Adorned in my blue Armani suit, I sat impatiently, half-listening to the garrulous chief guest. It looked like his secretary was not well versed with full stops. There was none in the speech drafted by her.
After what seemed like an agonizing wait, the moment I had been looking forward to cherishing arrived. The CEO’s gorgeous secretary held my hands. Thunderous applause reverberated in the auditorium as my name was announced for the coveted ’employee of the year’ award.
The beguiling beauty was about to plant a kiss on my cheek when I felt a judder.
‘A catastrophe has struck in the form of an earthquake!’ I shrieked.
“Sweetheart, please don’t let go of me.” With my eyes closed, I whispered into what I thought was her ear.
‘Swissh,’ one slap landed on my face.
I opened my eyes only to find my mother furiously holding my phone in one hand and rattling the cot with the other hand.
“Morning dreams are necessarily known to become a reality. My destiny is cursed. People would laugh at me. The sweetheart in your dream has called you eight times.” She said, thrusting the phone on my face.
My inebriated state disabled me from comprehending what she said, rewarding me with another tight slap.
“The din of the alarm ringing at regular intervals has caused my headache to increase manifold. Why did you have to leave your phone outside my room? I was on sedative last night to soothe the ache in my head that got triggered because you rejected that proposal. Now I understand why you have been digging out frivolous reasons to dismiss all the proposals I bring.” She finished the monologue in one breath, leaving me bamboozled.
That was not a fair allegation. I had disapproved of only one girl; the others had outright shunned me. I was still confused over the commotion.
However, I was delighted to hear that some ‘sweetheart’ had contacted me.
I snatched the phone from my mother in rapturous anticipation, but my enthusiasm waned in no time, realizing that it was Rohan, my colleague who had called.
The curtain of amnesia that the previous night’s hangover had drawn over my sanity got raised, giving me a rude jolt.
“Why didn’t you wake me up, mom, when Rohan called the first time or when the alarm rang? We have a ………,”
“I have better things to do rather than helping two gays to have phone sex.” She snarled.
“Come on, mom, he is my teammate. He must have called to make sure I was up on time. We have a presentation today. So we decided to reach the office by 8.30……”
Again she interrupted, “To do what? Disgraceful.”
I gave up further arguments due to time constraints, now realizing the reason behind her indignant remarks.
The manager was to come by 9.30 am to the office. Before that, Rohan and I had planned to rehearse our presentation together thoroughly, inculcating some last moment changes. Our manager would then look into it and make amendments, if any, and get himself abreast with the presentation. We had to flank him, lending support when needed, while he would make the final presentation in front of the CEO and add extra feathers to his cap at the cost of our hard work.
But mom was in no mood to listen to my predicament.
“No wonder you rejected the charming girl whose photograph I showed you yesterday.”She repeated as if it was some morning hymn.
“A guy calls you several times in half an hour and makes his desperation evident. And he appeared in your dreams early in the morning. All this has happened because the cursed black cat crossed my path yesterday. It has made you disregard my opinion and reject the girl. I will have a son-in-law now instead of a daughter-in-law.” Mom blew her nose.
“Could you please give me a proper definition of ‘charming?’ I agree beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Why blame the poor black cat? Irrespective of whatever or whoever crossed your path, I would have turned down the proposal. Human beings generally have thirty-two teeth, but she has thirty-seven. Couldn’t you see five of them jutting out?” I mimicked a face and rushed into the washroom. “By the way, Rohan is getting engaged this Sunday,” I shouted.
Why did I have to cross bows with mom? What followed was a diatribe. She grumbled that boys younger than me, like Rohan, were getting married, and here I was at the age of thirty-one, without a life partner.
Mom’s grumpiness was because she was the only one to have a bachelor son in her friends’ group. But then, I hadn’t made any particular efforts to spurn proposals. It is just that nothing clicked.
I knew she did not mean it when she called Rohan my gay partner. Her bouts of anger were always fugacious.
When I came out of my room, I was overwhelmed to see my mother waiting patiently with a cup of coffee and hot toast.
“I can’t eat the toast. I will have the coffee,” I said, trying to look away from her eyes.
As I was stepping out of the threshold, my neighbor’s baritone voice stopped me. He urgently needed my calculator.
I handed it to him and was about to leave when my mother beckoned me.
“Someone calling you from behind is ill-omen. Drinking a glass of water will ward away the adverse effect.”
Mom and blind beliefs were almost synonyms. Refuting her would only mean earning her wrath. I was not in an exact mood for a new argument.
Gulping the huge glass of water in one go, I trotted to my car and was horrified to notice that the cleaner had conveniently skipped work.
The previous night’s drive in heavy rains on the muck-ridden roads made my white vehicle resemble a canvas board on which a novice had tried his hands on painting modern art with brown color.
As I was scrubbing the stubborn muck, a crow flew over me as if it was in a hurry to attend an important meeting, and then a hot blob fell right in the middle of my head; ‘PLOP.’
‘Oh, Shit!’ I cried and rushed home to clean it.
“What happened?” My mom asked, opening the door.
“I knew something was going to delay you further all because that pest called you exactly while stepping out.”
“I thought the ill-effect got obliterated by adding strain to my bladder with a glass of water on top of a cup of coffee.” I was not sure if mom caught the tinge of sarcasm in my tone.
“A crow pooped on my head,” I said.
“Green, brown, or white?” She enquired.
“What is wrong with you, mom? I thought all crows were black.”
“I am not talking about the color of the crow but of the shit. Wait, let me check. White droppings make the crow a harbinger of some good news, and if it is green or brown, then I am sorry.” Mother shook her head as if green or brown shit of a crow augurs doomsday.
Strangely, instead of brushing it away as rubbish, I obediently allowed her to examine my head.
“It is white,” She declared triumphantly.
I heaved a sigh of relief because I would be spared from drinking more water.
Some great man probably had discovered that drinking water could nullify the harmful effect of any form of ill-omen.
“Your presentation might be a huge success. You may find a nice girl too.” My mother smiled for the first time since morning.
“Good that you drank the glass of water; otherwise, the crow’s droppings might have been brown or green.” Her justification sounded perfectly illogical.
Our manager would hog the limelight even if the presentation were to be a success, as prophesied by my mother. On a seniority basis, I had a better chance than Rohan to win the CEO’s heart, but only if the manager was wiped out of the scene.
I knew I was asking for too much.
With all this delay, if the crow shit would be instrumental in saving my job, I swore I would worship a crow for the rest of my life and stop teasing mom about her blind beliefs.
It was already 8.40, and here I was, still an hour’s drive away from my workplace.
A kaleidoscopic view of multi-faceted cars on the road and the red lights at the signal weirdly taking an eternity to change compelled me to formulate a hypothesis regarding the crow shit fortune being the biggest hoax.
I could not contact Rohan on my way, with a drained battery in my phone and a dysfunctional charger in the car.
Rohan was waiting at the entrance when I reached at 9.50.
“Hope the manager hasn’t come earlier than expected?” I asked concernedly.
“We are lucky,” he said, beaming.”He is going to reach only by 10.30. In forty minutes, we can efficiently run through our presentation.”
“But then he would hardly have time to go through our presentation first and also brace himself to face the CEO. I think he is expected by 11.15 and, unlike us, is known for his punctuality.” I grinned.
By 10.30, we both had completed rehearsing our presentation, and just then, the manager walked in.
He looked smart in a brown shirt and off-white pants.
We were surprised to see him smiling ear to ear despite being late.
“I left home on time wearing a green shirt and black pants.” He volunteered with information that sounded absolutely out of context and redundant too.
The manager seemed eager to share some exciting news. “I stopped at a petrol pump and stepped out to check the air level in my car tires when a crow pooped liberally on me. I had to drive back home to change.”
A sense of déjà vu engulfed me. Though I was keen on prying into the matter further, my sixth sense stopped me from getting curious about the color of the crow shit or sharing my experience.
Rohan’s wondered what was so exciting about a crow shitting; when the manager continued.
“My wife was delighted to see the crow’s white droppings. It seems white shit of a crow exemplifies instant good luck.” He pranced a few steps, gyrating rather awkwardly.
It wasn’t an arduous task to surmise that the manager was bubbling with excitement about the fortune that the crow shit was going to bestow upon him in the form of a plump promotion.
The aerial creature of the Corvidae* family dared to evacuate its bowel with the same colored shit on two people chasing the same rabbit, thus posing a double-edged sword scenario.
We gently reminded the manager about the presentation as he comfortably relaxed in his seat.
“Don’t worry; I still have forty minutes to go through it.” He almost shooed us away and closed his eyes with a sheepish smile on his lips. Humming an abysmal tune, he allowed his fingers to dance on the table without any particular rhythm.
In a few seconds, everything turned topsy-turvy. The office receptionist informed that the CEO had arrived earlier.
As he had an important meeting, he demanded the presentation immediately.
Stunned by the turn of events, the manager requested the two of us to proceed, thus attenuating his promotion prospects and reducing his status to an indolent employee.
Wonder why Rohan sounded diffident for a significant part of the presentation and left things to me?
My oratory and demonstration skills earned me a promotion with a decent pay hike. The lithesome secretary of the CEO flashed a meaningful smile at me before leaving. I think mom had found a daughter-in-law, finally!!!
My early morning dream had come true. I also became a living example of crow shit fortune.
But for my manager, the crow shit fortune proved an anomaly.
Isn’t this muddling???
END NOTE: This is a work of fiction, and things mentioned in the story are not facts.
Corvidae: Corvidae is a cosmopolitan family of oscine passerine birds that contains the crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs, and nutcrackers. In common English, they are known as the crow family or more technically, Corvids.
(information from Wikipedia)