Friday, November 25, 2011

Chapter 3 :Encounter - Long Due

How many times have we avoided an eye contact with a person we knew long back, and now we refuse to recognize? Do we have the guts to sit and have a meal with our servants? Can we meet and pass on the same warmth to one of our lesser privileged school mates? I think it requires a lot of courage to be you, despite the status, achievements and success.
***
Rafey stood there staring at those wonderful pair of eyes. It had a disgusted look but they were way too familiar.
He smiled at her and said, “Madam, your delivery. The bill is Rs. 833”.
“Thank you very much. And please feel obliged to pay the bill”, RJ said and started to leave.
“Madam, but..”, Rafey looked a bit perplexed, but he kept smiling, nonetheless.
“You are 15 minutes late”, she said flaunting her Swiss watch.
“Ma’am, I was here exactly on time, no one was at the reception. So I had to call you”, Rafey defended.
“I don’t know, and I don’t care. The moment I got a call from you, I came out.  Look at the watch. You are late. This pizza is free, that means”, RJ bargained.
“This is not fair Ma’am. I was here on time. There wasn’t anyone, so it really isn’t my fault”, Rafey requested and pleaded humbly.
“You mean I am simply claiming this Pizza for free because I don’t want to give money?”, RJ sounded sarcastic and looked at Rafey, from head to toe, “What’s your name?”, she asked.
Rafey kept looking at her, as she shifted her glance to Rafey’s badge. It said R.Shareeq.
She said, “Mr.Shareeq, leave the boxes here and get going”, and she turned to leave.
Rafey was thoroughly disgusted and wondered how he could make her pay the bill. It was his first day at work, and all he had in mind was “Be on time and be courteous”, which he had genuinely been.
But nothing seemed to pay fruits. He couldn’t have afforded to make a call to Shekhar and clarify what could be done next. He accepted that there are people, who no matter what will always prove you wrong.
He couldn’t even tell the lady that it was his first day at work, and he had to take directions and help from his senior to reach to the destination.
He tried again, “Madam, the pizza is free, if it is not delivered within 30 minutes. My clock showed 11 am when you ordered and now it is 11.40 am. I was here exactly 10 minutes before and we’ve been having this discussion since then”
“Look, delivery boy. Don’t promise things, when you can’t conform. Your company says that the pizza is absolutely free if the delivery takes more than 30 minutes. It took more than that. Therefore, F R E E, free”, RJ mocked and made a point.
“But Madam”, Rafey tried to negotiate.
“End of discussion. I may have to think about other Pizza brands then”, RJ said and left.
Rafey would have had to pay Rs.833 from his pocket, which was almost his 3 day salary. He was very disappointed, and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t convince the lady that he was there on time.
Giving up he called up Shekhar.
“Shekhar. I had to deliver the pizza free. They say I was late”, Rafey said.
“Come back to the outlet. We will discuss”, Shekhar sounded comforting.
Before leaving, Rafey peeped inside the office and saw a few people yapping over the interesting Pizza. He had no emotions, because he felt nothing. He wasn’t angry about the way his customer behaved, nor was he scared of the outcome of his job. His mind wove a memory and RJ’s face flashed once again.
He gathered himself and decided to leave immediately without wasting much time. He put his phone in the pocket, tossed his keys. While leaving the office, he stopped by at the reception table and saw an envelope lying there.
It was addressed to Ms. Rajshri Ahuja.
***
“So you got the Pizza for free”, Dexter asked.
“You bet. These delivery boys have no seriousness at all. There are times when you should give them a whack like this”, RJ said, as she took a satiating bite.
“This is unfair yaa”, GK added.
“What unfair? They give 2 pizzas free, and still charge bloody 800 bucks. Money doesn’t grow on trees, GK” , RJ defended.
“Doesn’t mean you torture poor delivery boys”, Dexter said.
“Let me call the outlet and lodge a complaint”, RJ picked up the phone.
“Hello, Domino’s Pizza. Your order please”, answered an employee.
“Let me talk to your Customer Service head”, RJ said.
“Yes, Ma’am. This is Manjeet. How may I help you?”, Manjeet said.
“I am calling from GK’s office. We had ordered for pizza and we got the order late. This is not the first time this is happening. Who was the delivery boy you sent today?”, RJ probed.
“Sorry for the inconvenience Ma’am. Today the Pizza was delivered to you by Rafey Shareeq. It is his first day at work. We’ll make sure it is not repeated again”, Manjeet sounded polite.
“What...? Rafey…R…. Shareeq?”, RJ repeated the name, all of a sudden slipping into a daze.
She hung the phone immediately and rushed towards the reception.