Henry Prestige!


Mr. Henry Prestige was a 45 years old man. But the worries and constant oppression of the time made him look above 60 years old. He was native resident of Sinoi, an industrial city of the Gold-land. He had a distinctive face features.He was not tall but medium sized person. He had maintained two things during his life. One the hobby of book-reading and second walking 05 kilometers daily except Monday. Monday was the general holiday in Sinoi. He used to read books for improving his mind and used to walk to vent out the frustration.

When Henry Prestige was in his early childhood, his parents and community members used to curse the Penjalon. Penjalons were dominant people and they had their investments all over the country. Henry Prestige thought that these are mere hate speeches. His own thoughts about his community were not good actually. He was of the views that Penjalons were hard-working nation so they have all the right to rule over them. He felt no hesitation to give his reasons a shrill voice against his own people and in favor of Penjalons. His comrades use to say him, ” For now you don’t believe us but someday you will know the truth”.

After completing his primary education he joined a windmill. He wanted to carry on his education but he couldn’t. It was the matter of his family’s survival. When survival is at stake and when a man has to make choice between the bread and the pen, man always chooses the bread.

Getting even a mean job at that time was not easy as the recession was then, the order of the day. The general impression was that Mr. Henry Prestige had someone who was the insider and that insider wants to get him hired. But that was not true. His friend had told him about the vacancy and had said that ‘ Go and check your luck. Chances are bleak but you should try. When he appeared in test he was asked many questions. They waited so that the insider should come at the scene. But there wasn’t any so no one came to ask for a favor for Mr. Henry Prestige. The officer was kind and a merit-lover so he gave him the job.

Optimist by nature, Henry Prestige had always seen the bright side of any occurrence. While on duty, when he would commit a mistake and resultantly his superior used to scold him, he would take it positively. Soon the time came when he got mastery at his work. His speed of rotating equipments got faster; he had memorized all the names of equipments which were given him to supervise.

Mr. Henry Prestige was a temporary employee and he always wanted to be permanent employee. Because in that age there were no such rights for the temporary employee. He could earn as long as he was healthy. When he became ill and couldn’t work, his salary was deducted. There was no job security and he hated to be that insecure.

After one year of working as temporary employee , finally the day came when he heard an announcement at the assembly hall , where all the workers used to assemble for the morning prayer. It was announced by the clerk that one post of day-clerk is lying vacant. Anybody who wishes to apply should raise his hand. Henry Prestige raised his hand and his name was noted in the diary. He was very confident that his chances were bright. First he was the native , second he had gained credible experience and third that he met the criteria. He appeared in test but he was astonished to see the list of successful individuals. His name wasn’t there. After some days he saw the man who was successfully appoint and he was ridiculously incompetent. The voice of his comrade echoed in his mind that had said when he was a boy “For now you don’t believe us but someday you will know the truth”.

Despite being industrious, zealous and quick learner he had one bad habit. He never could wake up early in the morning. So he was always half hour late at his job. There was lot of hue and cry over his this bad habit. He once pledged in his heart that he would never be late again. “And everything will be fine”.After he improved his punctuality, things didn’t change. He was then screwed for other petty matters. Henry Prestige did all the things with sincere efforst but they were never acknowledged. He was ridiculed, whispered about. He seldomly cared about such rumors and just did his own job. His superior wanted him to ‘bring the news’ . News like what the storeman is doing. He is just relaxing or doing work. What the people are saying about that boss. These were things which Henry Prestige hated to do. He never took interest in such private things for the temporary benefits. He had his own character and conscience to which he always wanted to he honest.

Time kept ticking by without fail and then very hard officer was sent to the windmill. Apparently very cool, tall, larger than life the officer looked. The first thing that he did was to tighten the Henry Prestige. Before the officer joined his new assignment, he had asked about the general environment at the wind-mill. Henry Prestige doubts that it was then some Penjalon ex-superior who had misguided the officer. From the very first day, that officer started to criticize Henry Prestige in private and public. If Henry would do something correct- as he was taught, the officer still shouted at him. First he would ask Mr. Henry Prestige to write a letter to the oil supplier. It was not his job to write the letter but still Henry Prestige gave the best try to write it. After a lot of brainstorming and revising what he had written he would finally show his letter to that tall officer.  Officer would read it and then use to mark some words and would replace them with synonyms. In order to harass Mr. Henry Prestige, officer would mutter in audible voice ” who hired you- you should just be sacked.”

After some more painful years of doing job. Henry Prestige got married. He was married to his tribes beautiful woman. Soon after he got married his father got retired and literally all the load shifted to his weak shoulder to run the house. This was the opportunity the officers were looking for. As a gesture of ‘good-will’ they transferred Mr. Henry Prestige at the upper side of the wind-mill where the fan was installed. This was an utter punishment – an expression for hate. But he kept doing his job. He dragged himself in the morning for going on the job. He was practically frustrated by ill-treatment of his cruel, prejudiced officers.

One cold night he was sitting in his room and after he while he found himself writing a resignation letter. He wrote that:

Dear Sir,

When I came here, about twenty or so years ago. I was a happy person. I then viewed the world with the eye of an optimist. To me the fair dealing, working hard and honesty were the keys to success. I dealt people fairly, I kept working hard and remained honest with the wind-mill but none of the so called principles of virtue helped me to improve my life. I confess, that before coming here I was hungry, but I had the self respect. You usurped it by giving me some morsels of bread. My income never grew up more than the inflation rate of the country. I saw people came here and got wealthy but I always longed for the petty fundamental rights- which you say do exist. I have become a person who believes that you will never want to be improve. But how much a man can bear. Every thing has its limit. Mine has touch the boundary line. So I hereby present my resignation for you to accept.”

Henry Prestige-

He kept re-reading his resignation letter. He liked the way he had written. He appreciated himself for a while that he had written what he had truly believed. He also regretted for serving to people who didn’t deserve that. But soon it also hit his mind that what he will do if he lost his job by flowing in the flood of emotionality. What thought that what wrong his wife has done that she should also suffer along with him. He then re-read his resignation letter. He wished he could that but he soon realised that he is not that selfish do take such a step. He saw her wife’s sleeping face and said to himself that he could bear daily humiliation just to feed her well. The love for his wife outweighed everything. He torn his resignation letter into many pieces and thrown them away. Haaaaaah! sighed and then went to bed and didn’t knew when he fell asleep.

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Published by: Waqar Ahmed Shar

Waqar Ahmed Shar is a freelancer, Sociologist, webmaster and Computer Operator at Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim Limited, Karachi Pakistan. He received his M.A Sociology from Shah Abdul Latif University. After his part-time five year career as a freelancer, he launched whrill.com where he writes on social and psychological issues. In addition to this website, he is a regular contributor to a number of online and print newspapers and an enthusiastic Lakers fan. He currently resides in Karachi, Pakistan with his wife Sidra Waqar and a son Shahzaib.

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