Ulrica Dias

Raju and Dingar

 
                                            Raju and Dingar
 
Raju had a job. That was the most important thing. After remaining unemployed for more than a year, he had a job. True, it paid him only two thousand rupees per month and the hours were long. However, at least he would be able to contribute to the family income.
 
There was no training. On his first day, the head of the canteen, a tall dark, frightening-looking man named Rajesh said- “Look here, your job is to give the employees what they want. If they want a toasted sandwich, then don’t be stupid and give them a plain sandwich If you do, I will ask you to leave immediately. Also, if you break a plate or lose a spoon, I shall cut two hundred rupees from your salary.”
 
Raju’s co-worker was Dingar, a rough, illiterate boy of twenty, a year older than him. Dingar resented the fact that Raju could read. He was jealous when Raju quickly learned to prepare the accounts for the day and when he was put in charge of checking the stock content and ordering whatever was needed, Dingar felt that he did not need an assistant. Dingar felt he could manage the office orders and the ‘chai times’ perfectly well. It was hard work serving tea twice a day and snacks all day round to over a hundred employees. But Dingar had experience. He had worked in the canteen for over five years.
 
So, Dingar started to make Raju’s life miserable. He would make snide remarks and tattle to Rajesh about Raju. He would purposely drop cups and plates and then blame Raju. Because of this, Raju’s salary at the end of the first month was only one thousand four hundred rupees. Raju was afraid of both Rajesh and Dingar and hence kept his mouth shut.
 
And for the rest of his life, he wished he hadn’t.
 
They had almost finished the afternoon ‘chai time.’ Raju asked Dingar *“Shetty Saab ko chai diya kya?” Dingar in an attempt to show his superiority in English said “Go check you self”.
 
“It’s just a question of yes or no”, Raju said. He was suddenly speaking fluent English and there was an animal anger in his voice.
 
‘I not tell’ Dingar said. “Go check”.
 
All the months of frustration in Raju erupted. There was a large pot of water boiling on the stove, water with which to make the next batch of tea.  No-one knew exactly what happened next but when Rajesh entered the canteen staff room, he found Dingar’s head in the boiling water, Raju standing over him. He separated the two boys and rushed Dingar to the hospital. He said to Raju “This kind of behaviour is intolerable. You are fired”. And he added darkly “I shall see that you never get a job again”.
 
Three weeks later, Dingar was perfectly fine and back on his rounds serving tea.
 
 
 
 
As for Raju, two days after the incident, he was crossing the road on his way to the store when a speeding car hit him and ran over his legs. He lived but his legs had to be amputated. He would never work again.
 
*Translation of Hindi words- Did you give Mr. Shetty tea?

 

All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Ulrica Dias.
Published on e-Stories.org on 03/09/2012.

 

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