I never had any problem with my tenants. In fact, I had fun with them and Vikram stands head and shoulder above others.
He owned a retail outlet for a popular product with an established brand name when I was the area manager of that company. I admired his salesmanship in selling products, but as his expertise was explicit better in selling the products of our competitors, which gave him a better margin of profit, I had to recommend his removal
He had two school- going kids . I accommodated the family in the side portion of my house for an affordable rent. Ideal tenants were they, initially. No complaints about the facilities provided, no delay in rent-remittance .’ good morning Sir, good evening sir, thank you sir’- in abundance .
After a couple of months, the rent remittance was progressively delayed and finally fully stopped. Vikram started borrowing amounts, from me, in two digits initially and seeing my leniency, the digits expanded.
” Go and ask uncle” I could hear his command to his children when they approached their dad for the school fees, one morning. Obediently, they came and I paid . No question asked. After all, children’s education should not suffer.
Vikram thanked me profusely. ” You are great Sir, They are your children” His voice was shaky with emotion.
” Sorry, Vikram” I gave vent to my hidden anger, “they are not my children; they are yours and it is your responsibility to take care of their need. You are an efficient sales-man and you can sell any product under the sun. You are not making any efforts to work and earn.”
“I will, from now on, sir.” enthusiasm bubbled in his reply and face, ” lend me a few lacks, After all I am your son.”
” You have got wrong there, Vikram. You are not my son and had you been one, I would have thrown you out of my house for borrowing money from others”. I screamed at him and he moved away, turning his neck to make sure that my eyes were moist for not treating him as my son.
Vikram, like an obedient son, had started working hard to make money, even without my help. That was clear to me, when after a couple of weeks my friends started inquiring, ” Why are you selling your house?”
”Selling, my house? ” I was taken back. ” Who told you?”
“Your tenant is going around with some papers and canvassing for selling your property” was their cool reply.
I returned home fuming and entered his house, shouting, ” get out, you wretched man, before I throw you out of my house”. He was not there. His wife, an honorable lady, begged for my pardon, falling at my feet, “You are our God, sir. He has gone out to sell my mangalsutram and will be back now to settle your dues”.
“That is OK”. My honey-soaked words brought out the hidden stars in her eyes . I am not an abominable animal to be so cruel, to extract my dues out of the mortgage of the mangalsutram of a fully pregnant woman.
Her labor- pain started that night. Vikram came and asked for monetary help. If not you who else will help her sir ? ” He pleaded , ” after all she is like your wife .”
I gave him money but not before making my dislike of his remark, ” She is not like my wife and never utter such stupid words”.
” Arrange a taxi, sir.” Vikram pleaded. ” I wanted to prepare some coffee and pack her clothes for the hospital”
I called a taxi and helped his wife to board it and assured that in her absence, I would look after her kids.
After an hour the taxi man returned and demanded to and fro fare. ” Sir asked me to collect from you”.
“Fool, which taxi driver has allowed the passenger to get away without paying the fare ” I yelled at him. ” After all, it was his wife and not me , whom you transported to the maternity hospital.”
“But Sir, It was you who called me and not that Sir or his wife” . That too was a valid point.
I had to pay the full amount . You know how taxi drivers could be nasty and after all, he had a valid point. But as an experienced administrator, I had the wisdom to call Vikram and confirm that he had not paid a pie to the taxi driver.
‘” Sir, you lent me cash only for the hospital expenses and not for the taxi”. Oh, He had a valid argument again.
When his wife returned home with a 3kg bundle of joy, she announced that she had decided to seek a divorce from her ‘good-for-nothing ” husband.
‘Don’t be in a hurry, young lady” I advised her, ” and don’t call your husband as a ‘good-for-nothing one. He has after all, fathered your three kids.
But she was not prepared to relent. “No, uncle. He has no more place in my heart and bedroom. Which wife will tolerate a man who is incapable of providing taxi fare to take her to the maternity ward ? “
No doubt, that is a very valid point.
“But where will you go with these three kids, lady?” I enquired sympathy and care surging from each word.
” I will come to your house, uncle.” Her voice was unfaltering, ” where else will I go?”
“Sometime we commit blunders to establish our honesty”. I opened up my heart to Ammalu . ” I should have allowed Vikram to sell the non-branded products under the banner of the popular company “
“But the honorable lady has a valid point. Where else will she go ?” Ammalu chided me, smile and sarcasm submerging her anger.