Timothy walked to the bus stop faster and earlier than the usual; not because he was late, but because he was intrinsically motivated for his new job. Surprisingly, he got a seating place in the bus, which on other days, was something he would never have. As the cool morning breeze hit over his face, he went into a ‘world of thoughts’.
He knew that when he would return from the office in the evening, he would have got his first salary with him. He had already planned a party with his wife Harsha and had promised Wimpson, his seven-year-old son, a mini-bicycle.
‘Papa, get me a bicycle, and I will ride you office everyday’ he remembered how his son insisted for his toy.
‘I’m glad you finally got this job, I was really scared what would happen if I had to quit my job for our expecting baby’, he recalled the words of his wife the previous night. ‘Honey, I’m really sorry you had to work when I was unemployed for so long; but I have good faith in this job. I won’t even think of sending you to work as soon as I’m fit here. The bosses told me they will soon promote me.’
As the bus conductor arrived for the ticket, he reached his pocket. ‘This is probably the last time I am travelling in this worn-out and sluggish state buses. From now on, I am going by a taxi; or a fast train at least.’ he thought.
Timothy threw a look around the bus for a while. Next to him probably was a student going for classes at a community school. He remembered how difficult it was for him to attend school while he had to work part time at his father’s grocery shop. The front-most seats were occupied by the elderly. On the left rows of seats, there were women going for work at V-work factory at the end of the town. V-work workers were typically clad in the blue uniforms; and it was by this means he could recognize them. The thought that Harsha too would be travelling for the work similar to these women quickly ran into his mind.
‘Darwin Street,’ called the conductor. The voice immediately reminded him of his workplace. He got off the bus and viewed the office gate. As he passed through it, the gatekeeper gave him a strange smile. It seemed strange because it was first time in the 30 or so days he smiled at him. Usually, the gatekeeper would give a short stare and move to his work. For the sake of courtesy, anyways, he smiled back.
Because he was a bit earlier, he had to wait before he could greet good morning to his colleagues and collect his day’s work. Excited about the salary, he rode to the notice panel where news like these would typically appear. To his great delight, the notice did appear. The panel also had different announcements on it.
‘Our new project is reaching stars; we are heading for the sky.’ Under this notice were the growth rates for the second quarter. He was not smart enough to see through what those growth percentages meant. All he could think was that the growth would soon be reflected in his salary in the days to come.
Under this notice was a handwritten notice endorsed by the senior manager. The notice read: ‘To improve our manpower, we are glad to align our human resource standards with the international benchmarks. As a result of this, we are setting a new recruitment criterion effective from the month of March. Under the new criteria, all workers in the firm should have an internationally recognized bachelor’s degree. This would entail better productivity and would contribute to organizational reputation. Workers whose employment tenure exceeds three years are however, exempted.’
Timothy did not remember if he had had a breadth while he read the notice. He knew very well that his under-graduation degree had a local mark. He never had finances to learn in institutions of international repute, let alone a full-fledged international institution. Does that mean they no longer need me; and others like me? his fears took him over.
‘So good you read this yourself, I had almost scrambled my communication skills to convey this news.’
He looked back to see the personnel manager griming with a smile.
‘As you know our company is setting new heights, this was very necessary. You have been an excellent contributor to our company. In fact, only a couple of workers did as well as you. Unfortunately however, we need to incorporate this change which is seriously desirable. I hope you understand this. Since you did remarkably during this the period you spent here, we are glad to give you a salary in addition to your current dues. Do collect them before you leave today.’
Timothy was speechless. It seemed that a bullet was fired straight at his head. A rush of depressive thoughts ran in his mind as he collected his receivables from the cabin and the finance office. By the moment he was out of the gate, he perspired like an athlete would have after finishing a race. Feared he would lose his consciousness, he headed into a pub. Waiting for his drink, a spiral of memories rushed into his mind.
‘Papa, get me a bicycle, and I will ride you office everyday’, the innocent plea of his son appeared to echo his ear. After the fifth glass, Timothy laid fainted. Some pub men had threw him out of the shop. A passerby dragged him down to his house. When he woke in his stinky clothes, Harsha lay beside him. She had already read his resignation letter and the accompanying payslips that his shirt pocket contained when he arrived home.
Never mind hearty, you will soon find a new and better job; and I am going to continue my work as well. And yes, do not forget to collect the money mentioned in these slips. Like a flash Timothy reached pockets in his waistcoat and his pant. Disappointed, he burst out crying!