This was written seven years back
Murari was both happy and worried when he received the invitation for the wedding of the company owner’s daughter. He was just an assistant in the accounts department and has been with the company for almost a decade. He had never been called by the owner even once but has heard him address meetings on important occasions. He was not sure whether the owner knew his name. Yet he was the only one of the staff members in the accounts department to have received the invitation. It came along with a colorful box containing two large Iaddus with liberal sprinkling of cardamom, pista, almond, kesar, saffron and many other fragrant spices.
He was delighted as he was chosen among the many though he did not know how and why he was selected. He heard that another in Quality department had received the invite. He was not aware that a few staff members were chosen at random from the computerized list as the owner wanted one or two from all grades of staff from different departments to be included in the invitee list. The owner was not aware of who all had been invited.
Murari’s immediate worry was what gift would be within his affordability and also appropriate for owner’s daughter. It was only last week he had taken a loan of thousand rupees from his neighbour for buying gas refill and some grocery items. He had already availed credit from the provision stores and the shop keeper refused to extend further credit. He was worried from where he can raise the money for buying a decent gift commensurate with the owner’s position.
When he reached home, his wife and children were very happy seeing the packet from the famous mithaiwallah.They had never tasted laddu of such quality and taste. Each laddu was big and about the size of a small water melon fruit.Murari and his wife thought of the ways to raise the money for the gift. She told him that if the owner gets impressed with the gift, he may be inclined to give more than the usual annual raise. He told her that bada saheb may not even see the gifts from people like him. Nevertheless both agreed that the gift should be befitting his status.
She approached her brother to lend them two thousand rupees. After much haggling he parted with only half the amount.Murari comforted her and himself saying that it is not the cost of the gift that mattered but only the sentiment behind it. After a long and extensive search, they settled for a Rajasthan printed bed sheet in beautiful multicolored design. It cost slightly more than the money borrowed from her brother.
On the Barat day he went in his best dress to the posh marriage hall. There were hundreds of cars with large crowd of invitees and entrance was regulated by police by scrutiny of invitation cards. He could see many politicians, industrialists, government officials and rich friends of the owner. He also saw the senior officers of the company receiving the guests. They did not take notice of his presence. He was standing in a corner alone when a couple of his colleagues from quality and personnel departments also joined him. They found comfort in mutual company.
When the entire bade log had finished meeting and congratulating the couple, Murari and his colleagues mustered courage to go near the couple and hand over the gifts deferentially. The owner was talking to some VIPs and none introduced them. After giving the presents, they hastily withdrew from the dais. While the colleagues made a beeline towards the dining hall, Murari was in no mood to eat. He felt very small and an utter stranger in that crowd. He left the place immediately unnoticed by anyone.
When he reached home, his wife was surprised at his early return. His children ran towards him asking what all he ate. He was morose and silent. His wife understood and brought him three chapattis with achaar.A week later he found the company owner’s driver talking with the cashier with a packet in his hand. Murari heard him telling that bada saheb had given him that gift. When prodded by the cashier as to what the packet contained, the driver opened the packet to reveal the Rajasthani bed sheet in multicoloured design that Murari had presented.