Joined: 09 December 2008
INTEHAA PYAAR KI
Written by : sshirley
Joined: 09 December 2008
Today, come what may, I will find out who she is.. I just have to. Or these eyes and this face will drive me crazy.. Already, they are giving me sleepless nights.. No, I simply can't go on like this.Enough! I MUST know who or what she is and I must know THIS VERY MOMENT. Is she even for real, or just a figment of my imagination! He instinctively tightened his grip on her hand which he had earlier shaken prefunctionarily.
Suddenly the lights were fully bright again and he saw a young, vivaciously mesmerizing girl standing opposite him, her hand still in his grip. But before he could think of how and what to ask her, the need for any questions was eliminated, as she said in a sweet, innocent voice, "Sir, we haven't met before, so let me introduce myself. I'm Nidhi Verma, your new assistant."
He was so surprised that he just stood there without reacting and still holding her hand. He came out of his trance when his father pats him on the back and says, "Ashu, chal cut the cake. Everyone is waiting."
Ashutosh reluctantly left her hand and moved towards the centre table on which the cake was standing. His eyes were still on her as he bent to blow the candles. But by the time, he raised his head, she had vanished, yet again!
He panicked for a moment, but then relaxed. I would anyway meet her tomorrow in my office. He cut the cake and everyone enjoyed the party, which progressed uneventfully thereafter.
Ashutosh was driving to the airport after the party, to pick Mallika up. He had an enthused smile on his lips. Ms. Nidhi Verma! So, SHE IS NIDHI VERMA? And before this evening, I wondered if she is for real even? Wait, did I imagine what happened at the party? Have I gone completely insane that I see those eyes everywhere? No, SHE WAS THERE! Yes, she was there!
But, why the hell am I thinking so much about her? Why this restlessness now? Since I saw her at Swamiji's house, I just wanted to know who she is. Now that I know, why can't I just relax and push her away from my thoughts? Why?
He was so lost in his thoughts that he never even realized when he had reached the airport. He came to a sudden stop when he saw the barrier before him at the parking window. The guy issued the parking slip and he drove in.
"Ashutosh! Here" he heard Mallika's shout and saw her waving as she walked out of the Arrivals terminals. He had reached just in time. He waved back, stopped the car and got down. By now, she too had reached her car, towing her small bag.
He hugged her lightly, "Hi Mallika" and took her bag to stow it in the trunk.
"Hi" she said, stifling a yawn as she took the passenger's seat.
"Tired?" he asked as he took the driver's seat and started the engine.
"Thoda sa," she said, then continued with a kind of forced enthusiasm, "So, birthday boy, how was the party?"
He sighed. All he could remember about the party was the girl, those eyes, that innocently beautiful face. Before he could again plunge into the deep well of her thoughts, Mallika patted his arm, "Ashutosh, tum ab bhi wohi soch rahe ho? Come on, jo hona tha ho gaya. We can have another party to announce our engagement. And don't worry. Is baar agar out of town jaana pada toh we will send Armaan. Thodi bhaag daud uske liye bhi zaroori hai. He needs some workout too. He is gaining like anything", she ended with a laugh.
He smiled back. Mallika had this uncanny ability to make him relax, he thought. He was glad that she was going to be his wife. Our life together would be like a calm river, without any turbulence. There won't any surprises, we have known each other too long for that. She won't expect me to do anything which I don't want to do. We know each other too well, we know our likes and dislikes too well. Though it was only after the engagement that I got to know her better on personal front and I realized how similar we are in all respects. Above all, we make a great team as we think alike. Indeed our marriage would be a smooth ride.
"Kya soch rahe ho" she asked him. He shook his head as if to say, 'nothing' and she didn't press the issue. The rest of the rive home was silent, but it was a comforting silence as both had had a tiring day. They reached her house in no time, and as he hauled up her small suitcase into the house. Then he handed back the keys to her wardrobe and her jewelry set he had taken earlier to the party for her to wear, "Chalta hoon Mallika, good night".
"Are you in a hurry? Do minute ruk nahi sakte?" she asked.
"Of course, I can. I just thought you must be tired. Tell me? Kuch kaam tha?" he asked in a concerned tone.
She nodded smiling, and said, "tum baitho, main abhi aayi" and rushed into her room. When she returned, she had one hand tucked behind her back. She almost ordered, "Chalo, close your eyes."
He was surprised,"Mallika.."
"Nothing doing. Aakhen band" she urged and he obediently closed his eyes.
"Apna left hand aage badhao"
He did it grudgingly, wondering what she was upto. She unclasped his watch, somewhat alarming him and he was just about to open his eyes when he heard her stern voice, "no cheating, aankhen bilkul band" and he complied. She put something on his wrist and clasped it.
"Now, you can open your eyes."
He opened his eyes to look into her smiling ones and then his gaze fell on his wrist. It was a beautiful Gucci diamond studded watch!
He was speechless fpr a moment, while she chimed, "Happy Birthday once again Ashutosh! You liked it?".
"Mallika, I just love it. Thank you so much.. lekin.. wait, where did you get it from? I mean Lucknow me toh.."
"Well, I ordered it online."
"Mallika, this must be quite expensive, why did you..?"
"Come on Ashutosh, mera aur hai hi kaun? Aur ab toh mera sab kuch tumhara hi toh hai!"
He was touched once again. He didn't know what to say to her and just kept staring at her. God, How can anyone not fall in love with her? She was so giving, so..
Mallika broke his reverie with, "Want some coffee, Ashutosh?"
"Nahi, its almost midnight. Chalta hoon."
She nodded, "good night".
Next Morning at around 9.15, Ashutosh was engrossed in his work, when he heard a knock on his cabin door. "Come in!" he said, without taking his eyes off the laptop.
"Good Morning, Sir" said a chirpy sweet voice. He looked up to see the face of his dreams and simply sat there speechless, mesmerized. Reality had far surpassed his dreams. He took his time, looking at those innocent, yet mischievous eyes. Then his gaze went to her pink luscious lips. Then, he let his gaze wonder to each feature of her clear, lovable face - the interesting hairline, the well proportioned forehead, the cutely protruding nose.. Suddenly he was jolted out by her impatient waving and a slightly irritated, "Hello Sir? Anything wrong? Are you okay?"
He shook himself, and made himself say, "I am sorry. Good morning Ms. Verma, please have a seat."
She took the visitor's chair opposite him, and looked up at him expectantly. What's wrong with me? Seriously.. I am ogling at a girl almost half my age! He cleared his throat and began, "So Ms. Verma, I hope you will work with discipline and dedication here." At her non-commital nod, he continues, "May I see your resume?"
"I don't have it!"
"So, maybe you have it in your email or something. Just forward me the soft copy."
"Sir I DON'T have a resume? Even Chaturvedi Sir (Armaan) asked me for it. But I never made my resume. Aur waise bhi, Solanki uncle ke kehne pe.."
"Yes, Ms. Verma, you are here because of your uncle's recommendation, but that does not mean anything while YOU ARE INSIDE THIS OFFICE" Armaan, who had walked in at the fag end of the conversation, blasted her.
Ignoring Ashutosh's eyes telling him to calm down, he continued, though in a calmer voice, "You have to follow the rules for juniors and follow our instructions without any questions or arguments. You WON'T be given any kind of preferential treatment here. Have I made myself clear?"
She nodded annoyedly and pouted, which amused Ashutosh. But Armaan continued, "So, Ms. Verma, didn't I tell you on Monday itself to make your resume and bring it, since your senior is going to need it in your first meeting. And today is Wednesday, and you still don't have it!"
"But, I don't understand why do we need a resume. I mean, (gesturing to Ashutosh) Sir can ask me anything he wants to know", she argued.
Seeing that Armaan was about to lose it, Ashutosh took charge saying in a calm but authoritive voice, "Okay Ms. Verma, why don't you do one thing? Go to your workstation, and prepare a resume, within say half an hour. (Seeing that she is about to argue, he continues in an matter-of factly voice) we need it for our records." And he turned his gaze back to his laptop's monitor, effectively dismissing her.
"But sir, how do I? I mean I don't know how to.."
"Unbelievable!" Armaan snapped, but Ashutosh again took charge, "Well, you can use Google and if needed you can take Maria's help. And I give you an hour."
She nods and leaves the cabin, lest Armaan shouts at her again. As soon as she leaves, he says to Armaan, "Yaar tujhe ho kya gaya hai? I never saw you this angry. Kuch hua hai kya?"
Armaan gulps down one of the two glasses of water from the table before replying, "Hoga kya yaar, its this girl. She is just getting on my nerves. I can't stand her one second Ashu. Teen din se dekh raha hoon yaar! Unprofessionalism and rank indiscipline is oozing out of every pore of her being. How do we even begin to train her? I tell you Ashu.."
"Armaan you just leave her to me. Yaar Solanki sahib didn't hide anything from us. And he also praised her. I just want to give her a chance. I respect Solanki Sahib a lot Armaan."
Armaan just shrugged as if to say, 'as you wish' and then said, "Yaar I need some details of that consumer case against Yamini Foods."
"Just a minute, (He picks up the intercom, dials a number, and says) Mallika, woh Yamini Foods case tum handle kar rahi hona? .. okay. So you free now? .. okay, Armaan is coming right up," and nods to Armaan, who goes straight to her cabin.
Left to himself again, he again wonders why this girl had this effect on him. He wisely resolves to control himself in her presence, otherwise not only the girl, but even Armaan and Mallika would find out. How would Mallika feel? She would obviously misunderstand.
About an hour later, when Ashutosh was preparing for his next hearing in court, Nidhi knocked at his door. "Come in"
She walked in with a paper and said, "Sir, my resume."
He immediately schooled his features to impassivity and went thru the two pages, "Two corrections needed. One is, it needs to be formatted properly and secondly, it needs to be cut down to one page maximum. (Nidhi looks at him thoroughly irritated but he maintains his impassitivity) But I suggest you do that later. For now, go and get your notepad. I will tell you the tasks you need to finish before lunch break. I have to leave for the hearing in a while."
She shakes her head, "I don't need my notepad Sir. You tell me. Fortunately, I happen to have a good memory."
He is amused, "Ms. Verma, I agree that a successful lawyer must possess good argumental skills, but it certainly does not mean you have to argue over every issue."
She gets increasingly irritated now, saying in an exasperated tone, "I am not the one arguing here Sir. I am simply telling you that I don't need a notepad to remember the tasks. Why don't you just rattle off the list and save both our time?"
Though a bit shocked at her rude tone, he says, "Okay Ms. Verma, listen carefully then. (she stifles a yawn impertinently as he shows her three files and a few documents that are lying neatly on one corner of his desk) First you need to file these documents in these files. Next I want you to check the Lydia industries file and give me a list of documents we would need to file in our next hearing. Since Ms. Trehan would be here, you can seek her guidance in this task. And yes, please take a note of the date of our next hearing in that case."
"Uh huh" she said insolently, then continued, "And Sir, why can't I accompany you to court? Why am I made to do this clerical work? I am a fully qualified lawyer as you can probably see from my resume"
"And a thoroughly inexperienced one, as I can see" he snapped. But then continued in an even but firm voice, "Look, Ms. Nidhi Verma, these are the tasks my juniors perform when they first join me. And you can't accompany me to my hearings, until you know the basics. Or is it that you can't even do this so called clerical work?"
Her eyes flared up, "Of course I can!"
"Then show me"
"I will" she said determinedly, turned on her heels and left his cabin.
Amused, he prepared his files and documents and left for the court. Meanwhile Nidhi finished the work, stepped out into the corridor and called Anji. "Hi"
"Nidhi, tune abhi phone kaise kiya? Tu toh office me hogi na? Lunch break hai kya?"
"Nahi yaar, but maine kaam kar liya hai. So, I thought.."
"Nidhi, offices me aise kaam nahi kiya jaata. Tujhe jo tasks assign ki gayi thi, vo tune kar li hain toh you should go thru them once again to check for any mistakes or ask them for more work.. Aaj tere boss ke saath tera first day hai, agar aaj hi tu.."
"Anji yaar, chill. My boss is not here, he is gone to court. Aur waise bhi mujhe lagta hai ke main chhod rahi hoon yeh office. Sab mujhpe aise chillate hain.."
But Anji had already zoomed out on her. So this is it! Now, she will leave that office. No, I have to stop her somehow, but how? Aloud she said, "Dekha Nidhi, maine toh pahle hi kaha tha tujhse ye kaam vaam nahi hoga! But you did not listen. Anyways, koi baat nahi, tu aaja. Dad sorry bol denge teri taraf se... kharab toh dikhega lekin kya Karen?"
"Okay, soch rahi hoon abhi hi aa jaaoon. Mera mood bhi ek dum off ho gaya hai."
"Theek hai, main toh jaanti hi thi ke tu shart haar jaayegi.. koi baat nahi yaar, jyada se jyada main yehi maangoongi na ke tu Rohan se kabhi nahi milegi. That's easier for you rather than working, right?" said Anji in a last ditch attempt.
Nidhi was suddenly alert, "Ye tu kya bol rahi hai Anji!"
"See Nidhi, you yourself challenged me with this bet, right? Now, since I win the bet, you have to fulfill your promise. Tu Rohan se kabhi nahi milegi."
Nidhi was now really pissed off, "Anji tu toh jaanti hai na ke Rohan mere liye mere dream lifestyle ka passport hai? Tu meri dost hai ya dushman?"
Anji closed her eyes in anguish. Dost hoon Nidhi, tabhi toh teri bhalai ke liye tere saath dushmano jaisa suluk karne se bhi peechhe nahi hat ti. Aloud she said in a matter-of-factly tone, slowly opening her eyes. "A bet is a bet Nidhi and since I win.."
"No Anji, I won't let you win, you hear me? I WON'T LET YOU WIN. I'm not quitting this firm."
"Oh really! But still I will win. Even if you don't quit, I am sure they will fire you in a day or two. So, you see, either way, tera passport toh tere haath se chhoota!" Anji said smugly.
Nidhi said with a sneer, "Oh really? How can you be so sure Anji?"
Anji laughed, "abhi tune hi toh kaha na ke they are already shouting at you. How long will they bear an obstinate, indisciplined, irresponsible and lethargic girl like you? Certainly, not more than a day or two."
These words of Anji had an immediate effect on Nidhi, who said with fire in her eyes,"Theek hai Anji tu bhi dekhna, main yaha do mahine kaise nikaalti hoon!"
Though pleased inwardly to hear these words, Anji stifled an artificial yawn and said, "Uh huh. Dekhte hai.. you always talk big. Chal yaar, tera toh pata nahi, but meri recess khatam ho gayi hai aur meri class ka time ho raha hai. So, bye."
"Bye" and Nidhi hung up to see Armaan glaring at her. "May I know Ms. Verma, what you were doing out here or have you decided to stay out of our firm? May be our firm is too small for your ladyship? "
She said in a flat tone not wanting to infuriate him any further, especially after her talk with Anji, "Sir I was on a call."
"A personal call? (As she nods, he continues) was it an emergency that could not wait till you were off your duty? Or at least till lunch break?"
"No sir, but since I completed all work given by Ashutosh Sir.."
"Then you could have come to me or Mallika Ma'm for more work. But, clearly you are not here to work. Why did you join us Ms Verma? Tell me frankly."
"Sir please, I am trying to learn. It did not occur to me to ask you for work. Sorry Sir"
He stared at her surprised! What's gotten into her? Why is she behaving so respectfully now?
"So Sir please tell me what should I do?"
He collected his thoughts and said calmly, "Your resume ready?"
"Yes Sir, but Ashutosh Sir told me to reduce its length to one page and also, to format it properly. I tried, but I can't seem to do either. I think I will ask my father to help me with it tonight, if you could please give me a day."
Armaan for the first time saw Nidhi for what she actually was – a child! A spoilt child, yes, but a child nevertheless. Unable to help himself, he said, "come on I'll help you! Bring it on a flash drive to my cabin"
By the time Armaan had helped her perfect her resume, complete with formatting, it was lunch time. And since the lunch break was for a good 45 minutes, Nidhi decided to go to the nearby Subway for a quick bite. She did not want to be late again after the break.
And she returned a good 10 minutes before the break was over. She went to her work station and gathers the files she has prepared and takes a printout of the list of documents needed for the Lydia Industries case.
As soon as the break is over, she knocks at Ashutosh's cabin door.
She enters and shows all her work. He seems mostly satisfied, although a few papers are filed wrong. But he makes her correct them then and there itself. Then he goes through the list and makes a few changes in that too. He asks her to make these changes in the soft copy and bring a fresh printout.
As she is about to get up from her seat, he asks, "And what's the date for the next hearing in this case?"
"Oh Sir, I forgot to see that. I will just check and let you know when I come with printout", she said, getting up.
"Please sit for a while Ms. Verma, I need to explain something to you."
She sat down with a pout. Oh how cute she looks when she pouts like this! Then chided himself, Where are your thoughts going Ashutosh. I need to control myself and not be swayed by every single gesture, every single expression of her face. He put on a professional demeaner and tried to recollect what it was that he wanted to tell her.
He began, "See Ms. Verma, I am not complaining about your memory but just trying to explain something very important. While a person's memory may be good, it makes no sense to tax it for certain things. Abhi aage jaake aapko realize hoga ke its better to reserve your memorizing power for much more important things. Things like lists, especially to-do-lists are better put in writing. This was a small thing you missed today, but what if you forget something important? I mean, why take such a chance and burden your brain at the same time, when you can simply list it down on the notepad. And sometimes it may also happen that I may myself forget what tasks I have given you. Let's take today's example only. I told you to find the next date for this case and you forget. Supposing I hadn't asked you again and if it's in a day or two, wouldn't we land in a soup?"
But Nidhi was not even paying him full attention. Realizing that his long lecture had ended with some question, she simply shook her head!
"No? What do you mean by no?"
"I mean, Yes, I understand Sir"
"What you understand Ms. Verma?"
Oh what do I say now? What the hell was his lecture about? She said gingerly, "I understand that I should always write things on paper."
"May I leave now?"
He nodded. She left and came back in 5 minutes with the fresh printout and told him the date of the next hearing. "And here is my resume" she handed him another paper.
"Oh so soon? Let me see, (and he goes thru it) Hmm this is good"
"Thank you Sir. Actually Armaan Sir helped me with it."
He was surprised! Armaan helped her? He was burning with rage this morning. Anyways, Ashutosh handed her a file, "Okay, now I want you to go thru this file and make a brief summary of this case."
"Okay, sir. When do you want it?"
"Since it's the first time, you can give me by tomorrow lunch time. Just ensure that you don't miss any important points and don't include any extraneous information."
"Yes Sir" and she left the cabin, while Ashutosh gazed after her.
Towards evening, Ashutosh was winding up for the day and his thoughts again strayed to Nidhi. Mallika entered his cabin and sat down, without his realizing even her presence. She lightly tapped his hand to get his attention. "Yes Ms. Verma?" he blurted out and Mallika looked at him surprised, while he realized what he had done inadvertently, "oh sorry Mallika.. tell me? Kaam khatam ho gaya?"
She nodded and then said, "Kya baat hai Ashutosh kuch pareshaan lag rahe ho?"
What do I tell you Mallika? That I keep thinking about my junior who is so much younger to me? That I keep seeing her eyes everywhere. No, I have got to divert myself somehow. "Nahi Mallika, aisa kuch nahi hai. So, aaj raat ko kahin dinner par chalen?"
"Kya baat hai? Kis khushi me mujhe dinner treat mil rahi hai?"
He said a bit uncertainly, "I just think.. you know..that w should spend some time together."
"Hmm.. woh to theek hai lekin.. Kya baat hai Ashutosh? Kuch tense, kuch restless se lag rahe ho? Mujhe nahi bataoge? (When he stays quiet) Is it that new junior? (He looked at her a bit surprised) Subah Armaan bhi keh raha tha ke she is highly indisciplined and unprofessional – two things you can't stand. I didn't interact with her much, but Armaan ye bhi keh raha ke she doesn't seem to have any potential. Agar aisa hai, toh why are you taxing yourself so much over her. Already our profession is stressful. Upar se.. I suggest that you call Solanki Sir right away and tell him politely that you can not train her. Ashutosh, I can't see you so stressed"
Ashutosh was about to protest, but then realized that although she doesn't know the real cause of his restlessness, her suggestion was a good one. If that girl goes out of this firm, he will forget her soon. And then everything will return to normal. It would be better that way for him, Mallika and perhaps also for the girl.Since Mallika had left the door to Ashutosh cabin half-open, Nidhi walked in without knocking. But she stopped at the door, in shock. She had heard Ashutosh say, "Yes Mallika, tum theek keh rahi ho aur Armaan bhi yehi chahta hai. Aur ab mujhe bhi yehi lagta hai, ke she is not fit to work here. Main abhi call karta hoon Solanki Sahib ko aur I will apologize to him, but she can't stay here!"
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