Subhasree Mitra‘s short story: Friend

This Saturday is bank’s half yearly closing and will be closed for public. So, the day before is very crowded and all the employees are very busy to manage the hustle.

HDFC Bandra branch is well known for its huge public transaction and a long queue as well.

Indeevar calls, “Token number 78?” An old man comes running.

“Do you want 100’s and 500’s denomination?”

“No! 10’s and 50’s.”

“Sorry. Small change is not available.” Conversation continues.

Indeevar is working as the chief executive officer for two years in HDFC and lives nearby in a sharing flat with his colleague Carney Carrick. Carney is from Goa and he is an expert in banking operations. Branch Manager Mr. Rajesh says he is the most valuable resource there. Indeevar, somehow, cannot accept it. He is efficient in dealing with public and considers it the most important in a busy branch.

During lunch hours, Carney comes to call Indeevar. Carney is an easy person with jovial mood and becomes happy to help others. He inspires other colleagues to take managerial carrier but himself left a wonderful job of marketing manager in Linc. He says a man should marry at his early age, but he has not married at even late thirties. He does not believe to spend a single day without love, but he never tries to carry a relationship. However, he considers himself a great lover and promises to stay with his maiden partner, which is actually a Guitar, for lifetime. In other sides, he is quite extravagant and untidy, in opposite to Indeevar, who is a neat person habitually. Indeevar gets angry with Carney at all means, still continues to live with him, he says, because of lack of row rent flats in Mumbai. People say Indeevar can spend days without her wife, but without Carney; his world gets dark! Indeevar loves to maintain an artificial seriousness at all times, as he is looking when Carney has appeared with a large bread in hand.

“I cannot go for lunch. I am very busy today.”

“Busy for what?”

“You ask like an… Anyway, office work, certainly.”

“Come on, buddy. Have lunch. Are you feeling like dying inside the heap of files? I will help you out in that case.”

“How can you help me? Those need my authentication. You cannot access the system. From 3’o clock, I will again have to be busy with cash dealing. I feel like banging my head.”

“Oh OK! I don’t have much work. I will sit in cashier counter from 4’o clock and I will see up to the end of the day. Will it be helpful?”

“I don’t know how to say thanks. You are incredible, Carney. You appear like an angel.”

“Angel? I am sure you intended to mean Demon, but you rectified.” Carney laughs.

Indeevar laughs too.

The banking hours end peacefully like every day and employees get busy to tally their works with the report. But Carney’s world crashes with one single hour’s error. He makes such mistakes to give the customers their wanted amount, there arises a sudden mismatch of around 10 lakhs with the report generated by the system. Everyone comes to review; the manager checks the calculation and Carney forgets to smile.

The end result is 10 lakhs Indian currency is needed to keep in the vault to ensure the perfect audit to RBI. And it is not possible. So, a meeting is called up and the governing body decides, a credit account will be opened for Carney. 75% of his salary will directly be put there and summing up finally, that will help to repay the loss amount. Carney’s hair seems to become grey within one hour. He decides to leave the flat he lives in and to move to a slum area of Mumbai. Everyone remains silent and sad. Indeevar makes himself responsible before all employees for Carney’s misery. He confesses because of his seeking for help from Carney, all happens. When the manager is locking the door he says, ‘God is cruel, man.’ Indeevar makes a comment, ‘No, He is blind.”

On next Monday, Carney appears late. The first thing he does, takes out a large bread and calls, “Indee, today you are going to pay for my lunch. I am not eating for two days.” He makes some weird facial gestures. All employees present there look sad. Suddenly Carney bursts into laughter. “I am Carney Carrick, buddies, Patrick Carrick’s son and CC never gives up; he never succumbs before death. 10 lakh rupees are not much, even if I lose my legs or I become numb, I won’t surrender to God. God proposes, CC disposes! I decide to give a small treat to all of you as I have not been mad because of that famous Friday, if”, he chuckles, “at all, you agree to have that as I have made it in my new room in slum. Rich people never have slum food, I have heard.” He takes out a large cake. All come to grab the cake and to hug Carney.

Indeevar says, “You were already my friend, now you have become my guide also.”

Carney replies, “Only up to guide, that does mean, being philosopher is still left, resulting another 10 lakhs loss in money.”

Indeevar becomes too sad, “It is for me, your condition has become such deteriorated. But I can promise…”

“Promise that you will never consider yourself as the responsible man for that incident. And who says my condition is not good? I am pretty sure my room is cleaner now than that of yours. I was just joking. God cannot snatch my happiness, but my dear colleagues are more powerful to do that, I guess. They are all time looking at me so sadly! I can forget about 10 lakhs loss, they cannot. I am saying, a credit load cannot make me sad, but Indee’s watery eyes can do so.”

Indeevar hugs Carney.

Carney remains as fresh and as jovial as he was before. But his health breaks gradually. He never admits so, but people can understand a slum life has really ruined him when they hear he has sold his guitar. Probably he loses all charm to spend life.

The manager was wrong, God was not cruel. Carney becomes a victim of leukemia. His wretched life of misery, poverty tends to go towards end. He has no one close in Mumbai and also does not want to go back to Goa. Employees of HDFC Bandra branch stand beside him. He gets admitted to Bandra hospital. Everyone understands the name Carney Carick will soon be sunk into total oblivion.

In one lonely evening, Carney calls Indeevar. “I will soon get the pass to fight with Him. You know, I will challenge a duel.” Indeevar remains silent. Carney gives a ring to Indeevar, “This is inherited from my father. I have sold my guitar but could not leave it. Once I thought that it would be buried with me. But now I want to give it to you.”

“Why?” Indeevar’s voice is trembling.

“I searched for love, like a mother searches for her lost child, like a tiger searches for his prey. I could not get anyone. My life seemed to get spoilt out of loneliness and frustration. Then I got you, you chose to live with me. My loneliness was gone. You are my only friend in world. Why won’t I give it to you?” Carney was gasping and panting.

“Carney, I don’t know what I will say. You love me so much, but I am that beast who ruined your life. I told one of my friends, who was also a customer of HDFC, that you are ignorant recognising frauds and made a mismatch of 10 lakhs by conspiring with him when you took one hour’s role as cashier. I am sorry, Carney. I was greedy. I got 7 lakhs share. I wanted to tell you for so many times that I am a criminal, but I could not. Also, I could have donated you some, but I was so filthy to do that.”

“Indee, I know this.”

“You know? How? Did that foul guy reveal all to you?”

“Yes, he was not satisfied with his share.”

“But you did not say anything to me? You did not complain against me? How come you be so Godly?”

“Because I realised 10 lakhs rupees cannot be much than a year of living and togetherness, some 365 days’ and nights’ sharing.”

“Have you forgiven me, Carney? Carney?” Indeevar bursts into cry.

But Carney stops talking. He loses power to say anything. God invites him to a challenging duel.



Subhasree is a Physics graduate who works in famous corporate house now. She finds unmatched joy in dancing and expressing her ideas through colours and paint-brushes. She is the co-founder of a creative space – Colour Brush and Mind.

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