Bhanu, sitting in her easy chair, swings back and forth. Now she knows what is a net banking theft and how to counter it. This unusual relaxation is not a part of her daily life. She is sitting alone in her balcony and staring at the moon in the sky. Her gloomy appearance is hardly visible to Suri in the moon light from his study room. “She appears hurt”, says Suri to his mother, who is cooking.
Bhanu is in her seventies. She superannuated from government service in 2003.
Few days back Bhanu’s grand daughter, Suri’s elder sister who is graduating in CS engineering, came back home from college with her friends. One of the friends, Tonmoy, was very sad and others were trying to console him. Bhanu, who was serving them tea, came to know that there was a net banking theft in Tonmoy’s bank account. He had lost about eighteen thousand rupees. For a student, that’s a big sum of money. Bhanu , asked, “How did it happen?” Tonmoy told her briefly how he had received a fake call informing him he would be awarded with a gift amount of rupees 5000/- and how he fell prey to that. Bhanu tried to get to the details so that she would be able to do something about it. At this Megha, the grand daughter said, “You can’t do anything grandy, that’s a bit too sophisticated for you, I mean internet, passwords, net banking theft and …..”She told this in such a humiliating manner that all the friends laughed out. Even Tonmoy, who until then looked quite dejected, seemed to enjoy that. Bhanu, as ever, smiled and took it sportingly. Nonetheless, she was hurt.
Bhanu Latha, while in service, was considered a brilliant employee and an expert on rules and regulations concerning public grievances, service matters, disciplinary affairs, staff relations etc. Such was her mastery on the subjects that not only senior managers but also departmental secretaries would sometimes call on her and ask her view on various issues of significance. One would definitely not be able to read Bhanu from the simple and ever smiling look that she always wore.
And this Bhanu Latha, who had retired 13 years back to a homely life and spent time teaching Suri, was laughed at by a group of college students. She was terribly hurt. She was offended. “Why can’t they talk sense? Is it necessary to disregard others?”
“No, I must show them who I am. Definitely….I’m not going to let it pass by simply. No…”, Bhanu was speaking to herself when Suri entered the room. “Suri,will you help me? Please…?” Suri loved grand mom so much that there was hardly a question about it. “Sure”, he said though he was not sure what help could he be of, to grand mom.
After thirty seven days, 3 personal visits to the concerned bank, 8 emails, 2 letters to cyber cell and numerous phone calls by Bhanu, Tonmoy received back his money. Add to it, a racket involving a bank employee, 2 college students and an engineer was unearthed and Bhanu got kudos for the same from the bank. In the process she sent emails to the bank and cyber security cell with Suri’s help, visited bank manager who had been a student of an ex-colleague for enquiring about Tonmoy’s bank account details and had to interact with ombudsman. But Bhanu Latha would do it all to teach a group of students that she cannot be taken lightly. She is not yet a tale of yesteryears. She is still relevant. And she can do something against net banking theft which they cannot.
Suri attends the door bell and comes back running and shouting, “See grandma, they have come. Megha, Tonmoy and friends want to say thanks to you. I told Di and she told them all.” Suri leaps in joy, “You have won grandma”, he whispers in Bhanu’s ears, “I have won too. I never let anyone know I sent the emails and typed your letters.”
Bhanu walks downstairs very slowly, quite numb. As friends see her they make a big noise and shout,” Thanks aunty….you did it….really great job. Wonderful”. “So cool…” Given Bhanu’s ever smiling personality, Tonmoy and company is expecting a warm gesture from Bhanu.
Bhanu remains silent for a while. Her face looks grim and body language sullen, then utters a dry “THANKS” and starts walking back and then upstairs. Megha, Tonmoy and others are dumbfounded. The noise has stopped.
And Bhanu Latha, the retired employee, walks back slowly to the balcony……to stare at the moon…..