A small growth story – Vikash


“What happened Vikash? why are you standing there? Want to say something? Everything okay?”, Vikash’s mother asked and kept on asking more questions till Vikash interrupted. This made Vikash believe that his mother has not changed over the years. This not only gave a relief to him but also made him wonder, ‘How come?’.

Many years ago, Vikash moved ahead in his life with a belief that there will be no need to look back. He completed education and went for job and prospered every moment and at the age of 35 he is vice president of a multinational company which is trying create its biggest international footprint here in India. Challenges were many but the greed of success was so intoxicating that Vikash was ready to forget everything to achieve this. Food, Rest and Socializing were not so important factors for him. He just needed success and growth. All going well and success was following Vikash without a single occurrence of speed breaker on the way.

First quarter result of India operations was looking good. Rather much exciting than what he had planned. His team worked day and night to make this happen. Vikash planned for a party to celebrate the success the day he is going to publish the results to press. He felt slight pain around his neck and hand. He got up and made some hand and neck movements assuming everything will be alright by his so called relaxation exercise.

He recalled one incidence which made him successful. Several years back when he was a software engineer, he had developed a beautiful feeling in his heart. Till date he never cared about anybody. His focus was work and anybody who is related to work. Once while having his as usual hurried lunch to resume work at the earliest, one average looking girl came to his table in the dining hall and asked, “Can I join you for lunch?”. He looked up to the girl and nodded and gave an expression which meant, ‘Is this my table that you are asking for permission?’. The other tables in dining hall were occupied by other hungry techies. He continued his lunch and when finished, got up to leave the table. He started to collect all the containers of his tiffin box. He found that girl was eating the curry from his tiffin. He was dumbstruck. He sat again. An unknown girl just started eating curry from his tiffin box was out of his imagination. He did not say anything but waited for her to finish. Once she finished eating and preparing to leave, he tried to grab the box. But before he could, that girl took the box with her. He was now going mad. He looked around to see if this is a prank his teammates have planned but to his surprise he found that his box was kept in the table behind him. That girl said, “Thanks for waiting” and gave a beautiful smile. He smiled with a guilt as he was waiting for something else. He went back to work but he felt different. The beautiful smile of that girl was not going away from his eyes. He was seeing her smile on anything where he was trying to focus. One thing changed since that day. He started looking for that girl while having lunch and tried his best to have lunch in the same table where he is having. Days passed and they did not speak a single word to each other than inviting to join or asking for permission to join. He started making mistakes at work and forgetting things. He wasn’t sure what’s going on with him. He  assumed that he may have started liking the girl. He reconfirmed after questioning himself for several days. Now, what next? He was going crazy with the thought that he has to convey his feeling to that girl. He has found out the girls seating location and name by then. One day after lots of preparation he decided to tell the girl his feeling although that will be the first time he will be speaking to her. He thought, he will discuss after lunch. He wore the best dress he had and wore the best perfume he got. He went for lunch and was sweating like crazy with the thought that he is going to speak to her today. He wished the girl should not be there when he enters the dinning hall so that he can invite her to his desired table. His wish came true. he was happy. he took a table which will give him privacy. He waited for the entire lunch time without starting his lunch but she did not come. He did not feel like having lunch. Nothing in his life ever went out of his plan so it was difficult for him to accept this fact. He went to the place where the girl sits. He found she is not there as well. He assumed, may be she took a leave for the day. He asked the person sitting next to her.

“She left the company as her contract got over. She went to her hometown.”, that person responded. “Do you have any work with her? I am taking care of tasks that she was handling till date”.

Vikash was shattered. He came back to his desk and got an immediate call from his manager.

“This is absolutely unacceptable Vikash. So many bugs and complains about you not responding to queries in time. I am sorry Vikash, if it continues, you may land up in Performance Improvement Program. You have little time.”, His manager said.

“I gave my entire life for past 6 years to the company. I did not bother about day or night. I took everybody’s task when I was done with mine. Now for one months mistake you want to put me in PIP. This is unfair.”, He said with clear sign of anger.

“People in Professional world are like door-to-door salesman Vikash. Everyday is like a new door. Your performance at previous door will not help you in this door. Similarly, your current performance is what looked at. You better understand this now. If you need, take a vacation. That’s the most I can do.” , his manager said.

“Thank you!”, he said and came back to his desk. He made himself believe that he was unnecessarily distracted. His primary goal is to reach at the top. He worked again and gradually this episode got suppressed in his mind.

Now I am what I wanted to be one day and smiled.

Suddenly he lost the visibility and severe pain on his chest. He fell on his chair and then on ground. Nobody was there to realize that he needs medical help. There were no bell in his cabin as bells are out of fashion. The only person in the entire 5 floor building was the security guard sitting at the main entrance. It was 2:00 AM so there were no expectations of anybody coming in either. He was not in a position to think but his strongest desire at this point was not to die. He could not move his body much but was trying hard. He somehow reached the cell phone. But unlocking the keypad needed some effort and he was sure he will not be able to do that. He tried pressing the first key of his password but others keys were pressed simultaneously. He never felt so helpless in life. He could not believe that he is going to die without even medical attention despite his money and status. He could not take this pain anymore. He was shouting at the most he could but his voice vanished in his big cabin. He realized that he is going to die without attention. He was sweating as if somebody has poured a bucket of water on him. He was feeling as if he is loosing his consciousness gradually. Suddenly his phone rang and it displayed his fathers photo on his smart phone. He immediately pressed the receive button and shouted “Baba, I am dying. Help!!” and went unconscious.

***

Vikash’s parents were living in their ancestral home in a village of Odisha. They preferred to spend their last spell of life at their ancestral home as they got more mental peace there. Luxury at Vikash’s palatial house in the metropolitan city could not give them peace of mind and sometimes they felt themselves as burden to Vikash’s growth path. Vikash used to call his parents once a month and most of the times after his fathers missed call. He did one thing regularly, that is sending them money every month. This was because of scheduled transfer facility provided by the bank. He used to see his bank statement and feel proud of doing his duty by looking at the money being transferred to his father’s account.

His father sometimes used to call him at odd hours, like while he is in business meeting or taking rest. He did no mistake in letting his father know that he was annoyed by the odd hour phone calls. His father never conveyed him back about him feeling bad due to Vikash’s behavior and Vikash was happy for his open communication skills that he has learnt over the years.

The same night his father had called as he could not sleep and thought if Vikash asks for explanation for calling at odd hours, he will apologize and say that he by mistake pressed his number. But fortunately by god’s grace this call helped Vikash to reach hospital. His father immediately called Vikash’s friends who in turn informed ambulance to get him to hospital.

***

Vikash got discharged from hospital after a series of treatments for his massive near fatal heart attack. He decided to go to his ancestral home despite everybody insisting him to stay in the city so that he can get better treatment of any health problems comes up. He did not listen to anybody and went ahead. He handed over his official responsibilities to another Vice-president who was in the race with Vikash for the presidential position. It looked as if Vikash is doing a corporate suicide. But nothing seems bother Vikash.

A village full of greenery and some traces of modernization here and there. Most of the young boys and girls were living in some or other city in search of job or moved to nearby time to get all modern amenities. He had no friends. One his father’s friend met him and said, “This village is now an abode for losers. Why are you here?”. This question gave his a lot of pain. He is a product of this village. He thought, he will leave his job and do farming here in his village and create opportunities for his fellow villagers. He went to his mother and stood there. He forgot the art of asking permission to parents over the years as he grew to become one who gives permissions not take one. He stood at the door of his mother’s room..

“What happened Vikash? why are you standing there? Want to say something? Everything okay?”, Vikash’s mother asked and kept on asking more questions till Vikash interrupted. This made Vikash believe that his mother has not changed over the years. This not only gave a relief to him but also made him wonder, ‘How come?’.

He realized parents remain the same for ever. His mother used to ask him these questions when he was a kid and even now when he is a successful adult, his mother is not expecting her son to say everything when there is a need. She has thought of all possible reasons for Vikash standing there and asked all questions to leave no stone unturned.

He asked his mother, “I want to stay here with you and Baba and do farming. I have money to buy modern farming equipment which will make this profitable. I don’t need profit for me but to bring the young people back to this village. I can’t see my village dyeing.”.

“Tomorrow we will go to nearby Shiva temple to do one abhishek before you start your venture.”. This was his mother’s way of giving approval.

Vikash started his mission and with lots of efforts he could start his farming profession. He used all modern techniques yet ensured that he does organic farming. First harvesting time came. He was standing in front of his farm and looking at the farm proudly. The 1st Quarter results of the company did not give a fraction of satisfaction that this result was giving him. He was proud and happy. One soft hand tapped on his back. He turned back to see the same tiffin sharing girl standing behind her. He was dumbfounded. he asked, “You!!! here!! How come??”.

“I am the collector of this district and came here to meet you as I heard one successful professional has started farming. I could never believe that it’s the same person who had lunch with me for so many days but never uttered a single word.”.That girl said.

Vikash’s happiness became eternal. He was feeling as if he is in the 9th cloud when he got to know that she is still unmarried.

Namaste!!!

– Stray Dog

4 thoughts on “A small growth story – Vikash

  1. Sakti, another delightful and meaningful read at a time when corporate gods define one’s success. Thank you for allowing me to pause and reflect.

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