Each dawn of Ravi’s routine life broke with the cacophony of trains whistling in the backdrop, and the furious rumble of the tracks as the train passed. The vibrations from the trains, even though a couple of blocks away, made the windows of his low-lying apartment-room chatter furiously.
Having grown up in a lower middle-class family, one could say he had had his fair share of odds. After the passing of his father, Ravi had inherited one fifth the stake over his property, which was a just little over the red scooter he would watch his father take to work everyday in the late 90s, and enough for him to sustain himself on for the next three months.
Being the youngest born in the family, he had had the virtue of being pampered by almost all members of his family. He got just the reassurance every now and then, that his brothers would earn just enough, to provide for his food and shelter, and truth be told, he desired nothing more. However his father’s demise left him more in shock than he had imagined; with his brothers fighting like vultures over whatever bit they could obtain of his property.
Next thing he knew, he was struggling to make ends meet. He sold the scooter and used what he could to rent a room in the settlement near the tracks. He invested the money as security, in a small enterprise selling gym equipment, which soon went out of business. The crash in the business came out of the blue and left Ravi on the verge of bankruptcy. There was little money he had saved. What was more disdainful was that he cared less about his situation than a stranger reading this narration.
Ravi would go from bank to bank applying for loans, and seeking offers that could benefit his current situation. He knew, no, he was certain that he had acquired zero skills throughout the course of his life, which could help him earn a living on his own. One such ordinary morning, of shifting and dragging himself to different branches of banks, something unusual happened with him. After having filled another hopeless application for a loan at the Bank of Baroda, he was stepping out, maneuvering his glance over the surroundings, when a rectangular crisp white piece of paper lying at the edge of a chair at the waiting area caught his eye. Without giving it a second thought, he picked the piece of paper up, and turned it around.
What he saw next overwhelmed him with a mix of feelings. It was what one could call a blank cheque, with the signature of “Ms. Anita Lohia”, the account holder, at the bottom in an almost calligraphic handwriting in the finest blue ink he could have sworn he had seen.
“Miracles do happen,” he thought to himself and discreetly folded the piece of paper and kept it inside his pocket, making sure that no one was around to see. He was ecstatic to say the least and went home with the biggest smile on his face, greeting every passerby with sheer warmth. He didn’t know how big of an impact this even would have on him, but he knew good things were to come.
He couldn’t help but think of what all he would do with the amount of money he had set to enter on the piece of paper. He decided though, that he wouldn’t be too selfish, he won’t cash the cheque for more than 50 grand as that would be unethical on his part. He would invest a part of this money in the stocks of his school friend’s music company. It definitely was worth a shot, he thought to himself, as his friend relentlessly and constantly spoke about how the company would flourish in the coming years. As for the remaining money, he would use it to buy back his father’s scooter to cherish the legacy that remained of him. He hoped that the money from the stocks would double within the coming months, and he would start his own medical equipment company.
It was indeed said to be the most profitable business in talks, which would soon earn him enough money to buy an apartment near the City Centre. As his business would expand, he would start outsourcing his work to other cities and eventually partner with investors in different countries. After all that, how hard would it be to set up a base in the States? He would eventually hire staff to handle his operations in India, and move to Boston where he would buy a penthouse for a quarter of the million, he might have made by then. Who’s to say he’ll find a suitable girl there, and marry himself off?
The thought of that sent a gush off red on his scantily bearded cheeks. He took out the cheque from his pocket to have one good glance at it, to be sure he wasn’t dreaming after all. As he pondered more over what he would do, looking down at the piece of paper in his hand with a wide grin on his face, he collided with a municipal barrier in his way, ahead of which was a pit dug out carefully for the construction of a metro pillar, which was soon to replace the railway tracks. Alas! Ravi lost balance and fumbled. Good gracious, he was able to get ahold of his body balance right on time, but what he realized next left him horrified. In an attempt to save his own life from wallowing away in the pit, he had held the municipal barrier using his right hand impulsively, having left him with his eyes fixated on the cheque lay soaked in the puddle formed near the pit, with all his thoughts muddled in a fit.
He went back home with a heavy heart, being massively disappointed. He went to sleep early that day for he knew that each dawn in his life henceforth, would only be broken by the cacophony of the train’s whistle and the crackling sound of the windows in his low-lying rented room.
Written by Radhika Taneja for MTTN
Edited by Medha Somayaji for MTTN
Featured Image by Chirag Bansal for MTTN