“Bhaiya (Brother)… those medicines you gave me last week, they did not work. You know right, it’s been 10 days and I am buying medicines from you, as per the Doctor’s prescription and still nothing is working out for me. And today the pain has become intolerable, it seems like the same old pain of the wisdom tooth has started again. Anyways Bhaiya, give me a 500 mg Paracetamol and the strongest Antibiotic for the pain I have in my gums and also want the swelling to reduce”, asked Nischay politely.
Nishchay gave a 100 rupees note and took the medicines in his hands unlocked the cap from the water bottle kept on the Shop’s table and gulped both medicines at one shot right in front of the shop, saying a ‘thank you’ and headed to catch his office cab.
Nishchay recently got through and eventually joined a new job in Genpact, BPO. It was his second month’s salary and he was eagerly waiting for it. As lately, he moved out of a rented house where he used to stay with his friends and later stayed as a Paying Guest at Uppal in the hi-tech city of Hyderabad. Unfortunately, he fell short of money, financially deficit and was not able to go to a proper dental clinic with his first salary to get rid of his old dental problem, as he had to clear his old debts. He decided as soon as he gets his second month salary he would go to a Dentist and get his painful gums and agonizing tooth treated. Moreover, it was his birthday the next month.
Nishchay was 29 years old and was bought up in an orphanage, he was found by the warden crying inside a dust-bin. Although, he was never excellent or too good at studies but somehow, he managed to complete his graduation from Guntur; which is a small town in Andhra Pradesh. Further, he moved to Hyderabad and from the past 4 years he has been working in the BPO domain or commonly known as ‘Call Center’. This was his third job in a call center; he had no problem to work in odd shift hours. Except his being uncomfortable, while tackling with weird situations especially against his supervisors and managers; which was the only reason for him to abscond from his previous company, where he had worked for 3 long years. He was too bad at being cunning and was not at all a showy big mouth diplomat, which is compulsorily a common trend in BPO’s . A BPO employee apart from his productive hours needs to learn, how to speak diplomatically with a big mouth especially while appreciating oneself in front of the managers and supervisors.
It was a Wednesday night and Nishchay boarded his cab after popping the tablets, reached his office scooting through the busy traffic of Hyderabad. He had to login and logout as per US time zones apparently for which, he had to abide the night shift working hours. He straight away went to the cafeteria and instead of having his regular combo dinner, he took a cup of tea and some biscuits and started to dip the biscuits in his tea.So that it could easily melt into his swollen and badly paining gums, in fact his entire jaws. After smoking a ciggarate he entered the production floor and he did not walk till his system but, advanced walked the wellness zone so that he could check the first aid box for some pain killers. Although, Nishchay took medicines for the night; but he had an old belief that he would not get cured or it won’t work out to heal him with normal dosage of medicines. (5 years ago, during Nishchay’s rehabilitation days; the doctors used to continuously give him an overdose of sedatives and anti-anxiety for quick relief and instant action due to his uncontrollable withdrawal symptoms and nauseated tendencies). He grabbed few pain killers and strangely his eyes fell on a strip of ‘Calmpose’ (A 25 mg tab for sedation and relief from anti-anxiety); he hesitated for two minutes but picked up the entire strip and headed toward his work station.
Around 23:00 hours Nishchay was on his 70th call as generally. Nishchay was unable to open his mouth properly now and had problems with maintaining the modulated American accent. He tolerated the pain for 30 minutes and then changed the aux mode on the dialer and chose the ‘break aux’, he hastily walked towards the KIOSK and gulped 2 more painkillers and 3 Calmose tablets in order to get relief from his psychological pain. Nishchay knew it very well that taking medicines without any food would affect his kidney and liver very badly, as he had learnt about few medical etiquette during his stay and experience in the Rehabs.
Nishchay got back to work and after few hours he took the 15- min break to have a cup of tea. Just after the tea, when he was about to light a cigratte he started to feel no sensation on his left side inner cheek. It had gone numb and he thought the tea might have got him some relief from the endless and terrible pain. But he was wrong, when he went to the washroom to wash his face, he found his left cheek swollen very badly. He ignorantly and innocently pressed his cheek, in order to check if it was paining and still it was felt numb. The numbness was due to an overdose of pain killers he had taken . He came out of the washroom and helplessly went to his Team Leader, asking him for permission to go off production and take some rest in the wellness room.
Nishchay was unable to return to his work station that night and straight away boarded the cab after his work shift at 6:00 AM. He reached his PG , his usual habit was after returning to his room have a cup of tea and play the Guitar, hymn 4 to 5 odd songs and then he would go to sleep. But lately, he was not playing the Guitar due to his swollen gums as he would get tempted to sing along with the strumming sound of played chords. A dejected Nishchay took ‘Krishna – The Supreme Understanding’, a book by Osho in his hand and sat on his bed. He opened the marked page and started reading from the mark, leaning on his pillow. He read the book for an hour and a half and wanted to sleep but, he could not due to the bad pain in his gums and now his left cheek has also started to pain. Nishchay was becoming restless , he wanted some relief so he open a bottle of rum and 2 pegs of Rum.
The alcohol was giving him a mild buzz; he played the song ‘Tears in heaven’ by Eric Clapton and fell asleep while reading the book. It was 6 in the evening when he woke up, Nishchay was feeling damn hungry now. He rushed to his washroom to look at his face, hs face was badly swollen and he could hardly open his mouth. He headed towards the nearby Juice center and ordered for 2 glasses of apple milk shake. He finished both the glasses in a single breath but, still he was hungry. He ordered a soup and Maggie (Noodles), so that he would not have to chew them. It was almost 19:30 hours when he returned back to his room. Soon, he took a shower and got dressed in his daily formal wear, as his office attire. Like his every evening schedule, Nishchay got ready for his office and was timely waiting for his cab to arrive.
Nishchay boarded the cab and while on the way to his office hewould woo at all his favorite food joints and would miss the time, how he used to relish on his favorite junk food endlessly. Finally, he reached office and he went to the cafeteria and ordered for a cup of tea and bought a packet of Bourbon biscuits. But that evening the swelling was so terrible that it was just impossible for him to open his mouth; he was not even able to put the melted Bourbon biscuit into his mouth. He sadly wrapped back the entire biscuit packet and put it inside his coat pocket.He sat to sip his tea silently, somewhat trying to hide his face from the crowd, so that no one could see his swollen face.
Nishchay entered the production floor and like yesterday, he again headed towards the wellness center so that he could get some more pain killers and other tablets by his choice. While, he was about to open the door to wellness center, he heard a voice calling his name.
‘Nishchay, please come and meet me in my room’, it was the HR and he was asking Nishchay to come and meet him in the HR’s cabin.
‘I’ll be there Adams in next two minutes’; Nishchay answered to his HR and went inside the washroom.
The HR asked him to take a seat and started the conversation, ’Nishchay, did you go to a Dentist?’
Nishchay answered with a confident lie, ’Yes Adams…!’
What did the Doctor say, how much time it would take for your gums to get healed?
Although, he was struggling to speak but continued to answer persistently, ‘According to him, I should be fine by next week. In other words he said that, my mouth would get healed in next 7 days’.
The HR interrupted and said, ‘Alright Nishchay; you know, I got the information from your Team Lead Andrews that, yesterday you were off production for more than 5 hours and you were able to login and take calls only for 3 hours, which is not even a half day. Well Nishchay, having said that it takes 6 months for a new employee to get completely absorbed by the company,until then an employee is in probation period. I am very sorry to say it Nishchay although, I know it very well that you are suffering from a bad toothache, but as per the company norms, we cannot allow you to take rest and be off production for so long. I have got strict instructions from the Operation Manager, that I need to strictly check today, if you are able to login and take calls for entire 9 productive hours or not. Otherwise, I am afraid; we would have to release you and I will have to draft a termination letter against you on medical grounds.
However, as of now, how are you feeling Nishchay? Any which ways would you able to take calls for entire 9 hours today?
Nishchay was stunned and left aback; he was completely spellbound and so speechless to Adams’ question. Somehow he managed to reply in a stammering voice, ‘Yes Adams hopefully, I will’. This soft and nervous reply from Nishchay ended the conversation. He silently walked out of the cabin and went to his work station, wore his headset and logged on to his system; in order to take calls for the day.
He was already having the bad pain in his gums for which he was unable to take calls and now he has got a new disturbing thought to accompany his inner turmoil and tensions. He was unable to concentrate on calls and was getting up from his chair over and over again, sometime to drink water and times to use the washroom. It was midnight , Nishchay’s pain was getting worst and unbearable, he went for a smoke break and carried a cup of tea. He finished the tea, threw the smoked cigarette butt and headed towards the lift. On the way back he saw one of his colleagues coming down for a smoke, he wanted to greet his friend, he saw a big question on his friend’s face.
Nishchay forwarded his hand struggling to say, ‘EeeehhhHe-eellllO…!’ He was not even able to pronounce or utter his friend’s name. He silently, like a numb-struck entered the lift and pressed the 4th floor. On his way to the production floor he was rehearsing the usual call opening and checking, if he could speak properly or not; he was able to do a quick quality check, as he was alone in the lift at that time. Nishchay realized that he is not able to open his mouth, which was too badly swollen. He said to himself verbally inside his mind, ‘Now how would I take calls..? If Adam (HR) comes to know, then he would draft the termination letter and then next month, even I would not be able to get my gums treated by a good Dentist. I am not even able to speak words; how the fuck, would I take remaining 300 calls for the day?’
He was trying to hide himself like a convicted one and walked slowly out of the lift. He became more secretive and noiseless, when he was crossing the HR’s cabin. He pulled out and sat on the chair in front his work station.
‘Holy Fuck Nishchay ! Your face is badly swollen; you need to….’; ‘Shhhhhh…!’ Nishchay gestured to his neighboring cubicle mate in the office, whose name was Paul.
He further gestured to Paul and asked him about his suggestion, what should he do when he is unable to take any call?
Paul whispered back to him, ‘Go to Adams (Team Leader) and speak to him, he should allow you to go back to your home and take rest’.
Listening to Paul’s reply, Nishchay disappointingly turned his face to the other side and started toggling on his system, as if he did not hear to Paul’s suggestion.
He thought and told to himself, ‘What would I do sitting in front of the system, like a dumb guy ,once I would login to the dialer the queued calls would start pouring in automatically and I would not be able to answer them’.
Suddenly, Nishchay got up from his chair and straight away headed towards the KIOSK, which was beside the HR’s cabin. He swallowed 3 more pain killers and gently pushed the cabin’s door and gesturing at Adams he asked, if he could come in..?
The HR answered back in a firm tone, ‘Yes come in Nishchay’.
Nishchay scribbled on the air and gestured to Adams asking for a pen and a paper. He wasted no time and started writing on the paper that, ‘Adams I am sorry, I would not be able to take calls today…’
Before he could finish writing his statement, Adams consolingly replied, ‘I can see that Nishchay, your mouth is swollen too badly’.
Nishchay continued to write more, ‘But I promise and assure you that, if you grant me a sick leave of 5 days at the loss of my pay, I would feel better and would get back to regular work, taking calls and perform in the best possible way. Adams again responded, ‘I am sorry Nishchay, as per the company’s norms and policy it is not at all possible. I am afraid I will have to report this thing to the Operations Manager- Vijay and further would have to draft a termination letter against you on a medically unfit ground.
Nishchay was confused now and did not know what more to write, which could convince his HR. Somehow, helpless Nishchay continued to write and ask, ‘What will happen of the 10 days that I have worked here, will I get paid for that?’
Reading this question the HR replied very gravely, ‘No unfortunately, a salary only gets credited for a minimum of 15 working days, so apparently you won’t get paid for these 10 days’.
Nishchay’s head was still facing down and he was still looking at the paper, where he was scribbling his final verdict/statement in a company to save his job.
Finally, he wrote these words; ‘Adams, trust me Bro! I badly need this job’.
Adams read his last words in his cabin and patted his back telling, ‘I am sorry Nishchay, but I am equally helpless. Don’t worry and take care of yourself, go to a good Dentist and join a new job. You are too good Nishchay to crack any company’.
Nishchay silently got up from the chair and moved towards the door. While walking out of the HR’s room, he was constantly thinking and asking to himself a recurring question, ‘How the fuck would I get healed Adams? When the company is not giving me time to get healed neither it is paying me for 10 days that I served here, taking all the intolerable pain so silently.
“60 Odd Meals Auctioned for A Wisdom Teeth”
Since 25 days, 16 hours and 43 minutes,
Paracetamol and Diclofenac Sodium,
Breaks my every morning fast and ,
Fills my belly at the dinner table;
Tranquilizing me to sleep regularly,
Singing lullabies to my dental agony.
Having heard long tales about wisdom teeth,
Childhood days never took it seriously;
And in youthful state,
Always blown it in candid rings of smoke.
When became a man,
And experienced the pain;
Auctioned 60 odd meals,
In an ignorant search of wisdom.
Now, like an old man,
Fluids are my sources to survive;
I swallow, but can’t chew,
Sometimes, I gulp in anger and pain.
And wisdom in vain;
But learnt a lesson,
Pain is inevitable;
For salvation to shower and rain.
For a virgin joy to be born;
In this walk of life,
Where, there is no pain;
There is no gain.