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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sri's Recession Blues: A (fictional) Short story

Sri was not happy. In fact she was downright frustrated. And it wasn’t due to that dunderhead Mohan, her boyfriend. It was her job.

She had always been a bright student and prided herself on her hard work and focus. Her teachers and friends always had expected great things of her. And she hadn’t disappointed them. After her MBA in Finance, she had bagged an attractive finance job with a boutique mid-size investment bank. Her paycheck was average, but her work profile was exciting. Most of her classmates had been jealous of her “luck” on landing a pure finance job right away, while most had to be satisfied with sales profiles.

Anyway, that was a few years back. After a couple of job hops, Sri landed at a really good position with satisfactory money and a great culture place. The exposure was great and her boss was intelligent and well respected in the industry. Her Boss believed in giving only directional inputs to the team and then allowed them to run free. But of late, things have been going steadily down on her.

Firstly, due to the demands from the new division, her boss was completely swamped for time. He seldom had time or the bandwidth to guide Sri’s team, nowadays. Sri and her team were adrift rudderless. Secondly, the firm was badly missing Viju, the aggressive client relations head. He had been instrumental in getting a foot in many a doors for the firm, and his constant demands kept the juice flowing. Lastly, the long drawn slowdown had not only dried up business but also made everyone grumpy and downbeat.

Sri got in the Ladies compartment, and was just settling down when somebody called her name aloud. 

“Sri ! What a pleasant surprise!” It was Geetha, Sri’s friend from college. Happy memories came flooding by. Sri and Geetha chatted, laughed, shared stories , exchanged notes breathlessly for the next 40 mins. 
“So Geetha, what brings you to Mumbai from Bangalore?” Sri asked. Geetha replied that she was visiting Jai, her younger brother. More stories unraveled, and sometime then Geetha told Jai’s story to Sri.

Jai was diagnosed with a rare form of Arthritis when just five yrs old. Worried, his parents consulted a famous and the best doctor in town. He recommended regular dosage of Penicillin injections. 

But Penicillin at that age is difficult for any kid and not surprisingly, Jai not only lost health but also was getting behind at school. He was easily fatigued,sleepy and found it difficult to concentrate on his studies. At just Seventh standard, his grades plummeted alarmingly in his Convent School. Geetha’s parents, though well off, were worried that their child will fail and began to consider putting him to the Municipal school which was less strict so that he may not fail. 

When Jai learned of his parents’ decision, he fought hard with them and bargained that they will let him stay in his present ICSE School. Exams were near, and there was little time for preparations. 

With great will power, Jai memorized his entire Maths text book and somehow even managed decent numbers. He had fought it out. Soon thereafter, his Doctor informed his parents that his Arthritis had spread to his heart and he had little time left. Distraught, his parents took him to the famous CMC Vellore Hospital as a last ditch effort. 

The doctors at the CMC did a thorough investigation and found out that Jai was completely normal child. He never had any Arthritis in the first place. His X-Ray reports were misplaced with some other child and his “famous” doctor, in his 3-minute examinations, had kept him on wrong medicines. 

“You're killing the boy” the doctors of CMC chided Geetha’s parents. “Stop all medications at once” they ordered. And indeed, in time Jai blossomed well and went on to earn his PHD in Robotics and was on way to a prestigious Research Assignment with the US Govt. All this, achieved by a boy who was about to flunk his Seventh standard final exams. Who right since childhood was considered weak and unfit. Geetha was proud of him. And so was Sri.

They parted, and Sri was lost deep in thought. Maybe things may be bad and bleak with her at present. But, if only she did her job well, without getting bogged down by the surroundings, one day things will have no options to improve. Just gotta keep fighting.

For the first time during the day she smiled, as she walked back to her house.

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