Friday, May 31, 2013

Summer Training

               She alighted from the bus number 186 which she took daily to the office from station. "Last day" she thought. She looked like a panic striken puppy the first day she took this bus.  She even missed her stop as she was sitting on the fourth seat of the crowded bus. "That is an industrial area and the bus is full of worker people. Stay careful with your bag and sit near the window seat. Cover yourself well." her mother had instructed her on the first day. Within 3 days she even knew the timings of the bus and reached bang on time to catch the 9 AM bus. She didn't think she would become so used to this route and the place she was assigned for training.
               Myra had just completed her third year and spending her summer time training in Frenkie pharma. She was apprehensive when she had come to know that she was the only girl from her class placed there. The entire class was getting trained atleast in  a group of three. She had to go to this company all alone. She was nervous at the start of the training but in a few days adapted to the firm like a fish takes to water. She loved working there and the people she was working under were benevolent and ever enthusiastic to teach her new skills. She couldn't thank her luck enough to be here. She looked forward to going there everyday and even though she came home drained of energy, she was happy.
               She would miss it. Miss the motherly nature of her mentor who spent time teaching her and even talking about life to her. Miss the fine teaching skills of the assistant manager who taught her as if he were making a kid understand the concepts! Miss the confidence of the executives  in her,  who assigned her so many tasks and yet always keep a watch that she wasn't overwhelmed. She would even miss the observing eye of the manager who was the most experienced lady on the staff.
               As she entered, the watchman made an entry of the time as usual and waved with a smile. She ventured into the lift and pressed for the second floor but the lift wouldn't move. She came out to ask the watchman but he wasn't at the desk. She took the stairs instead of waiting for him to return.
               It was Monday morning and it looked like the house keeping didn't clean. The stairs were dusty. It was an old office built way back in 1949 and most of the things about the office remained the same. The only modern things in there were the AC and the equipments. The office had wooden tables, not cubicles. The chairs were wooden with matted plastic seats. Cushions were put on the seat and back to make it more comfortable. The telephones were the kind which Myra had seen only in her early childhood. The one where the numbers weren't pressed but moved :P She guessed they still used it because it worked fine!

              She was in for a shock when she moved in to the quality control department. All the furniture was covered with white cloth. The department was crowded with spider webs and dust. She couldn't breathe as she suffocated in the stench emanating from that room. She was scared out of her wits! What the hell happened in the two days she didn't come here? 
            She ran from the department and rushed downstairs. The desk of the watchman was empty and there were no ledgers either. Her heart came into her mouth when she felt a hand on her shoulder. 
        " Madam, madam! What are you doing here?" asked an old watchman. She stared at him hard but couldn't recognise who he was. 
        " where is everybody? What happened  here?" she stuttered.
        " Madam yaha koi nahi ata!!"  ( Madam no one comes here ) The watchman smiled.
        "What? Who are you?" she asked. Was this man crazy!!
        " I m the new guard here. The owners are finally going to build a five star hotel here. The building will be demolished tomorrow."
        "What about the company? Where have the people gone?" She asked trying to overcome her disbelief.
        " Madam this company was closed 20 years back after a fire broke out and killed all the employees inside." He replied gravely.
        Myra laughed. 
        "You are out of your mind. I come here daily since last one month. I work in the lab upstairs with the people here and you say company closed down! I take the damn 186 bus every day right outside this office and not once this company was closed!" 
        " Madam you are the one out of your mind. There is no 186 bus. It stopped 20 years back. It was dedicated bus to this area but after all companies here shut shop, the bus service too was discontinued. This company was the last to close down. They did not agree to sell and finally the fire made them leave this place.I used to work for a company next to this that time and I have seen it with my own eyes" 
          Myra could feel it was a delusion. She would wake up any moment and laugh about it. Either this man was crazy or some joke is being played. Today was the last day and she was going to collect her certificate and stipend. She didn't need this terrible joke. She walked towards the gate and then she saw it... 
          Right next to the small exit gate was a board containing pictures of all the employees who died in the brutal fire. Total 56 employees. In 1993.. And she saw the smiling faces of all the people of the quality control department.. She was working with them all this month... 
         She looked at the bigger entrance gate. It said in bold and large font " R.L Hotel properties". 
          She looked at the window of the quality control department which overlooked the road. The window pane was broken.. And she saw 5 people waving at her... Then they were no more there...