It was nearly midnight when I stepped on the platform of the desolate railway station of Panchalpur. I had to catch a connecting train to my workplace. I rushed towards the enquiry and was dejected to find that I have missed the train. As the next train was only after three hours I made my way towards the ladies waiting room. It was empty and I was a bit apprehensive about sitting alone there. So I decided to march towards the general waiting room. Before stepping in, I peeped through the window to scan the waiting room. I found it almost empty except for a man. I was not sure whether to step inside or not.
'What if the man was harboring some dark desires within him?' My mind asked me, 'What if he tries to harm me, finding me alone and helpless?'
I took time to scrutinized the man from a distance. By his looks and attire, he seemed to be gentleman. I had three - hours long wait and I could not afford to spend time standing outside in cold. I drew a deep breath and decided to face the music boldly. I stepped in with a confident air and sat on a chair by the window while completely ignoring the man. Though outwardly, I was calm and composed my heart was thumping heavily inside my chest. From the corner of my eyes, I furtively analyzed his reaction on seeing a young girl in a vulnerable condition in a lonely waiting room. I clasped my fingers tightly on my chair and waiting for him to make advances as I have presumed. But to my surprise, he seemed to be as jittered as me with my presence in the waiting room. He drew his bag close to him and threw some clandestine but anxious glances at me. A moment later, he picked up his luggage and ran out of the room leaving me utterly bewildered.
'Why should a man as strong and sturdy as him be afraid of a petite girl like me?' I wondered as I watched him hurry out.
I shrugged after he was gone and plugged my ears with headphone and switched on the music. After a while, I felt an urge to visit the washroom. As I couldn't take the risk of leaving my luggage unattended, I carried it to the washroom.
"I think she is gone."
A voice coming from the waiting room caught my attention and I peeped out of the keyhole. The man who was there in waiting room with me had returned and was talking with someone over the phone.
"Why are you being afraid of a girl?" The voice from the other end was audible to me as well owing to the dead silence of the night, "She is just a meek and powerless creature."
My heart raced up as those words fell on my ears.
"Well," the man on the other end said in a filthy tone, "Is she beautiful?"
"Don't you remember the tragedy that happened to Varun last week?" The stranger in the waiting room said, "He befriended some girl on a train journey and they had drink together. And when he woke up next day, she had robbed him off all his belongings. Only Almighty knows who this girl is and what villainy is brewing in her mind?"
I felt like thrashing him to pulp but I instantly gulped down my anger and stepped out of the washroom as I heard him hang up.
His face flushed and he threw sheepish glances at me as he was worried that I may have heard his conversation over the phone. Anger burnt ferociously on my face as I thought of ways to pay him back in his own coins. I pulled out my phone and called my friend and colleague Esha.
"Hi Esh," I said as she picked up, "Have you completed the presentation for our client meeting next week?"
"Oh no," Esha said yawning, "you know na, after the retirement of our CEO Swaminathan Sir, the post is still vacant. So I thought what's the hurry. I am planning to do it at leisure."
"No Esha," I said as I switched my phone to the loud speaker mode for him to hear, "As we are respectable citizens and not scoundrels or robbers, we should be responsible and do our jobs sincerely."
"Yes, you are right," Esha said as she seized some time in between her incessant yawns, "Amit told me yesterday that a new CEO will be appointed soon on Swami sir's recommendation."
"What!" I nearly forgot about the stranger as I thought of the colossal jobs that I have left pending on my office desk before going on a week long leave based on a firm belief that the new appointment will be much delayed, "Oh God, I too have lots of pending jobs. When will be our new Boss taking charge?"
"In a day or two," Esha's sleepy voice made my heart skip a beat, "His name is Dev Patel and he has worked as a subordinate of Swami sir apart from being one of his best friends."
I hung up the phone as a bead of sweat trickled down my forehead. To my dismay, I found the stranger in the waiting room chuckling.
'So you think it was all a lie,' I thought as I pulled out the ID card of my company and wore it around my neck, 'See I have proof!'
He dazed me again by bursting into peels of laughter to which I glared atrociously at him.
"You must finish all your pending jobs as early as possible," he said as he caught his breath, "Because I am Dev Patel - your new Boss."
He pulled out his appointment letter with our company's emblem smiling mockingly at me!