4: The Call

>> Sunday, May 31, 2009

They were blurring past her eyes. Trees, bushes, people, even cars. Before she could catch a glimpse of them, before she could figure out what they were like, they were gone. At one moment, there they were, going about their business in all glory. And as her eyes landed on them, they whizzed past her. Just like all the good things in my life, thought Neha as she stared out of the bus window.

It had been a month now. She tried to think about her life before things had suddenly gone wrong. Her life had started finally to go back on track. It had been a tough year for her till then. Born and bought up in Pune by a rich doting single father, she had always been accustomed to getting things done her way. Not that she had let it all go to her head. She believed she was still level headed. Just a little pampered, that's all.

When she had graduated, she was looking forward to working in her dad's firm. Why wouldn't she? Her father owned one of the largest IT companies in Pune. His firm had major dealings with India's defence services. They provided them with state-of-the-art software security systems used all over the country. Bu no, her dad had other things in mind for her. He was a self-made man. He had started his company a la Narayan Murthy. From scratch. He may have pampered his daughter a little uptil now, but when it came to her career, he wanted her to stand on her own feet. He asked her to apply for campus placements. He wanted her to experience a world not protected by her father. Atleast for a year. Then she would be welcome into his company.

Neha had been very angry at him for this. And in that anger, she had gone and sat for Infitech's placements. Knowing very well, that her job would be in Mumbai. She thought she could emotionally blackmail her father into letting up. Bargain with him with a threat of going away. But not for nothing was her father one of the shrewdest brains in the business. Not only did he ask her to join Infitech's offices at Mumbai, he even refused to splurge money on her and buy her a flat there. He told her, you need to understand how to survive on the salary you get.

Neha had been aghast! But all said and done, she was her father's daughter. She took this as a challenge. She wanted to prove it to herself that she could survive out there. And she had. Overcoming the occasional pangs of homesickness, adjusting her way of life so that her meagre fresher's salary could take care of her expenses, she had managed to stay in Infitech for a whole year. Along the way, she had found a best friend in Ishika. A person she didn't know in Pune, but now she couldn't live without.

Then she had found Sid. She didn't believe in online romances. She thought them to be unsafe. But she found herself falling in one. She was truly happy. She was happy that she had been able to justify her dad's faith in her. That she would be able to stand on her own two feet, and build a life of her own.

And then, as they always seem to with her, things went wrong. Ishika packed up her stuff and moved back to Pune. And Sid - it was just right out of left field. She had been shattered. Overlooking the setting sun through the window, Neha almost smiled when she remembered her state in those days. She had been angry, she had been despondent, she had been tearful, she had been plain down right depressed. And there had been no Ishika to sit by her side. Two people, whom her new life revolved around had suddenly disappeared. And the sure footing on which she had stood and proclaimed to herself about her independence, had suddenly crumbled.

It was maybe the fighting spirit that she got from her mother and her dad's inherent belief in her that made her still stand. Somehow get through it all. Ofcourse, Ishika's constant calls from Pune didn't hurt.

Neha thought about Sid. In the last month or so, had she been able to get over him? Ofcourse, its not hard to get over a philandering scoundrel, she thought. But somehow somewhere she had glimpsed something in him that she still held on to. It was something so small, so tiny, insignificant even, that it never made its presence felt amidst the fury, the sadness and finally the acceptance that had been her emotions throughout. That something insignificant was still buried somewhere deep inside. Never to surface again.

Slowly, but surely, she had gotten back on track. She was surprised at her own resilience. In a month's time, she had come to a point where she would go days without even remembering Sid. Her friend circle kept her busy. Her boss tried to keep her busy, but she was too smart for him - what with no distractions now. Life was slowly going back to what it used to be. Until today...

She had just finished up her work in office. She had been getting real good at it lately. It was just 4 o clock. She was wondering whether she should call up the gang to make plans with them or indulge herself with some shoe-shopping. And the phone rang. It was dad. "Neha, I know this is on short notice, but catch the next bus out of Mumbai right now. Something very important has come up. I have already booked the ticket and Ramesh will be waiting for you at Dadar."

Since her mother had passed away, Neha had kind of been her dad's care taker. She knew his every mood. She could understand just from his tone what he was thinking. But the tone that Neha heard today was something she had never heard before. It was grave. It had such a firmness to it that she didn't even ask a single question. She just said yes and picked up her bag. She went home, packed a few clothes and took a cab to Dadar.

As the sun finally set and the shadows turned into darkness, her wandering mind came back. She didn't know what to expect. Even though his voice had been grave, there had been no panic in it. There had been a chilling calm. She knew her dad. He would have things in control. She looked forward to meeting him and figuring out what was the important thing that had come up.

Little did she know, that the very thing hidden deep into the recesses of her subconscious, never to surface again, would exactly do that. And therein would lie a test of her character that she would have never imagined...

4 comments:

Yamini 11:12 PM  

arre.... why did you end at that point....
next post please....
this had just set me in mood....

amsko 10:29 AM  

I agree with Yamini....

This is really not fair. Just when i was getting into the flow..... u ended it.... :(

You have to put up d next post ASAP...

Amrita

Marie 11:36 AM  

What test?
What happened?
Out with the next post fast...

If you delay that one as much as you had delayed this one, I am sure gonna kill you.

Caught Offside! 11:21 PM  

@ All: Ok, now I am seriously scared! Haven't really written under fear before! :D

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