Today, I owe a public apology. The reason is very simple. It is just an article I wrote the other day with the title – Keep your eyes and ears open. And the after effect. I did not practise what I preach. It is not that I tried. I tried and still trying my best. But, I failed. Now I will come to the story. Long long ago, when I was in the school days, I had a good friend. Let me call him Balu – my favourite friend and name. One year senior to me. Those days, going to school was more fun and interesting as we followed the numerous bullock carts going to the famous Irinjalakuda Market. It was an advantage for us, i.e those who walk to school, to keep our bags – not that big as these days on the hangings behind of those bullock carts and walk freely. We were thick friends till 10th and then parted ways to different directions as life took it’s own sweet course. Last year, suddenly I got a call on my mobile, Ramesh, this is Balu, I am in Dubai, I have come here on visit visa from Kuwait and looking for a job. I was happy to hear him after a long time. We kept in touch occasionally. He was an IT expert and later on he informed me that he got a good job with a reputed bank which has opened business during last year. I was happy for him. Still we didn’t get a chance to meet in person, as like many of my friends. Life kept on moving in fast pace as ever. Recently when I went to Kerala on a short visit, as usual I went to the small temple in my village. This visit carries lots of significance as it is an opportunity to meet all old friends there in front of the temple under the huge Banyan tree. It was there, we grew up playing cricket, football and all other tricks to each other, irrespective of caste, creed, or social status. During the visit this time, my friends told me, hey, Balu is also on leave here, did you meet him. I said no. I didn’t get a chance to meet him in Dubai either. As usual I came back here, and then days went flying and suddenly on Thursday I realised about him and his visit and my missed chance to meet him at the native place. I thought of giving a call to him. On the phone with him I got a shocker. Balu said to me in a quiet voice, Ramesh, I am sorry, I didn’t call you. I am leaving tomorrow to India. Shocked as I was, he continued, I came back from leave the day after Christmas and I was told, I was no longer required in my service. The bank’s business is totally down and no lending happening and they are reducing the work force. I am just way down the line. There are so many seniors who have been terminated.
I pacified him and told him, this is nothing new in Dubai. Don’t worry, we will see something out. Do send me a resume of yours quickly to me. And I will work out whether something is possible or not. I know it was tough, but even then I gave him a ray of hope. It was Thursday evening and I started checking on all possible probabilities of a placement option for this good old school friend. By Friday morning, I found out there may be an opening suiting to his experience and that too in Abu Dhabi and forwarded his resume to them for a probable interview at the earliest. With the consolation that, he is going only Friday night and he has the option of a valid visa to come back at any time and also with the convenience of the reduced airlines rates to and from India, I picked up my phone in the evening to talk to my friend. Awaits, another shocker of my life. He is already at the airport. And when I told him all what happened with regards to my job hunt and consoling him that he may be able to come back soon, he replied to me in a soft voice. I am waiting for my PRO, as he is coming to the airport to collect the cancellation papers. I didn’t have words to speak for some time. Coming back to normal terms, I asked him, why did you cancel your visa, as it may be next to impossible to come back again on another visa at this time as employers may find several candidates who they can employ on transfer visa basis rather than bringing afresh. He continued, I tried several places and did not get any positive feedback and by the time the pressure was too much as the company wanted to clear as many files as they could. So, this was the only option. I had only words of good luck to him to keep the phone. May be it is an opportunity for him to find a new beginning away from this maddening world. However, somewhere down in some corner of my heart, I had a feeling, kaassh, why on earth I didn’t call him after coming back? Why on earth he didn’t call me as usual? Why on earth he didn’t tell me on the first instance his visa has been cancelled already? Why on earth his other friends who were close to him did not guide him properly? Questions in plenty, I changed my thoughts to the good old saying – Jo hotha hey acha ke liye hotha hey! And prayed for his success for a new and successful beginning in the coming days.
p.s. This is a true incident. As they say, don't keep any secret to doctors, lawyers (and now Team 1).