neelwrites/differenteyes, differentlearnings/fiction/coachingtime/1429words/25/01/2018

Perspectives shape reality, and we write our own destiny. It is perhaps a hackneyed theme that I use so often in my speaking and writing.

But, a writer writes the destiny of its characters.

Perspectives shape reality, and we write our own destiny. It is perhaps a hackneyed theme that I use so often in my speaking and writing.

But, a writer writes the destiny of its characters.


By Neel Anil Panicker

It’s not done; its plain bad, it’s downright cruel, it’s as if you, a lamb, has been by deceit, led into a dark desolate forest and then left to the mercy of the beasts, the biggest beast of them all, the lion itself, the king of the jungle, making mince meat of you, ripping asunder your delicate heart, its ferocious teeth gnawing at your vitals, wrenching out every shuddering gasp of breath that is left in you.

From across the glass topped table, the two gentlemen silently listened to this interminable harangue, this exquisite metaphorical exposition of one person’s angst against supposedly grave wrongs and injustices, lifting their heads only once to exchange a long meaningful glance before lifting their gaze to look, albeit a tad amusedly at the verbal pyrotechnics of the young man seated across from them.

Finally, and after a good ten minutes had elapsed, one of two passive participants in this soliloquy, an absolute one sided tete ete you may call it for want of a better word__the taller one, the guy with the thick rimmed spectacles and fast thinning hair expertly swept back to half conceal a egg shaped balding pate__cleared his throat and setting aside the hardbound tome entitled Kabir ke Dohe exclaimed, “Mr Sahil, my dear young man, you seem to be unnecessarily splitting your hair over what is in fact a very miniscule matter.”

The words worked like a frontal stab, its pointedness searing through the cotton fabric of the off grey shirt that the 27 year old was wearing and plunging deep into his heaving chest.

As if stung by the deadliest wasp on Planet Earth, Sahil suddenly stopped midway through his speech, his mouth agape like a pre-historic ape, his slim, trim frame now recoiling quicker than an earthworm, his five feet ten inch falling helplessly back into the thick sofa cushions.

Miniscule?”, the voice craoked, this time sans the gravity and timbre displayed in his earlier diatribe.

Did you just say that? Miniscule? Receiving such a negative feedback is miniscule? Is of no consequence? Amazing! I just can’t believe what I have heard, Gagan Sir”.

The man whose name was called out immediately shop up in his chair.

Exactly. And that’s your problem. You seem to…

I seem! I seem what? Here, take a look at this. This is the latest Feedback Report for the last month, that’s January. Of a total of 34 students in my class, as many as 32 have given me a 4 out of a maximum 5, quite a few even 5, the highest ranking, whilst two, just 2 measly students have graded me as a 1. To rub salt to my wounds, have a look at what these two venerable souls have had to say about me. Here, read this. It says and I quote verbatim, “Sahil Sir is incompetent. He needs to replaced. We don’t want him. We believe…”


The voice of the third person, hitherto unheard of so far, now reverberated all across the third floor corner Faculty Room of ‘Coaching Time’ that Friday afternoon.

They are right. They don’t want you, Sahil” That’s the stark truth, accept it, and change yourself.”

What followed was pin drop silence. The tension in the air was so thick that you could slice it with a knife.

Like a hunted down, tired and badly bruised lamb, Sahil found himself pushed to te wall, his hands raised up in abject submission. He sank deeper into the sofa, his eyes staring shell shocked at the two senior Faculty members who now stared back at him, their chins up, eyes shone bright, a quiet feral intensity emanating from every single pore of their bodies that were tucked under Winter Specials__made to order satin embellished body hugging suits.

Sahil, what Gagan Sir wants to say, and that’s something that I fully endorse, is that one needs to pay heed to every single feedback that comes from the students, especially and more so if it is negative. I would advise you to take the feedback positively and work on overcoming your shortcomings”.

Sahil felt like a foot soldier trapped in enemy terrain; captured and later tortured to the hilt, a piece of meat to be used and abused, watched over with sadistic pleasure, fully stripped of the last ounces of whatever dignity that was left in him.

He got up in a laboured fashion, his legs still wobbling, and made a slow painful walk towards the exit door.

It was then that the two-month old words of the HR Head unspooled in his rickety brain like an old vinyl tape played out on a near obsolete recorder.

Remember Mr Sahil Chowdhury, while we at Coaching Time feel immensely proud in welcoming you into this great organization, you should be perennially thankful at being given this opportunity. Also, be immensely proud that you will now have the benefit of picking the brains of the best Faculty who will also be your seniors and mentors. Be ever respectful towards them and grab every opportunity to learn and assimilate best practices from them. That way not only will you become a better Faculty but also will you witness a faster learning curve and, needless to add, a quicker rise up the echelons.”

As he turned the knob and just before slipping out of the Faculty Room, Sahil turned around and, remembering something, smartly walked towards the seated gentlemen.

This time he was however careful to wipe off all trace of negativity from his face.

Instead, freshly donning a manner that could only be termed as the epitome of servility coupled with a low pitched voice soft as feather, one that smacked of utter servititude, he said, “Pradip Sir, You are absolutely right. And you too, Gagan Sir.  There’s so much to learn and imbibe from you boty of you. I promise I shall be extremely careful in future. Your constant guidance and support is what I value and look forward to the most. Have a good day, Sirs”.

And with that he turned away and headed out. As he gently closed the door behind him, he spotted from the corner of his eyes something that gave him deep satisfaction. His boss and Head of the Quantitative Department, Pradip Sinha, and his immediate senior, the one he was reporting into, Gagan Dhillion, were looking at each other, the expressions on their power drunk faces a little more than mere smiles.

Phew! that was close, he muttered as a huge sigh of relief escaped his lips while he wound his way down the hallway.

Dammit, that was close, he admonished himself. If he harboured any hopes of surviving for a long enough duration in this mine infested place, he needed to be careful, double, trebly careful.

What other option did he have, he reasoned to himself. Which organization would be willing to welcome into their fold a convicted rapist, a serial molester of women. If only they knew his past, it be kaput, the end of tye road for him. He had to be careful, damn careful, he reminded himself, as he hurtled down the steps for a cigarette and some much needed shot of fresh air.

It was only after he had inhaled a few puffs of his staple Gold Flake Kings did a smile splash across his otherwise bubbly face. He was recalling the words of his mentor at Tihar Jail, the much feared but hugely pragmatic Tanu Bhai, the one who had taken a shine to him.

‘Sahil, remember in life people rarerly are on the same page. When it comes to human beings there’s never a straight binary__never a yes or a no, a right or wrong, a true or false. It’s all a matter of perspectives. However much one may agree with others’ viewpoints, remember that they are always right, at least in their own eyes. Acknowledge that reality through your actions and body language and you will never go wrong. Instead, you will always end up with not just your bread with a liberal spread of jam on it as well.’

Sahil stubbed his cigarette and pulling himself up, strode confidently back to the office. It was then that he noticed a stream of girls, a few of them clad in half shorts, all laughing and giggling their way, wriggling their ample hips past the massive hallway towards their respective classes.

‘Yes, teaching is a very pleasurable activity’, he reminded himself for the umpteenth time ever since he had joined ‘Coaching Time’ as an ‘esteemed Faculty Member’.

4 thoughts on “neelwrites/differenteyes, differentlearnings/fiction/coachingtime/1429words/25/01/2018

  1. The language in the first para was gripping. Then, the end completely threw me off kilter. The first para assumes a new significance.

    Brilliant writing, Neel!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so glad you found it gripping. You have been a constant source of support and needless to say, your weekly prompts force me to go the extra mile and i am indeed thankful for that, Reena.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We are all on a journey. Thanks for being with us.

        Liked by 1 person

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