ISSUE OF CHARACTER CERTIFICATE
Hurriedly raising her head above all in the queue, watching her wristwatch, Sonam muttered, “Its quarter to one; soon SDM shall leave for lunch, and I will not get Character Certificate today.” She became sad.
There were just two days left to report in the Headquarters for her new government job, rare these days, with Character Certificate but Sonam finds no hope of getting it so soon. And moreover, it was the matter of her whole career as well as her life. If she gets it, she will get the job otherwise she will loss, she thought.
She is twenty-eight, a Postgraduate in English with high second division and is at the brink of her overage.
She thought that no one would ask her to apply for some post after her overage; her family is trying hard to make both ends meet; father’s grocery shop isn’t enough to bear the burden of family. The responsibility of her sister’s marriage and herself is also on her shoulders. As she was lost in her own thoughts about her dark or bright future, SDM left for lunch.
When she realized that she was standing alone; no queue was there now, she didn’t go back home, keeping her documents under her right arm, she asked for a cup of tea and started waiting, sitting there on a wooden bench. The shopkeeper selling tea told her that SDM shall come at 3 o’clock and people will again make long queue; its routine matter here. She got up taking her cup of tea and stood where the waiting line had to start. She waited standing there without lunch for two hours. People had started gathering there around her now and soon there was a long line behind her. She looked at her wristwatch, which her father had gifted her when she had stood first in whole of the district in tenth standard exams, five minutes to 3 o’clock. She took her position thinking that soon she will be called inside.
But what’s this it’s 3 o’clock but still there is no SDM; she asked his PA, who was sitting in the nearby office told him that he shall come late today. He came at 4 o’clock. Soon peon commanded, “O! Straighten your line.
Peon pointed her inside the office by waving his hand.
Sonam entered, showed her documents to the magistrate and requested, “Please issue me character certificate soon. Sir, it’s the matter of my whole life and career.”
Without giving the ear to her request he marked her documents to be verified by the SHO of division No 1 and dashed the bundle of papers against her. She collected and meekly came out of his office.
It was nearly closing time of all government offices. She took an auto and went to Division number 1. Out of breath she enquired about the officer but he had left the office. She had no choice except to return home.
At nine, Sonam was in the SHO office next day. She entered in his office on her turn.
“Sir, I have been appointed in the Government Department as a clerk and I need my character certificate, I have to report in my office tomorrow with it, SDM has marked papers to you” she requested
“Home Ministry has issued us instructions today that no character certificate will be issued, nothing shall be verified,” he answered sympathetically.
“But Sir, it’s the matter of my whole career, tomorrow I have to report in the chief’s office with it, please issue it, I will be ever indebted to you, Sir,” She pleaded folding her both hands.
“I can’t do anything my dear,” he straightforwardly answered.
“Please tell me where I go now, to whom I may plea for it,” she almost wept saying this.
“You don’t listen I can’t do anything, get out, I have other works too “ he answered ruthlessly.
Wiping her tears she came out and told the whole problem to the old aged peon who was sitting out there.
“If you go to DC it will take a whole month and no other person can issued it except he who has sent you here, so, you should immediately leave for him,” he politely made her understand. She immediately left.
She reached there timely. As there was no rush today, so, she easily managed to get into his office and kept the papers in front of him.
“Are you deaf, you don’t listen once, get out of here, first go and get these papers verified by the SHO then come to me,” unsympathetically he ordered.
She didn’t speak a word, picked up her papers, weeping bitterly she came out of his office. She was feeling darkness all around and got illusion of night that would never end.
Seeing her unconscious state of mind, PA asked her about her problem but she remained silent, not a single word on her lips. He shook Sonam by her shoulder and asked her again. Sobbing she told him the matter.
Do you know any political leader, “he asked her without losing a minute.
Thinking for a while she answered, “Yes.”
“Who,” he further enquired.
“MLA Tarlok Sharma,” hesitatingly she answered.
“Go and make him to order SDM and he will issue you,” he gave her solution.
Sonam thought, how she would go to MLA. She didn’t know him, she had told a lie to PA. She asked her father about it but he refused.
How an ordinary man like my father can know an MLA, a political leader? Commoners don’t have leisure from making their food for both times, clothing to cover their naked children and a small home of a single room or two for which they struggle for their whole life and when it is constructed they fly away from this mysterious world. How he can know him? Taking a long breath Sonam thought.
Her heart started sinking now as evening time had started and she had only an hour to day everything to get her certificate.
Sonam had a classmate who had links with MLA. She hurriedly left for her and told her urgency of getting character certificate.
“It’s a minor job, dear. My Papa is MC and he will definitely get it done in a few seconds, nothing to worry,” saying freely she assured Sonam.
“Are you sure, tomorrow I have to report in my office,” she enquired again.
“Here’s Papa, you go with him,” she told her.
Sonam went to MLA with MC who introduced her to him.
“What’s the matter, why you have come to me at this time, you don’t know I don’t meet anybody at this time,” MLA censured MC.
“Sir, this is Sonam and she wants her character certificate. She has to report in her office tomorrow with it otherwise she will not get the job. The issuing authority is SDM but he isn’t doing so. Sir, She is very nice and submissive girl. Please help her,” explaining her whole condition he said.
“Let her in the room, I want to ask her some questions,” MLA ordered him.
“Ok sir,”folding his hands he left the room.
“Come here, Sonam, sit beside me, don’t afraid, my dear. You want character certificate, I will make SDM to issue you,” keeping his hand on her thigh he said.
Unconscious of his hand’s position, she pleaded him folding her hands, “Sir, I will be grateful to you for this kindness for my whole life.”
“What’s your father?” taking her folded hands into his own he asked.
“Sir, he is a shopkeeper but sir please Make a call to the SDM its quarter to five, soon he will leave,” Sonam requested.
“You don’t worry, I will make him to deliver you at your home,” he said temptingly keeping his hand tenderly on her back and tried to kiss her.
“What’s you doing, Sir,” recovering her consciousness she asked and stood up from the sofa.
“Nothing Sonam,” clutching her into his arms forcibly he said.
“You lecher, leave me,” kicking his under parts she told him.
Furiously he pulled her towards himself but she became successful to get herself free once again. He threatened her that he would never let the SDM issue her the character certificate.
“Now you will have to make him issue it, otherwise, I will make a noise in the public that you tried to rape me for issue of character certificate,” she threatened him.
“Go to hell, who will believe you, duffer,” he said.
Sonam tore the sleeve of her left arm with a pull and cried save me please save. The closed door started knocking from outside. People gathered outside started asking, “what’s the matter.”
You think I will serve you with my body for issue of my character certificate. I know my character very well and also know how strong is it. Character is only property and power of the commoners like us but the doggy people like you wanted to snatch it from us, our only property. Now I have known how mean are you! If you didn’t phoned the SDM right now for Issue of my character certificate I will take off all my clothes in front of you and will gather the whole public collected outside.
Nervously he picked up the phone and ordered the SDM, “A girl named Sonam is coming right now, issue her character certificate at any cost.”
“Are you happy now, please don’t tell any body; there are elections in a few days now, “MLA requested her.
“Don’t try to check the character of any commoner in future because they have character only,” teaching him a lesson she told.
Sonam got her Character Certificate on the same day and today she is doing her Government job with pride.