Funding the Refund

When I was a Centre Coordinator of a training institute in the early 90’s, we had advertised for a six month diploma course and got quite a good number of registrations with the first installment of 3250 rupees if memory serves me right. We had got the required number for the new batch which was to start in a couple of days.

It was then a student’s father came to meet me with his ward who had enrolled for the course. She had got admission in a teachers training course for which she had applied earlier and wanted to join it. So taking it as a special case, they had requested to refund the first installment amount.

But having said that I had a tough time convincing the franchise to proceed with the refund. Since it was advertised that the payment was non refundable it was difficult for him to process the refund. This went on for a couple of weeks. The girl’s father came to me a couple of times in that fortnight and I had to send him back on both occasions assuring him that there would be a solution. It was clear to me that the franchisee would not budge and was not willing to forego what he had collected. I could sense how much that money meant to the poor father. It could have been from his savings of maybe 6 months or more.

When the third time he came to meet me, I was at my wits end and consulted my inner self asking what can we done for this poor man and I got the reply as a fleeting thought. It had to be kept a secret, not even the accountant should know lest the franchise come to know about it through him.

I wanted to kick myself for sending him away a third time but this time told him that the management had agreed to his request and he may collect it next weekend around 6 pm. The next week when he arrived, he was not sure, who knows perhaps I had another excuse or a tale to tell. It was evening time and the administration and accounts team had left for the day. I had received my salary of 3800 the same day morning and I had put 3250 in an envelope and kept it ready.

I asked him to sit down and told him how the management was kind enough to consider his application and agree for the refund. I opened the drawer and handed him the sealed envelope and asked him to sign the receipt form which I was to file later somewhere in my home. He muttered many a thanks to me and the management as he left, a relieved man. I too left for home after a few minutes where I could catch a sweet well gained sleep.

The Poor Girl

Pic Credits: Musa. A flower girl

Each day as I walked to the market
I would see her holding a bunch
of flowers that would sway and say to me
why don’t you get us and relieve poor her..

She would request me, run around me
to buy a few from her, if not a bunch
Those days I could not ever sense
her need to sell them to feed poor her…