Wednesday, March 04, 2009
"Lucky. Come for lunch" shouted Lucky's aunt from the Dining Table.
For as long as 25 years (that's all he could remember), Lakshmikanthan remained only Lucky's baptized name. Except for School TC, degree certificates and his resume, Lucky was the name by which he was widely known among friends and relatives. Infact not many of his class mates even knew his real name which he found out when they returned a letter addressed to him in his college days.
He had always felt lucky to be destiny's favorite child.
Until 2 weeks ago...it happened.
Lucky did not feel hungry and he was contemplating under what pretext he should avoid the luncheon when questions would be asked casually. Of course, everyone had their concerns and he could not blame them. And he also knew that they asked because they cared for him and only wished for his well-being. But given the current situation Lucky was in, it seemed as if everyone was nice to be nice. Infact, in his head, he ad-libbed everyone in Simon Cowell's voice - acerbic and mean. And it really drove him nuts.
Slowly Lucky rose from his computer desk which did manage to fit his 6 feet 1 inch tall frame. For someone who had celebrated his 27th Birthday sometime before, he looked somewhat heavy set. Consistent and more-than-necessary rounds of coffees, pizzas, Aaloo Parathas and Paneers ensured that Lucky looked like a traffic policeman dressed in mufti.
Replacing the professional attire of the neatly pressed Allen Solly pant was a Bermuda that barely held his paunch and made him feel like a pregnant Rhino in the vandalur zoo. He made a mental note to join the nearby gym which he had joined and quit 3 (actually 4) times before. Maybe that was one way to vent anger even if it was some innocent and harmless punching bag.
"I am not hungry now Aththai. Maybe I will eat later."
"It's already 1.30. By this time you usually have your second coffee break right?" asked his aunt.
There we go. Just when he wanted to forget it, she reminds him about it. Pissed and angry, but just good enough to conceal it, Lucky gave a wry grin which looked like "Oh-You-Are-so-smart" but in reality meant "Oh-free-me-from-these-morons". With that smile Lucky walked back to his computer room and sat staring at the computer screen just as any other day. 10 minutes later, Lucky's father knocked the door and sat beside him. That was something he admired about his dad and wished everyone had the same sense of diplomacy.
"Seems you are not hungry?" asked his dad.
"Yeah. Not much. I will eat later dad." assured Lucky. In his heart he knew that the later sounded just like those deadlines he gave to his once existent and demanding clients. 2 weeks ago thanks to the global recession, his company put a full-stop to his project and job which was obviously greeted by an exclamation mark, his questions were punctuated with apologies and hence there was a grand question mark looming above his very simple ordinary life.
"You are still upset about the whole issue?"
Upset was a very decent word. Of course, that was because his village-born-and-gentle-natured dad had always been the same gentleman as far as he could remember. Lucky felt like taking every possible glass article in the room (including his beloved computer monitor) breaking it into tiniest piece possible and laugh and cry at the same time. He wished he could buy some pink chaddis (as retaliation for his pink slips) and courier it to the gang of geniuses in Wall St. and the idiot statesman in Texas.
"Can't help it dad. But I will be fine." lied Lucky as smoothly as he could.
"What do you think about the impact of the whole situation on the country?" enquired his dad as if Lucky was Manmohan's underwear buddy.
It was quite complex and ironically simple to explain. Ravi explained how the IT and call-sector business had taken the Indian industry by storm and how it had attracted investors like Bee-hive in search of Rich-in-content and cheap-in-value talent. Salaries had grown to astronomical levels and lifestyle had changed. The average Indian could now own a house and car before he turned 30 and travel to foreign countries more frequently than they even visited their parents at their hometown (or old age homes if they were unlucky). Rents had skyrocketed and land and flat prices were possibly even higher than the ones in moon.
There were shopping malls, cineplexes, bars and pubs to cater to the elite. People believed to "work hard and party harder". No one questioned when the price of butter pop-corn was hiked from 25 to 35 Rs because they thought that to argue for it would be "cheap". Parents of girls with 36-28-36 figures had choice of US or Dubai or Europe grooms like some Crorepati question. Desi groom's applications were welcome only if they were Ambani or Advani's housemates. Swarovski and Gili were spotted frequently in marriage receptions unlike previous years when they could only be seen in their respective showrooms.
Not all was bad though as some people did spread the wealth by donating liberally (even if for the sake of 80G exemption). Economy was on the rise and women found better footing on par with men owing to liberalization. That did not stop them from being harassed or burnt for dowries, but still it was much better than before. There was a market to sell something and everyone was ready to buy anything.
Ironically, owing to the recession and the pink slips offered, many would have to wave good-bye to their AC cabins, fat pay-cheques and magnificent life-style. Worse, Lucky was not sure that he would even find any alternative job. The old adage that "What one fool can destroy ten wise men cannot repair" seemed perfectly true.
The final nail in the already buried coffin though was that at the correct marriable age, he was now without a job and not even in sight of one.
It was not like Lucky was afraid of change, but just skeptical about it. Change. One word that changed American election. He had been following Obama's progress and he always felt that he was the one. And when Obama got elected, Lucky followed his now famous victory speech. But it changed once he announced sops and restrictions, which like a domino effect ended up affecting his job. Lucky never thought that a single piece of treaty or paper could be so impactful. Maybe he might have done the same thing if he had been in Obama's shoes. But right now, he had to walk bare-naked and shoes seemed like history.
In short, Lucky's life seemed perfectly screwed.
Lucky's dad listened patiently and said "Come with me to the hall."
As Lucky sat on the sofa, his dad inserted a pre-recorded CD into the CD player. Seemed that CD players had even ventured in the remote village where Lucky's dad was a farmer and Landlord. His dad played a B-Movie from the 70's and it was utter crap from the first scene. The opening scenes gave idea to Lucky that it was a movie centered on the lost-and-found formula where the kids were lost in childhood and would take revenge once they reached adulthood. Of course, it would be filled with mundane jokes and some running-around-the-trees.
"Dad. I am in no mood to watch this crap" said a disinterested Lucky.
His dad however was engrossed in the movie and seemed as if he was waiting for some miracle to happen on the screen.
And that was when Lucky discovered....something...quite odd.
P.S: At this point, I discovered that the story…is in an interesting situation. It can go any way as per the whims and fancies of the author. So, what do you think should happen next? How can we take this story forward? Publish next part in your blog or mail me your thoughts on this.
Hope you have fun :)