21 December 2015


Posted by Vinoth Subramanian | Monday, December 21, 2015 Categories: , , , ,

The day (02-09-2015) had arrived for me to proceed. We picked out the file from the bag, which was filled with certificates. It was not heavy to carry. At the same time, I had to carry some expectations and excitements with me. 

We walked down the road towards our destiny. Erode had got more vehicles than my village to pass us. None seemed to be familiar except the lord Ganesh who was sitting on his vehicle (mouse). My father stopped me in front of him and asked me to pray. I had never been good at prayers. I used to have several things to ask but, when I go and stand in front of gods and goddesses, I would forget everything, and that day was not an exception. I had many things to pray but, nothing had struck inside.
“You know everything. You know what to do for me. Thank you for everything.” I finished and walked with my father to the Erode regional office, which was located near to the temple. We had enough time to enter in to the temple. The temple priest invited us.
“Are you outsiders?”
“Yes sir.” My father replied.
“Why did you come here?”
“We have come for certificate verification, in Indian overseas bank.”
“Is it for him?”
“Yes sir.”
“Is he appointed?”
“No sir. He’s called for that. Today everything will be decided we suppose.”
“Very good! May god bless you!” he said and gave a rose to me to keep in to my pocket. Then, he investigated him about my family. The conversation lasted for nearly fifteen minutes. We decided to leave the temple with his blessings and left.

We entered in to the regional office. A person guided us to the first floor. Some of my friends had told that certificate verification would consume much time. We met the officer and told the purpose of our arrival. He asked us to sit inside.
“Do you have all the certificates with three sets of photo copies?” he asked. We had all the originals and two sets of photo copies. My father ran to take the rest after making me sit inside. Some young guys and girls were there. A girl suddenly asked me.
“Where are you coming from?”
“Near to Chennai.” I replied.
The officer came in after 10 minutes, and asked us to take the certificates.
He was rejecting some candidates due to their certificate insufficiency and asking them to go and come back. Most of them had come from other districts. He was rejecting some guys for the second time.
“How many times should I tell you? You should be very careful in producing certificates. The community certificate should be in a prescribed format. Each and every certificate is essential. You don’t have many days. you should get appointed before 14th of this month, or else you will be terminated without any notifications! Keep it in your mind! Listen to me carefully! See, that girl is coming for the second time and that guy is third time! Commuting 300 to 400 kilometers is not easy right?”
“Where are you coming from?” He pointed out a girl.
“Coimbatore sir.”
“You?” This time he pointed out a guy.
“Thoothukudi sir.”
“You are coming for the third time right? Did you bring your community certificate as per the format?”
“Yes sir.” He gave him to verify.
“This is not the actual format! Take the order copy and see the format. No other go. Try to get it soon and come back as soon as possible.” He returned it. Some candidates had failed to bring some certificates. He was upset with them and asking them to bring soon. While verifying, he began,
“Please note. You should produce the following certificates. tenth and twelfth standard mark sheets, degree certificate, provisional, all the semester mark statements, consolidated cards, community certificates, two character certificates, one identity proof and a PAN card. Each and every certificate must have three sets of self attested photo copies. One is for us, one is for the branch and one is for the head office.” He finished. But, I went semiconscious. I had applied for the PAN card which didn’t reach us. I deliberately kept my semester mark statement at home, thinking that consolidated mark sheet alone would be enough. I thought that the degree certificates alone were enough and deliberately kept my provisional’s at my home.

I was scared to the core. My father didn’t turn up. I began calling him.
“Here the printer is not working properly. I will come soon.”
“Daddy! He came and started verifying!”
“I will come soon.” I cut the call. All of a sudden there was a call to my mobile from an unknown number.
“Sir? Is this Mr. Vinoth? I am from courier service. Have you applied for PAN card? I came yesterday. But, you’re mobile was switched off. Where should I come now?”
I apologized and told my address to him.
“So, we have two new comers to join today. Is there anybody to verify their certificates?” He told and readied himself to move. I didn’t know what to do for my father hadn’t come yet. He stood up, pushed the chair. There was a ‘creak’ sound in the hall. Someone had opened the door it seemed. Somebody tossed some papers at me. Everyone must have looked at him. But, I was the only person recognized him.
“My father!” I said to myself and sighed. He was heaving.
“What happened?” He spoke through his breath.
“Daddy, they are asking provisional, semester mark sheets and PAN card which we didn’t bring.”
“Remove your coolers first!” he chided. I complied immediately.
He took all the certificates and placed it on his table. I stood up.
“Visually challenged! You can sit sir. By the way, how can he work?” He asked my father.
“I’ve learned computer sir. Any job related to computer can be done sir.” I said and still standing.
“You can sit sir.” He said again. I was afraid of his next words.
“He will definitely ask us to come again with provisional, individual mark sheets and PAN card.” I said to myself and sat. I thought a while to tell him the truth before he insults us. But, he was even earlier than my hesitation.
“For him, order copy alone is enough.” He declared.
I lounged with the huge relief.
“Thank god! Thank you so much! I need not come again! I need not come again to Erode! The 396 kilometers of journey has come to an end! Has come to an end!” I said to myself. With an extreme joy, once again I bellowed to listen to him.
“Everything is okay sir. No problem. The community certificate is matching with the format. He’s posted in the main branch.”
“Main branch?” I was about to ask.
“Ground floor. He’s appointed in Erode regional office. Here only! All the very best! Just fill the form and join now.”
“What?” I was about to ask but the question came like a rocket to my throat and fell like a thunder in my heart. Once again I lounged. But, not with relief. Even the breath became a burden to me at that time. The officer gave us a form to fill and left the room. My father ran behind him.
I could find no difference between that form and my mind. Both had to be filled. Both had contained several questions. I was not fit to fill them I understood, and anxiously waited for my father’s return.
“He says he can’t do anything.” My father said and sat beside me.
“And, he asks us to proceed to the central office, located in Chennai, to get transfer if they give.”
“Will they give?”
“He’s not sure of that, and told us to come back soon if they don’t give transfer.”
“What to do now?”
“Let’s leave.”
“I want to meet him.” I said.
“I also felt the same, will meet and leave.”
My father took me to his cabin.
“Yes sir.” He turned towards me and continued, “You just go to the central office. I think they may offer you transfer. Else, try to come on 12th or 13th of this month. Your father said you know none here. We shall decide them later. Now you go and explain them your difficulties.” He said, shook my hand and patted on my shoulder. My father asked his mobile number and got it from his office staff.

“Got the job?” Ask the priest when we went to the temple. My father told everything. He gave his number and asked us to save it in the name of Ellai Mariyamman Koyil.
“Don’t panic if they don’t give! Come here! I will take care of him! Erode is a good place! Amma (mentioning the goddess) is with us! I’ll arrange everything for you! Don’t worry.” He said and sent us with an unexpected expectation. We felt really happy for getting a good soul in Erode but, not wished to meet him again.

I tried memorizing the root, knowing that I would certainly forget.
“Daddy?” I called him. He seemed upset, very upset by the result. When two people suffer together, one must promptly come out to console the other. I thought I could come out soon. Without anticipating his reply, I continued,
“I decided. I can’t quit this for any cause. Let’s go to the central office as he said. But, I am not sure of my transfer. It’s not going to hap.”
“Erode. Let my life continue in Erode. We’ve no other option. If this is going to be our plight, we must be prepared for that. It’s not the journey of 396 kilometer; in fact, it’s a journey of +396 days. I can’t wait too long. If Chennai says no to me tomorrow I should say yes to Erode.” He had been reluctantly hearing me. Our subconscious minds had brought us to our temporary lodge. We packed everything and decided to leave. Rs. 400 was refunded to us by the in charge after receiving the key.
“Is there any train to Chennai now?” My father asked.
“It is sir. At 2:00 pm.” He replied. It was not even 12:30. We walked down the road, got the bus to the railway station, found a hotel, ate with no hunger and proceed to the station.

Train came at 1:45 pm. Alappuzha express via Chennai. We knocked the disable coach.
“We can’t let you inside! Guard has told us not to let anybody in.” a passenger refused. He seemed physically normal. My father showed my face to him but he was not willing to open the door. There was a woman shouting at him to open after seeing me but, he didn’t. We stood out and waited for the guard. He came and let us inside. Usually, I don’t complain. But, at that time, I asked the guard to chase the others except people with disabilities and their escorts.
“Who refused to open the door for him?” He yelled at everyone.
“No sir. I didn’t notice him; his father was concealing him behind.” The reply came from the passenger who refused us. Usually, my father gets angry during these times. But, at that time, I was even earlier.
“No sir! He saw my face! I removed my glass even! Not only that, I peeped through the window and requested him. Ask the lady! Ask the lady! She insisted him to open the door after noticing me but, he remained artificially deaf towards her. Check him sir! Check him whether he’s disable or not.” I hurled my bag on the seat.
“No sir!” he began saying something.
“Take your disability identity card. You should have opened the door the moment you saw him. Take your disability certificate!” The guard rebuked.
“I am a cancer patient sir. I have cancer.”
“Get up. Take the bag. You are not supposed to sit here. Stand in the door step.” The guard ordered him.
“Sir. I am…”
“Stand in the door step!” The guard went harsh this time. He obeyed, the guard left the coach, the train departed.

I thought this journey would become a relief to my previous pains, but, forgot to expect that it would offer me a new pain. The train was moving towards Chennai and, I was moving towards Erode. I didn’t know the reason for disbelieving his words on the central office.
“Daddy you make all the arrangements there. I try to come twice in a month. You need not come for it may become very expensive. No one is needed for me. I will get someone there. You can’t come and stay with me. Mom should not be with me. And, brother too.” I had been repeating this sentence to him while traveling.
“Despite getting job, we’re not able to feel happy. Right?” I snickered and asked him.
“Do you laugh? I am wondering here.”
“What to do then? Can I cry for this? Nothing is going to change for us and, we must change ourselves for everything.” The 5 hours of journey was not sufficient for me to think of myself in Erode. Eventually, we had reached home at 9:00 P.M. My mother was still ill. My relatives had come and to take care of her. We didn’t tell anything to anyone except my brother. Both my father I didn’t want my relatives to know anything till everything gets completed. I rushed to the terrace with my mobile. As usual, I informed everything to my sister over the phone. My brother and father came after a while. My brother. Started searching for recommendations while I was talking to my sister.
“Nothing will work out.” I shouted at him.
He stopped dialing and began listening to me.
“We should not do anything silly here anna. They have asked us to proceed to the head office tomorrow. Lemme do according to their prescribed rules. Don’t allow anyone in, which may create unnecessary chaos.” He seemed convinced, said okay and went down. My father followed him after some minutes.
“Come down soon, and you should sleep well tonight. Tomorrow we have to go. Let’s see what happens” He said while descending.
I heard, but, didn’t reply to him.
That terrace looked strange to me while walking. My mind engaged in comparing that night with the previous night.
“This may be my last night in this terrace. How many poems? How many stories? How many articles? How many guests? How many conversations? How many memories? How many pains Took place in this terrace? The meditation, the tears, the stammering, and everything is going to end. Yesterday the night was in Erode, Today its here, and tomorrow? Let it come. Let the day come! The absence of my father, the absence of my mother and the absence of my brother will make much difference in my family. Fortunately, it is not going to happen in my departure. I know; I know very well. My presence and my absence will not make any difference, at any place, and at anytime.” Disposing myself from the terrace, I descended towards my next day.

To be continued!


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