This is an old story I had written about an year back. The intention was to write a book but I ended up writing a 2 page short story to warm up. I am still warming up – enjoy! 😉
Ramkumar (RK) had joined Poc Systems, a 3 bn dollar software services company exactly 2 years ago. He was thinking of his campus interview that got him into Poc. Rakesh, the Director had asked him why he wanted to join Poc. RK had been honest and spoke about how eager he was to learn new things, go to different parts of the world, get paid well and some day in future be the head of a strategic initiative in PoC. Somehow Rakesh took a liking for the youngster – RK reminded him of the days when Rakesh too was a final year engineering student hungry to do something great in life.
Today was different. RK was having lunch with Seema and Kochar, his project mates. Singh had prepared a sumptuous lunch for them, as usual. The Dal was tasty enough to remind RK of his days at the college hostel when his friends used to ride their bikes to Munnu dhaba. RK was talking about Munnu dhaba and Rakesh in equal zest, when they heard a loud explosion. The sound was so loud that it shook Singh’s Punjabi dhaba and caused chaos in the small eatery. The metal plates and other utensils fell on the floor, the cook fled to the road screaming that he wanted to run back to his wife in Ambala. Most of the people eating their lunch were employees of Poc and they ran outside the restaurant almost as if by reflex. Ron, who always stood outside the gate of Poc and urged PoC employees to take personal loans or credit cards saw RK and his friends and came hurriedly towards them, making his way through the small crowd that had assembled there. It was as if he needed to be in the company of somebody he knew to feel safe. He was shivering and said,”Sir, Madam, look there!!” By now a lot of people had gathered outside the blast scene. By their attire, you could easily identify the localites in the crowd and the software employees. They were in a crowd together and mixed like immiscible liquids. But all of them shared the same petrified look of fear on their office. Some of the women folk began to cry and Mangamma, a pregnant 37 year old lady was expertly balancing her 2 year daughter on her hips and at the same time gripped her 11 year old son, Tilak tightly as if he would run away. Tilak was too scared to say anything. Her expression of fear suddenly changed and Mangamma let out a shriek of joy when she saw Shakthivel coming out of the PoC office campus. He was one of the many localites who had been employed by Poc. PoC was liked by the localites as it had employed them as watchmen or cleaners or at some other department within their organizantion.
Thick smoke was coming out of the twenty sixth storey of PoC. This building was a 30 storied skyscraper and today, an Europen major bank’s IT team was at PoC listening to a presentation on PoC’s capabilities by Sawant Mullick, CEO of PoC. Stephanek Jans, the CEO of Staldt Bank was with Sawant too. The potential business was worth a billion euros contract spread over 5 years, the largest deal in the industry till date. Sawant had spent considerable amount of time at Poc headquarters in Houston and wanted to be based out of India. His son and daughter were school going kids and his wife, Pratibha felt that they must be in India to inculcate Indian values and culture in their children. After his raise to CEO 2 months back from a COO’s role, Sawant had shifted to Chennai. The press had paid a lot of attention to this move.
The fire engines and police had arrived at the scene and barricaded the campus. The firefighters were trying their best to douse the fire, which had by now spread to a floor above and below the 26th storey. All focus was on the 26th storey as it housed the CEO’s office. It seemed that others who had been in the office at that time from lower floors had either run out or were pulled to safety.
After a long wait, Rupesh emerged from PoC and Kochar ran and hugged him. Rupesh and Kochar had studied together at Rai Bahadur college of Engineering. Rupesh informed them that Sawant was no more. He was shaken, tired and crying. All of them were crying and RK sent a message to Rakesh’s cell, “Sir, I have completed 2 years today and the latest project was successful, too” Seema smiled and they left for their respective homes. Rakesh had set up a conference call to discuss an important project that was coming up at Houston. Akthar was joining them soon.
2 weeks later, RK was happy to know that he was elevated to the post of commander of Tamil Nadu faction of JeT. Khalid Omar had personally chosen to reward him with this post after RK’s organization skills were successfully displayed at PoC. Seema was going to be RK’s deputy. Khalid was the chief of the IT division of JeT, a terrorist network suspected to be based out of Pakistan. It’s leaders including Rahman who had been on the Interpol list of terrorists for many years was arrested by the German police at Dusseldorf today. Rahman was on the phone with Rakesh at the time of his arrest.