9:00 am, the stamping started. Thud Thud Thud... Blue circles around the wrinkled corners meant a job well begun. Well that was how Santhanam started his day , every day for the last 24 years.
Santhanam was the office peon. In hey days of babu culture he had joined the Iyengar company as a CLASS D helper. Thiruvengadam, the GM's driver had helped him find the job. Rs. 75 pm/- Lunch in services canteen, Uniform washing allowance of Rs.2 a month - The letter had read.
There was joy all around the house at his appointment. He joined on 15th April,1968.Dressed in a crisp khaki uniform, a cap and a badge , he looked more like a sepoy than a peon. The only thing that bothered him were the boots.His legs wriggled to come out of the confines of the black shoe.
But he would soon get used to it.
"Santhanam, bring the blue files here."
"Santhanam , Coffee for the meeting room"
"Santhanam , Post."
"Santhanam , Saridon"
It was a busy day at work. It took less than a month to learn that GM, added lemon to his tea. DGM had coffee with 2 tbs of sugar, Ratna madam sent a post on every monday to Tirunelveli. Santhanam settled and dusted old files with vigour.
5 years down the line,he wedded the beautiful Pankajam. The company gave the couple a Kodam . His loyalties to the master increased.He shifted to a mansion in Triplicane,closer to office.
June 7th , 1979 , after nearly 6 years Pankajam gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Santhanam made a trip to Tirupathi on foot .The couple named the baby Sridhar.
It was the also the day, the company recruited the first batch of " Management graduates". He was told they were from a place near Bombay, Well educated, non Iyengars . He watched them from a distance, a couple of fair, handsome looking chaps who everyone stood up to greet.
Today, April 15th,1992. Santhanam was distributing a circular to everyone in office.
There were hushed whispers and tension hung in the air.The group head had called for a meeting in the conference room. This was unlike usual. Group head never met everyone on the same day.
Last Feb, Ashwin from Exports had been made as the group head. Santhanam remembered him as one of the fair boys who had joined from Mumbai. He had really liked him a lot and true to the judgement , Ashwin had grown really fast in the company. He moved to a seperate cubicle in less than 1 year and now a group head in less than 15 years.
"Dear Colleagues, There are enough rumours in the office about a lot of things, So I decided to make an internal announcement before we go to press. We are going for a 50-50 Joint venture with a Japanese organisation. That means we are no longer an Iyengar firm , We are getting global."
Pain welled up in Santa's abdomen. Will he be asked to leave. He should have completed matric, now there was no time. His thoughts were interuppted by a booming voice
"Santa, adjust this mike please. Santa , Santa , Santhanam".
"Santa ??? Wow, Ashwin we really are a global company now" - Laughed Rangan Sir.
Santhanam , thought to himself while adjusting the mike. I promise to make 101 revolutions of Kesava perumal, if they make me stay here. Please please please.
-To be continued-