Name

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

John bluntly refused to accept to participate in the retirement party for the reasons best known to him.

Name

When I bluntly refused to participate in a retirement party for my retirement from the reputed Public Sector Undertaking Company, my colleagues were stunned. On retiring from my job, I calmly reached my home. Even my close friends in the office were puzzled. After my retirement, I avoided meeting my erstwhile colleagues. Despite serving more than 25 years in the company as an employee, I never had a name board at my residence, to show my official name and my designation and the name of my company in which I served. I had my own reasons and reservations.

I was known as Ram at my home. Letters from me to my relatives and from them to me were addressed as Ram. But my official correspondence with my company was in my official name John and they were delivered specifically to my postbox maintained by me and by the postal staff in the post office. My employer and my colleagues always knew me as John throughout my service.

Ever since I joined that company as John as an ex-serviceman, 25 years ago as a mechanic with a first-class diploma in Mechanical Engineering, my service had been efficient and smooth as ever. Besides, for own my reasons, I wantonly remained an introvert in my office throughout my career. I was successful in my approach and I retired smoothly without any problem in my career. As soon as I retired, I vacated the quarters and came back to our house in Madras.

If you search every human being’s heart, you can always find a dark spot that will remain unexplored. I too had my own. Despite running and completing my official career successfully as John, still I have a feeling of remorse now and then, whenever I think about my close friend late John.

Some 28 years ago, having only elementary education as my educational qualification, I could only join the Indian Army as a soldier. My friend John by virtue of his technical qualification had been serving as a technical staff in the army. We both were roommates. After completing three years of service in the army and having no prospects for any promotion in the near future, I wanted to get discharged from the army. My friend John too wanted to get discharged from service since he had frequent health issues and in particular high blood pressure, despite being normal in weight. Perhaps being a hereditary issue, his working environment had something to do with it.

So, we got discharged from the army, packed up and boarded the train. He agreed to come to Madras and then proceed to Trivandrum from Madras Central Station. A small town nearby Trivandrum was his native place.

On reaching Nagpur, my friend John suffered a massive heart attack and collapsed. I informed the military authorities nearby. They took the full responsibility of sending him back to his native. I handed over the dead body of John with a heavy heart. Though his entire luggage was sent with him, a small suitcase containing his original educational certificates was by mistake left with me as if it was mine.

When I reached Madras, I verified his certificates. Though he was a Keralite, his school and college education was at Madras, luckily in the same area where my family had been residing. Perhaps, John must have had his education in Madras by staying in one of his close relative’s house.

Both of us had lost our father in our early childhood.

John’s mother had so far not traced or enquired about John’s certificate. Perhaps, she thought the certificates of John had no value, in view of his death. All of a sudden I had a crooked idea. Since both John and I were of the same age and height, I decided to use his educational certificates to apply for a technical cadre in the Public Sector Undertaking in Neyveli in the name of John. Since, both John and I were ex-servicemen; I had no difficulty at all in getting recruited as a technician and john’s technical qualification served as an added advantage. However, I emerged as a real technician by dint of my hard work. Having settled in life, I got married soon, which was again a simple marriage in a temple allowing close relatives only.

Having retired as John from a Public Sector Undertaking, I had no pension. However, I had other monetary benefits and I invested them wisely to get recurring income. I had to finish the marriage of my only son, who was highly educated. During the school and college education of my son, I had no other go but to sign as John in his certificates and reports. When my son and my wife questioned my official name John, I simply replied to them, “It was in memory of my deceased friend John.”But they seemed to be convinced only half-heartedly. However, my family members did not precipitate the matter further.

While so, one fine morning a car stopped at my residence. One of my close friends in the office along with his wife stepped down from the car. Unable to identify my house, my friend inquired about my neighbor. 

“Sir, do you know John’s house? He retired from NLC.”

“We don’t know any such person in this area. Don’t you know the correct address and house number?”

“This is the street, sir. But I have come all the way from Neyveli. I don’t know the correct door number.”

“My neighbor Ram is retired from Neyveli. You can enquire him.”

“You mean Ram. Ok. I will just enquire.”

When they approached the house and rang the calling bell, I opened the door and welcomed him.

“John, at last, I have found you. I have come here to invite you to my daughter’s marriage. Your neighbor says it is Ram’s house. Is it not your house?”

“Yes, it is my friend Ram’s house. He too retired from NLC but from mines, but we were working in Thermal station. That’s the confusion. Ok, when is your daughter’s marriage?”

“On 2 July 2020. John, you should come with your family without fail.”

When they left, my wife and my son looked at me strangely.

 

 

 

 


Submitted: June 07, 2020

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