The Silent Threat

Binod adjusted his tie and blushed. “No, it’s not a big deal,” he said. He lowered his eyes and turned his head to go to look at his computer. But Binod’s boss, Tim, kept his broad smile up as he looked at the rest of the team. “No, Binod, it is a big deal. There were three people working on that computer glitch for two weeks. And you just solved it in a few hours.”

Randy looked down at his feet. This quiet Nepali, Binod, was always getting noticed by the boss. Binod couldn’t even string a full sentence together without stuttering in his foreign accent. Randy looked away to stare at the rest of the team following Tim’s lead in clapping for Binod. Randy, not wanting to be seen as the only one not clapping, reluctantly found himself pulled into the avalanche of applause. But he pulled a sour lip to the ceiling when he was sure that no one was looking. Yeah, he would join in this circus for now. But that didn’t mean that he was going to enjoy it.

Binod, seemingly overwhelmed by the recognition from his boss and the team, seemed uncomfortable sitting down in the chair in front of his desk. He stood up like a baby bird crawling out of the nest for the first time. Stretching those uncomfortable, never used legs and wings, he tripped and stepped out blinking in the air of applause and smiles.

Randy shook his head in complete disgust. ‘Look at this guy; he doesn’t even know how to enjoy all this glory. What a waste of recognition on this wall flower.’ Randy remembered the first time that people started noticing this boy genius. And what was Binod’s reaction? The dumbass was trying to distance himself from his own accomplishments. At that time Randy had been puzzled. But as the months went by and Randy started to catch on that Binod couldn’t handle the heat of attention to the point that he actually minimized his own achievements. It was then that Randy started cracking jokes with the other guys at lunch. Randy didn’t trust any guy who would minimize his own accomplishments. In Randy’s life, there was no good reason why anyone would do that. Why would anyone play it down if they had really worked hard to achieve what they did?

Randy had started to drop a few hints that Binod was gay. It was easy. Binod was easygoing and non-aggressive. He was quiet. And the suggestion that he was gay had stuck in snickering water cooler hallways full of envious professional gossip. If anyone objected, Randy would quickly say, “Have you ever shaken his hands? His wrists are always limp. I mean, the guy doesn’t shake hands like a real man.”

“C’mon Randy,” the administrative assistant Sally said, “that could be a cultural thing. I know plenty of guys from India who don’t shake hands aggressively like we do in America. Apparently the kind of hand shake we’re used to in the States is a sign of aggression that juniors avoid showing their superiors in those cultures.”

Seeing Randy staring at her like she was such a nerd for knowing that made Sally shrug and smile, “What can you say, I worked in one of those dotcoms that was outsourcing lots of work to Bangalore. You end up learning something.”

“Whatever,” Randy said looking away. “I still think there’s something funny about our office boy genius. Maybe Sally is fine because she’s a girl. But the rest of you fellas, I wouldn’t get too close to him.” The guys shook their head and wrote Randy off with a smile. Yeah, Randy was at it again.

“Randy,” Sally said, “You just need to get to know Binod. He’s really a great guy. You’d think someone that smart was haughty, right? He is one of the most down to earth people you would know.”

“That’s exactly why I think there’s something suspicious about this kid,” Randy said. “If he really was this brilliant, what’s he doing in this office trouble shooting? Shouldn’t he be somewhere where they could pay him twice the money? I think the boss gives him easy assignments that are easy to solve just to make the rest of us look bad.”

“No Randy,” Eleanor chimed in, “I know these Indian, err…Eastern guys. They are really smart.”

“Whatever,” Randy said flicking his hand away dismissively. “If these guys were so smart why did they come to this country? If they were so smart they would have made it big in their own country. They wouldn’t need America to make them look smart.”

“That’s his choice,” said Eleanor, “Anyway, I’ve talked to Binod. And I think he’s really sweet. I’ve even complimented him on how talented he is. And he insists that anyone could do what he’s doing. I think that’s charming.”

“Well of course you’re charmed away,” Randy said dramatically waving his arms and fanning his face, “He is practically one of the girls. I’m surprised you girls don’t drag him away to some of your ‘spa parties’ that you have.”

Everyone laughed at Randy’s comment.

Randy walked back to his desk. He spun his chair around once as he balanced on his left heel and collapsed in the pillowy cushion of the chair. Randy picked up his pen as he stared into his computer screen. Microsoft Outlook with its unread emails stared accusingly back to him. “Yeah, yeah,” Randy muttered to himself, mimicking the conversation in the hallway, “Yes I know that Binod is damn good at what he does.”

Randy grew up in New York City. The truth of the matter was that since this punk Binod came to work at the office and started to play down his achievements, Randy didn’t feel so comfortable waltzing around like the stud he liked to think he was. He no longer felt like the ‘chiznet’ at work. And for Randy, that sucked worse than the Yankees losing to the Boston Red Sox.

Photo Courtesy: Chris1051


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3 comments

  1. Nep-Brahm says:

    Oct 29, 2010

    Reply

    A very intricate portrayal of cross cultural conflict. I thank my lucky stars my workplace is not like Binod’s. Thanks for bringing to light the struggles of many immigrants who have to fight the often ridiculous presumptions and prejudices of some insecure natives.

  2. Binod says:

    Oct 26, 2017

    Reply

    This is very rare ,usually binds at work are always bragging and trying to get praises for others work as well. Randys at work usually get fired because binds show 10 yrs of fake resume and hire proxy for interviews to land a job.

  3. Ram says:

    Oct 26, 2017

    Reply

    This story is so fake. I see a tinge of reverse racism here.

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