The Decibels Of Desperation!


Tiken has developed a gut feeling. That he is not going to win this time. He tries hard to get rid of that miserable feeling, but is not successful. He understands his other gut feeling. That he cannot afford to lose this. He has everything to lose if he does. In fact, Tiken had sounded a threat even before the event that he would leave the place in case the inhabitants stopped supporting him, and they would miss his prestigious presence sorely. Then, he muses, did he actually know about the wave for change in the air? Perhaps yes, perhaps not.


It is a huge housing society that Tiken lives in, with five wings from ‘A’ to ‘E’. Each wing has hundred flats most of which are occupied, either by owners or tenants. As the General Secretary of the Society’s Residents’ Association he has been enjoying immense powers in taking decisions or initiatives or desirable actions. He was elected in the last elections by a very narrow margin, but most of the members in his executive committee won comfortably, and he was comforted by the total support extended to him by the members. It was his first time. As a very active and influential resident of the society he was propped up by his friends/associates.


During his tenure Tiken did many things right. Like, arranging for intercom facilities in every flat, full security staff in each wing, CCTV cameras in the passages and lobbies, robust events at every festive occasion with the presence of important ministers, increase in the hours of water supply, maintenance of a clean environment all around and so on.


He admits that many of his other actions were misunderstood or the residents were misled by opportunistic agents, and these created a series of controversies and grumbling opposition. Like, he permitted a well-known grocery chain to establish a cooperative store inside the society complex; he prohibited the salesmen of quite a few business firms from door-to-door marketing; he allowed his treasurer, his best buddy in every respect, to siphon off parts of the contributions regularly for personal use, and so on.


Tiken knows he was not dead right in taking those decisions. Actually, he cannot say no to his dear friend, the treasurer, who only introduced him to this powerful post. The grocery store had been his treasurer’s choice, and the treasurer promised him that the store, in utter gratification, would supply him quality products every month, totally free of cost. Again, he listened to his treasurer’s advice to bar entry of random salespersons to the buildings, and instead, channelized entries from selected firms at a monthly fee the proceeds of which were equitably shared between the executive members. He aggressively justifies the personal use of public funds: well, every dedicated service must have a remuneration, at least for teas and refreshments.


Leaks of information always take place and spread discontentment fast, he understands. However, he was sure he and his helpful associates could still have controlled the situation perfectly, till the next elections. But the pandemic changed it all.


His every action during the cursed reign of the disease was hotly contested and opposed. First, he introduced a centralized agency for home-delivery of grocery and fruits, and disallowed households to order from their favorite local stores, they were also not allowed to combine in groups to select a particular online delivery chain.


Second, the powerful Secretary barred the entry of sweepers and car-cleaners to the society complex. This led to a pandemonium amid the pandemic: that how would the presence of the cleaners jeopardize the health of residents as they would do their jobs outside and never even enter the building lobby; that this action would finally make the environment dirty and hazardous.  


Third, the honorable Secretary never allowed health and free-testing camps inside the complex, saying that most of those health workers were bogus and useless, and they would in fact bring in the virus. This, again, led to widespread condemnation inside the society.


Tiken defends all these and other minor actions stoutly, and says that the residents are all confounded fools, not understanding his altruistic concerns. In his poll campaigns he asserted again and again that the society comes first, and given the support he would transform this into a totally independent and self-reliant society. They should never listen to the distractors and the traitors, he shouted, the more loudly the nearer came the hour of the poll. To relieve his growing tension Tiken announced his victory even before the counting began which made even his treasurer warn him to tread cautiously.


The very first trends in the counting floored him. Only ‘A’ wing going in his favor; ‘B’ and ‘C’ gone; and in ‘D’ and ‘E’ he is trailing at one time and leading at another. He knows he cannot afford to lose this election. He has everything to lose: he, possibly, would not be able to live there any more, because, apart from all others, there has been a huge deficit in the annual budget, and without being in power, he won’t be able to handle that.


Tiken loses all self-control and caution. He starts shouting, bickering, crying and monstering. “It’s a fraud! My enemies have entered the offices! They’re stealing my votes! ... Stop the counting! I’m going to the courts…I’ll see you all!” His friends rush in, but no longer able to contain or calm him. They try to reason with him, “Sir…how can you stop the counting without any sign of any wrongdoing? Courts or magistrates wouldn’t listen to you either!” “But why those scoundrels refuse to acknowledge? It’s me who helped them vote through emails, it’s me who helped even the ex-residents vote by postal these tough times…and finally, they won’t even support me!” he bellows disconsolately.


Tiken suddenly takes note of the street doggie sitting calmly in a sofa of his drawing room. Yes, he is such an ardent animal lover too! But nobody cares for his virtues! He hates that calm and composed rival of his, Biren! No, you cannot win and enjoy my power, he rants on. His roving eyes lock on the dog’s again. A voice from inside his turmoiled epicenter calls out, “Perhaps you could learn a few things from that dumb animal…!” But in vain. Counting goes on endlessly, his ire and venom showing no sign of ebbing…


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