☛ Submission for October, 2024 issue (Vol. 5, No. 2) is going on. The last date for submission is 30 September, 2024.




-         K V Dominic (India)

“Dad, the postman has served a registered letter addressed to you.” Swapna handed over the envelope to her father Narendran, lying on his bed. He opened the cover and went through the content.

“It is from the bank again. If we don’t remit the loan dues of Rs. 5,25,582 by the end of this month the bank will confiscate our house and property which we had pledged.” Narendran said in a sad tone.

Hearing this Naredran’s wife Rekha arrived from the kitchen. “O my God, what shall we do? Where will we go if they evict us?” she wailed.

“I have no answer. We have to take it as an ultimatum from the bank since they had already served reminders earlier. They won’t grant us any extension of the date to remit the amount. They will be coming with police force and vehicle to carry all our possessions in the house and shut us out and lock the door and paste the notice that reads as bank would be the owner of the house and property.” Narendran replied.

“Shall we write to the chief minister pleading for the government mercy to write off the loan amount?” Swapna suggested.

“It is of no use, dear daughter. There are thousands of defaulters like us in the State and the government won’t take the burden of remitting these amounts to the banks. Since the bank is a nationalised one the State government can’t enforce it to write off the amount.” Narendran replied.

“Since you aren’t able to walk I shall go to the bank tomorrow and request the manager to show mercy upon us. The amount we have to pay is very negligible for a bank and the manager may write it off.” Rekha suggested.

“I don’t think the manager can take such a decision because it is public money. There are instances of writing off when the borrower is no more—committed suicide or died in an accident or of some fatal disease. In such cases the director board of the bank will decide if the loan amount is to be written off and avoid confiscation of the property. That is the only option before us to save you.” Narendran uttered with a sigh.

“What nonsense are you speaking? If you dare to do so, the next moment we will come with you.” Rekha cried.

“Dad, don’t keep such negative thoughts in your mind. Anyway fifteen more days are there for the bank to take action. Let mama go to the bank and plead for mercy. If it is futile we shall inform this situation to our relatives and request them to save us. If they are merciful the amount can be amassed and remitted in the bank.” Swapna suggested.

“Okay daughter, we shall do so.” Narendran replied.

Narendran is a farmer by profession. He has one acre of land with a small house in it where he lives with his wife and daughter. Daughter Swapna is now studying for B. Ed course in the government college. Narendran’s wife Rekha is a housewife. Swapna had a younger brother who died in a bike accident three years back. Narendran took a loan of Rs. 3 lakhs from a nationalised bank four years before for the purpose of banana cultivation in his own land. Unfortunately there was a cyclone which felled all the banana trees with tender bunches and Narendran could not repay the loan amount with capital and interest at the due date.  As Shakespeare says, “When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions” Narendran’s son died in the bike accident which made the family drowned in the ocean of eternal sorrow. To make things worse Narendran became a diabetic patient and a wound on his right leg became septic and the leg had to be amputated. 

As to sustain the family Rekha was compelled to serve as a maid in several houses. Meanwhile the loan amount in the bank grew up day by day adding interest upon interest. Reminder notices to close the loan were served from time to time. 

As decided Rekha went to the bank and told the manager their helplessness in closing the loan. The manager in reply told his helplessness in taking a decision to write off the loan amount. He added that he has to abide by the rules and laws of the bank or else he will lose his job. Letters were sent to the immediate relatives of Narendran and Swapna pleading for their mercy to avoid confiscation of the house and the property. There were sympathetic responses from the relatives but only an offer of less than Rs. 20,000 came.

At last the doomsday arrived. On the first of December arrived at Narendran’s house the bank’s car with the manager and two section clerks escorted by a police jeep carrying three policemen. The manager knocked at the front door of the house. Rekha opened the door. The manager told her that they have come to confiscate the property and evict them from the house.  Rekha started crying loudly: “Please don’t send us out, sir. We have nowhere to go…” Swapna also started crying and pleaded the manager to show mercy upon them. Narendran approaching on his wheel chair begged for compassion. Hearing the loud cry the neighbours came there. One among them, a man of sixty, and well dressed, introduced himself as Akbar and asked the manager what for they have come. The manager told him about the debt Narendran has to remit to avoid the confiscation.

Akbar asked Narendran: “Have you got any amount to remit to the bank?”

Narendran: “Dear Akbar, you know, we have no income and we survive with what Rekha get’s as a maid. I had requested my relatives to help me but they could only give Rs. 19,000. This is that amount.” He showed bundle of the currencies in his hand.

Akbar: “Manager sir, how much is the amount to be remitted?”

Manager: “It is Rs. 5,25,582. The loan was taken some four years back. The capital amount is Rs. 3 lakhs. Seeing the pathetic situation of this house the director board has decided to waive the interest. So the capital amount of Rs. 3 lakhs has to be paid now as to avoid the confiscation.”

Akbar: “I am not only the neighbour of Narendran but also his classmate till the 10th standard. Since he was not rich enough to go to college for higher studies he turned to agriculture helping his father. I could complete my graduation and then got a good job in Kuwait. It is my duty to save him and his family. Kindly wait for five minutes. Let me take my cheque book from my house.”

Akbar went to his house and returned within five minutes. He handed over a bearer cheque of Rs. 3 lakhs to Narendran and asked him to give it to the manager. With tears flowing over the cheeks, Narendran accepted the cheque leaf telling: “Dear Akbar, you are an angel sent by God to save me. I don’t know how to express our gratitude. God bless you dear friend!” Rekha and Swapna clasped their palms weeping in joy. 

Narendran handed over the cheque to the bank manager who checked it closely and found it valid. It was of the same bank. The papers related to the closing of the loan was served to Narendran and got his signatures wherever needed. The manager, the escort team and the neighbours  praised Akbar for his generosity. He shook hand of Akbar and said: “A friend in need is a friend indeed and you have proved that maxim through your humane action, dear Akbar.” All applauded hearing this. The manager and others went back. The neighbours also went back to their houses.

 Akbar told Narendran: “You could have told me of this crisis earlier. I would have helped you. I am going back to Kuwait next Sunday. Keep this money with you.” He gave cash of Rs. 10,000 to Naredran’s hands. “You can call me anytime you like. This is my card. Don’t forget to inform me when you come across any financial burden.” He handed over the visiting card to Narendran and moved away. Narendran, Rekha and Swapna were dumfounded and bade him goodbye with clasped palms.