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   Chapter 5 The dilemma

Aberration By Sundaram Characters: 4934

Updated: 2020-12-29 06:03

In the college where the engineer's daughter was studying there's some problem on one occasion. It's with the management and in the appropriation of funds from the Central Society of Franciscan Sisters of the Presentation of Mary founded by Rev.Fr.Joseph Louis Ravel. Eventually, the college and hostel were closed for a week and the students were advised to return home within two hours. I was in the office and the manager called me to take a personal call. I rushed in confusion as to who could call on a Monday. "Sir, I'm Rani. Today they closed the college and the hostellers are to vacate in another two hours. This is because there is some problem with the management. It may be a week before they settle the issue and open the college." I comforted myself as it's no urgent official call. I spoke to Rani. "I'm Sundar. So Rani your college's closed and you wanna go home, right? What'd I do?""Sir, I need your help to reach the bus terminus. There's no corporation bus plying directly to the central bus terminus from our college. My dad doesn't feel okay for me to take any other conveyance. So…, " she struggled with words. I hurriedly checked. The office car and driver both were not there. Probably some colleague has taken away the vehicle on camp. Realizing I still was on call, I resumed, "Rani. What's it I can do now?" "Sir if you're free kindly drop me at the central bus terminus. I can get going home from there.""But Rani the office vehicle isn't there. I have my two-wheeler only at the moment.""That'll be fine Sir. I can ride in your two-wheeler."I was thinking she wouldn't prefer a two-wheeler as she belonged to elite society and that her father treated her like a princess. But Rani never seemed to mind. Then why'd I? "Rani, are you listening? Keep yourself ready. I'll be there in ten minutes."We rode to the bus terminus right in time to catch the bus bound for Salem. I got her a ticket and she boarded the bus. "Take care Rani. I'll phone your dad and tell him you're going home."She beamed a happy smile in return. On return to office, I saw my divisional engineer had just arrived from Erode, his headquarters. I went upstairs and greeted him. "Good morning Sir.""So you had a jolly good ride with the superintending engineer's daughter on the pillion. You care more for unofficial work. Shall I report to the superintending engineer?"I was shocked. I never imagined the divisional engineer to encounter us. It's a coi

ncidence. I managed and said:'Sir it's only on superintending engineer's request I went. The girl has to go home as there's a problem in her college and it's been closed."Thereafter the divisional engineer kept silent as he's not in superintending engineer's good books. However, I was confident the matter wouldn't bother the superintending engineer so long as her daughter could reach home safe. After a month the superintending engineer was on the next camp to Coimbatore. At that time his wife and daughter were also there. The superintending engineer thanked me for escorting his daughter to the bus terminus last month when they struck work in her college. "It's ok sir. You already thanked me over the phone. I'm honored to carry out such small obligations and it's a pleasure." At that time the divisional engineer was also there but his face was like a granite stone! In the subsequent months, Rani called me two or three times for petty things which I always carried out. Once she called me to meet her in the forenoon. I went. She said with some reluctance: "Sir, Today's Sunday. My friends and I plan to go to a movie. If you'd get us tickets we'll be happy because there's a heavy crowd and the show is always houseful.""Look Rani, I'm not a film-goer. Further, the divisional engineer is due to arrive in the afternoon. I must go and receive him from the railway station. I'm sorry. Maybe some other day I'll be able to see to your request." There's disappointment writ large in her eyes. Even before she's attempting to answer I was afoot. However, I could hear Rani's friends commenting:"Leave it, Rani. Today the hero's in blues, God knows why!" Later in the office, I felt I shouldn't have behaved with the girl like that. I could've even avoided the divisional engineer's camp for he's a regular visitor every Sunday. Further, if it were superintending engineer's personal work divisional engineer wouldn't poke his nose. After my disclosure to the fellow engineers, they simply giggled. One fellow even said: "Poor girl. You spoiled her happiness for an outing with a boyfriend. If I were in your place I readily would have gone with the girls and enjoyed the evening."His comment pricked me and I resolved to have an outing with Rani the next time when she called me. She did call but not for an outing. I escorted her into the office vehicle to catch the bus and so on. Not acting at the appropriate time… Isn't it an aberration too?

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