The asphalt on the road grinned at me joyfully as it rained. I got inside a standing area to prevent the stack of writing pages I was holding in a polythene packet from getting wet. I was dumb. Next moment, I was angry.
The pages in the stack were single-side ruled. I wanted double-side ruled and after admitting my mistake, I asked the guy at the counter of the shop in front of the standing area to replace it. He refused and it became the moment I was talking about in the starting paragraph. Both types were worth 35 rupees and contained 50 pages each. This was approximately my third purchase.
The guy at the counter was physically and mentally impaired and I always showered kindness to him and was assigned the job by the college administrators. But it had nothing to do with the replacement. The seal was still gluey sealed and I had all the right to get it replaced. After few more persuasive requests, he finally complied with his own state of mind and stark refused to comply with my state of mind. I was flabbergasted. He told me to talk to the principal about the then-petty-now-big issue. After realizing the principal’s absence, I hurried back to the store to find the guy blabbering to someone through a desk phone. He handed the receiver to me and at the end of the following conversation, she was accused by me to have murdered the college where she presumably worked as a senior clerk.
Murderer: (in inaudible voice) Hello!
Witness: (loudly) Hello!
Murderer: (in slightly audible voice) Sunil!
Witness: Hello! Yeah tell me!
Murderer: What is the problem? (in a voice opposite to what she started with)
Witness: The guy over here won’t repl…
Murderer: That guy? Who is that guy? Show some respect to…
Witness: Oh, not that guy, Suni… Mr. Su… Reverend Mr. Sunil just won’t replace the sheets I bought from him today at around… one-thirty.
Murderer: Why do you want it replaced?
(The story was told to her & Sunil was that guy… oh sorry… reverend shopkeeper’s name)
Murderer: What kind of shit is this?
Witness: (somewhat flummoxed by the inept use of words) Huh? I just want it replaced and I think he has what I need.
Murderer: Look, keep what you have and you may use it later in your engineering life and for what you need, you can pay 35 rupees more & buy another stack.
Witness: What? That just won’t do, ma’am! I won’t need these single-side ruled pages in engineering.
Murderer: Don’t teach me about engineering, okay! Just don’t trouble him… you know he’s a handicapped person…
Witness: I know that, ma’am and I always show him respect (I glared at him), but this is just a slight request I am making.
Murderer: No… (the voice attenuated again)
I handed the receiver back and Reverend Mr. Sunil blabbered something in his own language which Google later failed to translate.
After placing back the receiver, he finally deviated from his erratic state of mind and uttered few magical words which I interpreted to be “You won’t get any replacement, you bastard!” But let me make it clear, his words came out so softly that you’d be forced to give respect.
I presumed the lady on the phone to be that fat, fair complexioned imbecile I once had an altercation with in the office. Her face reminds me of the villainous nurse in One Flew Over Cuckoo’s Nest. ’nuff said. And the meaning of this piece is to show how colleges can go the distance in oozing money outta poor students’ hands. This is the most fascinating example to show how colleges run & turn out to hold such affluent administrators & owners.
And about the murder, I no longer am in terms with the rules & regulation of the college, which unfortunately I study in. Although I have to follow them sometimes, the small amount of respect I had for my college has been erased by the lady and not to say, has been undoed & moved to the guy… err. Reverend Mr. Sunil.
To cut this originally long story short, I had to hobnob with some administrators later to finally achieve my right to replacement and got what I needed. This is in no way, a derogatory post for the psychically or mentally impaired persons, but just a reminder that how the cruel world can harness them for some benefits. I will never forget the words of one of the administrators who was kind & strict at the same time: “Profit is not the motto,” he replied when I threw a taunt at him about the in-shop.