“It is Company Policies, Sir!”

“It is Company Policies, Sir!”

 

The taxi screeched to a stop right in the middle of the road, and in front of the mosque. The burly taxi driver jumped out and chased the boy into the mosque. “What do you think” the driver screamed, catching the boy by the cuff of his shirt’s neck, “did you think that I could not follow you in the mosque? Where is my taxi fare?  You told me to take your sick uncle to his house and I shall be paid there. Nobody has paid me, they all bothered about getting the old man in, nobody came out – though I waited” – the angry taxi driver screamed. He was near obscenities. “Here” the frightened boy said, “take my watch. It must be worth at least twenty shillings, it will pay off your fare”. “No”, the taxi driver refused, “I want my money, no fake watch”.

“What is the commotion here?” the Imam (priest) of the mosque asked. The boy tried to explain amid interruptions from the taxi driver. The taxi was blocking the road, those behind it started to honk loudly. The Imam paid the fare and the taxi went off. “You had better let your ‘uncle’ know”, the Imam said, “it is not that I want my money back, but do not get yourself to such trouble again in the future”. It was prayer time; the boy went in for the abolution and for prayers.  It was quite a day! The Imam was right – he must be more careful in the future. This kind of loyalty will only lead him to trouble one day!

**********

In another land and in another time, the European boss was taunting the young graduate recruit. “Do not waste your time trying to be protecting and being so pleasant with him. Forget all these rumours about him being made the future Manager, the company is not silly to do that. Besides, his background does not serve his case” he continued. The graduate kept disputing and confronting the boss. “Try to toe the line”, his peers told him, “do not spoil your chances for promotion and career progression by confronting him. He is not a nice person anyway, he will do you a lot of harm to you”, they had said to him. The graduate had decided to ignore the advice, to his own determent in the future.

Boss 1 Boss 2 Boss A Boss 4 Boss 3

Images Boss – For Demonstration Purposes Only!

The graduate remembered the last words, when he last met the old man in this land, after being introduced to the son (who did become a Manager, far later on)  “look after my son and he will look after you”.  He remembered the old man talking about his children; one was in UK and the others in Egypt. He used to send them mail, given to the young boy to post. He did other errands for the old man; he was generous in his tipping. Any money returned, it was given back to the boy – except this last bit when the taxi was not paid. Maybe he was too sick to remember to pay the taxi driver.

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Sadly in the end, the man he was protecting and guarding turned out to be and was also part and parcel and instrumental for his own decline in his career. The old man’s promise never come out true. He felt lost and betrayed. Perhaps the old man did not talk to his son, or perhaps he did, but the son did not care. The old man might be turning in his grave, with the sadness and sorrow for the boy he called also “son”. The graduate should have listened to his peers, but it was too late anyway now to change things. It had happened to him, finally, as they said, it would!.

*******

Who was parking in my private slot? The Manager thought out aloud. He will call the security, they will see to it that the car is towed away. Suddenly it clicked!. It was not his reserved management private parking anymore, he was no longer a staff of the company. Pensioners, even if managers, do not have reserved parking made for them – he could park in the visitors’ side only. “Sorry, Sir” said the warden – “you are not a visitor”. This is only reserved for actual visitors. You must park in the common lot – the warden stressed – “it is the rules, Sir – company policy”.

The parking lot was very far away. And the heat was coming in fast. He was sweating by the time by the time he reached the main door. No wonder the staff had continuously complained. But why bother, he had his own reserved parking,  just near the main door. Let them sweat it out, it is their problem. If they want the jobs – they must take it in stride. Quite a discerning dissatisfied grumbling lot   they always were, he could not stand them.

“Card – Sir,” said the receptionist, interrupting his thoughts “you need to show your staff card, Sir – it is the rules. Remember, sir, you had warned us about our jobs if we did not ask for staff to show their cards”.

The people were polite still saying Hello to him. But he could feel the sneering and provocative looks behind their eyes, as if they wanted to say something more. However, it was the upbringing, the culture, the religion,  that was holding them back. Definitely they portrayed no fear of him – it looked more of sympathy. Or was it apathy, or was it both?

His beautiful and charming ex-Secretary was all smiles, as he came in. At least she remembers me, but suddenly he was hit by a lightening bolt – “Sir, you cannot see him now. He is already behind schedule in his appointments. Can I make an appointment for you, Sir – say next Monday at 10 am”. “It is OK” I shall call him at home” – he curtly replied, as he walked out of his replacement’s office. At least not “it is the rules or company policies” – from her – thank God. Coming from her would have killed him instantly.

**********

He was going to the clinic now. He needed those tablets badly and  urgently. The pharmacist was preparing them anyway, but he wanted the doctor’s note – “Sir, it is company policy – no prescription without a doctor’s note”. Here it was coming again and again. His own words, his own usual defense – repeated often – out to hound him now – wherever he went. At least the doctor come out and prescribed them without a fuss. The doctor was about to tell him that he could not  be treated at the clinic anymore, as he was not a staff, but thought better and changed his mind at the last minute.

************

Maybe he will go to the club now for a snack. He had definitely a lot of friends there – they had met regularly in the past. He was not disappointed – they all swarmed around him, welcoming him and making him comfortable and easy at home. At least he was now amongst friends. Forget those people in the office. Birds of a feather flock together – they say. At least he was allowed membership here, amongst true and sincere friends.

However, it was the last bit before he entered the club that was really eating him. He had shown his card from far – but still the security guard asked to see it at close and have a long and steady look – “it is company policy, Sir, you see” – the guard had said. He was smiling ( or was he sneering??) when he was saying it!

He was always wondering what dictators of countries felt when they were out of office. Now he knew. He had tried to visualise for his own case, but did not think it was to this extent. Thank God at least he was a free man to move about and stand the slights and insults.

**********

After some time, he knew he will get over it – and learn to feel and act as ordinary and what it meant. He will succeed by time – he knew it and felt it. Let them have their ‘revenge’ and fun for now. He did not care anymore. He was now amongst his friends. At least they appreciated and recognised him as such. He had done a lot of good things for them, and they still remembered.

He did not care about the others, why should he??.

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This story was extracted from

D - The Sequel  C - Short Takes

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