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मंदार शिंदे
Mandar Shinde

Monday, January 3, 2011

Home Away From Home (Short Story)

Tushar was packing up for the day. Almost all of his assignments were near completion and he was getting ready for a week-long holiday.

It was his first year away from home and he was feeling quite homesick. He was missing his family so much and was always looking for a reason to be with them. Every festival in last few months had left him craving for celebration and his weak point, home-made delicacies. This time, he got his leave sanctioned well in advance, booked his tickets, did shopping for mom & papa, and was just waiting for next week to pass. This 15th January, he would be with his family celebrating Sankrant and enjoying mom-made sweets.

Thinking of his holiday plans, Tushar habitually refreshed his Inbox before shutting down his PC. Couple of new e-mails appeared. He ignored weekly maintenance notices from IT Dept and proceeded to check the last e-mail. It was from his manager, probably asking him to submit next week's schedule in advance. Tushar opened the e-mail with subject - “Urgent & Important!”

From: madhav.k@in2solutions.in
To: tushar.j@in2solutions.in, sandip.s@in2solutions.in 
Cc: vaishali.d@in2solutions.in 
Date: Friday, January 7, 2011, 5:57 PM 
Subject: Urgent & Important! 
Just to update you, I will be leaving for the 3-day conference on Monday. We have been invited for another conference in the same city next week. I would extend my stay and cover both the conferences. I would be back by 20th of this month. 
Received your presentation. Appreciate your efforts & skill in pulling out all details so fast. This is going to help me a lot in the Outsourcing Managers' Conference! I would also like you to handle the client visit in my absence next week. 
I will be available through e-mails & phone, in case you need any help. 
Madhav K 
Manager – Operations 
In2Solutions Pvt Ltd
Tushar read and re-read the e-mail in disbelief. All his plans were ruined in seconds. The holiday planning, train booking, festival shopping, all in vain! He re-read the e-mail to see if he could find a way out. Madhav, his manager, would be out of office; and Sandip or Vaishali, his colleagues, were too new to handle client visit. This obviously compelled him to cancel his leave and stay back with the work.

He sat there for some more time thinking about all his plans. When he could not think of any solution, he just replied the e-mail with an “Ok.”, shut his PC down and left for home.

Back home, Tushar called up his parents to inform the change in plan. His mother was very disappointed to hear that his leave was canceled. She had planned to prepare his favourite Gool Poli for Sankrant. But now, he was telling that he would not come. Tushar avoided talking in detail with his mother, as he himself was upset. He cut the conversation short and switched on his laptop to check personal e-mails.

While going through his Inbox, he could not keep his favourite food out of his mind. He opened a new window and googled “gool poli”. Along with many links to Gool Poli recipes, he found something different. It read -

“Khawakee - Love of Eating: Gool Poli on order...”

Being curious, Tushar clicked the link and whoa! He was taken to the world of special festival delicacies. Puran Poli, Ukadiche Modak, Khajachi Karanji, and yes, his favourite Gool Poli, too! He saw the actual product photographs and decided to call them first thing in the morning.

“Hello, is it Khawakee?”

“Yes, what do you want to order?”

“I found your website and saw Gool Poli photos. Can I order them for Sankrant next week?”

“Sure! You must have checked the rate and other details on our website. How many Poli's would you like to order?”

“I'd like to have 10 Poli's... no, make it 15, my roommates would also have. 15 Gool Poli's. Where do I collect them from?”

“No need to collect. They will be delivered to your home on specified day. Please give me your name and address.”

“What?? You'll deliver them at my place? Can't believe it! I'm not ordering pizza. It's Gool Poli, right?”

“Yes, you will receive your order at your place! We deliver Gool Poli, Puran Poli, Ukadiche Modak, all fresh items, at your doorstep.”

“And what about payment? Do I need to make any advance payment to you?”

“No advance! Just pay on delivery.”

“My goodness! So happy to hear that. Have to tell mom 'bout this! Please take down my address...”

“Yes, please!”

Tushar gave his address, contact number and confirmed his order details. As soon as this call ended, he called up his mom to tell her what he had found out. His mother, too, didn't believe what he was telling. But, she was happy to hear her son's cheerful voice. “Let's hope you get what you want,” was all she said.

Tushar was so excited about next Saturday, the Sankrant festival, that he forgot his ruined holiday plan and resumed to work on Monday.

The next Saturday, at the time specified by him, Tushar received his order of 15 Gool Poli's. He was so happy to see nicely packed sets of fresh mouth-watering Poli's. Just couldn't wait for tasting them. His roommates, too, liked the tasty Poli's and Tushar called up mom to tell her how happy he was.

He also called up Khawakee later in the day.

“Hello, this is Tushar.”

“Hello, thanks for your order. Hope you liked our Poli's”

“Absolutely! All of us liked them and would love to order more. Do you prepare these Poli's after Sankrant festival?”

“Yes, all of these items are prepared and delivered throughout the year.”

“Wow, that's great! Then I would like to order 20 Gool Poli's for next month, when I leave for my hometown. I want them for my mom. I'll confirm the date once my leave is sanctioned. Is that ok?”

“Sure, do let us know your schedule at your convenience!”

“Thanks, Khawakee!”


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