You should be happy. You have a beautiful bungalow! The latest car of the year! A Happy family! What else do you need? asked Shashi with an arched eyebrow and a quizzed look on his face. Yes I am replied Rabindra.
And you still feel you are not successful? Asked Shashidhar; Rabindra’s childhood best friend.
I think so, I am happy with whatever I have. I have 2 bright kids, my house is right in the centre of a posh location in Mumbai. My wife is working so she is an additional support. I am successful but ummm he paused and started again ‘the OSLTE Trading Company has picked up a lot of business which has hurt my last year’s revenue’ , Rabindra face had turned pale and he looked visibly shaken.
Rabindra an established businessman and the CEO of TTLY Trading Company in mumbai had almost everything one can achieve at the age of 36, but had a tough time dealing with stress of achieving more. ‘More’ is what he couldn’t define so he was always in search of a blurred goal which pushed him to do better and try harder.
Shashi wouldn’t have asked the question or travelled for 10 hours, changing 4 modes of transport to reach Rabindra. But his thoughts still circled around the day when Rabindra had called him and in a worried some voice said, ‘I feel I’m not happy there is something which is not right. I am going into depression’ he sounded miserable on the phone. It had been 16 years since they had met or talked. Rabindra didn’t even know what Shashi had been doing for last 16 years. He probably had lost everything except the home phone number which Shashi had not changed and a faint memory of Shashi as his best friend.
Shashi always kept reading about Rabindra in the newspapers and cherished each line of what his best friend had achieved. He was a proud friend but when Rabindra called him and sounded worried, he couldn’t help himself and had to travel to mumbai for his best friend. Yes he didn’t have money but thank God ‘Shekhu Bhai’ gave hand loan and Shashi was a trusted one is his village.
Here he was in mumbai for his best friend trying to know why he was not happy.
So who are the trading company? Are they troubling you? Shashi asked patiently. No not really but they have been doing their business very aggressively which has taken down my sales. My company used to be the No 1 in mumbai but I won’t be able to retain the position for long. This ranking will hurt my business even more and he started to panic, Shashi was devastated looking at the plight of his friend and felt helpless.
But then changing the topic seemed like a good idea to Shashi, so he blurted out ‘I heard you got married to an IAS officer?’ Yes Rabindra replied she is posted here in mumbai. You are really lucky! Your wife posted in the same city as your business how better can it get. Yes but she hardly gets time in her busy schedule. What about uncle and aunty? ‘Yes they are fine Dad is getting his pension so Mom and Dad keep travelling a lot. They went for a 21 days European tour last month’. Seemed like a perfect world to Shashi, not the thought of travelling the world. The feeling of parents around, how it would feel to have a family? He had lost the feel of how a family had felt like.
Rabindra so lost in self didn’t even ask the same question back. But of course the No 1 rank would hurt his business so he was pre-occupied. Shashi explained its okay now that you have a competition look at the positive side you would improve your own methods. This would help you excel and improve as a person in life. These sentences sounded hollow to Rabindra as he knew Shashi wouldn’t understand the value of what he was about to lose. Shashi started again ‘you should be content with what you have, One is only successful when One is content. There is no end to what you can achieve Rabi, if you are unsatisfied with your achievements this can only give you discomfort’ there was a calming effect in the way Shashi explained.
However Rabindra was feeling criticism coming from Shashi, he is probably jealous of what I have achieved. What else can you expect from a meagre government School teacher with a salary probably the same as my driver? thought Rabindra.
You won’t understand Shashi, what this means is I will be losing crores, my status quo, everything I have been working for the past 10 years. The stakes are huge and you won’t understand. What will the society think of me? Rabi had a flaring nose and a widened chest when he mentioned his achievements in front of his friend. Shashi was trying hard to understand, but what he saw was a blurred goal which Rabindra was trying to achieve and he knew even though he achieved the temporary success, he would still be dissatisfied.
I think it’s time to tell Rabindra thought Shashi, it’s very difficult to be content he mentioned. I was content when I got the government job I felt I had everything. I had a permanent job with fixed salary. I had the opportunity to build future of the world. I got the respect of the kids and their parents, Could I ask for more? But God took away everything from me. I am the lone survivor of my family. In a day I lost my parents, my wife, my kids everything. It took a lot of time for me to come to terms of what had changed. Probably everything! But what I realized was, it’s very easy to give up but difficult to find satisfaction.
I had a job assigned to me, how could I lose the opportunity to build the world’s future that is where I found my happiness.
Rabindra couldn’t understand the expression on Shashi’s face, he was not crying or sad. He had a eerie content in his voice. He sounded very happy and satisfied, probably what Rabindra would feel when his company achieves their financial goal. But the satisfaction which Shashi had was unreal. Rabindra couldn’t say much; a lump in his throat restricted his voice. But finally managed to utter the words; how did it happen?
His world shook when Shashi replied “ A TTLY trading Company truck rammed into a stationary bus which killed almost all the passenger travelling to Nagpur. Me and my whole family were in that bus, I was the lone survivor”. Some vivid images rushed across Rabindra’s eyes how he had paid lakhs of rupees to get himself and his company out of that mess. After all he couldn’t have let the No 1 status quo at stake for some poor people on buses. Shashi voice echoed through his ears right into his soul. It burnt each and every cell of his body, he could clearly hear his heart beating out of his chest and maybe Shashi could hear it as well. Rabindra had no words, suddenly he lost his voice.
Shashi spoke again ‘ I never have had any anger on you or your company. After all what happened couldn’t be changed. Yes but I found content in building world’s future and I feel satisfied every day when I return to my home. I have found content.
Sashi tapped on Rabindra’s shoulder and said “Find happiness in whatever you have, because life is too unpredictable to look back and be unhappy with what you currently have’. Shashi got up from the chair, took his crutch and tucked it under his shabby right shoulder. He limped towards Posh bungalow’s exit gate. Rabindra could see a halo on the back of Shashi which kept diminishing till he left his bungalow. The accident had not only taken his family, he had also lost his right leg.