Arpita Mathur was the only female leader, in Time's alpha-male dominated C-Suite. She was Time's Chief Financial Officer. She took over the reins, when Time was going through its worst financial crisis due to some bad decisions taken by her predecessor. She was elected as the next Chief Financial Officer, Time's first female entrant in the C-Suite. Her counterparts wrote her off as Time's glam-doll or a scapegoat whom Time's leadership brought in to probably pin the disaster on. They did not expect her to do much, as only a miracle could have saved Time from its financial shambles.
Arpita was always an underdog, who in-fact loved being underestimated, because she was always addicted to proving her detractors wrong. She spent her initial rough patch trying to revise the financial policies, amending bad decisions, took some very strong calls and made the impossible of restoring Time's financial glory, possible. This earned her multiple accolades, awards from prestigious institutes, including people's choice of Most Favourite CFO. With just one master stroke she silenced her critics, who, now started to tell others how they always believed in her abilities. In the next couple of years, she stood her ground firm and was a cover girl of almost every business magazine. She had set a benchmark for most women and many aspiring female leaders often quoted her as their role model.
Time's current CEO was nearing his retirement early next year. Arpita was a strong candidate for the CEO's position.
That's when Armaan entered her life. He was completely demanding and the relationship was very delicate. She had failed a few relationships earlier while chasing her career, so she was keen not to fail him. Her priorities changed, as he demanded more of her time. It caused her a lot of frustration and disappointment. Sometimes she was depressed too, as she saw the CEO's throne, (her secret dream of being the first woman CEO of Time) go further away from her, because of him.
The more she cared for him, the more he demanded of her. Sometimes she found it impossible to balance between his demands and the needs of her job's role and responsibilities. He had Arpita wrapped around his little finger. She went running to his rescue, at his every call. Every time she looked at him, she was smitten by his charms. It was love at every sight. She stood at a crucial crossroad of life, in choosing between her personal life and professional.
She chose him.
This meant a setback, a break from her highly successful career. Sometimes she was filled with envy, jealousy and bitterness when she saw people who were behind her, surpass her, in professional success, leaving her with an occasional bout of self doubt. She sometimes wondered how life would have been, had she chosen to avoid him. That thought never lasted longer than a few minutes, even though he never gave her any "me" time.
One day, when he slept soundly, she stealthily opened the drawer of her personal cabinet, where she had kept those magazines, that had once pinned her pictures as their poster girl. She caressed each cover page, closed her eyes, trying to recollect her every interview, the tough questions, her smart answers, the change in the tune of her detractors. She recollected the thundering applause at every award function, which she never came empty handed from.
She always believed in miracles, she never lost hope. She always knew she will definitely make a come back to the C-Suite and claim her throne. She envisioned herself seated in the CEO's office.
He stirred in his sleep and she hurriedly shoved the magazines back in the drawer and rushed back to him. She transitioned swiftly from the world of her dreams to the true reality that lay on the bed. She slept next to him.
Her life continued to thrive on hope. His name was Armaan, ironically, Armaan means hope! (in hindi, India's national language)
After sometime, her situation required her to go back to work. She returned to the demanding work life, however it was not easy. She had lost her position as the Chief Financial Officer and the C-Suite seemed distant. Time welcomed her back, however they appointed her as a Client Partner for one of their key portfolios. This role was several steps below the C-Suite. However, she still thrived solely on hope!
During one of her client visits, she was invited for dinner. While there were a couple of dignitaries from Time, gracing the dinner table, the client still chose to sit next to Arpita and flirted blatantly with her. In one of the "off the table" remarks, the client asked her "Do you believe in love at first sight." Time's leaders were shocked, there was an eerie silence at the dinner table. All eyes were on Arpita.
She smiled warmly at the client and replied without a blink, "Ofcourse! I beleive in love at first sight, I am a mother."
She was back in the game, proving people that she was more than just a glam-doll gracing a dinner table.
As she looked around the table, there were friendly smiles from the counterparts who instantly recollected Arpita's sharp as a whip, presence of mind.
The client was quite shaken by her response & tried to regain his composure and asked her a bit nervously. "Whats your baby's name?
She replied, "His name is Armaan Mathur. Armaan means hope!"
The client signed a five year contract with Time and agreed to most of Time's terms & conditions including all the clauses related to compensation. When the deal was signed, her supervisor (who was based in the head office) asked her how did she manage to do it, because the client was tough negotiator. Quite a few leaders had tried their hand at negotiation & eventually passed it to Arpita thinking she wouldn't be able to stand the litmus test, especially where they failed.
As she spoke into the phone, the smile was distinct in her voice when she replied, "Never underestimate a girl with hope!"