Short Stories (Fiction)

The Promotion (Short Story)

 

Sai was ironing his shirt when he realized, in his hurry, he had not picked up the milk packets that morning. He finished ironing and walked swiftly to his front gate to pick them up. He noticed that one gate was slightly open. Probably he had forgotten to lock it on the previous night. Just as he was about to close the gate, he felt a soft furry body touch his legs. As he bent down, his dog, July, run out of the gate.

“July, July come back… “ Sai shouted at the top of his voice to no avail. He knew she was going to the neighboring park to socialize with the street dogs, again. Last time, when she roamed around the park without him, she had developed a bad skin infection. Sai had spent a lot of time for the treatment and he didn’t want to go through it again. He also didn’t have the heart to see his beloved dog with those rashes again.

But Sai had an important meeting with his Chairman and senior colleagues, who had come from Mumbai to Chennai. Among other things, they were going to decide on the post of Branch Manager. There was a stiff contest between him and his rival Megha. If he did not leave home in another five minutes, he would be late for the meeting.

What should he do now? If they were going to appoint Megha, just because he was late for a meeting, he’d rather let it be. July was his only companion ever since his wife died and his son went abroad. He didn’t want to lose her too. He contemplated for a few seconds, turned right, and walked quickly towards the park.

*****

Sai reached his office at 9:40 A.M. The Chairman was shaking hands with Megha and everyone was clapping when he entered.

“Here we have Sai at last, coming late for an important meeting,” the Chairman said, while Sai sat down on his chair. “I am sure you have a good reason…”

“Just as I was about to leave home today morning, my dog ran out of the house to a neighboring park. Last time she did this, she’d developed a bad skin infection. I didn’t want that to happen again. So I had to go after her and bring her back,” Sai told the truth.

The room was silent for a few seconds. The Charmain stood up and pointed towards Megha. “Sai, would you like to congratulate your new Branch Manager, Megha?” he asked.

Sai looked at her. She was smiling. He looked back at his Chairman. “I was late just for one meeting and you decide on the promotion based on that?” he fumed.

The Chairman sat down on his chair and looked at the attendees for a couple of seconds. He said, “Sai has a valid point,” He turned towards Sai. “Let’s suppose, you and a rival company executive had a client meeting today to decide on an order worth rupees one crore. If you don’t reach there on time, the order will go to the rival. And your dog runs out. Would you have done the same thing?”

Sai was stumped by the question. “Yes, I would have done the same thing,” he said after a brief pause.

“That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the reason why I did not appoint Sai to the new role,” the Chairman said and moved on to other matters.

*****

Sai ate two subs, and drank two cokes, at the Subway stall opposite to his office, after the meeting. He couldn’t even imagine working under Megha, who was his junior by five years. He decided to meet the Chairman to give his resignation letter in person when he got a call from his former boss, working now at a rival MNC company.

“Hi Sai. Heard you are looking for a change?” he asked.

“How do you know boss,” Sai replied.

“Oh that, I still have close contacts in your company. By the way, we are looking for a Regional Manger for our Chennai branch. Would you like to join?” he asked.

“I…” Sai hesitated.

“Don’t worry, your pay will be 30% more than Meghana’s and we work only five days a week,” he said.

“Wow, I want to join,” Sai confirmed. And added, “You don’t know how much this offer means to me now. I don’t have words enough to thank you boss…”

“Oh, you don’t need words to thank your dog,” he said.

Sai smiled.

Destination Infinity

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