“Hey! You! Newbie!” shouted Mr Malhotra, proprietor of Malhotra consultancy. “Here we go again,” thought Rashmi mentally. “You joined today?” Mr Malhotra barked, pointing his stubby finger towards Ramesh, the new recruit. “Y…Yes sir!” Ramesh stammered. “Did no one tell you? It is your job to get my briefcase from the car and make my morning cup of tea.”
“But Sir, I have been recruited as an accountant,” replied the poor fellow.
“Who is the owner of this company, newbie?” Mr Malhotra asked in a menacing, soft voice. “You, sir!” replied Ramesh softly. “Then do as I say and none of your cheek!” said Mr Malhotra, snapping his fingers at Ramesh. Hearing Mr Malhotra’s words, Ramesh hurried towards the door, stumbling in his haste. His ears burned red with humiliation as Mr Malhtora laughed cruelly at Ramesh’s clumsiness. The rest of the office staff, fearing Mr Malhotra, tittered nervously. Twenty minutes later, Ramesh stood in front of Mr Malhotra’s desk, briefcase in hand. With a dismissive glance, Mr Malhotra said, “Now go and get tea for me! They should teach all this in college. How will you succeed without doing hard work?”
Looking at Ramesh’s dejected face as he walked into the office pantry, Rashmi felt a stab of sympathy. No one deserved to be treated the way, Mr Malhotra treated his staff, especially the fresh recruits. Rashmi followed Ramesh, where Ramesh was trying to blink back tears of humiliation as he waited for the kettle to boil. Touching Ramesh’s arm lightly, she said, “Don’t take Malhotra’s words to heart. He is a bully who feeds on the humiliation of others. He knows you are poor, desperate and a fresher. Learn the ropes and use this time to build your resume. Move to another company in a few years. I will be doing the same in a few months.”
Ramesh nodded, listening to her words carefully.
Thus started daily humiliations for Ramesh. Mr Malhotra treated him as an accountant, an office boy, a driver and a gofer all in one. Not satisfied by making him do all the menial chores, Mr Malhotra daily heaped verbal abuse as well, chipping away the lad’s confidence. Whenever Ramesh would hear Mr Malhotra shout, “Hey, newbie!” his heart would sink. For Ramesh knew, it meant that an absurd order or a verbal demeaning was coming his way. When Rashmi, moved to a new job, Ramesh felt even more alone.
Following Rashmi’s advice, he swallowed his humiliation, but anger built in him, simmering in his heart.
A few months later, Mr Malhotra died in his sleep. His obituary said his death was due to a heart attack. Reading the obituary made Ramesh smile. Now, no one would shout, “Hey! Newbie!” he thought, keeping the kettle on for tea. “Glad I listened to Rashmi and kept making tea for Malhotra. Thanks to the experience in Malhotra’s office, I can dream bigger”, Ramesh mused, “though I will miss making my special arsenic laden tea for Malhotra.”
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