Story 30: Closing of accounts
Gupta sat in his home office, pondering on the strange times they were living in. For more than two months, life as he knew it had come to a standstill. But, like milk, bread, electricity and internet, his organisation was involved in an ‘essential service’. So one had to plod on, complete the assigned work. The CFO surveyed his Excel sheets and gave a long sigh.
“Sir. the number of NPAs is on the rise,” he stated to his CEO in the morning conference call.
CEO Y Raja was at his wit’s end. For his entire tenure at the bank, he had presided over a foolproof system. A system that worked. When a man took a loan from him, he was bound to pay back on the given day, at the given time. But now there was a ‘moratorium’. Postpone your collections, was the instruction from the high command.
But this would create disequilibrium. He had asked Gupta to prepare a comprehensive report on the ill-effects of this new directive. Chairman Emeritus Gyaneshwar, speaking on behalf of the IDA, had said in his Halo call that it was a difficult time for all of humanity. Instead of implementing the rules, without exception.
Gupta’s report made it quite clear: if NPAs were not nipped in the bud, they would multiply. As a gold-medallist CA he knew that, at the end of the day, the debit and credit columns had to match. But in a family business it was hard to be assertive, beyond a point. For he was more than an employee of the bank…
“I can’t cope with all this rapid expansion,” Raja had confided to his mentor Gyaneshwar, many moons ago.
The Chairman had, quite literally, produced a trusted lieutenant, in the form of Guptaji. The man had come to office on the very first day, with an old-fashioned inkpot and pen. Though it was a ceremonial fixture on his desk, it was indeed a nice touch. So impressed was the CEO by this young man’s sincerity, that he offered him a promotion. His daughter Ira’s hand in marriage.
The young couple enjoyed a blessed existence in their spacious apartment within a gated complex. From their balcony, they looked down on the world, and sighed with contentment. But that was before the coronavirus crisis. The disarray in daily accounts was driving the CFO up the wall. He was cranky and difficult to live with.
Later that day, boss and lieutenant went into a huddle. Drastic times call for drastic measures. We will find other means and methods to collect what is due….That evening, 84,000 accounts were frozen, which included some prominent people, including a well known politician. The ledger showed that his payment was overdue…
“We had an appointment to meet him last week, but the airports are all closed,” said an underling.
He had tried to reach him by undertaking a road journey, but that plan was scuttled by the lockdown as well. So, finally, there was no choice. No choice at all.
The sad news was reported the next morning. 42 year old Babulal Yadav, MLA from Bihar, had collapsed in his home. He had been running a mild temperature for 2 days, along with sore throat. His condition deteriorated last evening, with sudden breathing difficulties. Babulal died on his way to the hospital.
They said he had no pre-existing medical conditions, so how could this happen?
What is this cruel coronavirus, which makes no sense at all!
Yamaraja, and his deputy Chitragupta, were pleased with a hard day’s work. All pending karmic accounts had been closed.
“Every human being to earth lives on borrowed time,” said the Celestial Accountant.
Babulal Yadav was to die at the age of 42 in a helicopter crash. Par dekho, phir se coronavirus badnaam ho gaya…
Don’t miss the audio file below: Inside the Author’s Mind – Why I wrote ‘Closing of Accounts’.
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