The Silent Man
The Silent Man6 mins 421 6 mins 421
How are you?
Got a minute?”
A message flashed on my computer screen, and when I noticed the sender’s name my heart beat picked up the speed and before I could reply one more message followed.
“I just got released from my current project and looking for a new one.”
“In case there is any requirement in your project, please let me know”
Before I could reply, the sender’s status turned yellow and started showing away. At that time I was working on a critical issue that might have had a large impact but I did not realize when my fingers stopped the movement on the keyboard. My eyes got stuck on the message and my mind was moving fast to the past memories. Even after working in the same company for last many years, we never happened to cross our roads after we finished our last project and separated our ways. She has almost faded from my memories but this message brought back all the reminiscent a fresh.
On that day, I was just back after lunch when she entered the ODC for the first time. She was a young, slim, and beautiful girl who just passed out of a prestigious college and joined the company as a fresher. Her beauty almost stunned everyone and there were grins on the faces of mischievous guys. The sweat droplets on her lovely face appeared resembling to the reddish roses which had received the droplets of fresh dew early morning.
It was a new project of a European company and we had just started setting up teams for different supports. She joined my team and we got along well, we used to talk and discuss many things in the ODC. I don’t remember how it all started but almost every day I happened to look at her five-six times unintentionally and unfortunately each time our eyes would meet, at that moment, she would raise her eyebrows as if asking what and pass a sweet smile and then would get busy with her work. On the other hand, I would just blush and return to my work with the heart beat at the highest speed as if I just returned from a marathon.
Diwali was around the corner and our ODC was being decorated like a bride for an inter-ODC competition. All the boys and girls were in ethnic wear making the office environment totally different and giving it a festive look. She was dressed in a black Sari with silver embroidery and wore only a little makeup in fact she was never in need of makeup. She has left her long hair straight down and put a yellow bindiya on her forehead which was adding to her beauty. I was mesmerized by her look and could not keep my eyes off her even after all my efforts. She noticed this number of times as we made eye contact but she just smiled and ignored. She was the most active among girls in decorating the ODC and I also volunteered as wanted to stay close to her. The next morning, ODC was calm and there were only few people. We both were sitting on our seats busy with our work as usual but as soon as our eyes met that morning she stood up and started walking towards me. I was dumbfounded expecting something untoward is going to happen and might shatter my career, my heart was racing fast and legs started to shiver. I took a look at few other people present in the ODC but everyone was busy with his/her own workstations. She took just 20 seconds to reach my seat but during this time hundreds of thoughts passed through my mind making me nervous as I was totally unaware about what was in store for me.
She came straight, put her left hand on my desk leaning towards me and looked directly into my eyes as if trying to frighten me then wore a sweat smile on her lips and said. “Can we go for breakfast?”
This was not the first time when she was talking to me, but it was an invitation and before I could answer she had pulled my hand making me stand up. In the lift, I was just wondering what to talk and how to pull the conversation further. When we sat on a table having Masala Dosa along with hot tea, she again took initiated to talk and covered a lot of issues related to office, family and her hobbies and all through the time I was savoring her beautiful face and remained a patient listener and at the end I realized that she loves to talk a lot just as much as I like to keep silent.
After that day we had breakfast together many times and each time I would just listen to her with only intercepting hmmm, oh, yes, ok etc. she would talk and I would keep looking at her face listening to her beautiful melodious voice. As long as she talked I would be lost into her deep eyes sometimes looking at her lips which appeared to be two petals of a fresh red rose.
Finally one day when we were having breakfast, she left the space of talk for me saying “today you speak, I will only listen to you.” I was astonished to hear this, totally unaware of what to say. I thought to tell her a story and started thinking about different stories that I had read till that time, but all the stories that I could recollect in my mind were like the unorganized clips of different movies. Then I thought to share with her my family things, about my old mother who is in need of care, about my only elder brother who left us alone after the marriage, or about me who does the chore at home before coming to office. I was just trying to find something appropriate to start with but of no use. Meanwhile she kept looking at my face with expressions changing again and again. She waited for few minutes and then stood up and leaned a bit towards me with an angry face: “I know you love me but you could not muster enough courage to say this to me. I can’t take the initiative each time. You are such a boring and dumb silent man. I am getting married the next month and with a boy who has taken the initiative. He not only listens to me but talks to me as well.” Then she picked up her handbag and left murmuring and I easily guessed what she was saying as I had got used to her lip movements. She was murmuring as if cursing “Silent Man”.
I felt a hand on my shoulder and heard a voice saying “brother, you were working on a critical issue, what happened? Why did you stop midway? Please finish it ASAP as the client is behind us.” I at once returned to my senses, looked up and saw my manager’s tensed face. I just said “ok” and then my fingers started moving on the keyboard as if they were trying to race ahead of my heart. The feeling of loneliness began to creep in my mind making me wonder if really the common belief about women being talkative and not wishing to listen is wrong as happened in my case.