This is the fourth episode in The Anger Bar series, check out the previous episodes before moving on -
Six years ago. Harvard Dormitory.
Dheeraj had not seen Heena since her graduation day. Heena and Dheeraj were going out for the past six months and no one around them had the faintest idea, except Dhairya. Dheeraj had covered the entire Harvard campus, he had tried to get into the girl’s dormitory to speak to her friends but was prevented by the guards. They both weren’t exactly the perfect couple but Dheeraj loved Heena more than anyone else in this world. He tried calling her many times but was unable to reach her. At last dejected, Dheeraj reached his own dormitory and saw Varsha waiting for him.
“Heena left today morning for London. She got into the London School of Arts as a part-time professor and gallery assistant. She left this for you.” Varsha handed him a note and left.
“Take care Dheeraj…”
Dheeraj stood there rooted. It was as if he could feel his heart shatter and his soul being sucked out. He opened the note with a heavy heart.
By the time you get this note, I’ll be long gone. I think we are done with each other. I really wanted to say it to you in person, but I have realized that you have a very bad temper and I don’t know how you would have reacted to this. The past six months had good moments and bad ones and unfortunately, the bad ones still linger in my mind. I left the night of graduation only as I didn’t want to see you again. I hope you will respect me and not try to get in touch.
Dheeraj closed the note and started walking towards his room. Every line of the note reverberated in each step he took towards his room and every step filled his empty broken heart with fire, the fire of anger. With trembling hands, he opened the door and stepped inside his room, and without looking behind he slapped the door hard and shut it with a loud bang. He went ahead and stood in front of the mirror, he saw his own reflection breathing heavily and the fire in his own eyes. The devil took over; he stood back and punched his face in the mirror. The mirror broke and small shards pierced into his knuckles. He turned and kicked the vase on the table; it went flying, hit the wall, and shattered. Again he turned and with surprisingly enormous strength he brought down his own wardrobe. He stamped the wardrobe so hard that the thin plywood gave away and his foot got stuck in a wooden hole. He pulled out his leg fiercely so that wooden shards scraped into his shins. His hand reached for the table clock and he threw it with all his force at the window. The clock shattered the glass of the window and went flying out. He tried to take another step but the pain of the wooden shards in his leg didn’t allow him to move. Blood was flowing freely from his right leg and hand. He dragged himself towards a wall and sat down.
Dhairya entered his room an hour later.
Dheeraj had dozed off in front of his laptop. He woke up as his cell phone buzzed next to his ear. He opened one of his eyes to see who was calling him. He opened both his eyes when he saw it was Dhairya.
“The paperwork for Khaled Usman’s bail is ready. You will have to submit this before noon. I am coming to pick you up in half an hour.”
“Khaled Usman aka Khaled chacha, the guy you decided to bail out last evening.”
“Yeah… Oh.. yes.. I’ll be ready.”
He sat up finally on his chair. He touched the mouse pad of his laptop. The PowerPoint presentation lit up. He smiled at the title.
The Anger Room.
Inspector Waghmare was having a tough time at his police station. One of his two prisoners escaped easily as there was no FIR against him and now his second prisoner would be free on bail today. He sipped his tea pensively and let in a rather long drag of a cigarette. He saw Dhairya’s car taking a turn towards the station. He threw his cigarette down and stamped it ruthlessly. He reached the entrance as Dhairya killed the engines. Dheeraj stepped out of the car from the other side. Inspector Waghmare gave a dirty look to both of them and walked inside. Dhairya and Dheeraj followed him to his cabin.
“Here are the papers for Khaled Usman’s release Inspector and we are here to take him with us.” Dhairya shoved the papers into Waghmare’s face.
Inspector Waghmare reluctantly took the papers from Dhairya and took a deep look into them. He had never read the bail papers for any of his previous prisoners, he always used to just verify the signature of the magistrate and release the person but however this time he read all the papers word by word just to spite his guests.
“You can take a copy home, Inspector Waghmare”, Dhairya interrupted him impatiently.
“I just want to be sure madam, this prisoner is a convicted murderer.”
After making sure that he had read every word in those papers including the fine print, Inspector Waghmare had no choice but to order his constable to release Khaled Usman. Fifteen minutes later, Khaled chacha entered Inspector Waghmare’s cabin. He was wearing a very old shirt and pants which were torn at his knee caps. He came forward towards Dheeraj and hugged him and started weeping uncontrollably. Dheeraj patted on his back.
“You are free chacha, you will come with me and I’ll help you start a new life.”
“Is there anything else Inspector Waghmare?” Dhairya asked sharply.
“No… That’s it.”
“Let’s go Dheeraj. Let’s go chacha.”
The drive back was awkwardly silent. Dhairya didn’t want to talk. Khaled chacha was too shy to start a conversation. He was staring at the tall buildings as they passed by with eyes full of awe. Dheeraj just sat being contented with his actions. A sense of happiness spread inside him. Dhairya stopped right in front of Dheeraj’s building. Dheeraj helped Khaled chacha out of the car and helped him up the initial stairs towards the elevator. He came back to Dhairya who had not stepped out of the car and she rolled down her windows,
“Are you sure about this Dheeraj?”
“Absolutely sister. I’m not going to adopt him, I’ll just take care of him till I can find him a job and make sure that he can survive alone in this city. Have faith in me.”
“I have faith in you brother. This old man has a lot more faith in you than me. I hope you don’t let him down.”
“I won’t” he smiled. “Oh, by the way, I have found the idea for the competition. I’ll be going to The People tomorrow for my presentation.”
Dhairya smiled, “Nice! All the best! I hope everyone puts this incident behind you and everything returns to normal.”
Dheeraj and Khaled chacha entered the house. Dheeraj gave a detailed tour of his apartment to him. He then prepared lunch while chacha had a proper bath for the first time in twenty-five years. At the lunch table, Dheeraj saw chacha eat hungrily and the simple rice and dal were heavenly for him. Khaled chacha walked around the house for a few minutes and then went into his room. Dheeraj was focused on his presentation and didn’t notice him for a while; he stepped into the guest bedroom to check upon him. He found him sound asleep. Dheeraj went inside, switched on the fan, and covered chacha with a bedsheet. He switched off the lights and came out to work on his presentation again.
Next Day, The People Headquarters, Powai
The thin and lanky guard sat in the small cubicle and kept his bored eyes on the small fourteen screens. He saw a car on TV number 3. The car parked in Mr. Pankaj’s parking spot. The spot where Mr. Pankaj’s former car was hammered in by a maniac employee. His bored eyes opened up in shock when he saw the same maniac employee stepping out of that car.
Dheeraj stepped out of the car and circled the spot where he had battered Pankaj’s car. He looked up and saw the CCTV camera pointed at him. He smiled and winked at the camera and walked towards the elevator.
Dheeraj stepped into the elevator and pressed the button for the 17th floor. The elevator stopped on the first floor. Dr. Wadhwa came face to face with Dheeraj. He paused for a second, almost like if he was hesitant to ride the elevator with him, but still entered. Dheeraj understood that his story or maybe many violent versions would have been floating in the office rumor mill. Dr. Wadhwa just gave a reluctant smile and didn’t bother to speak right up till the 17th floor. Dheeraj understood that he was going to meet Pankaj also.
Dheeraj let Dr. Wadhwa enter the meeting room first.
“Welcome, Dr.Wadhwa. We are just waiting for Dheeraj..” Pankaj started as he saw Dr. Wadhwa enter the room.
“Oh! Great! Dheeraj is also here on time.” Pankaj added on seeing Dheeraj was just behind Dr.Wadhwa.
Dheeraj scanned the meeting room. He saw Lata Joshi, Vishakha Patni, and Sohail already seated at the table. Dr. Wadhwa took a seat between Pankaj and Mrs. Lata. Vishakha was seated on Pankaj’s other side. Dheeraj took the seat next to Sohail. Sohail smiled and nodded, an expression of “Thank God you are back!” On seeing that everyone was settled, Pankaj started,
“Welcome all of you today! I’m glad all of you could be here so early in the morning and I thank you for that. First of all, let’s welcome back our dear friend and colleague, Dheeraj. Now I know the stories which are going around in the office, but I assure you that it was a one-off incident by Dheeraj, and knowing him and his talents I have brought him back on our team. Now, as you all know the Annual Innovation Convention is here in Mumbai in a fortnight and we have not got our entry for the Innovative Idea of the Year contest. Dheeraj here has an idea that can be used as our entry to the contest. I’ll hand over the stage to Dheeraj now so that he can explain his mind-blowing idea to us. Go on Dheeraj.”
Dheeraj stood up, “Hello all thanks for the kind words Pankaj, and it feels great to come back. This idea of mine has come from my recent and rather unpleasant experience.” Dheeraj started to connect the projector to his laptop, “whatever I did was because of frustration amounting up to anger…” The screen lit up with his desktop, “and which made me think, how many unsatisfied and frustrated employees are working out there for our clients and I did a bit of research and the outcomes were shocking…” He clicked on the PPT icon and the animation started, “Did you know that 15-18% of the employees of our clients’ employees are unsatisfied, frustrated or depressed by their work? Did you know 7-8% of them show random anger moods in day to day life but suppress it to maintain their position in the company? We have 200 clients in India and more than 600 hundred clients in Europe, America, and Africa. The total number of these angry, frustrated employees is a whopping 1.2 million approx. Now you would say, so what? We can’t agree with everyone’s whims and fancies and provide them with whatever they want. That’s what our clients would tell us too. But at least we can reduce the anger and frustration levels amongst these 1.2 million-odd employees which would give our 800 odd clients a boost in their business by 8-10% percent by my calculations. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present the savior of all the angry and frustrated employees, The Anger Room.
We have recreation rooms, this wouldn’t be any bigger, and it will be a normal office bay, you can choose one cubicle and destroy the shit out of it with a baseball bat. The idea is to vent out the anger, to cut the anger at the stem so that it doesn’t destroy the whole plant. How many times have you been angry with your boss but have vented it out on your husbands, wives, children, friends, or even worse your pets? Now whatever happens in the office will stay in the office. This would help stabilize the work-life balance in an employee’s life. The employee would be free from his frustration at the end of his day and productivity will increase the next day.”
Dheeraj paused to look at everyone; Pankaj had a smile of approval on his face. Dr. Wadhwa and Mrs. Lata looked impressed. Vishakha seemed to have questions while Sohail was beaming happily.
Vishakha spoke almost immediately, “How feasible is this?”
“That is what I need a team for, I was told to just come up with an idea and I would get a team to help me present it. If you are asking me about the feasibility of the Room, I would say if a client is ready to install one such room as a prototype and we work more on its analysis and its effect on productivity we can sell this on to other clients. As for the Innovative Idea contest, all I need is to make this idea sell, a proper presentation, a video of a prototype of some kind, and grave statistics for our clients who will be ready to do anything to increase their productivity.”
Pankaj interjected, “I loved the idea. What about you guys?”
Dr.Wadhwa, Sohail, and Mrs.Lata nodded in agreement. Vishakha also said yes.
“Then it is agreed, I want Sohail and Vishakha subordinate Dheeraj on this project. Any work you have with me should come through these two. Any guidance you need I am sure Dr. Wadhwa and Mrs. Lata will gladly help. Sohail and Vishakha, make a team of fifteen to twenty and you will be leading them. The plan is to make this idea presentable and winnable at the contest. Thanks, everyone! You all can leave, Dheeraj please stay back.”
The rest of the people filed out of the meeting room. Pankaj came over to Dheeraj, “I am glad this incident has not affected your abilities of work. Thanks for this idea.” He turned and swiftly moved out. Dheeraj felt happy. This was all going the right way or so he thought.
To be continued…
This story has one more part, so stay tuned for Episode 5 next Sunday!
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See you next week with the final episode. 👋
- Darshan Pania