This is the sixth part of a long story.
First part of the story: Long Story 1
Second part of the story: Long Story 2
Third part of the story: Long Story 3
Fourth part of the story: Long Story 4
Fifth part of the story: Long Story 5
Prabha finished induction formalities for her new project by 1:00 PM. She got up from her seat, went to the washroom and stretched. She was stretching her hands when Rekha walked in. “Hello Girlfriend” she said and went into a washroom cubicle. “All set for the new project?” she asked from inside the cubicle.
“Come out! I’ll answer. I am not going to talk to you when you are peeing.. or worse, pooping” Prabha said.
“Too late.. you just did” Rekha said and made bodily sounds. “Woman! Seriously! Aaahhhhh” Prabha said. “Woman! You wanna eat?” asked Rekha. “REkkhaaaaa!” Prabha screamed, just then another woman walked out of another cubicle. “Hey!” said Prabha awkwardly. The woman stared at Prabha’s reflection in the mirror as she was washing her hands.
Prabha walked out of the washroom, traumatized mildly. She stood in the corridor and called Arun on the phone. “Hi!” came a quick reply. “That was fast.” Prabha said “Hey! Did you withdraw money?”. “Yes” replied Arun. “OK! So, I don’t have to. Had lunch?” asked Prabha. “Yup! You?” asked Arun. “Yup. Bye” said Prabha. “Bye!” Arun replied and Prabha thankfully cut the call.
“SO!!” Prabha turned with a startle to see who it was. “Wanna have lunch?” Rekha asked.
“Yes!” replied Prabha “I am starving girl”
“When is the meeting?” Rekha asked. “10:30 PM” replied Prabha. “That late?” Rekha asked with her eyebrows raised. “You know! It is the first meeting and the department head is available only in that time.”
“OK!” Rekha said “All packed?” “Yes…” Prabha replied “My mom-in-law is coming over tomorrow.”
“Is she bringing avakka pickle?” Rekha asked with longing eyes. Prabha laughed. “No! you pickle monster. It’s winter.” Rekha walked away dejected “Come to the canteen girl,” she said as she walked away.
Vishva was honking like an Indian that he was aimlessly. He just wanted to honk his way out of the traffic. “Dude! Stop honking. You’re gonna give me a seizure” the guy in the care beside him shouted.
Vishva exhaled and looked at the time. It was 8:45 am. The meeting was at 10:00 am. The new vendor team from India will be joining the call. He had already sent the requirements document and the process diagrams to Mitch. But Vishva was required. He knew that. Mitch and he were a team. “Damn it Parvy.” He cursed. “I am going to kill you, you bastard”. “Jesus!” the car driver beside him said and shook his head.
The traffic started to move again. Vishva visibly relaxed. He knew that there were 5 kms left. If the traffic keeps moving, he’ll make it in 12 mins. Maximum 20 mins.
After 15 mins, at 9:00 am, Vishva had covered 3 kms. ‘I hate today’ Vishva thought. Just then his phone rang. It was Mitch.
Ranjit was typing away on his laptop. He checked the cc field in the mail he was typing. Ran a spell check and sent the mail over. ‘Done’ he thought. He had been working on this proposal for 2 weeks now. His shift from Bengaluru to Mumbai had not helped. Suddenly his intercom rang. “Yes Radha!” he answered. Radhakrishnan was his department’s VP.
“I’ll keep you updated. Will you be coming over to the office for the update meeting tomorrow?” Ranjit asked. “No Ranjit! I’ll take the meeting on call,” said Radha. “No Problem Sir” Ranjit said. Radhakrishnan was posted in the head office. It will take 60 mins one way for him to reach the branch office where Ranjit worked. Ranjit had foreseen this. “I’ll just send you the rig code.” He said.
“Thanks Man! Have you sent the proposal to the onsite team?” asked Radhakrishnan.
“I have” replied Ranjit, “I just sent the mail.” “Good!” said Radha, “Let’s catch up tomorrow”. “Sure” Ranjit said and finished the call.
He looked at the desktop clock. It was 6:00 PM. Ranjit took his bag and left to go home. He pressed the down arrow for the lifts and waited. He took his phone out and checked the messages. Most of it were from his mom.
“Dad is not eating again! Tell him to eat.”
“I cannot understand what the maid is saying. It’s all in Hindi”
“When will you be back?”
There were a few other messages form his college group, school group, previous-friends-who-won’t-accept-we’re-no-longer-friends groups, office group and etcetera. While he was doing this, he could see that the lift door opened. He went in as he checked his phone. There was a LinkedIn invite. He opened it. He wanted to search for ‘Prabha, XMR’. Later! He thought.
“You always check you phone in lifts?” he heard a familiar voice and his lips smiled reflexively.
He turned to look at her. Prabha! “Yes!” he said. “Messages disturb me when I am working.”
She smiled oh so beautifully and said “I can never do that. Parking?” she asked. That’s when he realized he hadn’t pressed a floor number. “Yes” Ranjit said embarrassingly. He checked the floor they were currently on. It was 2nd. He wanted to ask her number. He wanted talk to her more. For some reason, he felt good when he talked to her. She was casually leaning on the metal holder and checking her phone. She held her bag on one hand and her T-shirt had risen up to her waist in her back. She had clipped her hair in a bun with several lose strands coming out. “A..” he started to speak when the lift reached P1. Prabha turned to look at him and asked, “Coming?”. His lip corners immediately touched his ears.
She kept walking to the area where she had parked her Activa. “Hey!” Ranjit said. She stopped, turned and asked “mm?”.
“You… never gave me your number!” Ranjit said.
“I… yes! note it down.” Said Prabha. Numbers were exchanged and Ranjit said goodbye. “Bye” Prabha said and started to walk.
Ranjit walked as he usually did till the dark place behind the storage truck. Then he stopped and jumped in joy. He quickly relaxed and started to walk as he would. He could not stop smiling though.
Seventh part of the story: Long Story 7