It felt like I was breathing fresh air after ages! Last few weeks had only been about burning midnight oil, juggling stubborn numbers, making and tweaking reports and bowing down to the unaccommodating whims and fancies of our superiors, while additionally straining our sleep-deprived eyes from committing any unforgivable error. Thankfully, it had all paid off.
Agreed, there had been a few glitches along the way. The public showdown I had with Kavita last week was still painted fresh in everyone’s minds. I might’ve been slightly (Ok, majorly) at fault when I deliberately kept her out of the loop about a crucial client meeting, but she had called for it. She edited my work without consulting with me and didn’t as much as apologise for it later!
Anyway, to unwind after what could only be called a nightmarish schedule, our girl gang at work (sans Kavita, on my insistence) decided to dress up pretty and meet up for a quiet leisurely dinner at a newly opened Chinese restaurant in the vicinity. Assuming that a trip to the salon would take time, I left home early and wound up reaching before time for our dinner date.
The lovely ambience and the soft music playing in the restaurant made me forget that I was all by myself. I settled down on our reserved table and while sipping on my water started browsing through the crisp new menu looking for something innovative and experimental to try out. I might’ve missed it in my tranquil state, but the faint but familiar chime of metal bangles was tough to go unheard.
I surreptitiously looked around, only to find that my hunch wasn’t wrong. It indeed was the same sound that had gotten on my nerves a bit too often of late; the clinking of more than a dozen metal bangles that Kavita wore everyday. She was seated on a comfortable table in a secluded corner with a man I hadn’t seen before. Their body language suggested that he was probably her much talked about secret boyfriend.
They seemed to be having what could only be perceived as an ugly lovers’ tiff. In accordance with the surroundings, they took care not to raise their voices but it was apparent that all wasn’t going well between them. She was wiping her eyes and nose with a handkerchief while he kept saying something that ensured she didn’t stop. This wasn’t the Kavita I’d seen and known till then.
Just when I was trying to figure out what call I should take in such a situation, the man got up in a huff and left without bothering to comfort her or make her stop crying. Seemingly this wasn’t the first time he had done this, since Kavita didn’t look out for him even once. She appeared shattered. After some time in an unguarded moment, she looked around and our eyes met.
It was true that both of us weren’t in each other’s good books. Our paths had always crossed for the wrong reasons. Yet, the fact that she was sitting there alone without anyone to as much as hold her hand or hear her out made me sincerely empathize with her. I wasn’t feeling good about what I’d done with her and was at crossroads with myself.
Somewhere, my heart filled with a sudden warmth for her. Yes, she wasn’t the best colleague one could have. She was mean, arrogant and didn’t play fair. Come to think of it, I was someone on the same lines too. Was it that both of us had a different face to survive and grow in a hostile and competitive work environment, but deep down we were both vulnerable and emotional?
I didn’t take too long to ponder over this. Mustering some courage I walked up to her table, gave her my most earnest smile and said, ‘For everyone else, I didn’t see anything. Why don’t you come join me on the cool table? Our girl gang will be coming here soon. Hey, by the way, I need to ask you this. What’s the deal with so many bangles?’
She smiled and politely agreed. All else was forgotten. The good side, as always, had won over the bad one.