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ArHi:The Noob and the thoughtful:(AWOL till 8-Sep) (Page 16)

-Sookie- IF-Dazzler

Joined: 09 January 2009
Posts: 2515

Posted: 02 August 2012 at 9:48am | IP Logged

Chapter 6:

"How was your trip?" Arnav asked smiling behind the coffee mug.

"Hellish, as usual," she replied furrowing her eyebrows. "Crowded flights, cranky passengers, non-existent leg space, boring transits and loads of body ache," Khushi scowled catching his grin and booting her laptop in tandem. Arnav's grin widened at her annoyance.

Of the two, she carried a valid Japanese work permit which allowed her to travel to Tokyo when required by their clients. Her fascination with the Japanese culture had made that decision easy and Arnav wasn't too keen on traveling around Asia-Pacific. He had gladly taken up ownership of few of their western clients while Akash covered the rest.

"I meant the meetings," Arnav asked sitting on a spare chair in her cubicle. "But why are you here today? You have been away for four days out of which you traveled for two; it would have been alright if you had rested out today. It's Friday after all," he said and took a long sip from the mug.

"It was useful Arnav, you know that." She said not glancing at him. They had spoken right after she had finished meeting with the clients and briefed him about the expectations.  They were in constant touch via emails as he was keeping her updated with happenings in India office while she consulted him about new business requirements.

"Was that Vaidehi I saw in Akash's cabin?" Khushi asked him.

From time to time their company sub-contracted to the company which Vaidehi represented. Whenever a deadline was nearing, she made it a point to camp out in their office and ensured transition. Arnav considered it as a major waste of time which reflected in her billing price but Akash didn't worry too much about it. Vaidehi was their old friend, after all.

 "She's been in and out of this office all this week. No brownies for guessing," he said and coughed.

"Are you okay? Your voice sounds hoarse," she asked narrowing her eyes at him ignoring his response. He looked tired his fair complexion highlighting darkness under his eyes. She had a faint idea why Vaidehi was hanging around.

"There were too many meetings this week Khushi. You know how it goes," he said rubbing his temple. She noted that he had forgone his contacts and had embraced spectacles. So he was really tired then.

"Is she here to push that half assed design on us?" She asked waspishly coming back to topic at hand.

"We will know it in next ten minutes," he gave a mirthless chuckle.

"Are we having a design review meeting now?" Khushi asked startled and looked at her calendar. Her day was practically empty. Arnav cocked his head on the side pointing towards conference room where Akash and Vaidehi were setting up their personal laptops while Payal was fiddling with projector.

"Sit this one out Khushi." He said standing up. "And welcome back," he added softly and walked out of her cubicle. She stared at the now empty chair, her mind recollecting an odd moment from two days ago which had left her momentarily vulnerable.

She was shuttling between meetings and workshops and amidst the tight schedule time had frozen for several moments when she opened an email from him which didn't talk about usual drill. 'Don't overtire yourself Khushi. Offload any work that spills out of eight-to-five time frame; I'll take care of it from here.' Those two lines lifted several kilos of weight from her shoulders and eased her worry lines. She knew that once in flight, she would dissect every character in the words displayed on her screen and derive at least seven different meanings out of it.  

Just to prove herself wrong, she had ignored that thought, the email and the gentleness which she was sure he sported when he had typed those two lines. Less than a week ago he had spent night in her apartment after watching a movie and they had already started to circumvent their interactions around it. Both their attitudes were pathetic and cowardly but she didn't care hoots about it.

"I'll be coming to the meeting too," she jumped up and yelled in his direction. He turned around and looked at her blankly. She gathered her laptop, notebook and pencil and sprinted towards his cubicle. "Don't overtire yourself Arnav. I'll help you on this one," she said looking straight at him.

The words once out of her mouth sounded incredibly cheesy but she kept a straight face. Arnav didn't react but simply shrugged and walked ahead. She gave a satisfactory smile when she saw his shoulder visibly relax and followed him.


It had been three hours and the end was nowhere in sight. The office was almost empty given how it was half past five on a Friday evening. Arnav's mood had steadily deteriorated during design review and had him bite his tongue to lash out at their vendor. Khushi, who was more patient of the two, was also running low on patience.

The design was beyond point of any redemption. They were truly f**ked.

The product design was due on Monday and Vaidehi's team had eaten up all their time including the emergency buffer Arnav had planned without managing to address glaringly obvious problem statement. Akash could feel his two senior technical architects' darkening mood which, if not controlled would cause irrevocable dent on relationship between two companies.

"Sorry guys, we will have to close this meeting now. It's close to six already and am getting late." Khushi looked up from her notes and Arnav's incessant typing halted all of a sudden when Vaidehi announced.

"Review isn't complete yet and not to mention the fixes your team will have to do," Arnav's voice was cold and detached. Akash didn't try to intervene. It wouldn't end well if he did.

"I know, I know." Vaidehi sighed and stood still for a moment. The rest  waited.

"Okay, today is when we are supposed to deliver you the design and we did, right?" It was uncanny how Vaidehi could make her voice chirpy after ten hours of work and be charming all the while.

Akash nodded mutely.

"Well, you can sign our invoice stating that we made the delivery so that, you know, we get paid on time." She inserted a high pitched chuckle and restarted on packing her bags. Akash smiled and avoided any eye contact with Khushi or Arnav.

"Or you can stay for another hour while we finish the review and give you feedback on the design document. You can get your team to work on them over the weekend so that we can deliver the design to our client on Monday on time," Khushi interjected the happy woman's process, ruthlessly cutting off any chance of negotiations.

Vaidehi looked up surprised at Khushi's response. It was the first time when her idea was so blatantly rejected.

"Come on now Khushi," Vaidehi said recovering quickly. "It's a Friday evening and I promised my husband that I will be home early. We have been working way too hard for the past two weeks on this design and for once I want to go home and spend some quality time with him. If I was like you, I would have stayed all night and fixed all these issues on my own. But what can I do Khushi? Unlike you, sometimes I end up ignoring my personal preferences and heed to my husband's needs. I know that sounds pathetic to you but I am not all that strong and individualistic. Help me out here, will you please?" Vaidehi pleaded. Khushi looked blankly at her. Arnav looked positively annoyed. He was more annoyed with the fact when Khushi didn't respond at the thinly veiled insult and her silence had encouraged Vaidehi to blabber more.  Akash looked at Arnav then at looked at Khushi and looked again at Arnav. Arnav shrugged and watched Khushi looking back at her notes and completely ignoring Vaidehi.

Arnav was surprised that Khushi hadn't responded to Vaidehi's insult with a tart reply. She wasn't the kind of woman who refrained from rising to an insult to avoid conflict but was one who ensured that her response would keep the insulting party forever shut their pie hole.

The silence, however, was a first.

"Here you go Akash. That's the acceptance document," Vaidehi said taking out the print out and handing it to Akash. Once Akash, Khushi and Arnav signed the document, Vaidehi's firm could raise an invoice for their work and get money. If they didn't, then Vaidehi would be answerable to her company.

Akash looked at Arnav and Khushi. Arnav was ignoring everyone in the room and typing on his laptop while Khushi was still writing notes. Of the two, Khushi was easier to talk to.

"Khushi…" Akash started but was cut off by Khushi.

"Here you go," Khushi said sliding sheets of paper.

"What's this?" Akash asked shuffling the sheets and trying to understand boxes, arrows, diagrams etc.

"That's the design we will be presenting to client on Monday." She replied standing up and stretching her back. Arnav looked up and caught her eye. She sent a discreet nod in his direction and waited.

He cleared his throat and said, "We were discussing about this design yesterday afternoon when Khushi was in Hong Kong airport waiting for her connecting flight. As I had read the design document given by Vaidehi well in advance I was voicing my concerns over it. Khushi and I applied various scenarios and found out that there were fundamental flaws in design. At the end of this discussion, we had a vague idea as to what needs to be done. So we both worked it out in our heads."

"What do mean?" Akash asked stunned at the rare display of Arnav and Khushi actually working together without biting their heads off or him begging them not to kill each other.

Khushi smiled. "It's going to be fine Akash." She walked over to him and pulled the acceptance document to her. "Here, let me sign this first." She scribbled her name below her name and pushed it to Akash who signed wordlessly.

"So what next?" Vaidehi asked tentatively.

"Thank you for everything you have done Vaidehi," Khushi said pleasantly and offered her hand. Vaidehi shook it but not without voicing her concern.

"Send me review comments Khushi. I will get my team to work on it this weekend and won't let them go till the output is of the expected quality," Vaidehi pressed.

"That will not be necessary Vaidehi. We got it covered. I don't think you can meet our expectations here. Thank you," Arnav replied pleasantly.

Vaidehi looked at Akash in surprise.

"We got it covered?" Akash asked looking at his two best friends and partners.

"Yes we do," Arnav replied handing over the acceptance document with his signature on it.

"I will show you out," Akash said getting up and guided Vaidehi towards door. He knew something had happened in that conference few minutes ago but he had no idea what. He would deal with it later.


"What were you doodling?" Arnav asked lazily as Khushi prepared coffee for both of them.

"It was sequence diagram for the movie 'The Dark Knight Rises'. I just used IT industry buzz words in place of super heroes and villains," she replied.

Both burst out laughing at the same time.

"I thought that you had given up, for a minute," he said tracing patterns with his index finger on table.

"I am not there yet," she replied frankly. She had her back facing him hiding plethora of emotions running havoc on her face.

"When do you want to work on this thing?" He asked resting his chin on his palm. She turned sharply at that.

"Don't worry about it Arnav. I was just so angry at Vaidehi that I made it up in that moment. I will get it done over the weekend." She said in one breath and turned her back on him again. She stirred coffee little more vigorously than required, the liquid dangerously sloshing at the edges.

"Come home tomorrow," he said ignoring her subtle plea completely. "If we both put her heads together, we should be done by Sunday afternoon." He added mentally calculating the effort.

"I said…" she started. He cut her off. "I heard what you said." She turned around and looked at him, two cups of coffee in her hands. "But still. Come." He said. She placed one cup in front of him and sat on chair opposite to his.

They didn't speak for the rest of the evening.

"Why?" She messaged him curiosity finally winning her over.

His response was immediate and cryptic.  

"The end has stopped being an ending."

To be continued.

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Happy-go-lucky Goldie

Joined: 04 July 2012
Posts: 1081

Posted: 02 August 2012 at 9:58am | IP Logged
1st againLOL
Loved the update Sookie...  This camaraderie between Arnav and Khushi is niceSmile
And Akash's cluelessnessLOL

The last line- "The end has stopped being an ending"... Does that mean there will be a new beginning?Smile

Edited by Happy-go-lucky - 02 August 2012 at 10:16am

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Sur_10 Goldie

Joined: 23 August 2009
Posts: 1811

Posted: 02 August 2012 at 10:31am | IP Logged
Cant believe Vaidehi had the audacity to actually make a personal remark like that. Professionalism please, even if you are incompetent... Sigh
Arnav and. Khushi need a forces vacation.. Really liked the way they extend support to each other.
Last line was awesome

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-Dee- IF-Dazzler

Joined: 22 August 2011
Posts: 3423

Posted: 02 August 2012 at 10:38am | IP Logged
I like the silent idiocy of leaving loose ends as they are and starting afresh.. knowing they'll have to tie those later. It is strange Khushi repeated Arnav's words and he relaxed - how he used the words and she relaxed. Vaidehi's 'professionalism'  is alluring in the least. I wonder how she treats her 'personal preferences.' 

The last line was so true. The time Cynic and Thoughtful started on the forum - debates, quick judgement, words, condescension - it seemed they would fight and never converse with each other. Yet it was not. Three years ago whatever happened, seemed like an ending but not again. So, I like how 'ending has stopped being an ending'

Wonderful Update, Sookie!


Edited by -Dee- - 03 August 2012 at 9:39am

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vrindagupta IF-Rockerz

Joined: 02 June 2012
Posts: 6514

Posted: 02 August 2012 at 10:53am | IP Logged
loved the update
n really vadehi has guts making personal remarks on khushi
loved the last line

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-PoisonIvy Groupbie

Joined: 25 July 2012
Posts: 112

Posted: 02 August 2012 at 11:19am | IP Logged
Wow! If this is how a movie and a sleep over causes a change in their relationship, I'm dying to know what their relationship dynamics were like in the past before they fell out!

I could find Vaidehi irritating right from the start when K asked about her. The barb just caused me to hate her more! I agree with the comment Ivre made! Professionalism please?!

Last line was amazing! I can't wait to see how their posts online reflect their state of mind! :)

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N0306 IF-Dazzler

Joined: 10 November 2011
Posts: 4062

Posted: 02 August 2012 at 8:15pm | IP Logged
loved the update.. Khushi and arnav's friendship is cool.. they watch their back and stand for each other when needed.. really loved it.

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Joined: 22 May 2011
Posts: 5341

Posted: 03 August 2012 at 12:47am | IP Logged
loved it.
Thanx 4 d pm.
Continue soon

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