This is the fifth & final episode in The Anger Bar series, check out the previous episodes before moving on -
The People Headquarters, Powai
Dheeraj had not slept for two days straight now, the convention was in a week and the twenty-member team including him, Sohail, Vishakha, and seventeen other team members were at war with time. He sat in his cubicle beside a pyramid of Red Bull cans overseeing every detail right from the presentation to 3d animation models, from feasibility reports to the smallest marketing leaflet to be handed out to people during the contest. It was post eleven in the night when Sohail finally came up to him,
“You need to get some rest, my friend.”
“I need to finish this presentation first my friend”, Dheeraj replied without moving his eyes from the screen.
Sohail swiveled his chair towards him, “Listen to me. Go home. Sleep for a few hours, freshen up, and come back. We are going at a good pace, I have told the interns and others to leave as well. This place was starting to stink more than a fish market.”
Dheeraj put his head in his hands and rubbed his eyes, “I know. I know. But all the presentations and animations have to be approved by Pankaj by tonight and have to be sent for production and printing first thing tomorrow. I still have to finish this one. Just give me five.”
“I can get the stuff approved for you Dheeraj…” Vishakha came and stood next to Sohail, “Listen to Sohail and go home, get some rest. Pankaj lives on the way back to my place, I can get it approved and I will send everything to their respective places first thing in the morning. How does that sound?”
“That’s great, so Dheeraj you finish up the presentation and hand it over to her and… Leave! Meanwhile, I’ll make sure all the team members have left.” Sohail started walking towards the area where lights were still on in the office.
“Oh! I am getting a call. Dheeraj, finish this fast. I’ll be back in five to ten minutes and pick it up from you.” Vishakha also went away.
Dheeraj swiveled himself back into his spot and continued with his presentation. When he finished, he slotted his flash drive into the laptop and started copying the important files and categorizing them according to priority and plan. He double-checked whether all the files were present and nothing had been missed out. He handed over the flash drive to Vishakha when she returned fifteen minutes later. He didn’t even have the energy to shut down his laptop; he just slammed the screen and put it in his bag. He was damn tired but he still had to drive all the way to his place. He almost dozed off on two signals only to be warned by honking cars. Khaled chacha opened the door for him, without exchanging any words Dheeraj went up to the table, removed the laptop from his bag, and opened the screen.
“You should sleep, son.” Dheeraj knew chacha was right as he clicked open the presentation once again. He realized he couldn’t keep his eyes open after he started reading the first sentence. Dheeraj stood up gave a faint smile to Khaled chacha and went to the room and shut the door behind him. Khaled chacha stood there smiling.
Flat #221, Sunrise Towers, Lower Parel
It was just about midnight when the doorbell rang again. Khaled chacha was surprised to have someone visiting at this hour. He closed the book he was reading and kept it on the table in front of him. He hobbled towards the door as one of his legs had fallen asleep. Looking through the peephole, he found a young man standing with his hands on his hips. Khaled chacha opened the door with the door chain still attached.
“Hello, sir! You must be Khaled chacha.”
Khaled chacha was surprised, “Yes… But who are you?”
“Chacha I am Rohan, Dheeraj’s friend. I have been trying to call Dheeraj for a couple of days but he hasn’t been answering so I was a little worried and thought of dropping by to check if he was fine.”
Chacha recognized Rohan, Dheeraj had mentioned him a couple of times, “Yes… Yes… I know you. Come in first.” He removed the door chain and let Rohan inside.
“I am sorry son, but Dheeraj has been working continuously for the past two days and came home less than an hour back. He didn’t even have dinner and just went to sleep.”
Rohan seemed disappointed in hearing this. “Oh! I thought I would be able to talk to him…”
“Can I get anything for you, son? Water? Soft drink or anything strong?” chacha winked.
“Hahaha… Nothing strong sir, I think water would do.”
Khaled chacha hobbled into the kitchen cursing his leg. Rohan’s attention went to Dheeraj’s laptop which had the presentation opened on it. He picked up the laptop and started scrolling through the slides. “So this is his big idea”, he thought. “This guy sure is brilliant as hell”, he appreciated. Rohan heard Khaled chacha returning from the kitchen and quickly scrolled back to the first slide and placed the laptop on the table exactly as it was kept earlier. Chacha placed the glass of water and a bowl of French fries in front of him.
“Oh, I don’t want these”, Rohan said.
“Oh shut up! I was hungry and I didn’t wanna eat alone, give me some company.”
Rohan and Khaled chacha spoke for an hour on various topics, from chacha’s prison days to Rohan’s business trips, from chacha’s experience on life and evaluation of humans to Rohan’s new ambitions. Rohan realized why Dheeraj’s decision was correct to bail chacha out. Some criminals are by choice, some by accident, but in the end, everyone is a human at heart. He bid farewell to chacha and left Dheeraj’s place. Surprisingly the memory which stood out from his visit was the heading of the presentation on Dheeraj’s computer.
The Anger Room
Seven days later. The Annual Innovation Convention
Today was the big day. Dheeraj had prepared to wear his finest suit and gone to his stylist the day before to get a haircut done. The convention had started at 9 AM, but the contest would start at 1 PM. Dheeraj’s presentation was scheduled for 2 PM. He woke up at 7 AM, his mood was elated. Khaled chacha was surprised to hear him sing loudly from the showers. He had never seen Dheeraj so much happy ever since he had come to stay in his apartment. He was preparing breakfast when Dheeraj came over to him,
“Good morning chacha! I believe you met Rohan the other day”, he said smiling.
“Yes, son! He had come over when you were asleep, we had a great chat. A nice fellow he is.”
“Yes! Yes! And guess what? He wants to hire you for his new restaurant.” Dheeraj said beamingly.
“Me? What use I would be to him?”
“Chacha, he wants you to help him recruit staff and might even consider a role for the restaurant manager. He is willing to pay you 4 lakhs a year for your services.”
“Fo… Four lakhs!”
“Chacha, you know how to read and write English and also have a great eye for the characteristics of a human being, all you have to do is apply that. I personally suggest you take this up!”
“All right, give me some time to think it over; meanwhile you get ready for your big day! I have made your favorite breakfast, Aloo ke parathe (flatbread stuffed with mashed potato mixed with spices) with pickle and curd, whatever you select. “
“Oh wow! Thanks a lot, chacha!”
Dheeraj had the delicious parathas and left for Santacruz, the convention was being held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. He reached just when the contest was starting. There were 5 entries to the contest and each entry was given 1 hour to present its idea. Dheeraj took his seat next to Sohail. He asked
“Everything under order?”
“Yes sir! The drill is that Pankaj will start the proceedings, introduce our company and all that shit, and then will hand over the stage to you. And then you do your magic.” Sohail completed the sentence with a wink. Dheeraj then set his focus on the boring presentation going ahead in front of him.
“Now I welcome on stage, Mr. Pankaj Sinha, Research and Development Head and one of the board members of The People.”
There was a huge round of applause, and Pankaj came on stage, waving at the crowd and faking a bow for the round of applause going on. As he braced the microphone, the applause died down.
“Ladies and gentlemen present here today, it is my great honor to invite you all to The Annual Innovation Convention on behalf of The People. Months of hard work has gone into making this event successful and I hope that all you guys are enjoying it. Moving on, to the contest, I am very proud of representing The People in this contest as today the idea we are going to show you is very unique and different. This idea was brought to me by a very young person. This person has worked like a maniac over the past couple of weeks to make this idea feasible enough to be presented in front of this elite audience. May I welcome on stage, Vishakha Patni, our youngest and brightest mind in the Research Team to present you with this year’s idea.”
The roar of applause deafened Dheeraj. In his ears, the words, Vishakha Patni, “youngest and brightest”, “present you”, all seemed to have slowed down and became loud enough to deafen him from the ongoing roaring applause. His legs melted away and he sank into his seat. Then as if as a volcano ripped open his insides, anger started flowing from his stomach upwards to his heart, lungs, chest, neck, and eyes and finally hit the brain. He pressed his fingernails into his hands to control it but the rage was taking over him completely. He didn’t even realize that he had stood up and started walking. Staggering and helping his balance by touching the chairs and people around him, he somehow exited the ballroom. He couldn’t breathe properly and undid his bowtie. He finally stood up straight and looked at his hands which he had scratched himself. The rage lowering a bit, but not for long. He saw Pankaj walking up to him, smiling, and the anger in him boiled right back up. He also walked up to him and was about to pull back for a punch when Sohail stopped him and held him tightly.
“Tch! Tch! Too much anger inside you Dheeraj. What did you think? I would just let you off for damaging my car? You didn’t only damage my car; you damaged my reputation in the office. There were rumors that I was the one because of whom you snapped and let all your frustration on the car. I can handle anything Dheeraj, but not a stain on my reputation and that is why I bailed you out. I wanted to show the whole office and the board that I had a bigger heart. But I don’t forget my dear friend, the stain had to be removed, revenge had to be taken. And how did you like my idea? I killed two birds with one stone, I got the board of Directors to believe me that I am as responsible as I was, even after your incident and I also got a great idea for the contest. The winning of this contest will make me a permanent member of the Board and then I can manoeuver this company to where I want. Also, I will have to mention the role of Vishakha, she helped me throughout. At least someone knows correctly where her loyalties lie. I must appreciate this dumb Sohail; he has been on your side always. Couldn’t sway him away from you. But I think this humiliation is enough for you to resign and leave my company and that goes for you as well Sohail. Oh and well, since you guys are all dressed up for the event, stay back for the prize ceremony and dinner. The pasta here is amazing!”
To Dheeraj’s surprise, Sohail pulled him back and gave a cracking slap across Pankaj’s face. Pankaj staggered back clutching his face. Sohail was about to slap him once more, but Pankaj retreated backward.
“Well, anyway we are resigning. I thought I could give you a token of my respect.” Sohail started, “And what did you say? Dumb? The only intelligent thing I did was put this in Dheeraj’s pocket.” Sohail stepped towards Dheeraj and took out the voice recorder and clicked the stop button. “This has been recording everything since the last one hour including what you just said. I put this in his pocket as I wanted to record his presentation speech. But I think I have won the jackpot here!” Dheeraj and Sohail both saw the color of Pankaj’s face wash away. “I think I can speak on both of our behalves, we will resign and then sue you for deliberately planning to sabotage our career for petty revenge. I think this evidence is clear enough to ruin your career, Pankaj.” Sohail turned and pulled Dheeraj out towards the exit. Dheeraj’s residual anger came out on the pebble lying in his path and he kicked it very hard, it flew and landed a couple of meters ahead.
“That was brilliant!”, Dheeraj slowly said to Sohail.
“Oh thank God! I thought you would be pissed!”
“I for one will never forget Pankaj holding his face after you slapped him!”, Dheeraj started laughing.
“Me too, I have never slapped anyone!”, Sohail laughed too.
Two days later
Dhairya and Sohail were at Dheeraj’s place. Khaled chacha was making tea for everyone inside when Dheeraj’s phone rang.
“Hi Dheeraj, it’s me, Rohan. I want you and Dhairya to come to Phoenix Mall now. It’s urgent!”, Rohan disconnected.
Dhairya and Sohail had quizzical looks on their face. Khaled chacha had just served tea. Dheeraj began, “It was Rohan, he wants us to come to Phoenix Mall, he said it was urgent. I think we should go!”
All four of them sat in Dheeraj’s car and sped away towards Phoenix Mall. He saw Rohan standing next to the place where he had mentioned that his restaurant was going to be opened. It was covered in drapes. Dhairya hopped out of the car and ran towards Rohan. Dheeraj, Khaled chacha, and Sohail joined Rohan.
“What is the matter? Everything alright?” Dheeraj asked.
“Hahaha… I didn’t mean to scare you guys; I just wanted you guys to be the first to witness something special especially you Dheeraj.”
“You scared the shit out of us!!”, Dhairya scolded.
“Come inside. I want to give you guys a tour of my new restaurant and pub.” He took them inside. Most of the place was under construction. “The bar is going to be there, this will be the main seating area and there is the kitchen.” He said pointing in three different directions. “But the main thing is here, follow me!” Rohan led them down a staircase behind the bar. “Remember I told you about the basement area. This is going to be… “, Dheeraj saw the nameplate on the door and was shocked. The nameplate read,
The Anger Room
“… the Anger Room! Yes, my friend, I will confess I stole your idea, but I am giving you a full acknowledgment for this. You will be my partner in this firm. I will provide my customers with a way to let out their frustration for a nominal fee. This is one of the best business ideas! All thanks to you my friend!”
Dheeraj was speechless. Dhairya hugged him and Sohail was clapping in glee.
“Oh wait! There is one more thing I want to show you, people. Come back upstairs.”
The four people followed Rohan back to the entrance of the pub. Khaled chacha hobbling his way in pain.
“Dheeraj my friend, this is a special tribute to you. I have not only taken your idea for the room, but I have also styled my entire restaurant on the theme of Anger, and what better name to call it than…”
Dheeraj couldn’t hear him anymore, as the drapes dropped, he saw his dreams, his hard work, and karma smiling at him. He saw the name of the pub.
THE ANGER BAR
Dheeraj and Sohail quit The People and sent the recording to the Board. Pankaj was fired and then sued for defamation by Dheeraj & Sohail. Dhairya was their lawyer.
They both and Khaled chacha joined Rohan’s business working for The Anger Bar.
Dhairya won the defamation trial. She also divorced Ankit during the trial.
The Anger Bar tops the “Most Innovative Restaurant in the World” list. It has 25 outlets all over the world.
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- Darshan Pania