|Sin (standard:romance, 3071 words)|
|Author: Shamoil Ahmad||Added: Mar 23 2012||Views/Reads: 1299/721||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|He was stunned…. Earth under his feet seemed to have caved in…. Defalcation of rupees two and half a lakh…?|
Sin Shamoil Ahmad He was stunned.... Earth under his feet seemed to have caved in.... Defalcation of rupees two and half a lakh...? He clutched his head and sat down. In minutes the news spread like wild fire that Accounts Clerk Mohammad Sharief had defalcated rupees two and half a lakh. No one quite believed that it could be the act of Mohammad Sharief, but his name was recorded in the ledger-book of the company and his signature was all too clearly registered in the cash roll. The cash roll was lying open in front of the manager. Mohammad Sharief entered the chamber. The manager stared at him from behind his spectacles, ‘is it your signature...?” Yes, it was his signature. Manager's voice acquired sternness, ‘you are given one week's time. Deposit the amount during this period, or else...!' Mohammad Sharief went numb....blood seemed to have dried in his body. Somehow he managed to stagger out of the manager's chamber. His colleagues made a swarm around him. ‘How did it all happen...?” Sharief was silent. Accountant put his hand on his shoulder tenderly, ‘tell us something, Sharief...' It seemed Sharief would break down. With tears in eyes, he could barely utter, 'I did not take the money.' ‘We believe that.' Accountant patted softly on his shoulder. ‘This is the misdeed of the Cashier.' Someone said and Sharief covered his face with both hands and began to weep inconsolably. When Sharief stopped weeping, he stated in detail that the Nalini Construction people had sent a draft for rupees two and a half lakh which had to be encashed through bank. Cashier was on leave that day. Manager had handed over that draft to him. But somehow he was not able to go to the bank the same day and Cashier had returned the following day. Cashier took the draft from him saying that he would post the amount in the ledger. ‘And he took the amount?' Accountant said. Sharief nodded his head. ‘But then why did you put your signature on the cash roll?' ‘He said since I had the authority letter, I had to sign.' ‘And you signed it?' ‘How would I know his intents were foul...?' ‘And he encashed the draft in connivance with the bank staff and you got trapped.' ‘But his signature will be on record in the bank?' ‘What of that? He withdrew the amount and gave it to you. As the authority letter was in your name, your signature is obtained and held as recipient of the amount.' ‘What will happen now?' Sharief's voice choked once again. ‘You have to make good the loss...!' It was getting dark under Sharief's eyes. Colleagues were confident that it was the cashier who had taken the amount. Everybody knew Sharief. He was an honest and innocuous man who was concerned only with his work. But it was difficult to interrogate Cashier. He had submitted his resignation and had fled away. The blame was apportioned on Mohammad Sharief. His colleagues were trying to assure him that they would somehow get hold of the cashier and make him cough up the money. But he was vacillating with fear. This thought kept hissing at him like a snake. ‘What will happen now...the police will take him into custody and what will become of his children...his family...?' After going out of the office, he felt he was carrying the cross on his shoulder and he was headed towards the crucifix to be crucified. So long as he was in the office, he did not have this strange feeling. He was then busy explaining to his friends and colleagues. When they left one by one, he realised that his feet were chained down...and that he was unable to move his steps. He stopped near Harding Park....with heavy steps he entered the park, found a secluded corner and slumped down. The park was sparsely occupied. A young boy was playing with a balloon and a couple was engaged in some animated romantic discussions. Close by, a middle-aged man lay on the grass and vacantly gazed at the sky. It appeared to him that this middle-aged man was an office-goer too, not keen to return home at this hour. Suddenly, the wormy face of the cashier flashed before his eyes...! How cleverly the guy took his signature on the cash roll...first took him to the canteen for a cup of tea...and then sweet-talked him into signing the paper. He was bought over by his manipulative talks! If only he had not gone to office that day, the manager would not have issued that authority letter in his name. What will happen now? Where will he get that amount of rupees two and a half lakh? He did not even have any property in his name. Spouse did not have so much jewellery that could fetch him so much money. Plaintively, he looked around. A few more people had arrived in the park. The couple was busy in the same animated kind of romantic discussion. It suddenly appeared to him that everything was covered under the pall of meaninglessness. This couple that was so animated now could well be destined to become victim of some cruelty tomorrow. Mankind is always under an illusion about the vicissitudes of destiny...it is always on the prowl...it catches up with you at any stage of your life. If it Click here to read the rest of this story (169 more lines)
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