At 3 A.M., it was dark, chilly and stormy. An irritating blanket of peace seemed to have covered the city of Pune. Manish was driving the bike on deserted street frantically. He was on a real high. It seemed like all the brain scratching, all the speculation and all the midnight oil which was burnt since last week had eventually paid off. Manish had just fixed an extremely critical bug which could have cost the client millions of bugs everyday in virtually no time especially when he knew nothing about the entire project just a week back. A major bug, which was introduced in the last delivery by his colleague Rashmi which had taken the entire system to a catastrophe. It created a complete havoc throughout the management. Each and everyone in the team, ranging from developer, tester to senior managers were taken left and right by the top officials.
It was the time when Ramesh, the Project Manager turned to Manish. He called Manish and said, “Manish, This is a litmus test for you. I know it’s difficult but not at all impossible for the person with your talent even though it’s a completely new scenario for you and it’s one the most complicated systems , but I am sure you are the guy who loves challenges.” And indeed, Manish was never going to let this opportunity let go out of his hands. From the word go, he started working on it like a fanatic.
Manish was known to be the most talented, yet very helpful and down to earth guy in the team. He was known for his excellent technical skills and calm nature. For any kind of difficulties his colleagues faced, he was there to help them in a flash. But in spite of his extra ordinary skills and competencies, he was always overlooked by his manager in the appraisals. He was working with this team since last two years, still he wasn’t considered for promotions.Leave apart promotions, he had to struggle even for ratings. He did not get any onsite opportunity either as his beautiful female colleagues were preferred who always succeeded in winning the heart of the Manager.Ramesh was very well aware of Manish’s talents, still he wasn’t willing to recognize him as Manish was never one of those who always flattered him which he liked a lot. But as he knew, Manish’s capabilities, he was never willing to leave him as well. Manish had almost made up his mind to leave the job, and he got this exciting opportunity and wow, he nearly extracted Gold out of it!
And now, he was on top of the world, he was riding at the speed of jet with lucrative words like appraisals, high ratings, promotions, onsite opportunities, awards, recognitions flashing through his mind. And suddenly, out of nowhere a truck emerged with a virtually supersonic speed and before Manish could even understand what was happening, went crushing passed him!!!!
Manish slowly opened his eyes and found himself standing in a long queue, which went up to a tall, dark and handsome guy who was sitting on a Sinhasana and wearing an attire which he had seen the people from mythological movies and T.V. serials. There was another studious looking guy standing next to him and he was holding a book from which he was reading something. When Manish looked around he saw diseased, dilapidated people being subjected to inhuman atrocities by some extremely dark and monstrous guys. Those people were being beaten up by thorny metal rods, thrown into boiling oil, forced to eat stinking flesh. The atmosphere was full of cries and moans of these creatures made of flesh and blood. Recalling all the stories he had heard, all the descriptions he had read and mythological movies he had seen, Manish came to conclusion that he was in ‘HELL’ and now brought to Chitrgupta and Yamaraj to get the final verdict While waiting, he started wondering what sins could a soft hearted and helpful person have committed to have been brought to hell?Eventually, his turn came, Chitrgupta looked at him curtly and started reading the data of his sins. ”He was an extremely cunning guy, from his childhood, he loved bullying the people and taking their advantage…” ”What the hell is this ?”, Manish asked angrily, but Chitragupta snapped, “You are not allowed to talk before I am finished” , and he continued , “He always maintained good contacts with rich and influential people in the society and his workplace but always looked down on his juniors and those who did not flatter them. His good contacts with seniors also earned him managerial position. But as a manager also he was extremely unfair and biased. He always wanted boot lickers around and especially favored good looking female employees and always overlooked the competent and hardworking guys who did not fawn him. So much so, that even today, he had plans to ruin the appraisal of one of his team members who had just saved him from severe project loss…” , “Enough!!!!!”, Manish cried out loudly, he just burst into anger which he was holding onto for quite a while. “Whom are you talking about?? These are all completely baseless and false allegations, you should better check your records and then speak. Your system seems to be quite similar to our government. First of all, I deny all the allegations of being cunning, a fawner bla bla bla. And again, I have never been a Manager at any instant of my life, leave apart ruining anybody’s career or appraising someone. Also, Had I ever been a manager, I would have never committed such shameless acts. I simply don’t understand whom and what you are talking about.” Surprised by this sudden outbreak, Yamaraj just raised an eyebrow and gave Chitrgupta a questioning look. Puzzled by Manish’s genuine protest, Chitragupta hesitantly asked him, “You are Mr. Ramesh Batuja, aren’t you?” Manish felt like having been thrown from Eiffel tower, it was like , the whole hell was revolving around him.”No almighty, No.It wasn’t me , it was my Project Manager!!!!!”. It was the moment of shock for both Yamaraj and Chitragupta. Yamaraj Frowned , “Chitragupta, this seems to be a case of mistaken identity. Let’s recheck all our records, call for a meeting and then take a decision.”
“You have been called to Yamaraj’s cabin “, A dark woman came and told Manish. With a frustrated mind and body, Manish just labored himself to the cabin. As he entered, Yamaraj smiled and said gently “Come son, have a seat”. Manish was amazed at such a cordial voice. Then slowly, Yamaraj started speaking, “Son, First of all I apologize for the fatal mistake committed by our officials. I have confirmed from Chitragupta that Not you, but our manager was supposed to die today, but as Yamadootas took you as Ramesh, they took your life. You were supposed to live for much longer and lead an extremely successful career ahead after leaving your current job. This is our mistake and I take a complete responsibility of it”. Manish grinned and said “My life has already been finished now and now there is no use to listen to what was in store for me in the future”. Yamaraj again smiled , “Don’t be disappointed son. Nothing is over yet, in fact it’s just a beginning for you.” Puzzled was Manish, he asked, “How cum?”. Yamaraj said “Son, No one can be pardoned for any rubbish he has committed, your manager recorded one the highest number of sins in recent times, don’t you want to give that back to him ??” Even more puzzled, Manish asked, “How can I do that?”. Yamaraj said , “May not be in this life, but definitely in the next life, son. In the next birth, we are going to place you as manager and you manager, Ramesh as the developer to work under you. And you will be free to play all those tricks that he played with you and to harass him to the fullest. Moreover, you will be forgiven for all those sins as a compensation of mistake of our officials. It’s the best I can offer you to correct our mistake.” Manish was literally in tears “Thanks, thanks a lot almighty”. Yamaraj blessed him, “Go son and start your new life, my blessings will always with you.”40 years later…..
At 3 A.M. streets of New York were deserted, It was a bitter cold, snowing and showing early signs of storm, Tony was driving his old car frantically………………