With a question mark on my face, I sat there in the conference room with Mohammed Bhai, my supervisor beside me. Right across this round table were Deepak Reddy, Floor manager and Ankur Srivastava, HR manager. I still had no idea why exactly we were sitting in that room and I was not liking the look in their faces, especially Ankur’s.
I’ve always liked the element of surprise but only if I was the surprise. Being at the receiving end puts me in a vulnerable position of being powerless and I hate being that way. I always like being in control of the situation. I’ve always been in control of the situation. After what seemed like forever, Ankur broke the silence.
“So, Jeff! You know why we are here?” He asked. I nodded my head with a No still being clueless about what was next to come. “Who is Feroz?” He asked me.
“One of the ex-employees in our own company and a friend of mine.” I replied. “I see that you had recently called him and made a sale in his name.” He inquired.
“Yes, he said that he had signed up to our website and wanted to buy some things and I helped him.” I replied. “Okay! So, you helped him shop from us?” Ankur said in a rather sarcastic way. “Yeah!” I answered.
“Where’s that in the call Jeff?” He asked me. “What?” I didn’t understand. “I’ll ask in a rather simpler language. If you helped him shop from us…” Ankur said in a normal voice. “Then where the fuck is that in the call?” He literally yelled at me. “Excuse me?” I exclaimed in shock as I was not expecting that.
“Stop bullshiting! We’ve all heard the call and all you’ve done on that was talk shit about Deepak and nothing else.” He said and that made me laugh for a second. “And he’s laughing about it.” Deepak said in anger. His eyes wide open, looking at me like an idiot. He never liked me, and I was still pissing him off.
“I accept. I did talk bad about him because he made my brother leave the
company. And then he humiliated him while leaving by saying things. I was angry about it. I accept that I got emotional. I assure that I did make a sale on the call. I remember because of the conversation and it was an online transaction. There might have been a problem with the recording as that has been the case with the call recorder at our workplace. A lot of things never get recorded while taking calls.” I explained.
“Well, firstly, we are aware that there’s an issue with the recorder, but the right things did get record in your case. Secondly, there is no online transaction made from his side because there was no payment received.” Deepak informed me to my shock. “You’ve got to be kidding me…” I said and was immediately interrupted with another shock. “Thirdly, it is ours but no more your workplace. Not anymore.” Ankur said leaving me numb for a second.
“You don’t have to do this sir I’m sss…” I said and was again interrupted. “You are being terminated for manipulating the sale figures and using profanity while on a professional call.” Ankur completed and placed an envelope right in front of me. It had ‘Letter of Termination’ written on it. I didn’t know what to say. I was left speechless for a while.
“You cannot do this Sir! This is a mistake. There was a sale made.” I could hear my voice trembling. “I beg of you sir. Please don’t do this. Please investigate it again. Mohammed Bhai, please say something.” I pleaded looking at him, but he remained silent. He too was in a shock.
“Mohammed! Utter a word and you too will be thrown out.” Ankur yelled looking at him. Deepak just looked at me with an ugly grin on his face. He handed me another paper to sign and a pen. It had ‘Termination Acceptance’ written on top of it. His eyes did not move from mine for a long time.
I could not show that on my face, but my anger got me hallucinated to snatch the pen from Deepak’s hand and stab him in the neck with it. What a scene it would be to see blood gushing out of his neck and spilling all over the white floor!?! I really want to see what he does with his grin while bleeding to death.
“Jeff!” I heard Ankur waking me up from my hallucination. “Sign that now and you’ve got five fucking minutes after that. Take your stuff and get out of here. If you stay even for a second after that, you’ll be thrown out by the security.” Ankur said as he got up to leave. “And wherever you go next time, make sure to respect your superiors.” Deepak said as he was about to stand up and leave with Ankur.
“I’ll have a moment with him.” Mohammed Bhai said as everyone were leaving. “Give me the Acceptance sheet once he signs.” Ankur told Mohammed Bhai while leaving. I just sat there looking down. I was angry and upset at the same time. “Why did you have to do this?” Mohammed Bhai said.
“I’m not lying. I remember I did a sale on that call.” I said in a low voice. “Sale or no sale brother, you were not supposed to use the language you used over the call that day about Deepak.” He said with aggression. “I know. I lost control for a while. I take it on me. If I ever get a chance, I’ll make up for it.” I said as I raised my head and looked at him. I couldn’t look at him in the eye.
“Look at me Jeff” Mohammed Bhai said, and I looked into his eyes. “You want to make up for it? Just do me a favor, make sure you end up in a better place than this. You’re still young and it’s only been six months here. You can start over and get a job again.” Mohammed Bhai said.
“I don’t know. I’ll see what happens.” I said as I slowly began to get up and leave. Mohammed bhai caught me and hugged me for a while. “Remember I’m always there for you. Call me any day you like.” He said and I nodded while we were still in the hug. He then got me to sign the acceptance sheet and left.
I came out of the conference room and could see everyone looking at me. They all were aware of what had happened. As I walked past them towards the exit, I saw their faces. Some of them looked upset while most of them looked happy and relieved. I guess that’s how it works in places like these.
I looked around and I could see Deepak going over to Ankita’s Desk. I realized that she was the only one I was bothered about while I was leaving. I did not care much about the workplace. I could get work anywhere else. Unfortunately, I won’t be there with her anymore.
I have been crushing on Ankita ever since the first day she walked into the floor. Ankita Yesupadam. That was her Surname. No one else had the innocence that she had in her smile. I helped her once she was on the floor after her training. We got very close while working together. I would make sure to sit somewhere near her workstation. I loved being with her and hanging around with her. She too liked being with me… I guess.
Our closeness miffed Deepak a lot who too had his eyes on her. Despite being married, Deepak used to fuck around with a lot of women here and Ankita was one of his targets. I was the one in his way and he would go down to any level to get me out. He has done that with others too in the past. It’s because of the same grudge he got my brother out and now me.
I don’t even blame him for getting me out. I gave him the opportunity to kick me out, but I won’t go down without taking him down. I will wait for my opportunity to strike back. I’m sure its not far away. It will happen soon. Maybe today itself. Actually… Why not today?
“You’re still here? You want me to get the security to throw you out?” I suddenly heard from behind as I was picking up my bag to leave. I turned around and it was Deepak again. Still with that grin on his face he walked towards me as I slowly moved towards the main door.
“I hope you have learnt your lesson. Never mess with the managers at your workplace. And I hope you’ve said goodbye to your loved ones. Or I should say your Loved One. Goodbyes are important my friend.” He said taunting me about Ankita as I just kept staring at him in anger.
“Oh by the way! How’s that brother of yours? Is he doing anything good with his life or still stuttering as he used to do here in front of everyone making a mockery of himself?” He pointed at my brother. “You need to GO!” I said looking at him in all my anger and rage. My words meant more than what he thought I meant.
“I’ll go buddy! But why do you look so glum? Ah shit! Didn’t Ankita speak to you after you made such an embarrassment out of yourself? Well, it runs in the family I guess.” he mocked again. I looked down and gained my composure thinking of what’s next to come for him. And then I looked up at him.
“Well, I don’t think that’s any of your business. But yeah! You’re right about one thing, goodbyes are important.” I said as my expression towards him slowly changed. “You never know when will be your last day. You never know when will be the last moment you see your loved ones.” I said just gazing at him and saw his smile diminish slowly. Maybe he got an idea that he had fucked with a wrong person, but it was too late to take things back now. I could now see fear in his eyes, and I liked that fear. That made me smile a bit.
I slowly moved out of the office. “I’ll see you soon… Friend!” I told Deepak as I left. I did see people leaving for break while I was about to get out. I know they will be asking questions. I didn’t want to answer them. Not that I was embarrassed. I would happily shit on Deepak again in front of everyone. I just didn’t want to speak to anyone but Ankita. The suddenness of the whole incident took me aback. So, I went down and went towards the back side of the building. No one comes there. I could use the exit gate here to move out without having to deal with people.
I texted her where I was and waited for Ankita to come. “Heyyy!” I heard her from behind after about 10minutes. I stood up, turned around and she came. She was quite tensed about the whole situation and hugged me tightly as if inseparable. “Oh God it’s all my fault.” She said as we were still in that embrace. “It’s not. Don’t worry.” I replied.
“What next?” She asked me as we left the embrace and looked at each other. “I don’t know right now. Need to figure it out.” I said looking down. “I’ll miss you.” She said and that hit me straight in my heart. “I too will miss you. Especially having lunch with you.” I replied.
“Meet me after the shift ends. We’ll talk, go around, eat from our favorite burger joint.” She suggested. “I will. I’ll see you by 9PM here.” I agreed. “Here? Why don’t you come at the main entrance?” Ankita asked. “I’ve seen guys moving out from there to talk to me. I don’t want to talk to people right now. And I don’t like most of them looking at me. Not that I’m embarrassed or something. I just want to be left alone. This side of the building is good. Its silent. No one comes here.” I explained. “Okay!” She agreed. So, we decided to meet by 9PM when Ankita’s shift ends. She left after that conversation.
I saw the time once Ankita was gone, and it was 5:50PM. Deepak leaves in the next 10 minutes and I need to take care of him. I had a lot of time and could easily pull this off. I slowly moved out of the building and waited on my bike at a distance for Deepak to leave. After waiting for 20minutes, I saw Deepak’s Car leaving and I started to follow him.
I could have let him get away with getting me kicked out over getting a girl, but I cannot let him get away with what he did with my brother. That was my grudge against him. No one messes with my family and Deepak will be learning that hard way today. Apart from that I needed to set an example for some people like Ankur. They should know that I’m not the right person to be messed with. Maybe next time they’ll think twice before talking.
I made sure that I maintain my distance while following him. We travelled for 30 more minutes and reached his home. I saw his car entering his home. There were those huge main gates open. I stopped my bike at a distance and slowly moved towards his home on foot.
It was an independent ground plus one floor bungalow. I tried to look inside from a distance and could see his main gate. I saw him getting into the house while I took out a pair of medical gloves from my back pocket and wore it. These always come handy in pulling off stunts like these. Carefully, I entered the property soon noticing there was no security guard or CCTVs around.
Either Deepak was too confident or too miser to spend on his security. There was no window in the front. So, I slowly moved to the side of the bungalow and could see a window with gates open. I carefully peeped through the window and could see Deepak hugging his wife. His wife was all dressed up as if she was about to leave. The happy woman was never aware of his husband’s loyalties.
“Take care babe! Leave a text once you reach work.” I heard him say. So, it was evident that she was leaving. I waited in the same spot until I heard her open the main gate and leave the property. I slowly looked around and could not see anyone anymore.
I moved forward and reached near the kitchen window and I could see Deepak walking up the stairs as he unbuttoned his shirt. I guess there was no one else at home. Perfect time for me to proceed. His wife had left. There was no one else around watching us.
After waiting for another 2 minutes, I slowly moved towards the main gate and lock picked it. It took less than 20 seconds to open the gate and enter his house. Deepak really should have invested in his security. I made sure to leave my shoes at the gates while entering.
“This is it! This is the moment! I hope you’ve said your goodbyes today Deepak.” I thought to myself as I closed the gate behind me and made my move.
It’s been an hour since I have been waiting for Ankita sitting here and I guess she should be here by now. “Hey!” I heard her voice while I was still in my thoughts. I stood up and turned around and we hugged. “When did you come?” She asked me. “Well actually I never left.” I replied as she looked at me in a shock.
“My God! You’ve been sitting here the whole time? You could have called me? I would have come to see you during the breaks.” She said in an amazed tone. “Just wanted to be left alone for a while.” I added. She hugged me again. “It will all be fine! Don’t worry.” She whispered to me. “I really hope so.” I responded.
“Come on! Let’s go. You hungry?” She asked. “Starving!” I replied as we walked towards the exit. This time we made it from the front gate. It was dark so not many people gave us attention. We went towards my bike. “Let’s go as fast as we can.” Ankita said as she sat behind me. “Need to get some petrol before we move.” I informed her. We then rode to the nearest petrol pump and then went to Burger Palace.
We would always come here for burgers after shift. The talks, this lady’s smile, and the amazing burger here would make me forget the world. Today was no different. For a moment, I forgot that I had been kicked out of my work. I just enjoyed the burger and looked at her laughing and talking the whole time.
We were still talking when Ankita received a call on her phone. “Hello!” she picked up the call. “What???” She shouted. “Okay so Deepak had to ruin our evening.” I thought to myself. “We’re coming there as soon as possible. Jeff is with me. I’ll bring him too.” She added and then hung up the call and got up in a hurry. With a shocked and clueless sort of expression, I got up with her.
“What’s wrong?” I asked. “It’s Deepak. He is dead.” Ankita replied in a shock. “What the fuck! How?” I yelled. I had to show that I was shocked. “I don’t really know. Everyone has been asked to come to his home.” She said as we began to leave the burger joint and sat on the bike. “Hope you don’t mind.” She added. “Absolutely not.” I replied and we moved towards his home as fast as we could. We took the shortcut to reach as soon as possible.
“How did you know the direction? You’ve been to his house previously?” she asked. “Yeah! New Year’s Eve with Mohammed Bhai and Team. And then his birthday.” I replied. “And today!” I thought to myself as we rode towards his home.
We entered the house and there were already people there. Mostly from the
office which was no more mine. I turned around and saw his wife crying out loudly holding his son. We moved in and I could see Deepak’s body lying there on the floor. His hand slit open, and blood all over the place. We were asked not to cross a circular police line around the body.
The whole thing looked gruesome. Everyone was in a shock. They all met him in the office today. Some had a chat with him. Some just exchanged pleasantries and one got kicked out by him. Sometimes, its good not to mess with the employees. I looked around and saw Mohammed Bhai speaking to a Police Officer and went towards him with Ankita.
“What happened?” I asked as Mohammed Bhai turned towards me once the
Police Officer left. “Suicide. I don’t know they’re saying he left a video tape. Says he got rejected by some girl and was burnt-out from work and had been drinking a lot. I don’t know. They haven’t shown me. Let me cover my nose mahn there’s too much smell.” Mohammed Bhai said. “That’s crazy!” I exclaimed looking at the body as I slowly moved forward towards his body.
Coolly with my hands in my pocket, I stood near it and could feel like being the one to triumph over him today. Where is the smile now? Who is the one to get terminated today? Whose family will be humiliated to see him confessing his unfaithfulness in front of the whole world. And finally, who is the one with the girl? If his soul was still wandering here, then it will get answers to those questions.
He was not smiling anymore. He was not humiliating me or my brother anymore. He was not trying his luck on girls anymore. He was not cheating on his wife anymore. He was not trying to cause any harm, any problem anymore. He was just lying there. Dead. Motionless. With me standing on top of him.
His wife never knew that he had been cheating on her with so many other
women. Maybe once she comes to know the truth, she’ll understand that her husband did get what he truly deserved.
I raised my eyes and looked in front and I saw Ankur standing on the other side of the police line. He was staring at me with a suspicious look in his eyes. I was not hiding anything from him as I gave him a coy smile for a while and then I continued staring at him with my dead eyes.
He might have been convinced that I could be behind all this but could not prove anything. All he could do was be clueless and helpless. Back to where we started. The same conference table. This time, not with my termination papers but with Deepak’s body on it. But now, I was in control and was loving it. There are things he would not see coming his way. I just love the element of surprise.
“There is no filter between my brain and my mouth.”