Prize that wasn't

Prize that wasn't

The Deepavali offer of a branded showroom was simple—buy apparels worth Rs 5,000 and get a chance to win bumper prize – A car among many other attractive prizes!  Though my friend Sridhar’s top priority was to buy himself two pairs of formals for the festival; the consolation prize on offer – his favourite bike— made us to shell-out much more than the allotted budget.

After two hours of struggle to select the right clothes amidst overspriced look-alikes , we selected two shirts and two pants costing him a bomb- Rs 6,400. Yet this bill assured that he got a chance to participate in the competition. Like a nervous child writing his board exam, Sridhar filled the competition form with total dedication and concentration. Not a single mistake was committed, the sentences were case sensitive and grammatically correct.  Looking at heaven he said a small prayer, kissed the form… pressed it to his eyes thrice and dropped it in the box placed at the centre of the shop. The box was already half filled. Six others dropped their chits after him, with the same belief that Sridhar had in his eyes.

Festival went off happily and Sridhar looked, as always, handsome in the newest of clothes. Five days after the festival, Sridhar received a call from a public relation officer of that branded company. The official screamed in his ears “you have won the bumper prize!” Sridhar fell off his office chair, in excitement. It took him two more minutes to realise that he had won a car ‘not’ what he wanted— the bike. 

He tried to convince the PR guy that he did not want a car but wanted the bike. He narrated to the officer that maintaining a car was like feeding a ‘white elephant’ and made a mention of the parking problem at his rented house. He told the officer that kids in his street would damage the car while playing cricket.  Sridhar gave them an offer, I am ready to ‘exchange’ bumper prize with the one who has won the consolation prize.
The PR guy called him back after five minutes,  and said “Sorry sir, the car has already been purchased in your name and no such exchange can be done at our level. You have to pay the registration charges and road taxes and take your car.”

The PR officer later said, “The consolation prize winner was ready to exchange his bike for the car provided you pay all the taxes.” Sridhar disconnected the call saying, “please keep the car yourselves as the tax amount is equal to the bike’s price.”

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