It was time to pack my bags; the head office had transferred me to a different city. When you live in a place for quite a long time you become fond of it; so it was with me. I did not wish to go away and begin life anew in a strange city. I besieged the head office with several applications requesting that the transfer order be rescinded. But it was of no avail. I had to move.
I was feeling down in the dumps. With a fortnight or so left for my departure, I sensed some hush-hush activity going on in my present office; an office colleague, who usually acted as a leader of sorts, could be seen "extorting" money from others. Almost everyone paid up willingly although there were a few who handed over the money with a not-so-happy face. Strangely, I wasn't asked to pay. It did not take me long to discover that the money that was being collected was subscription towards holding a party - a farewell party for me! Although I was gloomy, this discovery quite cheered me up; I wasn't to go away as a "nobody"; my office colleagues considered me to be "somebody" deserving of a farewell party. From the very hour of this discovery, I started composing a farewell speech in my mind!
The cat was out of the bag. There was no secret now. The day of the party was announced. It was a fine party; all the colleagues were present with their spouses and children. The leader colleague had organised everything to a nicety. I was deeply touched, and rehearsed my speech in a quiet corner.
Just as I uttered the last words of the speech in my mind, a colleague, one of those who had handed over his contribution with a not-so-happy face, approached me along with his wife. The colleague introduced me to his wife who looked at me with obvious scorn.
"So, you wanted a farewell party?" she asked me. I was struck dumb. I never wanted a farewell party; the party had been organised without my knowledge. I was, of course, happy to learn that my colleagues considered me deserving of a farewell party. I could say nothing in reply. The woman looked at me with some more disgust and left me immediately to join another group.
I was back to feeling down in the dumps! Another colleague, an old-timer, approached me now. He clasped my hands and wished me success in life. But before releasing my hand, he remarked, "Your farewell party has proved very costly for me." I realised that he, too, must have been one of those who had paid up without much relish. "Why, what happened?" I asked him. It turned out that among the refreshments ordered by the leader colleague, one of the food items was suitable only for strong teeth. This colleague had bitten into it and had cracked his dentures!
I was feeling really guilty now. I wished there had been no farewell party for me. Anyway, the leader colleague grabbed my hands; pushed me to the centre of the hall; and commanded me to deliver a farewell speech. I delivered the shortest speech ever. "Thank you all," I said and clamped my mouth shut. The well-rehearsed farewell speech went and hid in some corner of my mind and refused to come out!