‘Hina, have you got any call from Vikram?’ Priya, by now, was extremely out of her element. ‘Why, what happened?’ Hina asked.
‘I don’t know, Hina. I was supposed to meet Vikram today at the coffee shop and he hasn’t turned up yet.’
‘Don’t worry Priya, he should be on his way. Did you try calling him?’
‘Yes, and his phone is unreachable.’
‘Don’t worry then, he’ll come over soon.’
‘Its been 2 hours, Hina.’
Unlike every day, Priya stayed up late in the office that day. On her way out, Hina walked up to her cubicle. Quietly she seated herself beside Priya. She let the silence settle around her before she spoke.
‘Aren’t you going back home?’ she asked.
‘Just a bit more and then I will leave’ Priya responded, rather icily.
‘Why are you doing this?’ Hina sounded concerned.
Priya turned around to face her and softly held her hand in her own. ‘I am not doing anything. I am just doing my work because I love to. This is what I want to do now and this is where I want to be at present. Look, Hina, my work is helping me get over the fact that things are not as I had planned and in turn it is giving me a reason to plan something else for myself. I am sure you would be happy to see that I am moving on.’
‘Of course! I’d be the happiest to see you happy, Priya’ Hina could almost feel a lump inside her throat. This was the time, she knew, that Priya would need her the most. Knowing Priya so well since the last 4 years, she knew that Priya would do her best to push her away considering that since the last few months Priya had been doing just that- aloofing herself from the world. Nevertheless, Hina had resolved to stay available for her friend. She rose from her seat to leave and then turned around, ‘Priya…I’m sorry.’
‘Don’t be.’ Priya smiled at her and waved her goodbye for the day.
It had been over five months now that she had heard anything from Vikram. His phone was switched off ever since. Priya had tried to reach him a lot many times since his sudden disappearance but she gave up once she realized that she had already tried too much, already. Once she had completely stopped dialing his number the feeling had started sinking into her system that he had indeed gone.
Where could he be right now? Why did he leave? Why did he not call? Will he be coming back as promised? Is he in some trouble? Does he need me now? All these questions would often cross Priya’s mind and everytime they would, she would become restless. Not even a day passed when she did not think about him, but she resolved not to shed a tear. ‘I am sure he has a reason. What could that be?’
Walking down the alley tossing the fallen leaves on the path with her foot, Priya walked past the cold breeze that had engulfed the town announcing the beginning of winters. She pulled her jacket closer to her body and let out a cold sigh. The slight nip in the air seemed colder than it would have felt otherwise. Priya felt the breeze snappier than it is usually during this time of the year.
‘This weather feels so heartless right now. It throws the winds at your face and then expects you to defend yourself against its brashness. Not even once does it feel empathy for you and the only way to fight it is to create warmth from within.’ Priya’s analysis of the weather was perhaps a reflection of her own frame of mind. Looking up at the cloudy sky with a sprinkle of stars across the sky rubbed in the feeling of loneliness even further.
‘These clouds will faze’. With that thought, she turned back towards her home.
‘When God closes a door, He opens another one’.
Priya woke up from her reverie by the statement made by Anuj in the meeting. She looked up at the screen where he was describing the new project that was to be taken up soon. Anuj had been updating the team of the progress for almost 30 minutes now and Priya felt guilty that she was not paying as much attention as she should. After all, he had entrusted her the responsibility of heading the project in the new center at New Delhi.
A month ago when Priya had accompanied Anuj for the meet at New Delhi, she was supposed to run the presentation by the client. Little did she know that the success of the same would land the business with one of its major accounts at New Delhi. It was then that Anuj decided to open the latest wing of his business in New Delhi and entrust the reins of the affairs to Priya.
‘Priya’ Anuj called out her name and she looked up at him startled. ‘As decided before, we will begin after Diwali. You better pack your bags now.’ He smiled and Priya looked around at her cheering colleagues who congratulated her one by one. Anuj waited for the meeting room to leave him alone with Priya.
‘Priya, I hope you’ll do great justice with this profile. We really have great hopes with you on this project. It might take you a little more than a year to get the project rolling. I hope you are prepared to take up the challenge.’ Anuj was forthright in declaring his expectations.
‘Of course, I am looking forward to this’ Priya stated confidently. In her mind, she knew this was her chance to leave the past behind.
…..to be continued.
The Impeccable Life in collaboration with The XD Experience, are hosting a 13-day writing challenge since October 13, titled ‘Kill Your Darlings’. As a part of this challenge I am attempting my first 13 part fictional story.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction and resemblance to any person, living or deal, is purely coincidental.
Image courtesy : Google.