Posted: 01 August 2009 at 5:55pm | IP Logged
As he walked to the car, his cell rang. It was Matt. "Hi, Dev. Is this a good time to talk?"
"Hey, Matt. What's up? Isn't it like 8 in the morning there in SF? What are you doing up so early? I thought you are yet to break your record of seeing a sunrise on the bay," said Dev.
"Actually, am calling you to make sure that you got my final proposal for the Bates' job. They want you to check everything before they sign us up for this project. Can you send in your ideas by tomorrow?"
"Sure, bud. No probs. Yes, I did get your email three days back. I have made some slight changes. I was also thinking of a new idea that just might work in the Bates' case. Let me get back to you by tonight, your time."
"Great! Now that is out of the way, what's up with you and Ritz? She looked like hell the last time I saw her, which was a month back and you have not said a word about her in the past 6 months that you have been gone."
"Well, what is there left to say, Matt? We said bye to each other. It has been almost 6 months and that is that. I do not want to talk about it. She is my past, a wonderful part of my past. I am needed here now and there is no place for her here."
"Dev, I am sorry to hear that. I never thought it would be like this. You and she were so perfect for each other. How is work otherwise? I wonder how you manage it all- the family business and your consultations here."
"Well, I am putting a good team in place here for the Trust work. As for my consultations, you are doing your bit there and I have a good staff put together these past few months who take care of the paperwork and stuff. They are nowhere close to being professional, but we are getting there slowly."
" Still, I think you must be working 18 to 20 hour days, Dev. Take it easy, mate. I need you to be alive and well until the Bates' job is done. If it goes according to plan, I can take my sabbatical."
Dev gave a short laugh and told Matt not to worry about him and signed off. He continued thoughtfully to the car and told Birju to drive home.
He opened his laptop and checked the details once more on the Bates' job and signed into his wireless modem to download the material he kept on his server that connected to his US office of Prohit and Shwartz.
Matt and he had met during their last semester at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. They were both finishing up with their MBA in Sustainable Development. They worked on one project together and knew they would be friends forever. They completed and complemented each other's ideas. It was just a step further to combine their resources, put together a decent proposal for VC funding and begin their own private consulting business for Sustainability and Industry.
That had been 4 years ago. It was also the year he had met Ritz. She was an undergrad at UC Berkeley, a true flower child, a throwback from the 60s. She stood out in campus owing to her floral chiffon tops unlike the usual cotton tees favored by the other students. She even made floral wreaths and wove them into her waist-long hair.
It was the flowers that had made Dev notice her for the first time. She was walking down the stairs, a few steps ahead of him and he could not but help notice the wreath of flowers in her hair: Pretty colors of spring woven with green on her dark brown, almost black hair.
He quickly caught up with her and said, "Hi! I really like those flowers in your h…" and he could not continue as he looked into the most beautiful face he had ever seen. He was spellbound. She had the most beautiful smile that enveloped everyone in its surrounding with warmth and sunshine. Her brown eyes looked like Ghirardelli's famous Chocolate sundae topping poured into her whipped cream whites.
She smiled up to him and said, "Thank you. I am happy I made you smile today." Dev shook himself from his trance and asked her, "What is your name, flower girl?"
She grinned back and said, "Ritu." He was pleasantly surprised. "Indian?" he asked. " Yes, a true half-blood Indian!" she smiled back. "And what, may I ask, is your name, stranger?" He stammered and replied, "Dev."
Dev shut his laptop with a snap and closed his eyes tightly. He could not understand why he was being haunted by the thought of Ritz today. He had drowned himself in work since his marriage that was immediately followed by the death of his father and taking over the responsibilities of the Prohit Trust. That left him with very little time to think about Ritz. He refused to allow himself to follow that line of thought whenever it started. However, today was different. Her face kept flashing before his closed eyes as it haunted him when he had them opened.