If there is one word which would describe my life, it is "Haphazard".
I don’t know what direction my life is taking up. All I know is that I am going to be married soon and that too to a guy I used to hate like anything. A guy for whom I developed a positive inclination only a few weeks back. And, I am making compromises in my career only to be with him. He, who is now my significant other,.
I never thought someone could change my life upside down, the way he did. My principles, priorities, likes and dislikes changed. And all of it was done so beautifully and poetically and I could never complain. I am in a spell and I have no desire to come out of it.
While going through my journal today, I felt a huge gap between what I am now and what I was previously.
What am I? An IITian? A software professional? A writer? A girl hopeless in love or a complete idiot? I do not know. Or Perhaps I do, but I really don’t care.
How did I reach here? It seems like only yesterday that I was working comfortably with a software firm. I was doing well. I was enjoying my job. I was working with team members who were more of friends than colleagues.
I was living with Dahaliya and Irim who were my friends as well as roommates. We could relate well to each other for all of us were going through the similar challenges in lives. All of us were vying to make a place for ourselves in the outside world. We were discovering the world and ourselves. We had fun living together.
I was engrossed in preparing for CAT and GMAT while pursing a full time job. I had already cracked GRE, TOEFL and GATE during my final year at IIT Roorkee but deciding against pursuing higher studies in my core field of Civil Engineering. Software Engineering and Management seemed more lucrative.
The days were passing by calmly, until the day he arrived on scene and turned around my life upside down.
It must be the month of November when I first saw him. We had a lot of new joiners in our account that month. “An account” was a group of projects which catered to the same client. I was working for a Data Warehousing project at Ananta Technologies for a luxury Cruise Liner called Capricorn. Looking at the good work my company had done for them, Capricorn decided to delegate their upcoming projects to Ananta. There was expansion in most of teams and that meant more new joiners.
One of the new joiners was a medium built, fair guy with a happy go lucky kind of attitude about him. He had joined the Mainframe Support Project for Capricorn and took the seat adjoining to me. It was only a one and half feet long partition separating our desks. I could tell he was a fresher like me by the way his manager treated him. You could always tell a fresher from an experience professional by the way your Manager treats you. If you are a seasoned profesional, you have a friendlier and open relationship with your boss. If you are a fresher, it’s more of a trainee-trainer kind of relationship. Strangely enough, it took me months before I actually talked to this guy. I knew his name obviously for had heard people addressing him and also happened to overhear most of his conversions over phone and with his team members. Except for intense gazes he gave me whenever I rose from my desk to take a breaks he made no attempt to acknowledge my presence. He did not introduce himself to me and neither did I feel like doing the same. For one, he was always around. It would seem so awkward to get up one day and start talking without a rhyme or reason. He was like a tree in a garden under whose shade children would play. Children are aware of its presence but do not make friends with it. They don’t take much notice of it and talk about it because it seems so obvious. And for another, his gaze made me feel uncomfortable. It was a penetrating gaze. As if he could look past me. As if he could read my thoughts and knew me well.
Sometimes I wondered if he was same to everybody. But he was not. He was professional and friendly with his other team fellows which included a host of girls. He cracked jokes and seemed cheerful with them. With time I grew comfortable with his benign presence but I was never comfortable with the intense glances he gave me whenever our eyes met. No smile, no acknowledgement, just an all knowing, “I can see past you” look. His name was Rajat.
Another of the new joiners was the team member we had been waiting for most earnestly. Apart from my team-lead who had over 6 years of work experience, we were mostly a bunch of freshers. The new guy was called Vineet, we were told. He had 3 years of work experience, had previously worked at Infosys for Microsoft project using SQL analytics and was some kind of technical stud.
One fine day, I arrived and saw a thin boyish looking guy sitting on my chair which had been consciously shifted near the boss’ cube. I peered curiously.
“Ah Iti, come meet Vineet, our new team member about whom I was talking about yesterday. And Vineet, that’s Iti. She has been looking into all the ETL stuff,” said my boss.
I smiled graciously at Vineet , held out my hand to him and said, “Welcome to Capricorn Data warehousing team Vineet. We were looking forward to meet you.“ He smiled back politely and we had a brief handshake.
Vineet looked no older than a Class 11th boy. He looked like the younger version of Shahrukh Khan to me. Only that he was much shorter, thinner and less fair than the actor.
Pray why I compared him with ShahRukh Khan?
I don’t know, but there was something about him. That something was perhaps his attitude, his nonchalance or his boyish airs which reminded me of the revered actor. He was dressed in a formal cotton shirt with check pattern, and grey pants. The ensemble looked like some school uniform to me and added more to his school boy look. The Omega watch on his left hand seemed like his only distinguished possession.
On the whole he seemed like another decent guy whom I could befriend easily. It would not be bad to work with him I thought to myself.
I got back home that day, cooked fried Maggi which I generously shared with Dahaliya and Irim and filled them up about the new joiner in our team.
Dahaliya was some personality. With big bright eyes which even the thick spectacles could not hide, and heavily curled hair black-brown hair. No... they were actually black with a hint brown. She always wore a "I dont give a damn look" and was a no nonsense girl. She was always busy. And she would never sit idle. Either, she was reading, or was on her computer or was organizing things, or was cooking. At this point of time, she was browsing through a few papers and didn't look up to me while I described Vineet. An unknown person would have thought that she was lost in those papers. But since I knew her , I knew that I knew she was listening to me and reading the papers too. She could multitask the way no one else could. Since she did not look up from the papers, I asked her.
"So Dahaliya, what do you think of Vineet."
She looked up to me, stared at me for a few seconds and then said. "Please don't fall for him."
"What ?" I said , as Irim started giggling like a school girl.
"Dear Iti. I know how it goes with you. You meet a guy, you describe him to us. In the next few days you will be intrigued by him. You will find him extremely fascinating. By any chance if he fancies you, your fascination would wane and you would find him earthly. If he doesn't fall for you , you will have a heart-break, which we girls would have a hard time putting back in order. Please spare us the trial and tribunals of nursing your aching heart. Please ignore him. Don't think about him. Please don't fall for him."
I wanted to lash back on her but I did not know what to say. I was short of words. This indeed was what usually happened with me but she had no right to say it like that. It sounded real bad. It sounded as if I was desperate. No not desperate, confused. Or whatever.
People,... men and women are fascinating. How on earth I not get fascinated by them?
If get impressed with a guy and get attracted to him. It is all the well natural, isn't it?
Feelings are God sent. How can I control them ? But Dahaliya would never understand that. She was far too cynical for her own good. Anyways, I would not fall for Vineet. He seems to be decent guy. And I have a penchant for falling for the guys with grey shades.
I looked at Irim. She was listening to me with rapt attention a few minutes back but was now giving me a "I pity you" smile.
Ira Manchanda aka Irim looked no more than sixteen. She had a lean frame and a very innocent face. She always smiled no matter what. However, those who knew her could decipher her shades of smile. The pitiful smile, the happy smile, the mischievous smile, the sad smile. Most of the times she hung on to every word spoken by me or Dahaliya as if we were not speaking about mundane topics but were issuing some sermon. To others she may appear a little stupid.
She was a diehard romantic and hopeless optimistic. Her only woe in life was that she loved a guy who was well out of her reach. Her Shanshank. My school friend and batch mate at IIT.
While, me and Dahaliya were batch mates at IIT Roorkee, myself and Irim were school friends. I and Dahaliya got placed at software firms at Noida and Irim decided to pursue internship in web-designing at Noida. Fate had brought us together. Come to think of it, Dahaliya and Irim were exact opposite of each other and I, I was well a bridge between the two, literally. With time we had grown to respect each other's perspectives and developed a strong bond.
I made a face at both the girls and concentrated on my maggi.