Rahul and Ronit, best friends, used to stay in the same building in Chinchwad area of Pune when they were kids. All kids of the building used to like Naresh uncle. Naresh uncle used to talk to all the kids of the building and treated them with sweets and chocolates during almost all festivals. The society secretary at that time was Singh uncle and used to manage all finances and maintenance affairs of the society building. Kids secretly wished that when they grow up, they’ll make Naresh uncle the secretary of the society and always wondered how happy will everybody be!
Few years later, Naresh ji was made the secretary of the building. Those kids had now grown up (some even passed out of college), and were glad that their favourite Naresh uncle was now going to manage all the affairs of their residential society.
Soon after, Rahul got a job offer and rented an apartment in Magarpatta area, since that was closer to his workplace. Rahul’s new society was hip with a lot of advanced amenities, 24 hours trained security, cctv cameras, posh and well maintained premises, lot of small parks and greenery around, and much more.
About a year passed. One evening, Rahul and Ronit met for a couple of drinks like they often did.
Ronit: So Mr. Bigshot! What’s the latest feature they have introduced in your society, Robots? Hahaha!
Rahul: Shut up man! It’s no big deal… People hardly know each other there. Our Chinchwad place will always be my home!
Ronit: So come back there. Your parents still stay there.
Rahul: I wish man, but can’t. This is a really important phase in my career and my work hours are uneven because of our US and European clientele.
Rahul: Why else would I not want to stay where Naresh uncle is managing the show?! (lifts the glass) Cheers!
Ronit: (looking down, nodding) Hmmm, yeah! Ofcourse! Cheers!
Rahul: What’s the matter bro?
Ronit: Bhai, it’s true that when we were kids, we always wanted Naresh uncle to manage our society affairs. Even a lot of elders in the society did. But things have changed bro…
Rahul: Ok, so things should change, no?
Ronit: Yes, but towards better, no?
Rahul: Bro, people know our society by name now, that it exists in Chinchwad area and is such a happening place to live. You can see its name on our local cable TV. When has that happened before?
Ronit: Bhai it was all money game. Naresh uncle declared in the society meeting that our society will be one of the sponsors of the local cable TV programme streaming live darshan of all Sarvajanik Ganesh Idols of Pune.
Rahul: Isn’t that a great initiative?
Ronit: Yes, but with great money spent. The Ganesh festival compulsory donation per family was raised this year. Plus, the per month society maintenance charges have also increased. Not everyone in our society can afford that bro!
Rahul: Pune has become an expensive place to survive bro. We all will have to accept it! Remember, those chocolates that he used to give us. They came at 50 paise, 1 Re, 5 Rs during those days. The same chocolates now come at 5 Rs and above. And am sure the chocolates are still being distributed to kids, during all the festivals. (smiles)
Ronit: (Reluctantly answering) Well… Yes, but selectively. Not during Eid or Christmas for instance.
Rahul: What? Come on! You must be kidding me! Are you saying that he is an anti muslim or anti Christian or something.
Ronit: No Rahul. Ok look, all of us have our preferences and biases. Right or wrong, even he may be having his own. As gifts, we can always choose whom do we want to give what. But as a person who’s running affairs of a society, one has to be fair, no?!
Rahul: Ronit, are you saying that he has always been like that. Come on, he has always distributed sweets to all of us during all festivals. Even Shoaib, Imran and Leena. You remember that!
Ronit: Yes, but not during Eid and Christmas or Easter. Apparently, we never noticed. Leena brought this to my notice in the last few months. But that was ok earlier, he was giving those sweets as gifts, as a resident of the society, as Naresh uncle. Now, he’ll have to be fair. He’s the secretary of the society now, right?!
Rahul: (silently thinking, and after few moments) I think Ahmed Uncle and D’Souza Uncle may be having some personal issues with Naresh uncle and hence they are trying to pull his image down. Naresh uncle isn’t like that, we know him Ronit!
Ronit: Yaar Rahul, you don’t understand. I have told you few things, there are many more. You gotta stay there to experience those things!
Rahul: I wish I could stay there. But whether I am there or not, I don’t believe all this man. There’s certainly some conspiracy.
Ronit: Conspiracy! What conspiracy? I am telling you what I have seen and experienced. If you are such a fan and think everything’s rosy and perfectly fine there, why don’t you leave your comforts for a while and come stay there?
Rahul: Dude hold on! Why do I sense jealousy in your tone? Is it my mistake that I am living in a better environment and a better lifestyle than our society people in Chinchwad?
Ronit: Dude, where did all this come from?
Rahul: N-uh! Dude I am done talking to you. And one last thing that I wasn’t gonna say, I seriously think Naresh uncle is doing something really right and others are not able to fill their pockets from the society money. And hence running conspiracy theories!
Ronit: (Stared at Rahul in a bit of shock, gulped the remaining drink quickly, placed the glass on the table) Let’s call for the bill.
Rahul: Arey, don’t you want to eat something?
Ronit: I’ll eat at home. Can’t afford the food here you know… (clear sarcasm in his tone)
Rahul: Bro, I think you took me otherwise bro. I wasn’t talking about you. I was just…
Ronit: That’s ok bro, don’t worry. (Keeping money on the table) Here’s my share of the bill, please eat and call for the bill whenever you’re done. I’ll see you later…. Or may be NOT!