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She ignored the voice which was few inches away from her ears and yelling out her name repeatedly. She snuggled even further into her comforter and turned away from the annoying voice.
"Khushi! That's it. I am not waking you up again," she heard the voice say. She groaned loudly and threw the comforter away.
"Is it morning already?" She asked rubbing her eyes and trying to remove sleep from her eyes. "I hate office," she said without much of an afterthought.
"You are late. Really late today," Payal said folding comforter ignoring Khushi's existence.
"Did I tell you?" Khushi asked hopping out of the bed. Payal turned around and raised an eyebrow. "I truly and sincerely hate office," she said with a wan smile baring her teeth. Payal merely rolled her eyes and went back to refitting bed spread.
"If you hate office so much why don't you quit?" Payal asked. It was their ritual; questions stopped being rhetorical after sometime.
"I hate office but I love my job," Khushi said.
"Are they that different?" Payal asked without breaking the pace with which she was doing chores.
"Strangely, they are," Khushi said. "I am going to get ready," her voice was hard and indifferent. Payal turned around and saw her sister staring at a random spot on the wall.
"I am skipping breakfast mom as I am super late already," Khushi said dashing around dining table and picked up an apple from fruit basket. "This is enough for me," she yelled a hasty goodbye and ran out of the door.
Her family had moved to the city to her aunt's house after the fiasco which took place during her sister's almost wedding. Things had gone wrong from there and the town which she loved too much became suffocating. The two sisters had first moved to city five months ago and lived with her middle aged aunt and helped her around the house. She found a job at garment manufacturer. With her basic education she could only score an administrative assistant job but she wasn't complaining. She was glad for the job and the fact that she could support her family when they moved to the city too.
Her father's business as a sweet maker had fallen into pits and the few acres of lands they owned were all sold to clear off the debt. They were for all practical purposes, penniless.
"Good morning madam," the security guard wished her seeing her standing outside the office main doors and staring at the large building.
"Have you ever wondered why these buildings have such huge lobbies? I mean our accounting department is facing severe space crunch and I wonder why they wouldn't utilize ground floor for useful purposes and just put fancy tiles on floor," Khushi asked him. The guard who was used to her oddball questions on a daily basis shook his head as usual.
"I think there is some relation between the quality of tiles on the ground floor to the overall company's worth. I mean why else would they put something so expensive, right?" She asked. The security guard shrugged.
"Only nine more hours till going-home time," she sighed deeply and walked inside…
….only to collide head on and fall on the floor in one big heap.
"Are you okay?" She heard a man's voice ask her.
"Ooofff…" She groaned loudly as her hands slipped on smooth floor and fell on….something soft? She turned her head rapidly to see that her head had landed on a man's abdomen and he had taken the brunt of landing.
"I think they make these huge lobbies and have super smooth floor so that two people can meet under literally painful circumstances," she said getting up carefully. "You know like star crossed or destined?" She asked him.
"You mean two people who would cross each other's path on a daily basis never really see each other but just after one fateful encounter they meet up all the time. You know like coincidences and accidentally being in same place at same time?" He asked.
"We have been crossing each other's path?" She asked standing up.
"I don't know. Do you?" He asked adjusting messenger bag.
"Does it matter?" She asked twirling her long braided hair.
"I don't think so. I think all cliched coincidences would start after….ten minutes?" He asked smiling ever so slightly.
"10? Make it twenty," she said walking towards elevators.
"I am Arnav," he said raising his voice a little.
"Like the ocean and an allegory for deep?" She asked. He nodded.
"I am Khushi," she said.
"Like filled with happiness?" He asked. She nodded and gave him a thumbs-up sign.
"Then why do your eyes look so haunted?" He asked her without blinking.
"What can I say? I am drowned in an ocean of misgivings and bad karma."
He stood for a moment watching her retreating back. He hoped
for those coincidences to come sooner. The girl was most definitely
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