this elephant is saying sorry

In the last week of my stay here, Mukhtar has been re-assigned to the first floor. So now my friends Nam and Fake Nagraj have elephants and dogs in their rooms, but I don’t.

I would not have minded so much if our parting had been a little more pleasant. But sometimes my naiveté has other results than I expect.

I passed on an amount of money for Diwali, to Mukhtar to distribute amongst the 5 house boys who clean our rooms. It was not a big amount. I also made sure that the money was given to him in the presence of another boy so that he would distribute the money evenly.

For a week after that, I got strange stares from the boys when I crossed their paths. Mukhtar too looked at me with even more soulful eyes than he usually does.

One morning, a boy came knocking on my door, saying he wanted to talk to me. I was not dressed properly, I asked him to come back later, he never did.

A couple of days later, Mukhar came to the door and said he wanted to talk to me. “How much money did you give me, Madam?”, he asked.

“A 1000 rupees”, I said, confused.

“But my supervisor thinks you have given me more, and he shouted at me.”

I saw a supervisor lurking behind him.

“Is he the one?”, I asked.

“No”, he said, “another one.”

I called the supervisor and told him, “Tell whoever is shouting at him, that I have given him only 1000 rupees. I don’t want any confusion about that. He has not pocketed any money.”

Mukhtar left but his scared face and wet eyes showed that he was not reassured.

Later when I asked a boy to call Mukhtar to clean my room, he said sheepishly, “Madam, he is working on the first floor.”

The next day, the same boy gathered the courage to tell me, “Madam, the money you gave us got us into a lot of trouble. Our HOD abused us, shouted at us, called us ‘chors’ and ‘criminals’. He insisted that you had given us 5000 rupees. We are all going to quit, Madam, once you leave. He said many things he should not have said.”

I created a scene, I made a written complaint, I think I got the HOD fired.

But Mukhtar continues to make his animals elsewhere.

One day before all this happened, he made Dhanno and me this elephant to say ‘Sorry’. He had entered the room with a master key while Dhanno was still there.

Today, I give this elephant back to him, to say ‘Sorry’.

I should have trusted him and given him the money without anyone knowing about it. And left it to him to distribute it or not.

25 comments

    • Well, the ending was not all bad. Today, Mukhtar came up to me and said “Thank you”. The HOD did get fired. And he had been threatening to fire all the 5 houseboys, and get their internships cancelled. That would really have been disastrous. So yes, I am glad that Mukhtar did speak up, and that I was able to intervene.

  1. O you, poor you! Poor Mukhtar, poor boys!
    So you are also prone to such mishaps? One tries do things in a certain way (at times even complicated), which one thinks is fair and it ends up making everything more complicated than it was!
    Thank God, Mukhtar spoke up. Just imagine, what if he had remained silent like many do!
    I hardly know Mukhtar, but all this moves me all the same.
    So I hope he gets moved to your floor soon!
    All the best to you, Dhanno and Mukhtar

    • Harvey, yes, thank God, Mukhtar did speak up. I am also grateful that I happened to be around in those days, and not out shooting, and he was able to meet me.

      Anyway, we are leaving tomorrow, so it does not matter what floor he works on. But at least he has kept his job, and not been suspended from his internship.

  2. Interesting. I was staying at Lemon Tree Hotels in Pune. The attendant made the same elephant one day with towels. I was so happy to see it after returning back from a hard day’s work!

  3. Well, the exec floor’s loss is the economy floor’s gain😀 Yesterday I got a dog. Today I have an elephant (with tusks!) on the bed, a swan and a pen (I think it’s a pen) in the bathroom. I still haven’t met Mukhtar though.

    • Fake Nagraj, Now everyone is going to think that I do have an executive room, and you, an economy one. There is no difference in our rooms, except that the lift tends to stop more easily on the 2nd floor, rather than the 1st floor.🙂

      You did meet Mukhtar, no, the boy who came up to tell us about not being suspended, etc.

    • Violet, money does create complications. But it is also about the people who think they can subjugate those working under them. A lot of people in the hotel are happy to see the HOD go, because he was generally, not a nice man.

    • Space Bar, hey, glad to hear from you again. Yes, the elephant is sweet, and does look like he is saying ‘sorry’, isn’t it?

  4. Banno, it’s so easy to be wise after the event, but impossible sometimes to see these events coming. The person at fault was that horrid HOD: but feelings have been hurt and, exruciatingly, only time heals that. So sorry: and waves of empathy to you. I hope one day Mukhtar gets to know of your ‘sorry ‘ elephant.

    • Kate, yes, wisdom after the event is one of the horrible things human beings have to deal with.

      I know Mukhtar and the other boys were traumatized, but I am hoping that the fact that all of us stood up for them, and actually got the HOD fired, makes them feel that much stronger, and able to deal with such unprofessional behaviour in the future, with more courage.

  5. Your support and help hopefully gave them the courage they need after being traumatized by the HOD. Its always sad to see how easily people are turned into scapegoats. Your elephant turned out great.

    • Sukanya, yes, it did.

      As for the elephant, I wish it was mine, but no, it was Mukhtar’s, and I just gave it back to him. I’m not that good, OK, not good at all, with my hands.🙂

  6. Awww, I’m glad this had a good ending, Banno. I felt so sad when I read your post. I’m glad you stood up for the house boys, and gladder still that they knew it. Because sometimes that support is so necessary, isn’t it?

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