THE LADY COOK - 3 in English Fiction Stories by Uplifted books and stories PDF | THE LADY COOK - 3

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Dear Readers, I would request you to read the parts 1 and 2 of this series first, if you have not already done so, to understand the continuity of the story so far.


A week had passed from the last time I wrote. Meanwhile Geeta's husband Rajesh has joined my office. This first week, he was mostly on training on different areas of product knowledge, office operations and processes, selling skills and actual on-field sales exposures. He seems to have shown keen interest to learn and had been liked by all members of the existing team.

Geeta had been keeping a regular tab on him from me every evening she came to work. She was excited that her husband was showing regular progress at his job. She had been ever thankful to me for her husband's job.

Geeta was back in her normal vibrant self and talked incessantly all through the time she was was doing her cooking. She spoke about her family back home. It seemed, they came from a lower middle class farmers' family. Both her family and her husband's family are farmers. Geeta's father however did not own any land, but he had his own shop of daily needs, right in front of their hut. He used to work in the farm as a hired worker also, during harvesting season. Then her mother and the two sisters used to manage the shop.

Geeta spoke about her sister and her own marriage too. It seemed that she didn't like to study, whereas her elder sister was good at studies. Geeta studied till class 12 but did not pass the final examination, after which she left her studies. Her sister however had completed her graduation. But her education became a drawback for her marriage. On the one hand, she did not want to marry anybody who is less qualified than her. And on the other, in their community, the eligible boys hardly completed graduation, as they went into farming in their parental land from a very young age. On top of that, both Geeta and her sister were much taller than even average Indian men. That made their choice limited. As such, while no match could be found for her sister, Geeta was lucky enough to find Rajesh as her husband.

Unfortunately, their father passed away within one year of Geeta's marriage. Their family income drastically reduced; so all efforts to find a match for her sister ended there. However her sister found a job as a teacher in a local school. But the payout was paltry. Their mother looked after the shop, which also started dwindling for want of capital. Also with gradual development of the village, the standard of local shops improved. Thus in competition, their family shop can now hardly survive.

Geeta however had a successful marriage and the initial years in her in-laws house, which was in the neighbouring village, was quite satisfying. Her husband Rajesh worked in their parental land, along with his father and brother. Their income was enough to lead a normal, satisfying life. Everything was going fine till the dispute with Rajesh's uncle happened. It was regarding the boundary of both their properties. It went up to such a stage that the matter was taken to court. Due to an injunction and stay order, none of the parties could use their lands till the matter was resolved in court. As per Indian legal delays, the court dates kept prolonging. Since their income source got choked, Geeta and her husband came down to this city to look for job opportunities. Rajesh's father and brother work in others' fields on daily wage basis. So overall, both of Geeta's own and in-laws' families had fallen into hard times. The paltry income Rajesh could manage in the city till now was also inadequate to properly maintain Rajesh and Geeta's family with their 7 year old son. Now with Rajesh's new job in our company, they hope to make their ends meet from next month onwards.

Geeta has now decided that she will now regularly come on Sunday mornings too. On the weekdays, she comes and cooks for the evening dinner and the next day's breakfast and lunch for me, which I heat in the microwave the next day. So, she says that at least on Sunday morning she will cook lunch fresh for me.

This Sunday morning, I informed Geeta, that I plan to let Rajesh go out in the market to sell all by himself. Because, the earliest he starts selling, the more he will be able to earn for the month. Geeta was very glad at this and thanked me again profusely, which has now become a regular routine for her.

I then asked her a question, "Tell me Geeta, you say that your sister has done her graduation. Does she know the basics of working on a computer ?"

She replied, "I think she does. She learnt Computer when she was here for her College degree. We don't have any college in our village, so she got admission here in this city and studied in the College which is on the main road crossing just near your house. That time my father was alive, so he paid for her college fees. She also got scholarship on sports quota, as I told you she was very good in Volleyball and Kabaddi. That way her college and hostel expenses were very nominal. But why do you ask, Sir ?"

I said, "Tell me one more thing, if she gets a job in this city, will she come and live here with you and work ?"

Geeta stopped her work and rushed to me. She was beaming with joy. "Oh surely Sir, she will gladly come. What sort of a job Sir, and how much can she earn ?"

I said, "I was thinking of giving her a job as a Tele-caller. She has to have knowledge of Computers and will have to make phone calls to customers for Sales and also receive Service related calls from customers. Her earning also has some commission percentages on sales. But she will earn a minimum of Rs 15,000 to Rs 18,000 easily, to start with."

Geeta was absolutely ecstatic with joy. She didn't know what to do. I was sitting on the sofa just going through my whatsapp on my mobile, while talking to her. She came and took away the mobile from my hand and kept it on the side table. She pulled me up gently by my hands, then bent down and placing her two hands behind my back, stood up with me straddling her from the front. She was laughing gleefully and gave me a few spins. On an impulse my hands went around her neck to hold on to her. My legs instinctively wrapped around her waist for better support on her body. She was jumping with me in joy.

I calmed her down. I said, "Wait, wait, Geeta, let me finish. I have something more to say."

She stopped her jumping, but did not let me down. I said, "Tell me one more thing, I hope that your sister does not have any speech disorder, like stammering and sorts."

Geeta didn't say anything. She started walking towards the kitchen table. She picked up her mobile from the table and started to search a number to dial. I took the mobile from her hand. "What are you doing, whom are you calling up", I said.

She said, "My sister...I want you to listen to her voice and decide."

I said, "I'll definitely have to talk to her. But not this way. If you say that she doesn't have any speech disorder, it's okay for me. Now you call her up and tell her first what I told you and find out if she is interested in the job. If she says yes, after that I'll talk to her. But first, please put me down."

Geeta set me down and was immediately on her phone talking to her sister. She was talking in her rural dialect, which although similar to Hindi, was very difficult for me to understand. Since I knew the subject of discussion, I could get a few words in between, which I could comprehend. It was quite an excited and long discussion, then she disconnected the call. She looked at me and told me, that it was such a sudden surprise for her sister and her mother, that they were at a loss for any decision right then. She said, once she goes home, she will again talk to them. Meanwhile let the news sink in properly on her mother and sister. It was not only the question of her sister willing to do the job. They have to now decide, whether both her sister and mother shift to Geeta's place here in the city. If so, who will look after their house and shop, back in the village. A whole lot of questions have to be resolved. Geeta's enthusiasm died down a little after the conversation with her sister and mother. She completed her work silently after that, her mind working fast to sort out the tangled problems back in her village home. She left a little later, giving me a wry smile, and saying that she will be coming in time in the evening.

In the evening, Geeta came much earlier to her normal time at 7pm. When I opened the door, she was standing there with a tiffin box in hand and sporting a big smile. She closed the door and came straight to me. She opened the box and taking something from inside, just thrust it inside my mouth. She stood there smiling, awaiting my reaction as I ate a hard sweet. I finished it and said, "Lovely ! What sweet is this ?"

She said, "It's our village speciality, I made this only for you Sir, because you like sweets. Here I am keeping this box in the fridge; you have it whenever you like. There's many inside it."

I said, "Thank you, I loved it."

She was beaming, said, "There's good news Sir. My sister is coming. She'll organise things back home and will be here in two-three days."

I said, "Good, so everything is sorted out. So, who will stay with your mother ?"

She said, "My mother's also coming with her. As it is, the shop is not yielding anything much. And if Didi is going to earn what you said, it will be much more than what Didi and Ma earns together back home. Also if Ma stays back alone, we all would be worried for her. Didi would also have to go back once in a week atleast on Sundays, to check on her. That would be too hectic and difficult for her, after attending to office for the whole week.

Ma has already spoken to her brother to come and stay in our house. My Mama does not have any regular work and works as hired labourer with other farmers. He and his wife, can look after the shop also and can try and make a living out of it. So, that part of the problem of taking care of the house is also taken care of.

Sir, you said that if things are finalised, you would like to talk to Didi personally. I have told didi everything what you said and also that you want to talk to her. So she is ready, waiting for your call. Shall I dial the number now ?"

I said, "Yes, I would like to talk to her once. You can use my phone to dial her. Why waste your call balance, the call might be long. By the way, before you call her, tell me what's her name ?"

She said, "Sita."

I started laughing, "Sita and Geeta ? From the old hindi film ?"

"Yes Sir, since her name was Sita, my parents named me Geeta", she said laughing.

Then she put the call through. She spoke to her sister first, this time in hindi, and then handed over the phone to me. The conversation went like this. It was in Hindi, but I'm writing in English :-

I - Hello Sita, I'm Geeta's Sir. How are you ?
Sita - Namastey Sir. I'm fine Sir. How are you, Sir ?
I - Well Sita, Geeta must have told you, I'm planning to take you in my Company as a Tele-caller. Do you know what a Tele-caller is ?
Sita - Not in details Sir. But I think one has to make phone calls to people to sell products.
I - Yes, but not only for sales, there will be service calls also. Do you know what is a service call ?
Sita - No Sir.
I - Ok, I'll just tell you in brief. You see our Company manufactures and sells Home Appliances like Refrigerators, Washing Machines, Air Conditioners etc. We'll give you a list of customers, whom you have to call and try to make them interested in our products. There will be schemes and offers, which you will have to explain to them and try and get an appointment for our Sales persons to visit the customer and finalize the deal. For every sale that is concluded on any lead generated by you, you will get a commission. This will be apart from your fixed salary. Also, customers will call you when their existing machines are not working. These are service calls. You will have to receive these calls, register them on your computer and then pass them on to the service team, who will attend to the calls. Also you will have to call customers to generate service business. You don't bother about all this now. I will get you trained in all this, it's nothing difficult.
Tell me one more thing Sita. How much are you proficient in Computers? What exactly do you know ?
Sita - Sir, I took a course when in college. I learnt Word and Excel. But I'm totally out of touch now. But I think if I practice for some days, I will be able to do it.
I - That's fine Sita. Word and Excel will be enough for your work. Whatever else is required, we'll train you on that.
One more thing, you need to be able to understand English and be able to speak some. The next question I'll ask you in English and you answer me in English only. ( So I switched over to English and asked her... )
Sita, tell me what do you do in a normal day ?

I let her speak ... Her english as expected was not good. But at least she could convey what she wanted to say. Actually, in this primarily Hindi speaking belt, people hardly spoke in English to tele-callers. But sometimes there are some smart Alec customers, who try to bulldoze the hapless telephone assistants and thought that speaking in English would add more weight to his demands. Geeta, who was constantly standing in front of me, listening in to my telephonic interview of her sister, was wringing her hands and sweating, with her face growing paler, especially in the English conversation part. I smiled up at her, but that didn't help.

After about a minute and a half, I stopped Sita. I switched over to Hindi.
I said - Ok Sita, that will be enough. Now tell me, do you know any other regional language ?
Sita - Yes Sir, I know Bengali, a little.
I immediately switched to Bengali.
I - Talk to me in Bengali, Sita. Tell me where did you learn this language?
Sita ( in almost perfect Bengali ) - Sir, during my college days, we were three in a room in our hostel. Two of my room mates were Bengali. They used to always talk in their mother tongue between themselves. Staying with them all through my hostel life, I learnt the language quite well. After college also, I am in touch with them even now over phone. So...
I - That's great Sita. We have a lot of Bengali population here. If you speak to them in their language on your Sales and Service calls, you will definitely get an advantage. None of the girls in my tele-calling team are able to speak in Bengali.
Ok Sita, that will be all. Do you have anything to ask me Sita ?
Sita - No Sir.
I - Ok then, you arrange everything back home and come and meet me here. Then we will decide on your date of joining. Now talk to your sister.

I handed the phone over to Geeta. Geeta spoke to her for a very short time. Then she told her that she will call back and hung up. Geeta came to me straight.

She said, "Sir what happened ? You didn't find her good ? Won't she be able to do your job ?"

I said, "Why are you worrying Geeta? She is good enough for my work. We'll give her such good training, she'll be perfect within a very short time."

Geeta was laughing now. "Oh Sir, I was so frightened. By listening to your questions, I thought that you will not find her suitable. Wait let me talk to Didi once. She's very nervous too."

This time when she called her sister, Geeta was speaking excitedly in their own dialect once again. But I could make out from her laughter and gestures, that she was very happy.

I was relaxing on the sofa, half lying on it checking my messages on the phone. Geeta came and sat on the ground and grabbed both my feet. I tried to sit up, but she held my feet.

I said, "What are you doing Geeta ? Let go of my feet."

She said, "No Sir. You are my God, Sir. You don't know what you have done Sir. You have saved two families from sinking. You are nothing less than God to us. My mother was telling me this afternoon, that she will come and touch your feet."

I said, "What nonsense are you talking Geeta ? Your mother would be so much older to me. I have done nothing, I have just created some opportunities for your husband and sister. It is up to them now to do a good job and succeed."

She said, "That I am sure they will. Both of them are very sincere and hard working. They will definitely make you proud. But still I'll frame your photo and keep it along with the Gods' idols in my room."

I said, "You will do no such thing. Now get up and start your work. You'll get late in going home."

She got up and walked to her kitchen area, her face glowing with happiness. That was my satisfaction and reward...

( To be continued in next part....)