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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Global Gobble

A strong call of Bandya (a nick name used for a layman in rural Maharashtra) reverberated in the hall at down stairs. It was like a seasoned shepherd calling its herd.

He used to sit down stairs and used to look after the administration. Manager in charge of the loans and advances department was sitting upstairs and the downstairs Bandya himself had started calling him up-Bandya. The staff members started calling all the in charges by their sitting positions (e.g. Up-Bandya, Down-Bandya, Cabin-Bandya etc.).The strong call was for receiving a most famous long awaited circular. Circulars are generally famous for their waiting periods. This circular had a maximum period of waiting. Bandya yelled again, “Hey! It has come!” Some members were just signing the muster. Some were busy searching a ceiling fan, sweeping their sweat, after entering the premises and signing the muster. Some were gathered near the Aquaguard water purifier to have a fresh early morning chat and drinking as well as storing the drinking water. Down-Bandya’s second call made the right impact and all the scattered staff members gathered around Bandya’s table. Down-Bandya hailed from a small village, a shrewd person disguising himself in the rural attire. The clearing department peon had brought the day’s post and the down Bandya started looking after the post. Down-Bandya had a peculiar mannerism of his neck. The movement of his neck was as if an active spring had been situated somewhere inside it. This was may be due to his nature of work. Like a crane standing in a lake he used to watch around. Any bit of thing, a smallest movement would never escape his attention. Now while sorting the post his neck had the same jerks and one of it had located the circular. The long awaited famous circular. After locating it down-Bandya had given the call. Everybody was around him now and Bandya was keeping mum. Keeping mum after a strong call was Bandya’s one of the whims. He used to refer it as his first and foremost basic of managerial skills and it did have a definite impact on his herd. The number around him started increasing. Leading the crowd was full of tension Mr. Tokekar. He was one of them who never use hearing aid and still try to behave as normal. The tension mounted on him carried his head down and still down in the papers on Bandya’s table. Manu Muttamvar was relaxing near Mr. Tokekar resting his hand on the shoulders of Mr. Tokekar. Manu laughed watching Tokekar’s head movement and said,

“Hey! Old man! Just help yourself! Don’t bend more else down-Bandya will reach more down!”

“What do you mean by more down? How much down? Is it down under the earth?” Somebody from the crowd roared. Tokekar was not able to hear it. He started looking at each and every laughing person in the crowd. Mr.Uttam Shinde always used to laugh more and louder. He had observed that Tokekar gets easily confused by this and started using this tactic on Tokekar. He would not stop till Tokekar would get totally confused. Mr. Parab was habitual in standing away from the crowd. He would relax resting his elbow on the counter and folding his hands on each other. He was termed as Inspector Parab. He used to enjoy everybody’s problem. He always had a burning curiosity. Like a CBI person he used to interrogate the victim facing him. He had a strong conviction that the person facing him always hides some thing from him. At this time resting on the counters he was laughing at the crowd thinking that Bandya is making fool of everybody. The ‘circular’ thing is certainly a fake one. He sarcastically stared at the crowd and laughing bitterly he moved under a fast rotating ceiling fan.

“Hey? What’s happening Parab? Muhalleme girdi char aane ka bhav!” This was the most regular late comer that had a habit of quoting Hindi phrases every time like most comic villains in the Hindi films do. He had a usual phrase- “On the spot! Goldspot!” which made his nick name as “on the spot”. Dilip came after him adjusting his camera bag, adjusting his spectacles which used to turn black in the sun light. His face had a normal expression of superiority complex. He observed the crowd and for a while a flash came in his mind. Bandya must have been fainted and the crowd is trying to help him. He sensed a photographical assignment in it and his eyes blinked. Still maintaining the status quo of superiority he launched towards the toilet. Last to enter was Bhai. He used to come after everybody as he used to stay in the next building. Bhai was his degree. He was not at all a gangster. He was only a gang head of the middle class employees and was fearsome to them. His main activity in this place was to arrange picnics. Yes! He definitely had toned down himself! He came, he ignored the whole lot and he went towards the phone. He had to win a perfect destination for a coming rainy picnic. He had to arrange for the stuff, the eatables. He had to pursue the customers for picnic donations… everything was like a national issue to him… he lost in that…

Mrs. Kale, Mrs. Kabnoorkar and Mrs. Sawant were the first three who made an exit from the crowd around down-Bandya. All of them came out for different reasons. Kabnoorkar had an illusion of getting raped in this crowd and had a streak of laughter on her face after the illusion. Sawant came out with a bubbling confidence that if somebody had been raped she would have been the first. She was adjusting her sari border clipped on her blouse with a grace and proud. Kale was ignorant as always. One was never able to predict whether this ignorance was real or an act of pretence. She came out of the crowd with an empty water bottle still in her hand. She looked around first at Parab then at Bhai and then she saw ‘on the spot’. Calling him she went away following him towards the toilet…              


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