As soon as Suhel walked out of HR cabin, he was showered with complements from his colleagues.
The news spread like a wildfire that Suhel was the only employee among the hundred plus executives who joined last year to get a double promotion. He would be the lucky one to attend the coveted Managing Director (MD)’s family dinner at his home―this sacrosanct ritual was observed by MD for only the star performers of the company.
Suhel reached MD’s house on time.
MD looked very different in his t-shirt. Suhel had only seen him in sharp formals radiating professionalism and class.
MD welcomed Suhel with a gentle pat and invited him to a sprawling dining table where they were joined by MD’s wife.
“We have the new cook; his past experience of working in hospital canteen is worthless.” MD’s wife gave a plastic smile to hide her fury while rearranging the dishes.
The cook came with different drinks carefully balanced on a tray.
“Thank you Sir.” Suhel greeted the cook while picking the glass with orange juice.
“Never address them with dignity. They will grow horns which will pierce you.” MD whispered in Suhel’s ear.
“Try the cocktail.” MD’s wife insisted.
“Thanks; I am a teetotaler.”
“I too was one, till I became a manager. I had to drink to make my clients comfortable.” MD continued, “You know, I never got a promotion in my life.”
“What!” Suhel stared open-mouthed for a few moments.
“He always got double promotions.” MD’s wife quipped.
“Like from Maruti to Mercedes.” MD gave a big laugh as he went for the second drink. “By the way, which car is yours?” he asked Suhel.
“I walk to office. I don’t have any.”
“Your position demands it now; cheers.” MD raised his glass towards Suhel.
MD’s wife interjected when MD and Shuel started conversing about company’s future strategy,
“No business discussions please.” She signaled the cook to serve more biryani on Suhel’s plate.
“It’s indeed delicious.” Suhel praised the biriyani while holding back from licking his fingers. The cook served the biriyani spontaneously by hand.
MD could not digest this behaviour of the cook and slapped him tight. The cook walked away sobbing.
Suhel was shell-shocked and murmured, “He might have done impulsively it out of love.”
“Love, my foot” MD’s voice was horse and unstable.
“He deserved it for forgetting his place.” The wife defended MD’s action.
As MD was about to take his wine glass, he collapsed clutching his chest.
“Help!”, MD’s wife screamed.
The cook came running. He carried MD to the sofa and performed chest compression to bring him back to life in no time. Suhel called for an ambulance that swiftly shifted him to hospital.
Suhel got a message from MD next day: “Thank you. It took my heart to stop a while to make me understand that, like you, I should be a teetotaler, walk to office, and respect people, not mere positions.”
Suhel messaged back, “It’s your true double promotion.”
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