Joined: 25 April 2014
Joined: 25 April 2014
(1) The Elevator
The elevator chimed and people filled in making me move into the further corner of it. Men in crisp formal shirts, colourful and mismatched ties entered the elevator, some of them talking among themselves, some barking in phone, some buried their nose in their gadgets, while some shuffled their feet in the limited space and looked straight ahead, waiting for the doors to open.
Baba black sheep have you any wool
Yes sir, yes sir three bags full
I chant my entire focus on the ninth poem I'm reciting in the past hour, trying to ignore my paranoia of being stared by everyone, or the nervous butterflies fluttering their wings in my stomach.
One for my master, one for my dame
One for the little boy who lives down the lane
I finish sadly, upset that I'm to churn my brain cells to come up with another rhyme now.
Being the shy young kid in the entire clan of fifty elders and twenty odd cousins, and being made fun of the tightly knot oiled pigtails and the constant running nose as a child, I suffered from being paranoid of having stared by everyone, or worse hearing imaginary giggles as I walk. It was the worst fear of mine, I had dreaded and after much effort learnt the hard way to ignore. By reciting rhymes.
When I was racking my brains to think of another rhyme had the doors of the elevator chimed open and in entered a man, who had held my attention at first sight.
No, he wasn't tall, dark, and handsome nor did I have love at first sight.
The bulgy looking man with clean shave both on his face and head, sporting a monster looking black mobile barked orders into the mobile, shutting the twelve odd people in the otherwise congested elevator and the gentle hubbub of theirs.
"WHERE DO YOU HAB THAT PHILE" he yelled, taking all the attention, relieving me of my fears, and making me sigh as I'm not in the limelight anymore.
I couldn't help but to be tuned into the conversation, counting how many times he said "Phile"
"MY ASS" he cursed suddenly "...Is big" I heard a whisper from my behind, from the lanky man standing beside me and innocently adding words to the conversation to distort the meaning.
My eyes inadvertently fell down to the bum of the baldy man and I choked on a sudden laughter.
"YOUNG MAN, PHILES, I NEED MY PHILES" baldy said, totally pissed.
"...So that I can moan in my washroom tomorrow, with constipation", the lanky man added.
My eyes widened at the interpretation of Files as Piles by the stubble-wearing-mischievous-glint-in-his-eyes man, who was all set to make me embarrassed by making me laugh in the lift before a bunch of strangers.
I turned to look at the mischievous stranger, who caught my eye. I bet I had a scared deer look on my face, while he had just grinned at me in a friendly way, and wiggled his eyebrows in silent greeting.
"FAKK THAT SHIIT" the baldy yelled loudly making spit bubbles flow in all directions, and disconnected the call, while the stubble man beside me added in a soft voice "f**king a sheet is Paraphilia dude"
There was a whoosh of laughter, which erupted from the base of my throat, and all eyes were on me in an instant, including the baldy's.
To my utter embarrassment the lanky stubble dude was looking at me innocently, as if he had no idea why I laughed.
"Uh huh" I fake coughed into my fist, trying to put up the act of I'm-coughing-which-you-guys-misheard.
The elevator made a small "Bing" opening the doors, making most of the people get down, as I silently looked at my shoes fiercely memorizing "Butterfly, butterfly where are you going..."
Once the elevator closed, had I let out a whoosh of my breath, so much relieved to be left alone.
Turning my head towards the elevator walls, I hit it cursing myself.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
"Now, now don't leave a dent on the wall" I heard an amused voice and stiffened.
Am I not alone? There was someone else in the elevator still?
I turned in slow motion only to find that lanky stubble dude looking at me amused.
It's all your fault.
What the hell were you doing there, passing comments like that.
You embarrassed me.
These words, which I wanted to say never left my mouth. Out instead came a simple word "Sorry"
Yes, I'm stupid to apologize for his previous comment of leaving a dent in the elevator walls. Way to go, wasn't it?
His amused eyes twinkled more, as he crossed his arms across his chest studying me.
"That was a good act of covering up"
"Are you tuned for one word answers only?"
"No" I said blinking, "Not really" I said wondering what freak of a conversation this is.
"Anyway" he said as the elevator doors chimed to open again "Nice meeting you Isha. Good luck on your first day at Whiteworm"
With that he walked out of the elevator as the doors closed in before my eyes.
Only after five seconds had my slow brain stuck eureka moment and started working.
Wait, how does he know my name?
How does he know it's my first day at work?
And how the hell does he know I work at Whiteworm?
As my paranoia hit me with full force, had I found the elevator doors open again, making me stand at the reception of Whiteworm.
Joined: 25 April 2014
(2) Mission misunderstanding
"Please wait in the cabin" the sexy receptionist flashed me one of the most charming smiles, as I made my way to the cabin to the right.
As soon as I closed the cabin's door with a small click behind me had I heard some ruffling of clothes, and turned to find a young woman, in her mid-twenties, tall and plump smoothen imaginary crevices on her shirt and focus her bright brown eyes at me.
"Hello" I say nervously walking towards her, hesitating at the chair beside her, which was one side of the table with the name plate "Manager" inscribed on it. The Manager's seat was left empty.
"Hi" the girl said with her smile brightening up her features, which, for some unknown reason looked too bright to be true.
"I'm Kavitha" she said shooting out her hand and posing to be the suave, confident chick, every MBA student digested in their system to exhibit.
"Isha" I say mildly and shake her extended hand and collapse in the one beside her.
"Here for internship?" she asked as I nod. I figured out she's here for the same thing.
"Me too" she said brightly, and I nodded, smiling.
"You're from which college?" I hear her ask and I name my college, in the rehearsed and neutral tone.
I'm from one of the top universities of the country: one that would be aspired and competed by hundreds of thousands of youth across the country, and only few will be admitted to.
There was a visible change in the expression of Kavitha, as I felt her smile dim slowly.
"Oh" she said.
"Which college are you from?"
She mumbled a name, which I recognized of course. It was a pretty decent college in itself, I thought. Not the best, but a mediocre one. Not that it was going to change anything. I have always felt an MBA is just a degree, which adds up to your resume weighing it but that's all about it. While classroom training and the exposure you get in a B-school is worth taking the course, the solutions of the case studies or the general mind-set I came across in the B-school crowd was a put off for me.
Talent was often measured, calculated and made to fit for regular answers. Our country had a problem in identifying and appreciating out of box thinking from times immemorial, so I had made peace with the teaching methodologies, and decided to take my way in the corporate world where bookish knowledge won't get you anywhere.
Hence my college, or the prestigious ring it have, or the VIP status it gives me and sets me apart from the rest of the crowd, never had made me feel special, nor made me look down upon other B-schools. It was just a simple fact, which not all could swallow down the throat. I concurred Kavita included, as I saw her speaking to me cautiously, boasting about her college whenever there was a need, and probing me on my college life very discreetly, stressing on the negative ones the most.
Sure enough, I had lost interest in the conversation, but kept giving half-hearted replies out of courtesy.
An hour passed or so, after which finally two smart looking men entered our cabin and escorted us to another cabin with four employees, looking deadpan, and slightly nervous.
As we took our seats, had they started asking mundane questions like how the city was treating us and all, while the beady eyed chap to our right stared at us, totally nervous.
The atmosphere in the room looked eerily thick, and I shifted in my seat suddenly hit with a need to relieve myself.
After waiting for them to say something for almost twenty minutes, and trying to control the building up pressure in my uterus, I finally gave up weighing the possible embarrassment percentage of two outcomes. 1. Me excusing myself to relieve myself. 2. Wetting the chair.
Obviously, first seemed more doable, and I mumbled an incoherent "Excuse me" before trying to get up off my seat.
"Wait" it was the beady eyed chap who almost yelled, and got on his feet, looking pathetically nervous.
"Please take your seat" the bespectacled man before us said with a calm voice eyeing the beady eyed guy carefully "We won't delay it further. Please pass me your ID" he said and rambled us to pass some more documents, which neither of us understood or remembered.
Being supplied with the only document which is our appointment letter mailed to us, we dutifully took it and extended it to them.
After the guy scanned it, he looked utterly bemused for a second before asking.
"What is this?"
"Our internship appointment letter" Kavitha said in what she thought was confidence oozing voice, and what I thought was two decibels higher pitch.
"You're interns?" even as the beady eyed guy uttered that, he looked totally relieved and started to feel amused.
"You aren't the Auditors?" it was the bespectacled man who asked now.
"Who?" Kavitha asked curious, for which he waved a hand dismissively and laughed.
"Never mind, just go back to the cabin and wait, the manager will be there soon" the guy smiled and handed us back, our documents.
"There is something big going in the company" Kavitha said with a narrowed gaze as we walked back to the empty manager's cabin.
"Today is the start of new financial year" I found myself replying "They're expecting an external auditor it seems and hence seem stressed out. What big could possibly happen in a home appliances company" I added offhandedly.
"They mistook us to an Auditor then" Kavitha told the obvious, with a smug I-cracked-it expression and the smug smile of hers made it impossible for me to ruin her moment.
"Yeah" I mumbled "I think you're right"
"I'm always right" I heard her say as she flicked her hair back and walked to the cabin, pushing the glass doors, making me want to roll my eyes.
Where exactly had I gotten myself into?
Joined: 06 November 2010
Joined: 31 August 2011
Joined: 25 April 2014
(3) A fault in my stars
"What do you want to do in your life?" I heard the manager ask as he put down the receiver, and waited for the accounts guy to turn up in his cabin as told.
It was his little idea of keeping up the conversation, and making us busy till the accounts guy came into his office.
Lots, I wanted to say. In fact if I start saying what all I want to do in my life, the poor manager will be left with bleeding ears.
"I want to start my own ad agency" I replied instead, feeling more in my skin than ever. Somehow talking about my ambitions always made me comfortable. It was one thing, I was entirely sure of, in my life.
His eyebrows raised slightly high as he nodded with approval, "And you?" he asked Kavitha.
"To open up a hospital" she said obviously knocking both of us off our chairs.
"That's nowhere related to your field of study" my otherwise in-control manager asked unable to hold himself back.
"I know" Kavitha said almost benevolently, with a sage smile. "All my family is in medicine field and I want to start a hospital for them all" she said sweetly.
"Good" he said and nodded at her, while the cabin door cracked open, and in came the accounts guy.
I wanted the earth to swallow me up whole as I saw the man peering at me with black serious eyes.
The Baldy man.
"Mr. Roy" our manager said eyeing us "These are our interns, who would work with us for the coming two months. I want you to take care of their stipend every month henceforth"
I saw Mr. Roy nod his head, and saw our manager Mr. Sharma signing our appointment letters, and handing it to us.
"Please meet Mr. Christopher Joseph, who'll be your trainer for the next three days" he said as we got off our seats and nodded.
"We'll discuss the project tomorrow" he said and we took his leave, and walked out of the cabin, in to the conference hall, where a dark, tall man introduced himself as Mr. Joseph and got himself to train us the basic working of ACs since that's what our project would revolve around - Air conditioners.
I tried to keep my eyes open as he explained the features and working of Air conditioners in an agonizingly slow pace for the next three hours.
I had read the entire catalogue of Whiteworm's AC before, out of boredom so I practically remember everything he is ought to teach us already.
As it happens often with me, uninteresting subjects always lull me to sleep so there I was fighting back my sleep, with Kavitha beside me scoring brownie points, parroting Joseph's voice, with Joseph suspiciously looking at me, with a pinch of disapproval, with me wishing just to get it over with - the class, and the so called first day at work.
And that's when something happened. Someone came to my rescue with a knock on the door, interrupting the boring class, and entered the room with a coffee mug in hands.
My sleep died an unnatural death as I saw him.
The lanky-stubble-mischievous-eyes guy approached us casually and took a seat beside me placing the coffee mug on the table before us.
Joseph stopped for a moment, but the stubble dude beat him in talking first.
"Go on Joseph. I'll wait for you until you finish training these kids" he said giving a smile to Joseph who turned to the board getting back to drawing the outdoor unit of AC.
Kids, I thought sacrilegiously. Why can't he just shoot me with a rifle and get done with it? His ridiculous terming of me as a Kid, had pushed me closer to tears. If Twenty three year old is called Kid, then my horrible hairy younger brother Harry who's nineteen is what, embryo?
As I felt the murmuring of Joseph drown into background, and my entire attention strangely tuned to the guy sitting beside me, I felt him pushing the coffee mug towards me and murmuring something that only I could hear.
"Have it, you can thank me later"
I looked at him for a beat before taking the mug in my hands and taking a sip, trying not to cringe. He got me black coffee.
I swear I heard a suppressed chortle, and I eyed towards the roof in utter helplessness.
There really was a fault in my stars, was it not?
Joined: 25 April 2014
(4) The Elevator again
The usual bing, sounded music to my ears as the long day finally came to an end. Whoever told work was fun was a big fat liar. I preferred studying to working any day.
Working should have made me feel independent, or liberated, but all I felt was tired, and bored. I was definitely not looking forward to work for the coming sixty odd days.
I wasn't a great fan of Sales jobs anyway. Advertising was my forte, something I really wanted to do. Strategy sketching is my cup of tea, but this selling was something I didn't know much or felt so excessively passionate about.
I adjusted the bag on my shoulder as I try to wave off my depressing thoughts, and concentrate on a single happy thought.
Going home. Yay!
The elevator Bing-ed again and as the doors opened my eyes fell on the figure that came inside with raised eyebrows and an amused smile.
The stubble guy was back.
So much for happy thoughts.
"Hey there" he said giving me a shrug, tucking his thumbs in his pockets.
"Eventful first day huh?"
"Yes, thanks to you"
I didn't know where did that come from, but I wasn't guilty. Not really. His surprised expression in fact made me oddly at ease.
"Anytime Miss. Isha Mehra" he said smiling at me, making me scrunch my eyebrows.
"The list of interns is in my laptop, got mail" he said with a knowing grin.
So, that's how he knew my name. Great, he should have shared the sweet little data with his colleagues, at least we would have been spared the morning's misunderstanding.
"Where do you stay?"
"Forty minutes' drive from here" I felt myself warming up to the conversation.
"With or without traffic?"
"Without traffic then" he said nodding, even as the elevator doors opened at the ground floor, while he stayed back, continued to go to the underground for his parked vehicle, I suppose.
"Get lots of sleep Miss. Isha Mehra, you need it for tomorrow" he said flashing a grin, and gave me a mock salute, "Or else, you have to bond with your new best friend, the black coffee" he said with a grin, and that was the last thing I saw before the elevators door closed, making me turn my back to the elevator and walk out of the office, a strange smile blooming on my face.
Maybe not all of the office is boring, after all.
Joined: 25 April 2014
(5) Dream a little dream
"Kaancha Laga, hai laga" I heard him sing and scrunched my nose reproachfully.
"It's Kanta laga" I heard myself correct him.
That's something I can't stop myself from, correcting a misspelled or misplaced word. It annoyed many, yet it's a guilty pleasure of mine I can't let go.
"Of course It's Kaancha" said the stubble dude looking at me with his amused glint shining brightly. "Because that song is dedicated to Mr. Kaancha" he said grinning at me, thumbing over his shoulder and sure enough I saw baldy Mr. Roy from accounts breathe down fire at me from his nostrils.
"Tum kya leke aaye the, aur kya leke jaaoge. Rahejaye sirf ek insaan, sarva shakthi shali, sarva shaktimaan" he said and I mumbled out a single word.
Now I can see the bulky baldy not in his office formals but in his black shirt grinning maliciously at me like Sanjay Dutt from Agneepath.
"Yes I'm Kaancha. Kaancha Deennath Chauhan. Maalum?"
"That's Vijay Deennath Chauhan" I said, my eyes stinging. They can't just change the story, and I can't change my habit of correcting.
"But Vijay and I are one and the same" said Kaancha laughing, and the stubble man nodded, as he touched my face softly.
"Yes Isha, I am no more your Vijay, I'm him, and he's me"
As the stubble man moved away towards until he was no more visible, had I felt tears run down my cheeks.
"You can't do this Vijay, you can't do this to me" I cry to his disappearing figure and hear incessant laughing of Kaancha in my head.
I wake up with a start and look around in my dark room, feeling perspiration on my forehead.
What the bloodied hell was that dream all about, I wondered. As my eyes fell on the time, I groaned and fell back on bed.
It's 6 am already. Not only that the superstition that early morning dreams came true irritated me, but the fact that a new day almost started made my spirits sink.
I closed my eyes hoping to catch some more sleep before I go into the comedy circus for another day.
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