Oct 19, 2008

Episode 5ive

If you are new to this story, do not start here. Go to the Index and Introduction page.

'Lucky bugger, da'
, snorted Muthu. He, Neil and Deep were having lunch in the Cafeteria on Monday afternoon. The two girls were busy, and would probably grab a bite at the Coffee shop later.

'Big shit, man. She's my colleague. It's not like it was a date', defended Warney.
'Dude!' Muthu was having none of that nonchalance. 'That's the hottest chick on the floor, if not this whole bank. You had dinner with her on Friday evening, and you just said you had a good time. And you sit in the same cubicle. Do you have any idea how many guys in this building would love to trade places with you?'
'If anyone really wants to trade places, tell them I'd do it gladly. Two days with Shubh - and they'll forget all this hot chick shit.'
'Dude!' Muthu wasn't shaken. 'Seriously! Can I trade places with you? We'll talk to our bosses. We'll figure something out'

Warney was getting irritated. 'Muthu, get real. We're just two months into our roles, and barely surviving. No way am I telling Shubh I want a change. In fact, I don't. Working with him is a great learning experience, even if its murder'
'All I wanna learn' - Muthu was in his own world - 'is what it'll take to get Preeti to visit Enigma with me.'
'And then?', Neil spoke for the first time in this whole exchange, 'Will you bring her home?'
'Dude! This is true love. None of your dirty jokes about my true love', said Muthu with a naughty smile. Of course, there was no true love here, and dirty jokes were exactly what was going to follow. To be fair, though, Muthu really was smitten.

'True luuuhhh-vvvv', joked Neil, 'Yeah right! I've known you for 3 years. True love will last for about 12 minutes after you've scored with her. Not that you will. But, if you ever did...'
'Impossible is nothing! The makers of adidas tell me. And I'm serious about this one. It's not just for the score. I'm in luhhhvv'

By now, Warney was quiet and very pissed. He felt deep resentment toward this conversation and the other two guys. He had been part of these little guy-talk sessions many times in the past, during his college days. But somehow, he didn't want Preeti to be discussed in this manner. Or at least, not in his presence. She was a colleague he had some respect for, and they were doing quite well as a team. He knew she didn't like guys talking like this, and also knew that she had a fair amount of trust in him. He felt ashamed at some level, as if he was letting her down. But there was something more to it. Something more personal. A feeling of 'ownership'. A desire to protect. He wasn't sure what it was, and it was disturbing him. He just wanted to get done with lunch, get back to work and forget about this whole episode.


'Did we send the briefing document to Nielsen?'
'I dont know. Ask Jatin.'

Preeti was surprised. Deep was behaving strangely distant and aloof today. Not that he was particularly social otherwise - he mostly stuck to his seat, with his gaze firmly fixed to his computer screen. He'd only come alive in meetings, and very rarely participate in the general gossip/timepass/bitching sessions that kept happening in the corridor. He had this ability to shut out the rest of the world when he wanted to focus on something. But he'd always been nice to her. When she spoke, he'd always turn away from the computer and listen, and try his best to cover up his impatience. She admired his work ethic, and also the quality of his ideas. Though she was quite smart and confident herself, whenever they worked on something together, she'd let him take all the 'calls' they had to, and he almost-never got them wrong. But, his focus on results was so single-minded, she wasn't sure he'd ever noticed it, or realized how much respect and faith she'd shown in him.

Preeti, herself, wasn't having an easy time in this office. She was there for 10-12 hours, 5 days a week, with tons of work to do. Shubh was an absolute slave-driver, and the others, except Deep, never had any time to help her. Also, with so much of work to do, she'd not found any time to talk to other people in the office and hadn't made any new friends outside the cubicle. To an extent, she'd become dependant on Deep. Professionally, he was reliable as a rock. When she needed advice, she could always count on him. On a more personal level, he was as good a friend as she could expect to find in office. When they weren't working, he was always around, giving her company. He could be fun - at least, more than the average banker. He always seemed cheerful, and had a sharp sense of humor. He never talked about work - he always was either actually working, or talking about something else. It was easy to forget all your worries and problems after a 15-minute conversation with him, and rediscover reasons to be happy. Even last Friday, she'd ended up on a 'dinner date' with him, and had a great time. It had briefly made her forget about...

Anyway, something was wrong today, she could easily tell. He wasn't behaving normal. And she suddenly had a realization - he'd become a friend she needed at work. Especially now, with all the shit going on in her life outside the office. But for once, when she probably needed him the most, he was far away and not listening.

'Goa!', announced Jatin as he entered the room.
'Again?' Vidya wasn't pleased.
'Yes, madam. Offsite means Goa. If we were more imaginative, we wouldn't be bankers.'
'When is it?'
'We leave Thursday night. Friday, Saturday we stay there. Sunday morning, we start back.'

Preeti looked towards Deep. Right on cue, he also turned. Their eyes met briefly, before Deep turned towards Jatin to ask for some details. It was only an instant, but both of them had got the message. 'This'll be a good time. We need to talk'


(Continued here)

1 comment:

  1. I vote for digressions, like the cricket. With details.