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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

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A send off to Parvathi

Parvathi was a minor employee attached to a certain urban based government office. She had been there working for over forty years. She inherited the job from her mother. Parvathi showed kindness to all her superiors and showed no angry and morose look even in times of extreme tension and pressure. Whenever there was an official function, the boss used to call Parvathi.

“Parvathi, have you got any urgent work in the evening?”

“No sir... why?” she would ask.

“We are going to have several visitors from the head office.”

“Yes sir, what can I do for you.?”

“You got to help us as usual by serving refreshments. You got to arrange the function properly.”

“Why sir, have I faltered in the past?”

“No, not at all.”

“All right sir. How many of them are coming sir?”

“About eight, and we have our staff here.”

“Shall I place the order right now sir?”

“You may, if you like, or even tomorrow morning is okay.”

“Right sir. I will do it.”

Parvathi was used to arrange and clean the room. In the end she had the additional task of washing the cups and saucers. She would take time in a relaxed mood and attend to all the details of sweeping the floor and collecting bits of paper serviettes dumping them into the respective places.

One day moves swiftly and she sees the dawn of yet another day. She would bless all her superiors.

“Good day to you, sir. Good day to you, madam.”

“Good day to you, Parvathi. You look cheerful, aren’t you, Parvathi?”

“Yes Madam. It’s my little daughter’s birthday.”

“Wow. That’s great.”

“I brought some helapa.”

“Oh thanks.”

Then they would get together and sing the birthday song. As time passed, Parvathi was busy. There were more and more parties of varying types. Apart from her normal duties as a cleaner, she had to perform several other duties. But she did not complain. The ladies and gentlemen in the office had a brief chat about the matter.

“We got to help Parvathi. She is poor. But she never complains,” said the chief clerk.

“Yes that is correct. She is a hardworking woman,” said a lady typist.

“We should giver her an extra allowance,” suggested one of the newly recruited young administrators.

“We can add an extra allowance to her salary when she retires,” suggested the chief clerk.

“When is it going to fall?” Asked the lady typist.

“In two months.”

“Oh that will come soon. But can’t we extend her period of work?”

“Yes. We can have her on contract.”

“Anyway we should hold a small get-together for her sake.”

“Let’s throw a good party to Parvathi,” suggested the new administrator.

“But will she like it.” Asked the typist.

“Why not?”

They waited for another month. They all wanted to see Parvathi in a happier mood.

“Let’s ask her whether she approves of a party for her retirement,” suggested the lady.

All of them went to the room of the boss and informed him of their proposal.

“Who is going to ask her?” Asked the boss.

“You are the best to do that.” They all had a common view. The boss summoned Parvathi. She entered her room when all the others left the room.

“Parvathi we have a suggestion,” said the boss.

“What’s it sir?”

“We want to throw a party for your retirement. Do you like it?”

In the first instance she was embarrassed.

“You must be kidding sir,” she said.

“No Parvathi, I’m serious. We all discussed it. We need your consent.”

“No sir. Please let me go home without parties.”

“Why?”

“I am a poor woman. I don’t want to see any party for me.”

“But we are going to do that.”

“Even then you must not waste money.”

“We will keep your mind in peace.”

“I’m anyway peaceful sir.”

“Why don’t you need this party?”

“It’s not that sir. You all will enjoy and go home.”

“Yes. So what’s wrong with that?”

“But I can’t make you clean the place, right? Can I?”

The boss had a hearty laugh.

“Oh, you silly woman. We are not going to let you do that.”

“But sir, it’s my duty. If not, I won’t be in peace.”

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