Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The price that we pay

It was three years ago that I had joined the world of Advertising as a Client servicing executive. It was my first break in the industry and I was pretty happy with the office that I was working in. I was given the best team and had handful of clients to cater to. My team consisted of me, my Art Director, my viusalizer and my copy guy. Our team also had a delivery guy who used to run on errands to our clients’ office to deliver artwork cds, printed materials, bills or even collect cheques. He was Nagarajan. But everybody in office used to call him “Toffee”. Don’t ask me why, I have no idea. People there told me that our big boss gave him that name. To be honest there was nothing sweet about him. A rough fellow who bragged that he was once a local goon. And that he joined our office to put his wife’s anxiety at rest and also to lead a peaceful no-bloody life. Might have been true, but I never believed him even though I used to nod my head and rise my eyebrows to show surprise. I never wanted to invite arguments!
My days in office were always filled with lots of fun, tension, laughter and sware words. The last option for having to make Toffee work! He always had 100 reasons of why not to work and not even one good reason of how he can help. I always had such a time in my day when I had to sware at him for taking deadlines and urgencies very lightly. It was not only to me who he caused trouble, for everybody he was a challenge. In a week there would be three complaints registered against him and each week my big boss will be with him, trying to sort out his problem, lecture on how he can improve his work etc. I used be amazed at my boss’s patience, may be because I had lost it within seven months of working and he had been dealing with him for seven years… Phew… that should have been something!
Meanwhile, love blossomed for me. What started for me as a bad in office was made memorable by Arindom’s proposal. The relation of a servicing person and a copy guy took another route. We soon became one of the popular couples in agency. Everybody used to support our relationship. Except for our parents! I remember those days when Raman, my big boss, had a chat with my parents to let me marry Arindom, hitting the bull’s eye by saying that it’s my happiness that they should be concerned about and nothing else! Within three months we got married.
The early days of marriage were really good. We had fun both in office and at home. I thanked God for bringing Arindom into my life. Since we were both in same team we used to share a lot of work and also our stress – the major one being Toffee. But our marriage had somehow bettered Toffee if not anybody. His behavior towards us had changed. He had more respect for me and Arindom now, he used to be very interested in helping us out – but that used to be only in personal matter. As for the office work he still had the same attitude and the routine was still the same. I used to see Raman and him go through the lecture sessions regularly. I used to feel sorry for Raman so I stopped complaining!
Time changed, me and Arindom moved into the family path. I quit, devoting my time to my baby and my husband. I was far from creativity, clients, billings and Toffee… It was during this time that Arindom had bought a car on loan. We couldn’t handle expenses as we had planned. We had lots of credit to pay off in the form of loans and credit card bills. People who had sweetly wooed us into taking them turned hostile towards us. We started dodging their calls. Days were spent in fear with knowledge of recovery agents manhandling defaulters. We made a point never to open doors to strangers.
One fateful day I heard a knock on our door. Through the peep hole I saw a very familiar face. I instantly recognized it as Toffee! I was happy to see him. His old stories of being a local dada flooded my head. I somehow felt reassured on seeing him. I thought that only he can be my last resort, that I could use him against the recovery agents who would come to harm us. Overjoyed I threw open the door. But what I saw made me freeze… He had a notice from Sitizen bank saying that we had not paid our dues and to hand over the payment to the agent bearing this letter. Toffee, who had many a times borrowed money from me and Arindom and had never returned it, was at our door steps as…. Recovery agent!