#3 The unanswered question

It was unusual that Srinivas had to sleep before 10pm on any day. Being awake till 10pm or 11pm was part of his job requirement which came along with the description, but not written down anywhere. No matter the day, he had some or the other thing that he had to take care of, and that usually lasted later than 10pm. Some days it was the clients, who are in a different time zone altogether, sometimes it is the office work that ends up pending after a client visit that he has to finish, sometimes it is the recruitment of new people and he has to travel to different colleges and it is a little hard sleeping. But that day, he had a headache. A terrible, severe one. He just wanted to sleep since afternoon and he didn’t get any chance to do so. No matter whenever he wanted to sleep, some or the other work came up and he had to focus on that. After a few high priority works, he told his secretary that he can’t take this anymore and he is going home to sleep. At around 5pm, he had left his office.

By the time he reached home, his head became dizzier than it was before. He just wanted to puke. It was lucky that he took a cab back that day and didn’t drive, otherwise, God knows what kind of accident he would have caused. His wife, Pavithra was waiting for him, with a cup of hot tea. Nothing could soothe a headache like a tea and sleep, he always told her. After he had his tea, he told Pavithra that he would be going to sleep immediately and he didn’t want to have dinner that night. He asked her to make some buttermilk and put it in the refrigerator, if he woke up in the middle of the night and wanted to have something. Whenever he slept early, he wakes up during the night and has something to eat. And Pavithra made sure that there was something to eat in the refrigerator, every day. Illness was not a relative, to inform before coming. It is like a storm, which doesn’t have previous warnings, a specified duration or a specific severity. Either Srinivas or Raj, their son, are that way. They used to get up during the night to have something to eat.

Srinivas and Pavithra got married a long time ago. They both had educated parents, who thought that it is better to give the kids sometime before they are married and with a lot of responsibilities. Both of them studied in the same college and they started liking each other. By the time they got out of college, they started dating and a few months later, they committed to being in a serious relationship. They had told their parents about each other and how they want to get married. Both their parents were glad that they have come and told them before they could start looking for matches. They let them meet and roam together. Life was really great for them. A few years later, their parents asked them to consider marriage, which Srinivas and Pavithra have made a decision by then. They have expressed that they are interested to get married and they think the sooner the better. In few months, they tied the knot.

Since college times, Srinivas always wanted to start something of his own. He never really was fascinated by the fact that he has to go work for somebody. He wanted something of his own. And that was a time when start-ups were not such a common thing that they are now. He needed a great idea, a scalable plan and a way to convince someone to invest in that idea. He many times told Pavithra that he would be starting something of his own rather than go somewhere else to earn a living. Pavithra used to show him the reality to see sometimes if he really wanted to do something or was he just in a hype of a lot of money flowing through when he starts something.

“If not now, when?” he used to ask her.

“You might not get business from day 1 itself. You need to market yourself. You need to work for someone, while on the same lines you need to market yourself. And doing that needs money. Where do you have money?” she used to ask him. She tried making him see reality and see if he would give up.

He didn’t like giving up on his dream. He started as a design engineer. He would be making designs based on the requirements of clients and then he would send it to contractors, who would get builders to build it. It started with him as the engineer and Pavithra as the financial advisor, and slowly grew to be one of the top companies of the state of Andhra Pradesh. It was a great time. Sustaining something as big for more than 20 years was really an admirable task. Srinivas had held his company for about 25 years. It grew to provide life to 100+ engineers, more than a 1000 builders, who are hired after they finish the design process and many more who are indirectly associated to them. Their aim was to build office spaces and homes that would be safe even after 100 years. As Srinivas and his company grew, he expected Raj to take over his role as CEO of the company. But Raj had decided to take the bottommost level in their business. A construction worker. No matter how many times Srinivas used to tell him, Raj never listened. After a while, Srinivas understood it is pointless to argue with him, after he is so adamant about it. He thought that if Raj worked as a construction worker, one day he would get the reality of their working and he would come back to his rightful position as the next CEO.

But Raj never came. He was satisfied as a construction worker, working at a minimum wage. What made him satisfied with that and not as a CEO of the company Srinivas built was a mystery to him and Pavithra. But, he let it be, as he was satisfied.

Early in the morning, when he was ready to take on the pending issues of the previous day, he looked at his messages and mails to check for any latest occurring. And there was one thing that took his eye. And it was from Raj.

Location change time. Will update.

He remembered this. Why was he running away? What is the reason? And from who is he running away? He didn’t know. But he understood one thing. That this would happen till the ones who are chasing him are defeated.

He called Pavithra and told her about the message. She had the same questions as him. But she had something else which Srinivas didn’t even want to think.

“Did we make a mistake all those years before?” She asked him.


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