Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Wedding!

Sitaram was confused. Judge was looking at him; Sitaram could sense a surprise in his eyes. “Are you sure you don’t need a lawyer and wish to confess your crime!!” he asked him again. Sitaram did not speak again but he nodded his head in acceptance. “You will answer the court, speak!” the judge changed pitch of his sound; he seems to be busy completing many pending cases for the day. If he hears him say ‘yes’ this case is done and he can directly put Sitaram for a sentence. To his utter surprise, Accused choose to be silent and just kept on nodding his head in anticipation.

Sitaram’s forehead was full of droplets, the sweat now started flowing down his neck and he did not bother at all, he was all ears and eyes for the judgment as if it’s going to change his whole life! Not quite far, in last ten months in his new job he could manage to win creditability of his Seth, the owner of the saw mill compound as an assistant to the mill manager but with his vision and visibility of business and inventory the was able to turnaround some lean 7 mean business areas into breakeven stories.

His dedication and desire towards his duties were unquestionable; the honesty he exhibited made others rethink their positions and elevated Sitaram’s impression positively. “No this waste should not be burnt! this is saal wood and will fetch large amount of cash if it is shredded and washed for the paper business” the first turnaround of what the traditional business called scrap was minting money for Seth earning entire staff salary for the saw mill for the full year. He happily presented Sitaram with a bicycle to reach the mill from his village 20kms away.

The mill area was near the forest and there was a huge potential for the business if the forest officers allow them to manage just about every piece of wood the mill has gathered as dead wood from the tender floated by the forest department. Sitaram remembered each and every nook and corner of the forest as his forefathers did, being a ‘adivasis’ (tribal people) representative he even managed to convince local government for letting the dead wood collected by adivasis and sell them to the near by saw mills, this would bring back lot of earning opportunities for the clan as well reduce forest fires reducing the fuel availability by way of dead wood, on the other side the mills will enjoy quality wood at no cost of pre-acquisition and generates revenue without capital investment.

It was early summer and the folks of adivasis could bring in tones of dead wood near the mill gate every evening, Sitaram used his skills to identify the wood and categorized it by type making it easy for redoing into slabs or even the chipping..

Judge looked at Sitaram and thought of giving up on him, he simply looked at the state lawyer and said”I want you to reread the charges filed and clarify your stand before I could conclude, I wish to give a chance for the accused to hear the charges levied against him load and clear!”.

The court could sense the discomfort in his voice and the audience most of which were connected to other cases but this was eager to see the rapid progress. It was the third case since morning and court was about to be at lunchtime. “He must be hungry’ someone at the learning lawyer’s bench murmured into other black coat’s ear. “it is straight five years for the accused now!!”

Then there followed a formality of reading 20 pages of court language where Sitaram was able to hear few known words like forest act, fire prevention, act of self motivation, he could spell the English words in five minutes really putting hard time since school he studies ages ago, seems he knew what the verdict could mean but still wanted to confirm at once.

‘Knock knock!!’ by the time the reading was over judge kept looking at the clock, which complimented everyone with a lunch-break. Sitaram was feeling tired, the very sensation of food just disappeared and he engaged into the wedding ceremony nearing by next week, his only daughter was getting married with a great alliance and he had ensured all will be well. He looked at the audience where his only friend from his village was sitting and looking at him. His raises his hand a bit and moved five fingers to touch at fingertips, “five more minutes!” as if he conveyed to his buddy. His friend nodded in anticipation, the man in the red shirt sitting besides him with a black pouch studded between his shoulder and chest spoke something in the ears of Sitaram’s buddy and went out.

Thirty thousand was not a big figure compared to his daughter’s destiny, the only family member left at Sitaram’s house; he remembered his wife dying al the local government hospital in last famine in ‘malnutrition’ case. He even remembered his last words for her with the wedding he desired for his only daughter. Then came this good alliance with promising future for his daughter in the catchments area of neighboring taluk, with lot of water and few guntha land to plow.. the cost of wedding was agreed by and between two fathers..

Seth was waiting in his air-conditioned car outside the court, the man with the red shirt rushed towards the car, Seth lowered the rear window glass just about the hear him, the man spoke humble to him, Seth kept listening, he took his cell phone out and called someone. ”Sirji, bas ho gaya! Judge maan gaya” ( sir, it’s almost done, judge has accepted!) As Seth was smiling, the man in red shirt moved away from the car safely keeping the black pouch in tightly held condition between his arms…

It was late afternoon, and Sitaram was being taken to the central jail for starting his fresh sentence. Judge was kind and granted only three years as there was mutual consent from Sitaram and seemed very cooperative. The state insurance board building had a man with red shirt to receive compensation Cheque favoring the mill, “it’s here in my hands sir” he called Seth and confirmed the amount ”Pure pandhrah lakh hai sir!, kaam barabar ho gaya” ( it’s full fifteen lacs, work is done properly), Seth kept the phone down and sat in front of his mandir, where a beautiful marble statue of lord Krishna was kept, he kept bowing in front of his lord and kept saying “Saab aap ki duva se bhagwan!!” ( by all your grace my lord!)…

Sitaram’s friend took three hours to reach the neighboring village with the black pouch given to him by the man in red shirt as soon as sentence is heard in the court! He reached the person and handed over the same as soon as he saw him, “ Malik! Siraramji ne paise phijwaye hai!” (lord, Sitaram has sent in the cash), the man peeped in the pouch and took the money out, he counted all the currency and nodded with a smile! Turning his head inside his house, father of Sitaram’s would be son-in-law shouted “Mithai laoo, sandesh pahunch gaya! ( bring some sweets, the message has reached!”…

The fire department lost three of their jawwans ( firemen) while bringing down the fire in the nearby Saw mill, which ruined almost everything in the mill, it seems the large collection of pricey wood gathered from the nearly forest under the state govt tender which was ready to be shipped out, was got fire from the Beedi ( Indian cigarette) lit by the employee carelessly. The local media covered the story and displayed the photo of the captured employee who intern was responsible for this fire…just a day before the fire large shipments of wood had left for the nearby port from the same mill under the forest officers vigilance, records for which were also burnt by the fire accidentally.

Sitaram who never lit a matchbox in his whole life, sitting in his barak ( cell) day dreaming his daughter’s marriage. He was utterly convinced that he got a good deal from his Seth, who came as savior to offer him this job and made his daughters future, after all it’s not easy to earn thirty thousand in three years with hard work…He hear all India radio news reader saying something in English where his Seth’s name was put in for a the national award for forest perseverance and innovative idea of dead wood collection being rolled out all over the state…it’s just 35 months to go!!


Blogger Renie said...

Hi, please add your blog to our new directory of Indian Blogs, and grab an IndiBlogger badge. Thanks!

11:29 AM, August 09, 2007  
Blogger Siliconindia blogs said...

Hi Rajesh,

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11:07 PM, June 25, 2008  
Blogger Rajesh Dangi said...

Thanks Rajesh, you can use my posts for Siliconindia.

5:13 AM, June 26, 2008  

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