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Sin (standard:romance, 3071 words)
Author: Shamoil AhmadAdded: Mar 23 2012Views/Reads: 1471/861Story 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 is always on 
the catches up with you at any stage of your life. If it 

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