short story
That Tiny Bit of Paper

That Tiny Bit of Paper

That Tiny Bit of Paper

When that moron shopkeeperl told that Mannoo was absconding I immediately searched for that tiny bit of paper. But just like its writer, that hand written note on a slip-pad page, was also missing. Once it had flown out of the window and I brought it back picking from amidst pebbles.

Now, it was nowhere to be found.

I tried to convince that man, the owner, Mr. Mittal, who would be perhaps in his sixties. But alas! That rigid soul won’t listen to anything, anyone.

“Get me at least the note which he gave you. How can I trust your words?”

Of course the shopkeeper was right. I had gone to the shop the previous day when it was about to down the shutters. Mannoo asked me to give the money in cash and said his technician would visit my house the next day and install the TV.

Being in a hurry he hadn’t entered the transaction in the cash book. He only gave me that handwritten slip. And said, “ My people will take the invoice along.”

I was happy I’d save the transport. Since I Mannoo had been known to me for about last ten years I didn’t have the least idea he’d act like that. Even when he didn’t come back for 4 days I believed with all my heart he’d come soon and I’d get back my money.

Forty-two thousand was a big amount for me then. It’s still a big one for me.

World Cup was round the corner. Perhaps you’d agree, if you’re speaking about the world cup and you happen to be in India, the game need not be specified. I needed the TV badly.

And the disappearing of Mannoo all of a sudden irritated me severely. I was frustrated and shouted at the shopkeeper, “ Do I look like a fraud? Can’t you check your cash balance and find out if I paid yesterday ? Can’t you keep track of your own employees?”

Though he looked panicked but he won’t give the money back at any cost.

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8 Months Later…

Means today.

I found the paper. It was lying cool in my table drawer behind all the debris that I keep dumping in there.

Meanwhile India had gone on to win the world cup.I had bought another TV from another shop the very next day. Though Mannoo had appeared all on a sudden after about a week and returned the money.

He had vanished suddenly due to a medical emergency of his sister. And he said he hadn’t asked permission from the owner  because he would never allow him.

But the showdown remained. I won’t throw the piece of paper. I would show it to that moron shopkeeper and hand him something like, “ All the people ain’t morons like you. Even Mannoo is better off.”

I was about to step out when mom asked where I was going. I told her everything and she ended up everything there itself.

“Swear by me you won’t tell him anything like that.”

Though I promised to mom but the piece of paper kept biting me at the back of my head.

“I must go. I must avenge my insult. How that moron insulted me in presence of his salesmen. No I can’t forget. Never ever” I said to myself.

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I reached there at about 3 PM. It was a Saturday and it had rained, not much earlier. Being an off day, I was relaxed and had thought of teaching the owner a good lesson.

As I entered the gate I saw a lovely, angel like girl lying in the couch and some people surrounding her. The girl writhed in pain and the shopkeeper, Mr. Mittal was very tense.

He ran towards me and held my hand. Dragging me towards the girl, who I had known by that time to be his daughter, Mittal shouted, “ Doctor, look at my daughter….what has happened to her legs?” He had mistaken me for the doctor.

“Please do something…please…”. His voice was weak and his expression, one of immense sadness and pain. His face was crestfallen. He appeared nervous and stammered while talking. Everybody looked uneasy. Then I saw owner’s wife. She was crying.

In fact the girl had had a bad fall while playing outdoors and had broken her feet. She was in bad pain and kept crying aloud.

Her condition was unbearable for me. One of my friends was the best orthopaedic doctor of the town. Immediately I rang him. He said he was available in his chamber which was about a 10 minute drive from the shop. I, Mittal and his teenaged son took the little, lovely angel to the orthopaedic hospital.

The X-Ray and scanning reports indicated there was no fracture. It happened to be only a bad sprain in the ankle. My friend said, “ Nothing serious.It’d be fine, a matter of …..say, about a week.”

Everybody was relieved. Most of all, Mittal. With the easing of tension the word ‘moron’ was back in my mind and my hand wadded the piece of paper in my pocket.

Recovering from the shock, Mittal came to me and said, “ Thanks a lot man. Thanks for the help….Oh! …… I forgot…you must have come for something. Please tell me how I can help you?”

I looked at him for a while, not sure, what to say.

“No…it’s okay….nothing……nothing important.”

So, I rode back home. And this was how my revenge ended for ever.

Taking out the paper ball from my pocket I looked at it and murmured, “You idiot…”

And  tossed it up in the air.

About the author

Rajesh

We play different roles at different points in time during the journey called life. At this point I play a 'WRITER' and tell you tales. Those of real life, those that make you smile, those that make tears trickle down your eyes and also the ones which might be your own stories.

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