Chupanke Ki Saaza
Why do I bother with Jai Walia? Oh right, because
I'm an idiot.
she said, finally breaking the long stretch of silence. They were almost finished
eating. "What makes you smile every
was caught off guard as Bani looked expectantly for an answer.
don't know," Jai replied, mysteriously. "You tell me."
would I know?" she answered, confused.
leaned closer to Bani and whispered, "The same thing that made you smile, makes me smile too."
he got up and left the table, leaving an utterly puzzled Bani.
* * *
Bani yelled, along with the rest of the management, as Mrs. Hastings walked
into the darkened meeting room.
was once again, a bright, sunny day in the Walia Industries, which was bustling
with activity. The reason for this excitement was Jai's secretary, Mrs.
Hastings, was retiring after working for 20 years and Bani saw to it that the
kind lady got a nice farewell party.
my god," Mrs. Hastings said, seeing a huge vanilla cake on the table. "I can't
hugged the lady and said, "You deserve a lot more! But I just found out
yesterday that you were retiring! Hence I couldn't do much!"
is more than enough," Mrs. Hastings replied. "Thank you so much!"
about my hug?" Jai said, joining the conversation. Despite working only five
years with Mrs. Hastings, Jai was more than grateful for the help and
consolance the lady offered in this initial struggle. He owed her big time.
Hastings smiled and gave Jai a big hug. "Promise me you won't get too mad at
don't!" Jai said defensively.
snorted. "Yeah right…"
glared at Bani. But before could he reply, Mrs. Hastings interefered. "And make
sure you don't annoy Bani."
smirked as Jai's mouth fell open. "I can't believe you said that. She is the
one who annoys me!"
me?" Bani said, firing up. And bickering between the duo began once again.
Shaking her head, Mrs. Hastings walked around the room, saying her final
goodbyes. Even though she still had the end of the week before she officially
retired, it saddened her to know that she won't be coming back.
she glanced around the room, wondering what she will do once she doesn't have
to schedule meetings anymore, her eyes fell on Jai, who seemed to be arguing
with an irritated looking Bani. A smile spread across Mrs. Hastings face as she
watched the couple. She was one of the few people in the company who saw Jai
for what he was – not a tycoon, with a mountain of anger, but a boy madly in
in the company noticed the way his eyes lit up whenever Bani's name was
mentioned, the way the corner's of his lips would pull up when he saw her, or
the way the the lines on his forehead would disappear everytime she talked –
except her. Mrs. Hastings suspected even Bani herself didn't know how much Jai
she wasn't slow to pick up on Bani's attitude either. The way Bani tried to
keep from smiling whenever Jai appeared, the way she tried to look annoyed with
him, but yet admiring every little thing he did or the way she tried to remain
aloof of his presence, but always gravitating towards him – it was very
obvious, but sadly, the ever so smart Jai Walia, didn't seem to pick it up
she wondered, how two people who love each other so much, can be so blinded.
She knew something was going on between the couple (and she had a good guess of
what!) but at the same time, couldn't believe their love didn't overcome the
problem. There were times, when she used to wonder if the love between the
couple was a pigment of imagination, for they ever so rarely talked without a
fight, forget hugs and kisses! But somehow, she knew she wasn't making it up.
week drew to a close, and Mrs. Hastings' last day ticked to an end. At 6pm,
when her day ended, she packed up her stuff and gave one last sweep of her
desk, making sure nothing was left behind. A tear escaped her eyes as the past
twenty years flashed by. Taking a deep breath, she began to walk to the
elevators, when a panting Bani caught up with her.
god," Bani heaved. "I thought you already left!"
Hastings was beliwered. "What happened?"
held out a small silver box with a red bow tied to it. "Thank you."
Mrs. Hastings was confused. "I should be thanking you for the gift!"
Bani said, pushing the box into the old lady's hands. "Thank you for taking care of this office
a-and Jai," there was a small pause before she continued. "Especially when no
wide smile spread across Mrs. Hastings face. It was as if she was finally
retiring without anything to worry about. While she spent the last week taking
care of the files and preparing for the new secretary to join, she felt very
uneasy leaving behind Jai, who she thought no one understood or will bother to
understand. She felt nervous leaving him behind, like a loose end. But now, all
her worries were taken care of!
Hastings pulled Bani into a hug, happy that she was right about the young
couple all along.
me something," she said. "Promise me you will take care of Jai."
didn't know what to say. While she adored the lady for her kindness and was
grateful for her taking care of Jai in ways only a mother can, she couldn't
give her that promise. And she didn't want to lie either.
Bani began to say, trying to explain the situation, when the lady shook her
these years, I just made sure he ate on time and had enough sleep. What he
really needs is someone to understand the turmoil he goes through everyday. He
really needs someone to tell him that he is too hard on himself. He needs
someone to make sure he doesn't kill himself with that guilty conscience he
was at a loss of words. Does she know
about Di?, wondered Bani to herself. Her question seemed to appear on her
face, for the retired secretary said, "I know enough to guess what happened to
Pia. And I know more to say that Jai went through too much."
refrained from snorting. No matter what her feelings towards her husband were,
nothing could change the fact that he was guilty. Guilty for killing her only
was the last person to see her," Mrs. Hastings said. "She came to break off her
marriage with Jai, but he was stuck in a meeting."
tried very hard to say something… to ask how her sister was in those final
moments. But she couldn't. Her throat was constricted and an invisible weight
was crushing her chest.
Hastings seemed to be far away from the present, to notice Bani's tearful eyes.
"She was beautiful," the lady whispered. "She smiled to me… I didn't even guess what was about to happen."
Her eyes then focused on Bani and was torn to
see the pain on the girl's face. Mrs. Hastings gently touched her face. "You
are a lot like her, you know."
tear escaped Bani's eyes. She couldn't deal with this. The weight of her
sister's death was not something she wanted to remember. She refused to shed a
tear, then or now – she wasn't weak enough to succumb to the pain. She took
deep calming breaths, forcing the tears to stop. "No," she said, clearing her
throat. "She was a lot more prettier
you have to let it go," Mrs. Hastings said in a voice that sounded a lot like
Kiran's (Bani's Mother).
matter what," Bani said in a determined voice. "She didn't deserve what she
got. And I will never forget that."
with that she turned her back on Mrs. Hastings and disappeared into her cabin.
* * *
Bani said, walking into Jai's cabin. It was the Monday after Mrs. Hastings
retirement and she was in no good mood. The old lady's parting remarks kept her
locked up in her room for most of weekend. It took too much effort to keep the
leave the coffee there," Jai replied, not taking his eyes off a young girl
sitting in front of me.
was annoyed. "I am not your servant," she snapped. "And I am here to discuss
the Mittal's project."
looked up at Bani's sharp tone. "Someone is in a bad mood this morning!"
narrowed her eyes. There were a number of things annoying her today. First, the
issue of Pia never seemed to leave her – it was haunting that she desperately
tried to get rid of. Why couldn't
everyone leave me to my mourning?, she thought. Second, there was a
mountain of work on her desk, which she had no intention of doing. On top of
that her morning coffee seemed to be missing, giving her a headache at 9am. And
why is that girl sitting infront of her
husband showing more skin than necessary and looking way too comfortable to be
are you?" the question slipped from her mouth.
Jai Walia," replied an amused Jai, who thought Bani was still in the
conversation with him.
shook her head and glared at the girl. Watching her gaze, Jai answered, "This
is Ananya, my new secretary."
the girl replied in a sugary sweet voice, that to Bani sounded very revolting.
"Call me Annie."
smiled. "Okay then Annie, this is Bani Dixit, our Marketing Manager."
girl – Ananya – turned around and passed Bani a smile, which she ignored.
Pretty in her features, Ananya reminded Bani of a perfect blonde bimbo, only
she was a brunette.
the awkward silence between the two women persisted for longer than usual, Jai
decided to interfere. "Okay Annie, you can go and look over the files we are
working on right now. Mrs. Hastings left you some guidelines. And then, around
lunch, I will give you a tour of the office."
nodded. "See you soon," she said, before disappearing out the door.
the hell is she?" Bani demanded, once they were alone.
told you, my new secretary!"
you find anyone than her?"
Iss mein kya karabi hai?"
except that she lacks brains."
looked up from his laptop and tried to understand Bani's harsh tone. "What
makes you think she is dumb? Infact, she is quite intelligent."
What did she know? Her name?"
averted his gaze and went back to looking at the computer screen, confirming
Bani's sarcastic comment.
she said. "So, now we hire people based on if they can remember their name or
Jai replied. "She fits the post. I mean, look at her. She is dresses nice, she
will fit right in!"
raised an eyebrow. "She dresses
cursed. If there was anything he learned in his life, it was that praising a
girl infront of another is the worst thing to do. "I mean, she presents herself
well. The Walia Industries will have a good reputation."
have good reputation," Bani interjected. "Because of the intelligence of our
workers. Not because of some blonde
is a brunette."
irritation level peaked. "So, now you even know her hair colour?!"
let out an exasperated sigh. He so
didn't want to have this conversation.
he said in a very business-like voice. "I'm paying her almost next to nothing
and she is decent as a secretary. Why would I want to get some highly qualified
person to take notes and schedule meetings and waste a ton of money in the
didn't have an answer to this.
Jai said, taking Bani's silence as her approval. "Can we get to work?"
* * *
groaned in frustration. It was mid-afternoon and she was trying her level best
to finish a report that Uday wanted in the next hour. But her mind was blank
and her concentration no where close. And on top of that, there was a lot of
laughter coming from outside Bani's cabin, distracting her even more.
Bani said, standing up and walking to the door. She was determined to yell at
whoever was making the ruckus.
the hell-" but she stopped in her
tracks as soon as she saw who it was.
was standing beside a laughing Ananya – too close, Bani noted – and was
whispering something in her ear. When the duo didn't seem to notice her, Bani
cleared her throat.
she said very loudly.
looked up. "Oh Bani," he said, in almost relief. "I thought it was Dad…"
is an office Jai," she replied very curtly. "I thought being the owner would
have made you realize that."
smirked. "I do… but I was just showing Annie here, where everything was. You
know she is new…"
is a map on every corner of this building, she can figure it out," Bani said.
"Oh wait, she might not be able to read it… because obviously, you don't hire
anyone on their certifications anymore."
Bani's words were a tight slap on both Jai and Annie's faces and that's how she
meant them to be. And without waiting for a reply, she turned on her heel and
slammed her office door. She barely took two steps to her seat when she heard
her," he said, not even bothering to keep his tone down. "She is old-fashioned.
You will get used to it."
giggled, infuriating Bani. Old-fashioned?
she thought angrily. Just you wait Jai
* * *
dumped ten files on Ananya's desk. The girl looked up in confusion.
Ms. Dixit?" she asked, politely.
files need to be updated," Bani replied. "By the end of the day."
But theres only an hour left before I get off," Ananya replied.
I suggest you get started."
smiled at the stunned-looking Ananya and turned to leave.
these aren't even Jai's projects," she called to a retreating Bani.
"Mr.Walia," Bani corrected, stopping and
turning around to pass a stern look. "Its Mr. Walia for you. And last time I
checked, the company pays you not
didn't have a reply. She knew Bani was not a woman to be messed with.
more questions?" Bani asked. And without even waiting for a nod, she walked
back to her cabin, somehow satisfied.
two hours later, when Bani was packing
up for home, her office door burst open with angry footsteps echoing through
the room. It was Jai.
the hell did you do?" he shouted.
covered her ears. "Keep your voice down. I am in no mood to go deaf!"
glared at Bani. "Why did you give Annie all those files?" he asked, in a lower
voice that was still full of anger.
she works here…"
know that," he snapped. "But she has
been here till 5:30 and is still on the second file. I mean, how could you Bani, it was her first
about being slow. If it takes her almost an hour and half to go through one
file, then its high time you sack her."
this is what this whole thing is about? To show to me how inefficient she is?"
And also for the
pure pleasure of seeing her work, Bani thought mentally, but out loud
she said, "I am glad you see the point."
told you Bani," Jai said. "I am not
firing her. She is one of the best employees I ever hired."
cool from Bani's face vanished. The best
employee? What is wrong with him?
"If she is complaining about working overtime for thirty minutes, I fail to
understand how good she is!"
didn't complain," he replied. "I saw her. She didn't want to tell me at first…"
tried very hard not to smile. Mission
accomplished, she thought. That
stupid girl understands she can't mess with me. "I was merely giving her a
taste of what it is like to work here. That's it."
giving her work that she is not even supposed to do?"
just gave her projects to update… whats the big deal?"
Jai said sarcastically. "your
projects. Did it ever occur to you that she is my secretary?"
Bani answered in an equally sarcastic tone. "So, does her pay check come out of
your bank account?"
opened his mouth to reply, but Bani cut him off. "No… The whole company pays for her. So, the least she could do, is
actually do some work for the progress of this company."
are being completely absurd Bani," Jai said, shaking his head. "I hired her for
my personal use."
mouth fell open. "Personal use?"
know what I mean," he said, quickly. "You can't
go giving her your work like that.
Bechari… she will be overwhelmed."
that's when Bani's irritation reached an all time high. "Overwhelmed? You think she is overwhelmed?"
she spat. "What about me? I work twice more than you, but yet you are the one
who gets a personal secretary?!"
shrugged. "If its bothering you soo much, why don't you hire a secretary
not the point!"
it isn't," he agreed. "You have to stop this. Annie is my secretary and only I
deal with her. Is that understood?"
"No," Bani said, shrewedly. "She works
for the company. And trust me, it
won't be hard for me to cut her pay check, when she isn't up to the company's
are in charge of marketing," Jai
stressed. "not finances!"
smirked. "You really want to challenge me? One phone call and she will be
yeah, and how will you do that?"
picked up her cell phone. "Why don't we ask Uday Uncle's opinion about this? I
am sure he will agree that Annie is
more loss to this company than we can afford."
was stumped. If the matter went to his father, there was no doubt that Bani
would win. For some reason, his own family didn't support him. He grit his
teeth in frustration.
am glad we figured this out," Bani said, picking up her hand bag. "Tell your
secretary to update those files before tomorrow morning."
it was Jai's turn to grin. "Too bad. She already left."
"What?!" she shrieked. "Who the hell gave
her permission to leave?"
"I did," he said simply. "So, yeah, go
ahead giving her work. But she is not going to do it."
was taken aback. "Did you hear what I said for the last fifteen minutes?"
did," he repeated. "But I don't care. This is going to work with my rules."
me," Jai said, straightening up. "So,
don't ever bother scaring Annie to quit, because I won't let her."
with that he walked out of the office, leaving a flabbergast Bani. She felt
like banging her head against the wall as it was much, much easier than putting some sense into Jai Walia.