“The two of you, please wait in the hallway. We’ll call you in soon.”
I was terrified. In all my years as a loyal employee, I’ve never felt so scared. An unfamiliar feeling of fear and nausea gripped every last fibre of my body.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. I looked over at the person sitting next to me, equally depressed. What had we done wrong? Did we not help everyone out?
I looked at him, tears rolling down his eyes. Everyone loved Mr M, he was the most senior employee here. Even the junior most intern who wasn’t worth more than a bubblegum knew of this man’s brilliance. The perpetually smiling, bespectacled look of his was now streaked with tears.
“Do you know what’s going to happen to us?”
I had no idea. There were rumours about a massive ‘restructuring’ of personnel, but I had simply dismissed them as office gossip.
“I heard they’re bringing in new people. They think we’re too old to handle our responsibilities.”
Before I could respond, the receptionist entered. “He is ready to see you now,” she said.
We went inside, unsure and trembling. “Sit down,” said the bearded old man sitting across the table. “We have something to tell you.”
“Looking crisp, Mr D,” he said, oblivious to my discomfort.
“T-t-thank you, sir,” I manage.
“Okay, this is awkward,” said the bearded man, “but I might as well get it over with.”
“You two have been great employees. Everyone tells me how resourceful and useful you guys are. But we’re going to have to let you go.”
I knew it. Everyone was right.
“W-w-why, sir?,” I ask.
“There are too many people taking advantage of you. You remain elusive to a lot of people, but readily accessible only to some. A lot of people like you are trying to do your job, and it’s embarrassing”
I look at him in shock.
“Sir, when did you make this decision?”
“When you and your friends traipsed off to Switzerland. That’s the dark side. We’ve warned you against going there before.”
I froze. My tears were wetting my newly laundered clothes. I thought the company banked on me, it was very hard to take stock of the situation.
I looked at Mr M. “Sir, you’re twice the man I’ll ever be. I’m sorry for everything”
The old man got up.
“Goodbye, fellas. You’ll be missed.”
In fond memory of the 500 and 1000 rupee notes.
– Gautham Mahadevan