Vineet was the new guy on the block. He had recently joined our firm and he was allocated to my project team.
I expected the same camaraderie with Vineet as I had with the others in my team.
But he seemed much aloof. A guy with such boyish demeanor, it was hard to find a man in him. I invited him to the team tea breaks where we would walk upto the chai wallah near the office gate but he refused. However, he would often gang up with the guys and take discreet breaks. I later figured out that these were the “sutta” (smoking) breaks. It was a meant to a boy’s thing.
I was obviously left out during these breaks and I “did feel” left out. It seemed to me that this new guy was ruining team culture and ganging up.
During one of those “ganging” up rituals when Nitin, Jayant, Subramanyam had herded around Vineet talking in hushed tones, I disturbed them.
“Hello Guys. Sorry to interrupt your confidential and important conversion but May I know what it is about.”
“Oh Nothing.” One of them from the herd replied
“Guys this is not fair.” I said. “There is a lady in your team. Our company has an inclusive policy for employees, you can’t exclude some like this.”
“What lady are you talking about?” remarked Jayant, faking surprise.
I gave him some tough looks and proceeded with my discourse.
“Why, the other day I got to know about the client coverage fix you guy decided upon and implemented. You didn’t consult me. I could have let known of my opinion. We could have done better. We are a team guys.”
“Oh that great fix was envisioned by Vineet…uh, in the washroom. We happened to be with him at the moment and gave our acquiescence. “. It was Jocular Jayant again.
“Very funny” I remarked and made a grimace. “I am just asking you all to include me in team breaks so that we can have a chat and there would be sense of belonging inculcated in us. “
It seemed they paid little attention to me but I was not to be let gone so easily.
So, one of those times when they had started suddenly disappearing from their desks albeit one by one, I decided to confront them. I rushed downstairs and caught hold of Vineet near the vending machine and said to him panting “You….You left me alone yet again.”
He looked up to me with an expression seemed to me like a mix of frustration and bewilderment. The next moment he was back to his indifferent self and remarked icily.
"Left you !! Oh, How many times have I told you to shut yourself in a suitcase? I will carry you along wherever I go".
Oh Boy, This guy had some sense of humor. Instead of getting angry, I was impressed. I was all smiles and I said "Wow. You have a good sense of humor. How did you develop it?”
"I did not cultivate it. It is inborn."
I gave a reassured smile. Disregarding my gesture he added "And now if you please excuse me I have a headache. I hope you would not like to accompany me to the medical room. I am a grown up kid."
And he left.
I was surprised at him and more so at myself. I should have been angry but I was not. I found him rather cute. I liked him.
The next few days, I got the opportunity to work closely with him. He was sharp and intelligent. But I knew was better.
The next day, we were asked to assist boss with a telephonic Interview. It was for a short term project based in Australia and Ananta technologies decided it was better to hire locals. The way Vineet carried out the interview, I was very impressed. He was considerate towards the interviewee, asked open ended questions and was very fluent. This guy was cool, intelligent, smart however not conventionally good looking. But Cute.
I was increasingly falling for him.