Monday, October 20, 2008


That was an exceptionally bad day at office for Sid. It was again appraisal time and it again did not go the way he wanted it to go. Life at an IT company was not exactly what he had planned for himself just a couple of years back when he completed his Civil engineering. He for his life had dreamt of making it big as a builder. He wanted that the world knows him as a businessman and that he creates sky scrapers that would be the most sought after places in the growing cities. He wanted to be a part of the growing world and give his name to everything he touched; he wanted his identity to live beyond his life.

But that today felt like a lost dream - a lost passion. But deep down in his heart he felt at times that it was a passion that he did not have enough courage to follow. It was he who chose a more rewarding life for himself that to follow what he thought was his dream. The identity which he always wanted to create for himself was getting lost. Now he was a part of the back office team, who wrote programs for the Money Vending Machines integration with a banking firm’s internal systems. Times when he used to write a program and put a comment with his system ID, he used to feel that all he has become is a zero and a one. He has broken down into bits. He felt very insignificant to know that there were lakhs of line of these programs written by thousands of people across the world who ran these systems. He was just one amongst those thousands. No one noticed his work and no would ever will.

College days are still the ones which one remembers the most, those are the happy days you turn back to in times of distress. You want to go back and see those classrooms where you used to shout and dance more than what you used to study, you want to see those benches where you scribbled the answers for the exam, you like in these times to remember that sweet little smile from the girl you had your heart on, you want to have that hot cup of tea that you used to share with your friends in the shoddy college canteen. He had the hot cup of tea but not the friends to share it today and this made him feel exceptionally lonely. He asked Raman kaka, to give him one cup of tea and wanted to spend some time out of the mental turmoil in those places. Outside the canteen he could see from the window, the road that stretched from the college to the Krishna Hospital, he could see a Mcdonals, a beautiful temple, a statue of Shivaji and a huge building touching sky that Shivaji’s sword pointed towards. On the other side from the main gate of the canteen came a person who had a can of Red Paint in one of his hand and all his clothes were dirty with the dust he must have spent his day on. Apart from a table on which a young couple was sitting Sid’s was the only table where the person could have been seated and so he did as sid was viewing outside and looking at the sky scraper whose ground floor had the Mcdonalds.

“ I made that Ronald’s smile”, said the man sipping his tea from the after taking it in to the saucer making noise that Sid might not have heard in ages in his office. Sid felt a little awkward and annoyed especially by that little smirk which the man wore on his face.

“Yes that yellow and red smile that you see on that white face is painted by me. It feels so nice.”

Sid was in no mood to extend his talk. Sid never liked small people – small not by money but by ambition. A man who is smiling at a small paint that he applied over a plastic face was small and unambitions to him. what should he feel nice about?
Sid could not stop asking him ,
“ What is to feel nice in it? No one knows you made it, no one cares who made it, more so no one even cares that the Ronald is sitting right outside that building. All that matters is the burgers people come in for and eat. You don’t exist in that thing you made.”
He was speaking as if he wanted to burst out and throw his anger on someone who could not understand it. But the man he shared the table with had a bigger smile this time to offer for his outburst.

“Do you see that small girl coming out with her icecream from there? You did not notice her small smile when she passed near that Plastic Man, I did “

“And that is what makes you sit here and smile. It takes you no where, you don’t grow, you don’t move ahead in life, no one would ever know you if you get satisfied with these things.”

“Why do you work? Let me guess, its for money. But money in itself is not satisfying; it’s the things that it buys which makes it satisfying. The cost of buying those things is not the money you pay; it’s the time, effort and dreams that you give up for getting that money. I have a family to feed and I am neither literate nor am I one of the best painters in the world, so I do whatever little I get to paint, it feeds my family and that is the reward I spend my sweat for.”

“Wo –ho , welcome to the club friend. I too hate my job. I never wanted to do that, you see all of us are running after Mirages.”

“Its not a mirage it’s like fetching the water from a well, when your original Idea was to go for a river. Well isn’t what you wanted, It looks a way to small, and dead when you compare it to the river, but that does not change the water. The Idea of river was so big for you that you are not able to quench your thirst with this water”

“ I hate people talking to me in riddles”

“You see that temple? One of the Ganpatis in that temple out of the painting of around 50 deities was painted by me. I know no one would stand and appreciate it, but I believe ones in a life time for some person I don’t know, that figure would be an image of god he would remember to pray his god. His image of god would be my creation. There is no direct link of my fulfilling his wish, but there definitely is my contribution. It is only the way you look at it”

His tea was over by then, and he kept the small glass of tea over his saucer giving a warm smile to Sid as he left.

While driving back Sid saw an elderly couple, coming out of an ATM on the road, both walking with a stick in one hand and each other’s hands in the other. He knew how important the money would be to him and he was the painter of the little Ganesha in this temple of connected world.


Kosh said...

Am reading Malgudi Days right now - and this could almost have fit in it....good work, sid ..oops, jay! :)

Monika said...

This is after a very long time that I have rerurned to your search of something good....and WOW!!!!!!!...this was a good read

keep it up Jay :-)

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