06 October 2017


                          The Empty Bottle:
                                                                                                When an executive of a Steel Plant under SAIL gets promoted to the Senior Manager post, then he or she would be sent with TA & DA to Ranchi. Not mental asylum but to a wonderful management training institute of Steel Authority of India. The executives were a mixture of all faculties of other steel plants of SAIL, to develop team spirit, fellow feeling and also business management training over a period of a week. The hostel facilities were like 3* hotel with twin sharing rooms. Timings of food was strictly followed in the attached canteen so also the lecturer timings. Breakfast 7am to 8am, lunch 1pm to 2pm and dinner 8pm to 9 pm.If someone goes after the scheduled timing then he or she would get cold stuff, no complaints entertained. The best item was the thick curd and fried papad.Unlimited food supply. Few of the executives gained a kilogram or two of weight in a week.
                                                     Evenings were boring as the township was far-off and the executives were asked to return before 7PM to the institute compound on security ground. To get rid of the boredom few got themselves engaged in cards, others in gymnasium, some spent their time reading news papers and watching TV. Few serious students prepared the home task given to them before dinner time. The ladies were all past fifty years, so they grouped themselves and discussed lady topics.
                                                                         There was a footpath of 1.2 kilometers around the campus. Most of the executives used to walk this distance twice to have a good appetite for dinner. Few fitness fanatics used to walk also in the morning. ‘Smart officers’ shared alcoholic drinks amongst themselves with matching attitude. The alcohol could be obtained from the local market but the quality was very doubtful, hence some of the officers brought their brands with them rapped on double layered news papers and Turkish towel. One such executive, a doctor from our Rourkela Steel Plant brought one military brand ‘blenders pride’.  Other three members who had earlier planned this had brought some mixture and roasted peanuts. The salad was brought from the canteen. Two beds were joined and four of them with light dress occupied their positions. The news papers and plates were spread over the bed sheet.Ice was procured and two spoon from the canteen. The henpecked husband (HPH)* was very happy to be away from his nagging wife for seven days. He was in charge of bringing the bottle. He opened his suitcase and brought out the bottle proudly, handed it over to another member to open it. In the meanwhile he entered the washroom and freshened himself. There was pin drop silence in the room when he came back.
                               ‘You see you are playing joke with us, this bottle is empty’(ଗମାତ କରୁଛ ଆମ ସାଙ୍ଗରେ, ଖାଲିବୋତଲ ଧରେଇ ?). The HPH got furious and could know the mischief of his wife. She had poured all the contents in a wash basin and had replaced it inside the suitcase.HPH face turned red; the time was very close to dinner time. The waiter said the shops get closed at seven so no chance of bringing another bottle. All four of them shared Pepsi and went for the dinner.
Sanjoy Kumar Satpathy
*Alcohol is injurious to health. This incident was narrated by a doctor friend of mine.

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