Sunday, January 06, 2019

Corporate Politricks - 7 (chapter 2)

Prior episode

A recap of the main characters who have appeared till this episode:
  • Vignesh (Vicky) - Team Lead. Hoping for promotion; competing with Karthick
  • Gokul - same team as Vignesh; Senior Software Engineer; married
  • Merv - same team; hired by Karthick; Associate Software Engineer
  • Karthick (Sir Karthick) - Team Lead
  • Colonel - another Team Lead

Chapter 2 - Another one departs


            Vignesh spent the night wondering what might have been the security breach. He reasoned that if Bob wanted him in the loop then it had to do with Lestitude’s customer data. Was the breach due to someone from Megasoft? If that were the case, Vignesh knew that things would go downhill for the company – even if one client were to raise a security concern, there would be a ripple effect across the firm.
Did Bob already know who caused the breach? 

The next morning Vignesh informed his manager he would be late to office since the meeting today would extend past midnight. But he knew he couldn’t sit idle at home till evening; ever since his ex-girlfriend got married he avoided being alone. After his roommate left for work, he headed to the Government school where a chess tournament was in progress.

With black’s first move itself he knew what the seventh grade player was trying to do. But the older opponent didn’t realise it. He played the wrong piece and on black’s next move, the game was over. The opponent was stunned when the kid excitedly announced, “Checkmate!” 
The older kid took a while to grapple with the defeat.
Vignesh commented, “That’s the shortest game you can play. It’s called Fool’s mate.”
“Sir, when did you come? It’s Tuesday. No office today?” the little kid asked with a wide smile.
“I bunked office to see you play.”
“Sir. Stop joking.”
“Just took a break. I’ve been working too much. Too much for the sake of others.”
“Fool’s mate is to fool the other person?” the boy asked while arranging the pieces on the board. His opponent surely didn’t like hearing the word fool.
“Yes, two-move checkmate.” Vignesh had played against the boy many times and had lost to him as well.
“How’s your girlfriend sir?”
“She’s doing good. But she’s not my girlfriend now.”
“Try again Sir. She will like you. Go to her house and ask again. Take a guitar and sing a song.”
“Na; she’s married.”
“She’s unlucky sir.”
Vignesh smiled; he still found it hard to console himself.

“Sir, is there someone to note the result?”
“Let me find someone.”

The most active person among the organisers was a middle-age lady with an id card around her neck that read ‘ATS’, directing a few people around. ATS was an IT service providing company similar to the company that Vignesh worked for. There was sweat all over her face but she was bustling with enthusiasm. In contrast to her, the school officials were happy chatting and sipping tea. Vignesh offered his help in the next round with recording of scores.

    At 1pm, after two rounds were completed, lunch was announced. Vegetarian and non vegetarian students were grouped separately; only 20% were vegetarian. The ATS lady stood on the small makeshift stage and announced, “Students please remain seated. We will serve food in your place. Don’t move around.”
The menu was simple: potato gravy, cauliflower fry, roti, chicken gravy, white rice, buttermilk and gulab jamoon. The trays with food were arranged on a table on one side of the hall. The school staff were piling bones of chicken on their plates as if they had never eaten chicken in their life. When Vignesh was about to pick a plate to eat, one boy called, “Anna, can you give me some chicken.”

Vignesh searched the tray but couldn't find any pieces in the gravy. The server said, “They’re getting another tray.” Vignesh was upset that the school staff were so busy eating that they didn’t care about the students. The ATS lady was visibly exhausted. She sat near the serving area with a little curd rice on her plate. She said, “You can eat something. We’ll manage till you finish.”
“It’s okay. No problem.”
Vignesh had an idea on seeing the students waiting for food. He took a plateful of cauliflower fries and went across tables asking if anyone wanted it. By the time he reached the last table it was empty. As soon as the caterer replenished the chicken curry, he picked the chicken pieces before the school staff could lay their hands on it. By the time he crossed the second table the plate was empty. The ATS lady took over from Vignesh after she finished eating. Vignesh was exhausted but satisfied. His lunch constituted of only gulab jamoons – his favourite sweet.

There were three more rounds before the closing ceremony. The ATS lady gave a short speech thanking all the volunteers and students. She added, “I would also like to thank Vignesh who wasn’t part of our volunteer group but still helped us.”
As she stepped off stage, she told Vignesh. “I know you didn’t have lunch but I hope you have a good dinner. I owe you a treat.”
Vignesh smiled.
“Which company do you work for?” she asked him.
“MegaSoft Solutions. Which technology are you in?”
“I’m a HR.”

His seventh grade friend finished third on the rankings. The boy was feeling the shape of each of the pieces and counting them before placing them back in his small backpack.
Vignesh waited in the bus stop with the kid. He was introduced to the boy and his school a couple of days after his proposal was rejected by the girl he madly loved. He used to visit the school on weekends and spend a couple of hours with the kids teaching or playing chess to divert his mind. He would start by reading something from their textbooks but invariably the kids would start talking about politics or technology. Seeing the kids being cheerful and cracking jokes made him happy on weekends. They helped him divert his mind from the rejection.

“Your bus is here. It came before mine.”
“Na Sir. You’re lying. You left your bus for me.”
Vignesh had a sheepish grin. “Go on.”
Before boarding the bus, the boy shouted, “Bye Sir. Come to school.” He used the aluminium stick in his right hand to locate the entrance to the bus. He didn’t need any help; he hardly needed a few seconds to hop into the bus unassisted.
The boy was completely blind.

While Vignesh was waiting for his bus, he noticed an elderly man near him reading the business section of the newspaper. Vignesh took a peek at the main articles – there was one about a European bank doing damage control after some of its customer information was posted online by a disgruntled employee who had recently quit. Vignesh pondered over the Lestitude situation – was it possible that the Colonel or his junior, the cadet, had done something? Both of them were openly in protest of everything that happened. And the Marshal did behave strangely during his notice period; the calmness in him was something Vignesh had never seen earlier. Was it possible?

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