Nick Second Life

The Story of an MBA grad in Recession times.. as told by Nick!

The Defense Canteen Beer

Posted by Subhendu on December 7, 2009

Recession did a lot of things. Mostly bad.

Few good things did happen too. Organisations consolidated. Real estate prices fell, relief to people like me who had missed out on the bull run. Not that I can afford buying it now. Its just a feel good factor. While some people grew efficient, by sitting on benches and adding certifications to their CVs, others grew clever.

It was a Wednesday. I grew restless looking at the newspaper. The Times ascent pages were filled up with junk job postings and Naukri.com & Monster.com jobs have like dried up. Somehow I was lucky to have found someone who offered me a second job so I could resign from the current one. But Notice periods still did not cease to exist. And I had to get ready for office.  As I entered the dining room, i froze!

I stayed alone in the apartment. I lock my doors securely everynight. There is no way in which someone can actually enter into my room. And now, in the middle of the room, he was standing alone. His head was covered with a steel helmet which glazed in the sunshine. His face was pale or rather he was perspiring. Beads of sweat adorned his forehead but he never made any attempt to wipe them off. He looked tired but his well built, well carved body suggested that he must have been through the toughest phases of his life. He was wrapped in a thin golden scarf which glittered too. I watched him closely. He stood with eyes closed.  He was not breathing! Was he dead? Did he freeze near my window? Why was he alone? Questions like this kept coming into my mind. I was not shocked anymore seeing him in my room, I just stood, thoughtless.

Then I remembered Maddy. Madhubhusan Mohanty.

Maddy was my classmate in my engineering days. Loved to keep a moustache and it made him feel proud. After engineering when 70% of our batch actually went ‘softies‘, he went the ‘hardies‘ way. Obviously there are differences when you actually fight for the country in armed forces and you actually work in a software company for foreigners. But nothing bad in any of it. Both are trying to revive the economy of India and safeguarding it. Maddy was posted in Shimla point and as a Serviceman, he enjoyed lots of privileges. He showered some of them on me too when last week we had shopped for one crate of beer. Mumbai had a bandh declared on the day when both of us drove the Pulsar to nearly 20000 meters into the defense canteen. Inside the canteen was a different story.

Mostly ex-servicemen, their wives, kids with trolley bags were picking up grocery. Felt really good that Government actually has this facility for people serving the forces. They spent their entire lives on government salaries, without corruption and it is actually their right to get things where they dont have to pay taxes. But I also loved Maddy’s generosity. Allowing me to get a bottle of KingFisher Strong for 50 cents  against a market price of $ 2.0.

Beer

Defense Canteen Beer

Now, I remembered. The lone bottle of beer which stood on my dining table in the centre, shining in the sunlight was actually the only bottle left. All its other relatives had dried up, and lay dead on the floor. Beer does a lot of wonderful things. It brings back a touch of nostalgia, a lot of memories. It helps people remind how kind other people are, how generous they are. How armed forces guard our motherland and how recession makes people clever!

With all the things said, I was wondering whether I should go back to bed with ‘The Last Samurai‘ or buckle up for office. While I stretched myself near the window, I looked down to look at the pigeons, threw some more rice grains for their day. These are the species which are free.

“I too am, I have resigned”, I said to myself and killed the last man standing. Nick was not going to office today. 14 days to go! No beer left!

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One Response to “The Defense Canteen Beer”

  1. Lucy Pattnaik said

    Articles are very heart touching…I didn’t know my brother Subhendu is a great writer…From Lucy apa..

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