. Today is a too big day, for that to happen. He did not want to interrupt in their thoughts and steps aside.
Today, he is wishing for one more thing, apart from the fact that his men do not come home empty handed, and it is that, there should not be any more orders coming. Because, any new order means, he would have to take the bus to deliver the order himself, since he did not have a motorcycle. Riding the bus to deliver the order was neither new nor painful, but the premise to fail on his two-hour-delivery promise was.
His men have finished their puff quickly and now out of sight. Its only him and his thoughts.
He has instructed them, to report every hour, of their progress via SMS, 1200 hrs onwards.
Karan Singh's mind raced back in time to that morning of October 2002, when his erstwhile boss came to him in the office of the consumer durable major and handed over him a key sales territory.
Dussehra and then Diwali were just few days away and he was less than a week old in the company.
First he could not believe, what prompted his boss to do so?
A great leap of faith?
But he had been selling herbicides and hybrid seeds earlier, and here, in the most crucial phase of the year for sales, he was handed over this crucial territory.
How he felt that day in Bombay,catching the AS-422 bus, 10 years ago; his men would be feeling the same today.
He overcame that day, so shall his men today.
When you have a lot of time to kill on hand, you start wondering about all the turns in the life, which has got you, where you find yourself today.
After Thompson's Folly, it was Bombay.
Karan still remembers the first time he visited, the city of dreams, Bombay.
It was for an interview, which he never imagined to qualify, but did.
The moment he stepped out of the ST bus at Dadar, the first local ride to Charni Road.
It was a Sunday.
Whole night he could not sleep, not because of the fact that the interview was there next day, but because of the electricity in the air of the city.
Next morning, from Charni Road to Andheri and then after the interview, from Andheri to Dadar, he was all along buzzing.
That day, he promised himself, if he ever managed to come back to this city, he would definitely start something of his own.
That would be a good way, to test, Mr.Thompson's hypothesis.
It took him just two years more, to eventually come to Bombay.
Probably, that's when it all started.
Along with Thompson's Folly, it was now also, Bombay's Folly.
Man has this habit of blaming his misfortunes on someone else, it eases out the pain a bit. Karan had, Mr.Thompson and Bombay !
He could not sit in the office, and moves out again, for smoke.
The bell of the landline could ring, there could be an order notification via email. But he is not bothered about them today.
They would not test his mettle, the way, he has already planned, those are mere details today.
All that matters to him today, is that none of his man should come empty-handed.
If he had his way,he would have stayed all day long at the tapriitself, but each smoke costs Rs.6.
He was bemoaning that, even anxiety does not come free nowadays !
Buying a new bike would solve a few problems, he would save a a lot of time commuting to office.
There would be a spare bike, for emergency and he could have couple of more smokes, a day.
He often wondered, what his men would be thinking, that their pay-master does not even has a bike of his own?
How could he afford their salaries for long, if he cannot afford to buy a bike of his own?
Was he solvent enough?
Was he in this for a log stint?
Couple of smokes and an empty office is a very potent combination for re-birth of bizarre thoughts!
Suddenly, there was this beep and Karan flipped out his Nokia X2-02 from pocket, it was a SMS from one of his men. His heart raced as if, it was from Tina. It was his one of the delivery men, Ramesh.
The kill was confirmed, Ramesh got his first one.
The clinch of the fist and the sense of redemption.
Karan immediately dials the number of Ramesh, taking another puff and asks him, how he pulled it off, after congratulating him profusely. Had Ramesh, was in front of him now,he would have kissed him on cheeks.
Karan was on cloud number seven, it was not even 1200 hrs and the first kill was confirmed !
To Be Continued...
All rights reserved with the author - abhishek rai
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