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Well, another three years she changed three managers from Maria, Nama, and then a man of her community who declared in the very beginning that they were not friends. Well, friends they were not and never could be, Shrum knew well. She had worked with him for six years and definitely did not see a friend in him.
It simply meant not to ask favours based on their community.
If any of us believed in community we would have not migrated, migratory birds do not believe in boundaries and walls.
One day New Kumar had told her, “you are above the well and we stay within it.”
She tried being polite that she too was.
Now, New was not a man who could ever come, we told her.
The doctor she saw might at all not be willing to marry her, instead could be a detour to the long route.
You marry anyone, then suffer since it was never your choice, never your way. There is no return from it. You are a prisoner forever. She did not want to do that.
A woman cannot choose as per her wish. She is not forcing people to choose her either.
Nama commented about her and called her “silk Smitha.” The lady who had a tragic death and lived a very different life in the southern film industry.
Was Shrum’s anger not justified? I often wondered.
Respect was a fun word. Respect was only a weapon in these places and was only given to those who had more money than the rest, more gun power, political influence or some tangible power than the rest.
We had learnt a different definition.
For us, we respected our husbands, our parents, our children, our friends, people who served us in any which ways.
Respect meant valuing a human’s work and effort to help you live, thrive or survive.
Maria was aware of her capabilities yet she was not comfortable giving her work from home, during a few of these, Shrum had to attend to her personal needs which included tending to her mother or sister.
The previous manager Supi, to whom she got allotted, as a change in shift changed the manager. She made her quality review certified again and Sucheta was the quality reviewer.
Even Sucheta raised a doubt in certifying her, all this after she was the subject matter expert and all other sort of roles available to healthcare pharmacovigilance workers. She remained quiet and did not object.
People mocked her for serving so long at peanuts.
Her earlier manager, Pure was very cross when someone asked Shrum to join for the audit. He said, “Do you even know anything of all this?” Screaming at her on top of his voice again as mostly he did.
Once Durjoy John and Pure gave her 200 tasks to be done over the weekend. She did 150 and during which she fought with her mother, trying to rationalise her odd 24/7 works.
Recently they went on a trip after long. Shrum had resigned and was finally moving around freely. She really wanted to thank the driver of the car who drove them to the tip of India, gulf of Mannar.
Sadiq she said reminded her of New Kumar. The same brown eyes, the same gap in teeth, the same height, the same voice, the similar smell, the same smile, the same looks. Probably she wanted to talk to New Kumar before leaving the place and since she left them forever she might have felt that, given the men had similar presence.
But, then though New Kumar is capable of innovative ways, and thoughts which can be termed as rebellious or anti in some way; though not in Shrum’s eyes, yet Shrum did not come to any justification as to why he would do that, since he never appeared in person except in hoardings. He did not love her, and she was probably arrested to not think beyond. It was not his face, as she says but definitely the person she liked and if he liked her she could have said yes for a permanent bond.
She believed in not associating for shorter times with anybody. Her friends are friends since she lives or will remain with her or her memories till she lives, it’s like that.
The doctor did not turn up either.
Now, the man from her community made her assistant manager while he left his job for another. He had a wife and a child. He also offered her to visit the US site for two weeks but it was at such a short notice that not much could be arranged from Shrum’s end and I had come to get my degree. Meanwhile I was connecting to my sister during that point of time. So, I couldn’t do much. Besides, I had told her several times to remain prepared but she never bothered much, given she was struggling here so much.
Managerial position, she did not know if they would give, since their treatment towards her was not at all amenable. It was also not sure they would have allowed her to go, given she had all the arrangements. It might have been a formality.
She was a straight stick. She did not believe in any way wrong work. She was not confident of the position, since she saw the behaviour other managers had put towards her. If that is what she was supposed to do, she was not sure, if she could stop herself from landing up in a rehab some day.
But, then Suma took over as a manager.
Suma’s entire clan, she avenged and also gave Shrum two praise awards. Her mouth was sharp as a sword and she avenged without understanding the gravity. She was helped by a woman, who was again a prime candidate for managerial position and the tassel was opened up. She ate it up but this time Shrum did not even look at the bait.
Shrum never spoke ill about her, except facts. She was rather sad since at some points Suma pretended to gel well with her before all this, before Shrum got promoted six months ahead of Suma. Suma being a senior took offence in many such small things. But, Shrum never shouted back on any manager, never. There is no record where she has screamed at anyone. Sometimes when Pure lost control, she tried raising her voice to tackle the situation.
She knew what it was, on two occasions earlier she took it considering she was shaving herself. But no, she saw through us, she was not saving herself but being a bait.
Why can’t it be that things can be straight. As they seem they be. Why is it that the story is never what it seems to the eyes.
Finally 2019 January she completed her tenure with the organisation.
The lands had to be changed. I was two years here, from 2016 end.