The Intern

by Kautuk Srivastava

THE INTERN

"3.......2........1, and your on air!" came the cue from backstage. Mr. Vijay Trump just blinked at the camera, as he always did when something happened to him when he was unprepared for it. After a moments hesitation he said, "Oh yes! Good evening ladies and gentleman, boys and girls! Welcome to the Grande Finale off "The Intern". After the six months of rigorous tasks which I trust you must have seen and enjoyed what? We have wound our way to the final episode." saying this last line one could clearly feel the relief flooding through him. He continued, "As we come to the end of the fantastic journey, we are left with Rajesh Mathur and Shaily Sinha who will battle it out to see who shall become My Intern!"

Mr. Vijay Trump was the founder of the Bhartiya Bread and Barley Company (the BBBC) a hugely successful and popular Company which had been a pioneer and leading

and leading market holder in its field of enterprise which was indeed manufacturing and marketing bread and Barley. However The BBBC had now also got into the promising avenues of the real estate and the retail industries. At the heart of all this stupendous success was a highly unlikely man. Vijay Trump.

He was an effervescent and sprightly old man of sixty, however in his youth had been even more effervescent and sprightly. When you spoke of the man two words inevitably came out one of them being, Flamboyant and the other lucky. There was no denying his flamboyance but his luck was a subject of much debate. Indeed most people thought that his life and empire was still administered luck and nothing more. But you couldn't grudge against them because doubts inevitably rose on seeing the bumbling, forgetful, slow thinking founder of the BBBC. He was a broad bellied man, with a round pleasant face on which hung a visibly dull expression, and a thick white moustache which would have made any walrus proud.

Among the few things he liked, the one that ranked the highest was money. Infact that was the sole reason he had agreed to do the show. "Pots of money in it" he had decided and leapt in hook, line and sinker. It had been six long months for him where he had informed contestant after contestant that, "out you go!" finally now he was left with two participants with whom he was, surprisingly, satisfied.

Rajesh Mathur had a B-Com from Jai Hind College and an advantage of 5 years of work experience with HDFC bank. He was 26 years old and was tall and lean. He had a lean angular face with narrow eyes and a long straight nose on which rested his spectacles. His body was lanky but one look in those jet black eyes which examined the world through the window of his spectacles, told the beholder volumes of his Determination and Ambition.

Shaily Sinha his competitor for becoming Mr. Trump's Intern was his opposite pole. She was petite and a bit more on the healthier side. She was a graduate from IIM Bangalore however had no work experience having enrolled for the show straight out of campus. She unlike her counterpart had been very popular among the other contestants.

Her eyes always shone with laughter but her mind was steeled with determination.

Needless to say, they had worked very hard to make the final and were by far the most eligible.

***

"Sir Ready?" came the query from the cameraman.

"Ready?" he blinked, "for what?"

"For announcing the Final Task??"

"Ah! That why yes I was just waiting for you. Yes yes, Quite, Final Task, I remember."

"Just checking, to be sure. Then....3.....2.......1 begin"

"Yes, Wait, No Go on I remember" said Vijay Trump as a gift to the editing department. Then he carried on, "Well as my final task for the two contenders I have decided on a rather tricky one. And without further ado you two" he said pointing as the camera focused on them, "will have to get a painting, done by a painter, and then proceed to sell it by any means that please you. The one with the highest proceeds shall be declared as the winner of the task and shall become MY INTERN!" then as an afterthought he added, "Oh and don't forget you only have 24 hours by my watch to do it! Goodbye till then and Best of Luck!"

***

For a moment they stood still, the strain of catching on to every single syllable uttered by Mr. Trump, showing clearly on their faces. Then as the task registered in their minds their face showed their surprise. Rajesh stood rooted to the spot thinking, whereas Shaily had now begun pacing up and down in the pursuit of thought. Then they got an idea. The time of getting the idea was the same but the idea's they could not have been more different.

"A painting, done by a painter" thought Rajesh and quickly scurried of to find the yellow pages, assigned to them for the task.

"A painting, done by a painter" thought Shaily and as soon as had this much clear she ran to catch the first taxi she could find.

***

Rajesh had enlisted the aid of the yellow pages to locate the telephone number of a lesser known artist by the name of Murshad Ali.

He called him up,

"Hello?"

"Yes?"

"Am I speaking to Murshad Ali?"

"Yes?"

"My name is Rajesh Mathur and I would like to get a painting done by you. Is it possible?"

"Certainly, why not? Would you like to come over to my studio?"

"Yes that would be very nice"

"Then take down the address", said Murshad Ali.

***

Meanwhile Shaily Sinha had made her way by taxi to Jehangir art gallery, Mumbai's finest Art Gallery. She had reasoned that when Mr. Trump had said that he wanted a painting he didn't say that he wanted it done only he had said so.

Now at the Gallery, she moved along, pausing every now and then to inspect a painting more carefully (closely), in her pursuit of that true work of art. She finally settled on wonderful piece of abstract art called "WINGED VICTORY" which according to her, she got at a reasonably decent price.

Carrying the wrapped painting with her she left the art gallery and took a taxi to the nearest cyber caf.

While the taxi ferried her across, she saw an advertisement on one large and prominent hoarding. Within a minute her cell phone was out and a number dialed in,

"Hello is this the head office of Child Welfare and You?"

***

"No, Murshad, no you do not understand, I don't need paintings of scenery with rainbow!" said a visibly flustered Rajesh.

"I told you so in the beginning it would be far better if we did my specialty but you keep on insisting on doing something appealing and different." Said the piqued painter

"Ok so what is your specialty?"

"Ocean with rainbow!"

Rajesh sighed then said, "Please Murshad don't use your brain right now. I'll tell you what to make. Is that ok? Or should I go elsewhere?"

"We need a painting that Mr. Trump will relish, yes that will do it. It'll give my edge over Shaily! Yes, that's it something to Mr. Trump's taste." He reasoned then after a minute he sprang up, "Murshad, I want a painting of emperor!"

"Which one?"

"It's the name of Mr. Trump's dog. Can you do it?"

"Who, Akhbar?"

"No! Idiot......sorry! I want a painting of a white Labrador can you do it?"

"Yes!"

"Then get to work, NOW!"

***

"Child Welfare and You, head office, how may I help you?"

"This is Shaily Sinha speaking can you direct me to your outdoor campaigns in charge?"

"Certainly, please hold on"

A minute later a crisp voice said, "Hello, Rita Rameshwaran here, who's speaking?"

Shaily introduced herself and went onto illustrate her idea. She told the CRY outdoor campaigner that she wanted o sell a painting whose proceeds would go to CRY.

She intended to sell the painting via SaleIndia.com and was inquiring whether CRY could advertise its sale as well as associating celebrities with its purchase.

Rita Rameshwaran paused for a moment in thought, and then said, "Yes, you have our support."

"Thank you so much!" she said, as the taxi parked itself in front of the cyber cafe.

***

3 hours had past and Rajesh Mathur tapped his feet impatiently as he watched Murshad Ali adding the final touches to the whiskers of Emperor, Mr. Trump's white Labrador.

"Is it done yet?" asked Rajesh yet again.

"Yes", came the unexpected reply.

"Yes!"

"Yes"

"Oh! Then let me have it I got to sell this thing!"

"Mr. Mathur, I will need at least 2 hours more in the least."

"What! But you said it was over!"

"Yes but am sure you wouldn't want to sell a wet painting or would you?"

Rajesh Mathur looked at his watch. It showed him that it was seven o clock. In two and a half hours he had to be present in the boardroom with the accounts of his sale, presenting it to Mr. Vijay Trump.

"No, Murshad I am sure you are capable of wrapping it well enough to prevent any smudging."

***

www.SaleIndia.com opened to Shaily Sinha as she sat at PC no. 14 in the busy cyber cafe. She proceeded to enlist her article for auction and waited.

She got some initial offers amounting to Rs. 900; she declined, willing to wait for better offers. She was banking on the little publicity that CRY would offer. However so far the bidding seemed to have staled at Rs. 900.

She glanced at her watch, 5 past 7. It had been an hour since she had entered the cyber caf. She looked at the highest bid, Rs. 1050. She sighed and closed her eyes.

When she opened her eyes again the highest bid showed Rs. 2000. Then it went up to Rs. 2500. Now she sat up straight, monitoring the bidding carefully. By 7:45 pm the bidding had reached Rs. 9500 when the stars came up. First it was TV star Aman Choudhary with Rs. 10000, then, Computer whiz kid Neehar Jathar pitched in Rs. 1000 more than the highest bid. They were all associated with CRY.

At 8 o clock the bidding closed and the painting "Winged Victory" was declared sold for Rs. 12,000 to football star Abhishek Ambekar.

***

Rajesh Mathur had tried every alternative he could think of to sell a painting of white Labrador lazing on a plush rug, which after being smudged resembling a big ball of cotton drooped carelessly on the floor.

First he had gone to an auction house by the name of Anmol Auctioneers. The painting was brought into the auction under the name of "Majestic Emperor",

However the gathered crowd broke into a unanimous burst of laughter as the painting was unveiled. 15 minutes later there was still no response forcing Rajesh to take down the printing.

Then he decided to go and sell it door to door. However in all the 25 houses that he went to he got a different answer which led to the same conclusion. He was surprised there were so many ways to refusal.

The refusal made him turn to last option left open to him- his friends

Rahul, Sachin, Saurabh and Vivek had all refused to buy the painting, in the order named. So at 9:15 pm he went the house of dear friend Abhijeet Damle.

"Hey! What are you doing here?" asked Damle.

"Abhi, don't have time today I came to sell you a painting" said the sales man unveiling the masterpiece.

A few moments of silence later Abhijeet said cautiously, "Do you accept Credit Card?"

***

It was 9:30 pm at set 18 in FilmCity Studios. It was a marvelous set constructed piece to resemble Mr. Trump's expansive boardroom.

"3.......2........1 and your on air" came the cue from backstage.

"Oh! Yes good evening ladies and gentlemen boys and girls to the grand finale of THE INTERN."

A flourish of music then he continued, "the two contenders Shaily Sinha and Rajesh Mathur had been given a task where in they had get a painting done by a painter and sell it for the highest price. The one with most money becomes my INTERN!"

Another flourish of music and the 2 participants stepped in the spotlights remained fixed on them as they took their seat in the boardroom opposite Mr. Vijay Trump.

Mr. Trump announced, "In a few moments time the results will be brought to me and we will know the winner."

When the results were brought to Vijay trump his eyebrows shot up and he linked. Then he faced the camera and blinked again.

"We have our winner and the winner is overwhelmingly Shaily Sinha! Who sold her painting "Winged Victory" for a whopping Rs.12000 whereas our friend here managed what I must say is a rather mealy Rs. 200 for a painting called "Majestic Emperor". Tell me dear fellow who was this majestic emperor which could raise you only Rs. 200?"

Very sheepishly a red faced Rajesh mumbled, "Sir you dog, Emperor"

"What!" he blinked, "well then dash it you deserve it"

Turning to Shaily he smiled warmly, "yes, you are a wonderfully talented and intelligent woman, and have done the task marvelously. Let me tell the viewers exactly what skill sets, the young lady used to come out on top today.

First she used her brains to correctly comprehend my statement for the task, and then she went to the best source for paintings, Jehangir Art Gallery. She showed her resourcefulness and presence of mind by enlisting the aid of Child Welfare and You to sell the painting and lastly showed her tech savvy side by selling it over the internet. These are the kind of professionals I desire, yes quite" he blinked, "young intelligent and committed. So Shaily Sinha you are chosen as my INTERN!"

A flourish of music and the camera paused on the face of a visibly radiant Shaily who flashed a large and happy smile.

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