So, Ansh (name changed) & I met in our school in kindergarten, I guess. He used to sit with Sahil (name changed) and given how lively and jolly Ansh was, I had this desire and longing to sit with him, be around him. I really liked him (of course, as a friend :-P)
I don't remember what transpired between us over a couple of years & we became really good friends, like really good!
We sat together, played together, ate our lunch together, did our homework together. Our friendship became the talk of the town!
Soon, I started going to his home and he would come to mine. We started hanging out. I felt truly happy in his presence. And we, along with some other friends, would like crazy. Like literally ROFL!
But above all, he was the only one who understood my philosophical and spiritual rubbish like he is my alter-ego. It felt so good when you can relate to someone, when you feel understood.
Then came the time to decide our future path. I was not sure what I wanted to do or be in life. I saw Ansh opting for Non-Medical so even I did the same (I hated Computer Science subject though).
Then came the time for entrance examinations for engineering colleges. I did slightly better than him & got myself enrolled in a slightly better college than him. As is natural, we lost touch but would occasionally talk on the phone.
He then did an internship with Infosys for 6 months while I was still in my last semester in college. He would fondly narrate to me all his experiences of the training phase in Infosys campus in Mysore. He was really happy there and I was excited too because I was about to join the same campus in a few months.
When I joined Infosys, Mysore, he was by then transferred to the Bengaluru campus. Still, we kept in touch. We also went on a trip to Kerala from our respective cities.
I quit Infosys as soon as my probation period got over and I came back home on my father's 50th birthday. At that time, my father was out of business and the rental income, our only hope, had stopped too. So financially, we went from middle-class to lower-class. but how could we show it to society!
So, we took a home loan of Rs. 5 lacs to cover our daily expenses. The reason I am telling you all this is to make you feel, vicariously, the pressure of not earning I had upon me.
I had already been preparing for Government Services Examination & I concurrently started teaching kids at my home. I started earning Rs. 10-12k/month in a few months from tuition, which is what I used to send home when I was working with Infosys. So, that kind of took some of the pressure off of me.
Ansh also left Infosys soon and came home. He started helping his father at his shop. His house is approx. 1 km away from mine. So, I would jog to his house early in the morning and meet him and his parents.
He went through a low phase during 2014 & his parents would often tell me to talk to him, come more often, take him out. But, I, to be very honest, did not think, at that time, that 'it' was anything 'bad as such' happening to him. I thought he was getting 'detached' from all the worldly desires.
How naive of me!
So, I let him be. But I guess, that did not go down well with his parents (naturally).
Meanwhile, I kept at my preparations, following a strict and disciplined routine of studying before lunch and teaching afterward. It took nearly two and half years of sitting at home before I could join the Enforcement Directorate in Chandigarh leaving Ansh behind.
After recovering from the bad phase, he joined a company run by his friend. We would still meet once in a while and I had started to sense some change in him but I attributed it to the bad phase he went through.
The big jolt came when I got to know from my cousin Dishu (name changed) that Ansh's engagement is fixed. It was hard to digest for me that once a 'best friend', who would tell me what he ate in the canteen, did not tell me about this event.
I don't know why but it hurt me and it took some time for me to recover from it.
Fast forward to the present day, we both are settled. He and his wife are working in the same company. My wife had to leave her job in Gurgaon because I got transferred to Dharamshala two years ago.
My wife joined a small local company in Dharamshala at a remuneration of Rs. 20k/month (she left her job at Rs. 40k/month). But she had to leave this job too due to an inordinate delay in getting the salary.
After a few months, I got her in touch with Ansh. He offered her an internship for two months (no remuneration) in the company he had been working for. My wife was simply happy to learn.
The internship period got over on 07th November and my wife started negotiating about the salary with Ansh. I told my wife not to negotiate with him, whatever he will decide, it will be for good and we will accept it.
Today, she gets a call from Sudhanshu (name changed), Accounts Manager, also brother-in-law of Ansh. Sudhanshu said that after consultation with the CEO of the company, they have arrived at a remuneration of Rs 10k/month (Sudhanshu had discussed the remuneration with Ansh too a day before) and that too from December. That means they want her to work for one more month for free.
What hit me the most is what my cousin Dishu told me. He was also 'employed' by Ansh in his company. He was paid Rs. 15k/month in the first month and Rs. 5k/month for the internship period (two months) too.
So, I thought, instead of working for free in his company for the current month and getting paid Rs. 10k next month onwards, why don't I employ her as Digital Marketing Head of my webhome 'Love Unites'. I gave the thought a go and paid her Rs. 11,000 as salary for the month of November.
First Time Was Bad, Second Time is Even Worse
If my school friend Ansh thinks that even after dealing with this blow, I won't get hurt then surely he is assuming that I am not human.
Or am I being too emotional or sentimental or overreacting?
Or is it justified to be hurt by this?
Or is there something else at play here?
I don't know.
BTW, daily wages (we call दिहाड़ी in हिंदी), as set by the Government of Haryana under MNREGA scheme, for unskilled manual labor (मजदूर in हिंदी) is Rs. 377 per day that is applicable from 01.07.2021. That comes out to be Rs. 11,310/month. And my wife is a B. Tech graduate with around 4 years of experience in the IT field.
As an afterthought, I think it's not his fault. Jealousy, which is hardwired in humans, made him do this. And my rant against him is also not my fault because getting hurt, which is natural too, made me do this.
So, I guess, we are even, right?
Let me know what you think by mailing me at email@example.com