Joined: 17 March 2006
Joined: 17 March 2006
No description would ever exist that could do justice to moments like this, Naomi thought, as she stared into the bright eyes of her daughter. Earnestly, the slighter of the twins took in the sustenance that had her thriving, and rapidly catching up her sister in size. Breathing deeply, Naomi smiled at her beautiful child, who, today had patiently waited her turn to be fed - "Or perhaps Tanvi beta, your Mummy realizing that she doesn't have to be a superwoman, is making life a lot smoother for all of us." Her daughter stopped suckling right at that moment almost as if contemplating her mother's words before closing her heavy lashed eyes for a second and then fixating once again on the face that was the center of her young existence. Naomi chuckled softly, and continued enjoying the special bonding time with her youngest daughter. Now that she and her sister, as well as mummy, had gotten the hang of latching and nursing effectively to ensure that both little girls were getting sufficient nourishment, things had become a lot easier. Soon Naomi would attempt using the twin nursing pillow her mother had sent her for the sake of efficiency: well maybe, but for now she enjoyed connecting with each little girl individually when she breastfed them. Eventually speeding up their nursing would be a needed time saver, but she knew it wouldn't be a process they would utilize for every feeding. For one she knew that Rajeev cherished the time he spent with his daughters during the bottle feedings that they were supplementing the late-nights with. It too cut the feeding time in half and without a doubt, the extra rest Naomi got when her husband fed the babies was a God-send. Yet when Tanvi reached up and rest her small hand on her mother's exposed chest, Naomi's heart melted for the umpteenth time today, and she rethought the whole idea - nothing could be better than this one-on-one closeness, she determined.
When she heard a soft rap on the door, Naomi looked up, and automatically reached for the cloth diaper to cover herself and the baby before she called for the person to enter. She smiled in greeting at the domestic helper her mother-in-law had arranged for her.
"Is it that late already Chanda," Naomi asked, thinking that the she had lost track of time, and that the young woman was letting her know that she was leaving for the day.
"Nahi Madam Ji, not yet, I just wanted to let you know that Rachna has come back."
"Oh... please ask her to come in."
Right away, Naomi got worried. She hoped Ra hadn't come back to continue their argument.
Leaving her packages outside of the nursery Rachna checked that her dupatta covered her hair completely before she entered the nursery. She sent a small smile to the green-eyed woman who sat in the comfortable nursing chair. She noticed the small movement under the cloth and smiled, when Naomi removed it and began cooing an apology to the baby who clearly had not appreciated her line of sight being disrupted. Rachna closed the door, though apparently not quietly enough, as in the bassinet next to the chair Naomi sat in, a pair of little arms began flailing, and then plaintive crying began filling the room, at the sound of the door being shut. Sensing that the little one being fed was not quite done, Rachna rushed to help the new mother out; first visiting the attached bathroom to wash her hands and then gathering the other little girl into her arms, and patting the distressed baby gently on her back.
For a moment she had to close her eyes against the sting of tears for what she could never have, but then comprehending that her stress could transfer to the baby, Rachna took a deep breath and focused on settling the almost three month old baby.
"Hello again Lalita, do you want to tell Aunty what you have done since this morning," she asked the dainty infant.
Naomi looked up from switching Tanvi to the other side. Considering that both little girls were the spitting image of each other, and also dressed exactly alike today, it amazed her that Rachna had identified them correctly, again, but then again this was Ra, her closest friend: of course she should, right? In spite of everything, deep down, their connection was still there, so of course it would extend to her daughters. It was things like this that gave Naomi hope.
"You haven't come to disagree with me some more, have you Ra?"
"Not at the moment; not in here anyway, I would be breaking the law if I did," Rachna responded indicating her compliance of the house rules that the nursery was to be a complete calm zone.
A wry expression came over Naomi's face. "In that case, I suggest we restrict all of your visits to the nursery then."
Rachna grinned, she really liked Naomi and she knew the feeling was mutual. Of all of Gunjan's friends - the bunch of new mothers that she had met in the last couple of months - Rachna felt a special affinity for Naomi. It was funny, especially since Naomi was the only foreigner in the group: one would think that they would have the least in common, but that hadn't been the case at all. In fact perhaps this was exactly what made it easier for their friendship to take off as it had. Naomi, being further removed from her situation somehow made it easier for Rachna to share with her, and the two had become fast friends. And even though Rachna could never fathom that someone like Rajeev Sir would ever choose someone like her... there was no denying how much the stern coach and the vivacious young woman loved each other. It was enviable: their love, and one day Rachna really hoped to get the full story of how these two unlikely souls connected. Thus far her queries had been met with secretive smiles and glances, and mutterings of it being destiny, which only intrigued her even more.
"So you are back again," Naomi asked, pulling Rachna out of her musings. "You haven't come back to try to hand me back my cheque are you? If you have..."
"Nahi," Naomi. "It's too late anyway, since I've used a fair bit of it already."
Naomi's mouth formed a perfect o, and then she closed her it, speechless at the complete turnabout Rachna had made. She nodded satisfied. "Good. Hopefully you've realized your worth..."
"You can't understand how much your faith in me means. In fact ... Naomi what you did helped me come to a big decision, and I wanted to come back to let you know and to thank you."
It had been exceptionally hot that day two weeks ago: far too extreme for the twins to be outdoors for any real length of time, so Naomi had invited Rachna over for the day. The babies had just gone back to sleep which meant now was the ideal time for the two women to relax. They had gone to the lounge where they had chatted about all and sundry: from the mundane to the ridiculous. During the conversation, Naomi pretended not to notice when Rachna's attention kept going back the flier on the coffee table. It had been just the reaction she wanted from Rachna, so finally she broached the subject.
"That seems like a fabulous opportunity for the students; did they have anything like that when you were at SVC, Ra?"
It pained Naomi to see the blankness on her friend's face as she sought some recollection, but she waited in silence for Ra's answer.
"Not that I can recall," she finally said. "But I would have liked have participated in something like this," she said of the internship opportunity.
"So designing is still your passion then," Naomi coaxed.
Rachna had nodded; this detail she had at least she retained, although for the life of her she couldn't remember the last time she had attempted anything.
"Great, then you're hired. I need an anniversary outfit, and I think you should make it for me."
"You will have plenty of time, but I want something truly stunning; something that will remind Rajeev that I'm his wife and not just a mum now - you know something that will have him remembering what he first saw in me."
"I don't think that's a problem you have to worry about," Rachna responding, extoling the evident love Naomi's husband had for her. She shook her head, not sure if she was up to Naomi's expectations. Her new friend wouldn't hear it. Before she knew what was happening, the young mother had got up and left the room, returning minutes later with a sketch pad and some pencils, that she placed in front of Rachna.
"I'm more into working on the computer, but occasionally I do like to sketch a bit," she offered by way of explanation. "So, Rachna Garg, let's see what you can come up with."
They had talked a bit more, a seemingly innocuous conversation in Naomi's view, but there was definitely a reason behind it as from it a design had taken shape. Once she began drafting, Rachna fell silent, ignoring everything around her as all of her innate talent surfaced, evolving from her thoughts into an amazing design. What she came up with was such a departure from anything Naomi had seen from Rachna. It was absolutely delectable; the fresh contemporary design suiting Naomi's personality to a tee. When she could finally speak, Naomi had looked at Rachna in complete awe.
"Maybe the overlay skirt is a bit too much," Rachna pondered after she turned the pad over to Naomi.
"No it's not...Oh Rachna," Naomi whispered, "I so need this dress."
Naomi could not tear her eyes away from the design. All she had wanted was for Rachna to take a shot at sketching again; that's all. Frankly she had absolutely no idea where she would ever wear this over-the-top confection, but she wanted it so badly.
"Please say you will...please."
"Yes," Rachna agreed, feeling for the first time in a while, that she had a purpose. And that day when she left for home, she had taken the drawing and the flier with her, as well as a bit of her former confidence with her.
Everything had been fine until earlier today, when on completion of the gown Naomi had presented Rachna payment in return for the finished designer dress. Rachna had refused, especially when she saw the outrageous amount that Naomi was offering.
"Get over it Rachna, you are a professional, and worth every penny; so again- get over it."
"Does Rajeev know..."
Furious that Rachna would even try that tactic, Naomi snapped, "Don't even go there, Rachna Tr...," Naomi stopped - catching herself just in time from calling Rachna by her married name. She started again, "Bringing Rajeev into this...well that is not allowed - a total no-fly zone. I am paying for my dress, not my husband."
They had gone back and forth, until the twins began fussing, and Naomi had to attend them.
Rachna had departed reluctantly with the cheque in her purse and a lot on her mind. Yes, Naomi was over-the-top, but the young mother was also smart and honest to a fault, not to mention that she had great personal style and a high quality wardrobe to match. Maybe she had a point... maybe Rachna needed to believe in herself some more.
"I've decided to take the bull by the horn, and pursue a dream."
"Thik hai, Rachna," Naomi had answered in complete support for whatever it was that her friend had resolved to do. She waited for Rachna to continue.
"I have a confession to make, Naomi. I had such a good time working on your dress that I decided, at the last minute to send in an application to KT Creations. I wasn't even sure if they would accept it as it was after the deadline, but I got a call yesterday for an interview."
Naomi's eyes widened at this unanticipated bit of news, especially since Rachna had never brought up the internship subject again.
"...I told them no," Rachna finished.
"What," Naomi exclaimed, instantly shutting her mouth when Tanvi startled. "Ra," she whispered in exasperation.
"But after I left here this morning, I thought that perhaps I had underestimated myself: that maybe I do have the talent to make my way as a designer, so I called them back, ready to beg for another chance... and they said yes, Naomi. "
Rachna came back to the bassinet and laid a now settled Lalita in it, next to her sister, who had just been placed there by her mother.
"I was thrilled that they had overlooked my initial refusal, and then I realized that I had to wow them, and that meant... well I had some extra funds on hand so I went shopping for a great interview outfit, but before that..."
Naomi watched as Rachna reached for her head covering. Ever since she had been released from hospital, Rachna hadn't been without her dupatta, and the fact that she was about to remove it meant that something momentous had happened. The veil slipped off her head, and Rachna waited for a reaction that hopefully she hadn't made the biggest misstep of her life.
"Do you like it? I figured that I may as well be bold. It will take a life time for the new growth to get anywhere near its original length, but at least it has grown to almost cover the scarring from the incision. So what do you think?"
Naomi blinked rapidly, knowing that even that wouldn't stop her tears. As she expected, Rachna looked back at her strangely, and there was no way she could logically explain her reaction. They had almost lost Rachna in the accident, and life had changed immeasurably for her ever since, but finally it seemed her friend was taking the steps to regain some semblance of a normal life, if not exactly her old one. Naomi for one was extremely grateful.
"It's only hair, Naomi," Rachna said, even though the woman's reaction had her concerned.
"Residual hormones," Naomi answered shakily. She approached Rachna, and walked around her. The asymmetrical bob hairstyle was awesome, the layers framed her face drawing attention to her eyes, making the chocolate doe-shaped orbs appear even larger and even more striking. As Rachna said, the cut camouflaged the not yet faded evidence of the emergency surgery she had needed to save her life; far more than the noticeable length difference that had the young woman concealing her hair for so long.
"Whoever the stylist is; they are a genius. I so love it Rachna. You are gorgeous my friend."
Rachna beamed. "Thank you. So anyway, after this, I decided to go shopping, you know for a fabulous outfit or two to match my modern haircut. It was fun," she concluded.
"Well...Where are they Ra," Naomi asked impatiently, anxious to see how Rachna had made out.
"You're wrong Sir, you have an amazing wife. I couldn't ask for a better friend, and again, this was all of my doing: completely my decision."
Rajeev glanced from the driver's seat over at his passenger. Even now Rachna would bear nothing wrong said against Naomi, but all the same he knew that his wife, an eternal busybody, had had her hand in this. Still, it was a relief that Rachna owned to having made these choices on her volition, and not regretting the drastic changes he thought she had been coerced into making.
He had immediately become concerned, when he had come home to find Naomi had Rachna trying on outfit after outfit and offering suggestions on accessories for them. And while it was an absolute relief to have her back in good health, and enthusiastic about life, he didn't want her rushing into things she wasn't ready for yet, at his wife's insistence. Whereas his wife blatantly ignored his worry, unsurprisingly, Rachna picked up how perturbed he was that Naomi could be unduly influencing his former student. She had rushed to inform him of her pending interview tomorrow as the reason for the changes. Once he had gotten over the shock that his former student had lopped off most of her hair, he had to admit that Rachna did look amazing; admittedly her transformation, and especially her confidence, had been good to see today. He would still query exactly how the designer had managed to get hold of that internship flier when he returned home though. Now though Rachna awaited his response.
"In that case, I am very happy for you Rachna, and hope you have a good interview tomorrow. And yes," he conceded, "Naomi is very special," he added as he drove up to the Garg residence.
In front of her home, Rachna waved goodbye to Rajeev Sir as he pulled away. A few weeks ago she would have been worried that her Sir would be harsh with Naomi on his return home, but now, as she had come to know how much he adored his wife- not so much. Once he got back, Sir would probably forget all of his concerns, in his happiness of just being home with his wife and daughters. Home was definitely a slice of heaven on earth for the Agarwals, Rachna surmised.
Home - just the word should have made her feel good as well, but her smile faded a little when she turned to go inside her own, and again, she wondered why it felt so odd to be here; almost like this wasn't where she should be. It made no sense at all, but she could not shake the unsettling feeling. It was yet another cryptic sensation that she had experienced ever since being released from the hospital. Nothing felt right about her current situation Rachna thought as she opened the door.
"Mama you come home! I miss you Mama!"
The little voice that greeted Rachna when she entered was yet another enigma that needed resolving, but this one she would gladly delay, she thought as she dropped to her knees to greet her niece who had excitedly run to her. She had given up trying to get Aryia to call her Aunty, and had allowed the sweet little girl her way. After all if Gunjan didn't have an issue with it than why should she? In hindsight though, her sister had her hands full with the new baby; the little boy who looked so much like his older sister.
"Come here Mama, baby crying."
Rachna looked up and saw that indeed the infant was fussing. As usual, her normally capable sister appeared close to tears herself, and Rachna automatically told her to stay put, and went to the baby instead. As she changed his diaper, she worried about her sister. Gunjan seemed constantly unable to cope with the children: the baby in particular, and Rachna wondered, not for the first time, if she should speak to Mummy about it.
"Thank you Rachna," Gunjan whispered helplessly, when she had come to her rescue, yet again. "I'll just get his bottle ready," she added as she walked towards the kitchen. There, Aunt Shail was already warming up the infant formula for her grandson. She looked up in question when Gunjan entered and smiled when the younger woman sent a thumb's up signal to her. Their plan to get Rachna to spend quality time with her own children was still working for now.
In the next room, Rachna held the swaddled infant close to her chest. "Hush Piyush beta; it's okay...calm down," Rachna tutted, as she began walking the son she had forgotten, around the room. Tomorrow, she thought, tomorrow she would decide what to do about Gunjan's unnatural behavior. It would have to be addressed especially should she have a successful interview, Rachna thought as she worried for both children's welfare in her absence.
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Joined: 17 March 2006
Joined: 17 March 2006
Joined: 17 March 2006
Take a hectic work schedule, an external audit, and a temperamental laptop and you have the perfect recipe for not being able to properly update your FF for a couple of weeks. Hopefully with all of that behind me, I can get back to what I enjoy. Hopefully the chapter is worth the wait.
Rachna raised her head when the name was called and watched as the young woman who sat opposite her stood and followed the assistant who had come to collect her. It was a scenario that had repeated itself for some time now, until the room had emptied of everyone save one young man and herself. He was no college student, of this Rachna was certain, therefore he had to have other business here at KT Creations. Still though, there was an air of nervousness about him, so if she had to hazard a guess, Rachna would suppose that his meeting was of incredible importance to him. She smiled a little in commiseration; she could definitely relate to this sentiment. He had been here longer than she had, arriving extra early it appeared - as had she. They had been two oddities amongst the group of adolescents vying for one of the three coveted internships.
"I guess now that the children are done, it will be our turn next."
"Excuse me,"Rachna responded to the unexpected conversation starter.
The well-dressed man moved over one seat closer to Rachna, the move a bit forward for the setting. Strangely though, she wasn't put off by his uninhibited actions. In fact there was something comfortingly familiar about him.
"That's not to say that you look old in any way; actually I think..." The young man paused in a clear attempt to remove the foot he was in danger of swallowing. He then folded hands. "Namaste, I'm Kunal Tiwari, and soon to be Digital Marketing Director of KT Creations - I hope anyway. And you are..."
Rachna broke out in a full face grin. "You're joking right...Kunal Tiwari? Well I would say that your name alone gives you an automatic leg up on any competition... your initials alone should warrant you the position, provided that is, there isn't anyone better for the job," she added jokingly insinuating that she could be up for the same post.
Kunal returned the strikingly beautiful woman's smile, and shook his head. "No definitely not; I mean I've already determined, that you are not my competition and even though you have all of the attributes, you don't have the vapid air of a fashion model. If I had to guess, you are definitely Designer material...uh no pun intended."
Kunal flashed a smile, one that did very odd things to Rachna's stomach, and she knew she was blushing. Immediately she began her wondering why she would be reacting to a complete stranger this way.
But before she could think on it any further, they were interrupted by the same assistant, who this time called for Rachna. Resisting the temptation to look at her watch, Rachna stood. She had found Kunal here, so logically shouldn't he have been summoned first? Besides, it was too early for her to be called, as she was certain that the last college student hadn't passed the waiting room on her exit. She smiled one last time at her fellow hopeful, as she gathered her things. "Well good luck to you Kunal, I hope everything works out for you."
"Likewise...we will have a celebratory coffee in the breakroom on our first day should we both successful," Kunal answered cheekily.
Rachna was taken in a direction opposite to the route that the other applicants had been escorted, which was confusing in itself, and completely wiped any remnant of the smile she had worn after her interaction with the affable young man she had encountered. She followed, determined not to allow the unexpected diversion to unnerve her, but couldn't be certain that she would be successful.
"Nahi, please call me Rachna; I insist."
The young woman beamed. "Thik hai, Rachna. I'm Pratima: Mr. Tripathi's personal assistant. KT has decided to approach your interview slightly differently than the younger applicants -a somewhat more practical approach , due to your obvious seniority."
Rachna lips thinned. She supposed that would be the logical conclusion - that by virtue of the age difference; that her experience would surpass that of the college students, but how the designer had gleaned this from her hastily put together application, she had no clue. She exhaled forcibly; this unexpected turn of events had her panicking for sure. She now had no idea what to expect, and hoped that she hadn't got herself in over her head. Silently following the assistant down the corridor, she gave herself a pep talk - she could do this - she had to. When finally Pratima opened a door to a small studio Rachna took in the vast array of textiles in the room. Anything she could conceptualize was there, and then some: there were even some completed outfits availablere as well. In the middle of the room there were four mannequins, ready to be dressed.
Rachna affected a smile as she turned her attention back to the assistant, who had begun speaking.
"KT should be just about finished with the last college student. After that he just has one additional meeting, and then afterwards it will be your turn. However he has asked me to assure you that this isn't a timed exercise, and that you should get as much as you can finish; basically just work at your own pace."
"Should there be a theme to my work," Rachna asked.
"Not at all - follow whatever inspires you."
"Thik hai. Thank you."
"Good luck, Rachna," Pratima called out as she made to exit the room.
After shaking Kunal's hand at the doorway; once more welcoming the young man to the company, Kabir shut his office door, adjusted his jacket and then walked back behind his desk to take a seat. As he leaned back in his chair, he contemplated how needed the IT savvy Marketing graduate was at this juncture. Kabir was certain that under normal circumstances that Rachna would be elated with Kunal's selection, and he breathed a sigh of relief, for this pressing situation to be put to rest. Now he could focus on far more important matters. He took a deep breath and exhaled noisily. If he was truthful he would concede that he was nervous as hell, now all that was left was the meeting with his wife. He looked down at himself; just the prospect of doing so had his hands trembling. It was no wonder, after everything that had happened. The time to bear the responsibility of reconciling his family was at hand. It felt both a heavy weight on his shoulders, and yet strangely exhilarating at the same time
He had been at his wit's end after Pratima's fruitless telephone call to Rachna two days prior. Somehow in the space of submitting her application, and receiving his assistant's callback, his wife had had a change of heart, and had declined the interview that would finally bring them face to face. Kabir had been devastated on hearing the news, but somehow had managed a brave face and had taken the opportunity of his assistant's presence, to finally review the remaining portfolios with Pratima, and then send her back to the office to make the telephone calls to the successful college students. He never would have imagined that twenty four hours later the pendulum would swing back in his direction and Rachna would call the office to see if the offer was still standing. Pratima had immediately come to him to inform him, and to advise that she had rescheduled his afternoon appointments for another time.
It had been hell keeping his focus during the interviews he conducted, but he had expected this to be so. Consequently he had asked Pratima to sit in on all of them to take notes; all but the last one when she followed his predeclared instructions of showing Rachna to an empty design studio and giving her the task that he hoped would allay some of his wife's nervousness. He would conduct Rachna's interview there: in a space where he hoped his wife would find some familiarity; an environment that she was accustomed to. Anything it took to make her comfortable, he would do, never once considering his own state. The irony of his own tension, was not lost on him as he stood now, about to go to her.
Her ability to focus on the task at hand had always been a draw for Kabir. Today it was no different, as so completely involved in her work, Rachna never even turned when he entered the studio quietly. It gave Kabir the opportunity to quietly observe her in the first instance, and then give a cursory glance to the work she had done. Her stylings of the three mannequins she had already completed were as he expected: perfection. Talent such as Rachna's was not easily forgotten, and even when dealt the perilous injuries his wife had received, she had maintained her stellar aptitude for design. Physically however: well this was another story. Last night, on his daily telephone call with Gunjan and Mayank, Kabir had been forewarned about the haircut that Rachna had surprised the entire family with. Even had he not, this would not been the most shocking aspect of his wife's appearance. She had changed so much since they were last together - never mind that she had been at the zenith of her pregnancy at the time. She was far thinner today than she would have been had she not suffered the devastating injuries from the car accident that had almost cost him the two most important women in his life as well as the child, whose arrival, everyone was anxiously awaiting. The outfit she wore today only emphasized the changes that had been wrought. The high-waisted belted pencil skirt and sexier than normal silk blouse Rachna wore was the height of fashion, and he would be crazy not to acknowledge how attractive she appeared, but for now Kabir was overwhelmed with what lay beneath. The scarring he knew she had suffered from their son's emergency delivery and the extensive surgery that followed to repair the damage to her body had to have affected her. While she may not have remembered their child at all after she had finally come out of the induced coma, Kabir knew that Rachna had been informed of the emergency hysterectomy, and knew that this had devastated her. Yet today there was no sign of this, and if his lovely wife could somehow get past this, then he had to do the same. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply, willing himself to get control of himself and commence the interview he had come to conduct.
He was incredibly odd, and nothing, not even how insanely handsome he was would excuse this.
No, Rachna thought, she hadn't been aware initially when Kabir Tripathi had come, but as time had gone by the sensation that she wasn't alone had overwhelmed her, and Rachna had stealthily peered around to see the designer who was the man behind the company there watching her. She wondered what was going through his mind as he kept what felt almost like a silent vigil over her. More to the point, Rachna wondered why his intense scrutiny did not have her more nervous than one would expect. Oh well, she supposed there had to be a method behind his strange behavior.
"Would I be correct in assuming that the real test here is to recognize that none of the dupattas available coordinate with the only bridal lehenga here, KT Sir?"
Kabir blinked in surprise when she spoke up. "Aacha?"
"Haan, but since letting my bride down is not an option; obviously I will have to improvise."
Kabir walked over and stared at the dressed mannequin. "Perhaps the actual lesson is to recognize the futility of a situation, and to move on ..."
"And that thought process is probably why KT Creations aren't leaders in the bridal industry..."
Kabir turned and looked directly at her, dumbfounded. That sassy comment was quintessential Rachna. If that was not the old Rachna coming through, then he knew nothing. His eyes narrowed as he speculated what would come next.
Oh God, Rachna thought as she swallowed hard. Regretting the words as soon as they left her mouth; she had no clue what had possessed her. Surely she had just scuppered any chance of getting any sort of position here. This time the designer's penetrating gaze had her cheeks warming. "I- I apologize..."
KT held up on hand, dismissing her attempt. " Nahi, do not...I would like to hear your opinions on that subject, but before that, Ms. Garg, show me how you will salvage this poor unfortunate bride's shaadi after this design faux pas."
He was giving her another chance.
She sent him a small smile of thanks for overlooking her outspokenness and then purveyed everything in the room for a minute. Amongst the variety of fabrics she caught sight of something that might just do the trick, and then she smiled even brighter and got down to work.
A lack of innovation was never Rachna's problem, and today was no different. Disassembling one dupatta and using it as trim for another, she had ingeniously come up with an attractive veil that make any bride happy. She then tool extra care in the selection of the accessories, ending up with a finished look that Kabir expected of her. He nodded at her acknowledging her skill, before asking her to take a seat so that they could begin her actual interview.
"You were not exactly the sort of applicant that we expected to receive when we put that offer out for interns this year," Kabir began.
"Nor was I looking to apply for such; in truth up until two weeks ago, a job was the farthest thing on my mind," Rachna replied.
Staring directly into the designer's eyes, Rachna spoke from the heart. " I feel like something has awoken in me; that I cannot not design. It's my calling; my destiny. And KT Sir, should I not be successful with your company, I full intend to investigate and apply for a position with another design house... and eventually I expect to be successful."
She would too, thought KT, but there was no way in hell that he would allow that. Even if there wasn't the matter of her being his wife, Kabir could just imagine if word got out that Rachna Tripathi of Banaras Beauty was in such a vulnerable state. For certain may an unscrupulous fashion house would prey on her condition for their benefit. Nahi, it would be best that he settle this soon.
"And yet you rejected the opportunity to interview with us initially?"
"A mistake on my part; I thought I would be costing a worthy student their own chance. But I got a pep talk... well actually a lecture on how deserving I was from my client, and...well obviously you know."
"I designed a gown for a friend. She was the one who actually showed me the flier for the internship."
Rachna paused when the designers lips turned upwards just a little. He then leafed through the her application documentation.
"There was no indication of a new design in your portfolio."
"Well no, it was a private matter, between my friend and I."
"I would really like to view it, if you don't mind." He got up and asked her to follow him back to the dummies she had outfitted. "However for now, why don't we discuss the stylings you have created, and then we speak on any concerns or questions you may have, thik hai?"
The interview seemed to go on forever, and in the end she wasn't offered an internship, which in a way Rachna was glad for it. She had really experienced misgivings about possibly taking a spot and ruining the dream of an eager student, hoping to begin the career of their dreams.
Now she looked around the dinner table at the combination of forlorn and frankly shocked expressions of her family who had waited all day to hear her story, and obviously hadn't anticipated such an ending.
"S-so it was all a waste of time," Mayank stuttered, confused over his brother-in-law's decision.
None of those at the table could understand, and they had no idea what to say to Rachna.
"Thik hai beti," her father began, finally breaking the silence that had fallen. "I don't understand why you would have been rejected, but if you really wish to work, perhaps there are other..."
Rachna smiled. "Nahi Papa, an internship wasn't on the cards for me, but perhaps tomorrow a position - a special project position will be available- provided KT Sir likes my design. By the time we concluded the interview KT Sir had determined that my experience warranted something else; a more senior post." She began eating, her enthusiasm changing the atmosphere immediately. She was already looking forward to tomorrow, which would be part two of her interview process.
"This is some mode of transportation, Rajeev," Kabir said of the double pram, his friend maneuvered, now that their wives had moved to the studio's adjacent dressing room.
"An absolute necessity as you can tell." Rajeev held his hand out to the designer, who took it to shake it.
Kabir leaned over to the peer at the two sleeping babies. "They are beautiful. I'm sorry that I haven't had the chance..."
"No explanation or excuse is needed Kabir; we completely understand. You have been dealing with something unimaginable, so think nothing of it."
Kabir shook his head. "I don't even know if they have her eyes; and neither seems to be in a co-operative mood to let their wayward Uncle Kabir find out," he said.
"Haan; they do, as bright and as beautiful their mother's. I am holding out to see if any curls come in the next few months, but they are still perfect," the proud father stated. "I understand that little Piyush is thriving in his mother's care as well."
Kabir nodded, "Ji, although I am not seeing him or Aryia enough for my liking, they are both doing well. Hopefully this will be the first step to bringing us all together - all of us."
"Naomi' has let me know that Daadi will be coming to see us in a few days," the hockey coach stated.
Kabir nodded; his grandmother's instance to visit the twins she considered her adopted granddaughters had been made known in no uncertain terms, now that her mobility had increased.
Just then the studio door opened, and Kabir excused himself to go and speak to the photographer he had asked to assist today.
Zipping up the dress which fit Naomi like a glove, Rachna spoke, "Thank you for doing this, especially on such short notice. I can't imagine it was easy to coordinate, Naomi."
"It's okay Rachna. The timing was actually good, since Rajeev had a free afternoon today."
"You aren't nervous are you? I promise that it won't take long. And he won't be judging you, just the design itself, so if he says anything that seem off..."
"Is he really as bad as that, Rachna? Are you certain you even want to work for him?"
"Nahi," Rachna protested. "I mean nahi, he's not as horrible...well actually, I do find him a bit... gruff, but there's something about him... and he definitely is really good at..."
Naomi interrupted her friend. "Rachna it's okay. And if anything I think I'm more nervous about Rajeev seeing me in the dress, than any scary designer... "
"That makes no sense. You look beautiful in this, but really, if it's really an issue we could always dress one of the mannequins..."
Naomi shook her head laughing, "I'm just being silly. Just relax and go, and give your presentation, and I will try to make the best entrance I can."
Rachna approached the mood board and prepared to flip the blank sheet that had covered her design. Nervously she cleared her throat, and then spoke to the audience of three comprised of Kabir, Rajeev and the photographer KT Sir had brought in. She explained how her client being a new parent was looking for a design that would allow her to reclaim her status as a wife and not just a mother. Stealing a look at her hockey coach when she spoke these words, she was provided nothing more than the slight arching of one of his eyebrows as a reaction to her disclosing his wife's innermost feelings. She continued on, explaining the process undertaken that allowed her to discern her client's tastes and then conceptualize a design that met the mark.
All the while, Kabir Sir had stood and listened intently to her, not even turning away from her when she called for Naomi to enter. Unable to withstand such intense scrutiny any longer, Rachna turned her attention to her friend's entrance, thankful when the designer did the same
Either she had done this before or she should seriously consider it, Rachna thought as Naomi strutted confidently into the room with the poise of a complete professional. Promenading to the centre of the studio, she held the skirt overlay out from the fitted sheath halter dress showing it in its best light. She reached her target and stopped for a moment before she then slowly pivoted, allowing KT Sir the opportunity to view the gown from all angles.
Taking a deep breath, Rachna watched as KT Sir approached to inspect her work. Even with her memories locked and hidden away, she could not help but realize that this surely had to be one of the most important things that ever to happen to her. A new beginning for her had surely been set in motion.
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