A young man learns a valuable lesson when he gets help from the least expected person.
|The ride felt a lot bumpier today than the usual. "The city has been upgrading for years with little progress", Param though to himself. The dust and noxious fumes did not make it any easier. He looked at his watch and wondered if he was going to make it in time for a change. As he neared his office he grabbed a note and a few coins and thrust it in the hands of the cabbie. The digital clock at the entrance flashed 8.59 AM. "Now that's the way to start your day!", he muttered to himself as he rushed to punch in for the day.
The elevator crowd was pleasent for a change, all four of them with earphones plugged in and with no interest in their surroundings. Usually it would be a couple of gentleman in crisp suits and greying hair, speaking in to their phones in a terse tone. He wondered if it was getting in at this time that caused this change in company. He was setting up for the day at his desk when his phone rang. "Hey Naveen! Good Morning". "Hey ! Morning. Are you ready for today's call". "Is it today? I thought it's next Monday" blurted out Param. " Yeah it was, got it rescheduled to today since I have a dentist's appointment next monday.", replied Naveen. "You could have atleast informed me before". "I just got it rescheduled and I am informing you now", retorted Naveen. "What if I had a..umm.. doctor's appointment today?". "Do you?" questioned Naveen. "No, but that's not that point. The point is...", Param trailed off as he though to himself, " This is pointless". "When do we leave?". " Meet me in the parking lot at 10". "OK great, see you" said Param as he sighed to himself. Param had been chasing this client for over a year and finally quit six months back. Surprisingly Naveen informed him last week that they finally got an opportunity to pitch their product.He couldn't afford to squander this chance. Though Param was not particularly fond of Naveen, destiny keep them besides each other right from school, college, job and now the same team.
Param looked down at his watch, it was 10:15 and Naveen was no where in sight. The sun was beating down on him with fury as beads of sweat rolled down his forehed. "Here", he heard someone call out to him and as he turned back he saw Naveen thowing a small mettalic object towards him. Naveen flinched and ducked awkwardly. The object went past him and clattered near the drain and fell through the grill. Naveen howled "How could you not catch that? That was the flashdrive with out pitch for the meeting on it. What do we do now?". Param regained his footing and tried to understand what's going on. "Why didn't you just keep it with you?" . "I wanted you to have a look at it before we opened it up at the clients place". "Here? In the parking lot?", exclaimed Param. " What time do we have to get there?". "11.30" said Naveen. "We can skip the presentation, Let's do it old school". "Guess we don't have another option." said Param as he wondered if the flashdrive would have been of use anyway. " By the way, what took you so long". "I was putting some final words in our pitch". "Well yeah, that's down the drain", said Param resignedly.
Naveen mounted his bike and pushed the start button. The engine gave a low growl and died out. This happeded again for the next five minutes. "Let's just get a rickshaw", said Param. "I have no idea what's wrong". "When's the last time you filled her up?" All Naveen had to offer was a sheepish smile. Param shrugged and walked towards the road with his arms stretched out with the hope of stopping a rickshaw. Luckily the first one that appeared came to a screeching halt. "One down, ninety nine to go", he thought to himself. Getting a rickhshaw on time in this crowded city was also a luxury.
The low hum of the rickshaw was like a melody that could put anyone to sleep. Param struggled to keep awake and strangely Naveen was quieter than usual. "That's it" shouted Naveen as he looked up from his phone."What? Where?" jumped Param as he rubbed his eyes coming out of his nap. "We can use the good cop bad cop routine. I have seen it work in hollywood movies". "We are going to meet a potential customer. Not to interrogate a suspect", scoffed Param. "It's the same - confession for a suspect is the purchase order for a customer". "It's not the same. You will spook them with your cop routine." "It wouldn't. You be the good cop , I will be the bad cop." Param peered outside the rickshaw wondering what would be outcome of this meeting. Closing this sale would give him leverage to negotiate for a higher position in his organisation. He had worked hard for the past two years with the sole aim of getting a promotion and making off to greener pastures. He was clubbed with Naveen last year despite his efforts to go solo. There was this nagging feeling that Naveen was pulling him back even though his performance showed otherwise.
It was an hour long ride but they managed to make it just in time. Looking at the towering building in front of him, Param realized that he had been waiting for this moment for months. All he had to do was walk in to the building with confidence, give the best pitch ever and close the deal. They both walked towards the building silently in the midst of the hustle of the city. They were seated in a large conference room which had a damp and musty odour. Naveen got up and walked towards one of the windows and tried prying it open. "Hey. Leave that as it is. Anyway we wouldn't stay here long". "I know, but the smell is getting to me. I can't give my best if the room is suffocating". All of a sudden the entire window gave way and Naveen was left holding the whole frame by the knob. " Now look what you have done. Five minutes in this room and we are already adding to their losses". "Relax. They can fix it. The rooms smells much better". Param grudingly agreed that the room felt much better now.
All of a suddent the door swung open and a man in his late 40s walked in. He extended a handshake to Param, "Hello, I am Vishwajit Sharma. You must be Naveen." "Hello Sir, I am Param, This is Naveen". "Hello Naveen, pleasure to meet you both. Let's start with what you have for me. I am sorry but I am running a ittle short on time." said Viswajit browsing through his phone. Param replied " Sure. We feel our product proposition which you had discussed with Naveen would fit perfectly into your ecosystem and with the next round of government regulations coming in, no better time to sign up with us." "Look Param, I will be honest. I have gone through your offerings and your commercials. The fact of the matter is you are too expensive for us. I would not be able to justify my decision to the management even though your product is better." Naveen interjected "But our commercials are what helps us in delivering a superior product. Going with us is the need of the hour for you. I am sure you wouldn't want to be in a soup when the new regulations kick in." Param glared at Naveen thinking, " This idiot will get us kicked out of here in minutes with nothing to show for". Vishwajit looked down at his phone and excused himself saying that he had to take a call. Naveen looked at the Param ,winked with a smile and mouthed silently - "Good cop bad cop". Param grimaced and looked away. "So gentlemen, I am running short of time and we are yet to make progress". "Sir, we can probably accomodate your requirements in our commercials, but I can't commit any timelines for the same" said Param with desperation in hs voice. Naveen said, "But sir it may be too late by then. I strongly suggest you take a call right now". "I still don't see it why should I raise my costs", said Viswajit raising his voice a bit. "You don't have to, we will work something out on the commercials eventually", said Param pleadingly. Naveen interrupted,"Which may be too late. You don't see it now but foresight is the need of the hour and you know there's nothing wrong with the product". Param seethed inside and had a strong urge to smack Naveen across his face. He felt Naveen was burning down his dreams right in front of his eyes and he was powerless to do anything about it.
Vishwajit gazed absent mindedly for a few seconds out of the window that Naveen had dismantled. Turning back to them he said, "I am not yet convinced how helpful would your product be for us, but I am willing to give it a try. Our orders for next month get processed tomorrow. You can have that as a trial. Basis how they perform we can look at getting a contract." Param could not belive his ears. He exclaimed "Thank you sir for putting your trust in us". "No problem. Anymore interactions with you guys and I would have had to join your organisation", said Visawajit similing. Pointing towards the open window Vishwajit said, "You guys are lucky that there's a window open in this room today. It's difficult to last more than five minutes in this room with the windows closed. I shall take your leave now, talk to Nanda for the purchase order before leaving. I will brief her."
As Param and Naveen left the building, Naveen said " Let's celebrate. This sale would catapult us in the top bracket for this year. I know how important it was for you." "Yeah, we should. Let's walk over to the Blue Brigade, it's close by." "Cool. I have to make a call before that.", said Naveen as he retrieved his phone from his pocket. Propped up on the stool at the bar, Param wondered what went right today that made the sale possible. If not for Naveen getting the meeting fixed, he would never allow him close to this client. Naveen's outlook towards life always made him feel uncomfortable. How can someone be so casual towards ones goals. Suddenly he remembered something that Viswajit said, he set down his glass asked Naveen, " What did Viswajit mean when he said he he might have to join us?". "Maybe he liked our product that much", he said chuckling. "Or maybe he was tired of my weekly calls for the last six months". "I knew you had this account on your radar for a long time. Was worth a shot." "Yeah, but you could have made this sale all by yourself?",queried Param. "Wouldn't be half as fun to be sitting here alone. After all it was your client" Param drew a long sip pf his beer and wondered if his life would have been much easier and fruitful if he had asked for help when needed, no matter from whom and under what circumstances.