At long last, Suresh got an appointment order. The relevant portion said, “if the candidate is willing, he has to join duty on or before 9th of September 1978. The job is permanent but promotion and other benefits depend solely on performance”. He did have a job but it was neither permanent nor to his liking. If at all he held on to it, it was solely because he did not want to incur the displeasure of his parents. But his love affair with Sheela would not make any progress as long as he was stuck up with his temporary job.
As soon as he got his appointment order, his first impulse was to rush to the elementary school on the main road where Sheela was working as a teacher but on second thought, he decided to casually mention this matter when they meet next. Instead, he took some of his colleagues to their favorite ‘coffee house’ to celebrate his ‘success’.
And to his utter joy, he saw Sheela standing at the entrance of the coffee house just when they were stepping in. On seeing Suresh and his friends, she stepped aside. The expression in her face betrayed her disappointment. But why? Suresh thought, though he still wanted to hide the good news for a while. “Hi Sheela, what brings you here?” Suresh asked. Sheela began to weep, not knowing what else to do. Suresh seemed to be in utter confusion but one of his colleagues approached her to sort out her problems, if any. Suresh watched them from a distance. She simply handed over a folded paper to that colleague and left the place. It was a letter addressed to Sheela’s father. The colleague went through the letter in a hurry and gave it to Suresh. “It’s about Sheela’s marriage…..an arranged one. May be she is upset”. Suresh just listened to what the colleague said.
“It seems the sender of this letter is a friend of Sheela’s father”, the colleague added.
“How do you know?” Suresh asked.
“The language is informal and there is no mention of those big things associated with marriage…by the way, it is from one Mr. Ramanathan…T.K. Ramanathan.”Suresh snatched the letter from his colleague and even as he was half way through it he knew who the sender was. “It is my dad’s letter…and it is about me and Sheela….the poor thing is confused because I am referred to as ‘My son’. It’s a big surprise to me”, thus saying he took leave of his colleagues and soon he was on his wings! There she was!….waiting for an autorickshaw. He hugged her and whispered into her ear, “all is well that ends well”.
By the way, does this remotely resemble an O’Henry-shot?