Damn it to hell! Chotti froze in her tracks.
“Yes Ma’am? Good evening Ma’am.” Chotti maintained a neutral face with great difficulty.
“You need to work up these files and transfer them OnFile ASAP.” Dr. Singh handed her a bunch of files.
“Transfer files? I thought everything was done online?”
“Well you thought wrong doctor. India is a big country. Not all hospitals are paperless. Not everybody is a millionaire – unlike ASR.”
Chotti clenched her fists in anger. She knew Dr. Singh was taking out her angst on her because her father was ASR and he had once blown his top at her for ‘neglecting’ her patient and his wife Khushi.
“Make sure it’s done before 8 am tomorrow.”
Chotti dearly wished she could be her father’s daughter (oh she could so see herself throwing the files at Stingy’s smirking fat face). But good sense prevailed. She settled for the Khushi in her. Sending up a heartfelt prayer to the one and only DM, Chotti sweetened her voice to ASR’s blood sugar levels. “Sure Ma’am! But maybe Dr. Shubham could…”
“That’s not for you to decide. Besides Dr. Shubham is senior and more qualified than you.” She tapped the files. “This can be done by anyone.” Dr. Singh sneered.
Then why not get your secretary to do it?
Chotti gritted her teeth and bit her tongue. “Yes Ma’am. Sorry Ma’am. Just that I had plans for this evening…”
“A doctor has no plans for anything but her patients Doctor. Or did you expect your patients to follow your schedule?” she paused and tapped her cheek. “Hmmm…seems like a familiar dialogue…I wonder where I heard it?”
Chotti flushed and then paled. “I am sorry Ma’am.” She held up the files. “I will do them before I leave.”
“Good. I expect perfect and not slipshod work, just because you are in a hurry to reach some party.” Dr. Singh swept away.
Chotti fumed and shot daggers at her back. “Bloody #^%@%*&.”
“Tsk tsk. What language! What is this world coming to? No respect for elders and teachers.”
Chotti closed her eyes. Could it get any worse? Dr. Ashubh himself.
“Careful!” He cautioned.
She opened her eyes.
“Those files are important you know?”
Chotti looked down. She didn’t even realize that she had rolled them up and was in the process of mangling them beyond recognition.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
She released her stranglehold on them. “Dr Shubham.” She inclined her head. “I won’t take you away from your work.” She started walking away.
“Oh but part of my work is overseeing juniors.”
At the laughter in his voice, her hands swiftly rolled up the files again. If only she could unleash the ASR in her and bring it down upon his head…
“You wouldn’t be able to reach my head, even on your toes, Chotti.” At Shubham’s mocking glitter, Chotti’s blood pressure shot through the roof. Mamma was going to earful in the evening.
“Don’t exaggerate Munna Raja.” Shubham winced.
Instantly, Chotti’s kidney was infused with a gush of refreshingly cool blood.
He looked at his watch. “Oh I am getting late for Vishal’s engagement party. See you there.”
He turned. “Oops!” he looked pointedly at the files in her hand. “I guess you may not be able to make it.” He commiserated. “Even for dinner.”
Chotti’s nostrils flared.
He leaned forward and peered closely at her face.
She drew back in surprise. Now what?
“Just as well I suppose.” He sighed and shook his head.
She frowned suspiciously.
He looked around and lowered his voice. “You desperately need a shave.” Chotti’s eyes widened in shocked. “And the campus parlor shuts by 7.30 pm.”
Drinking in his fill of her speechless round O face and hiss of indrawn breath, he walked away, shoulders shaking.
It was all Chotti could do to stop herself from running after him and giving him a big whack on the head with the now again rolled up files.
Her eyes narrowed.
She would show him.
She would do these files and go to the party.
Just to show him.
But first things first.
Files in hand, she dashed off to the parlor.
Back at the hospital, Chotti sat down at the computer terminal and went about transcribing the reports and patient data. Anyone could have done this she fumed. Just because Stingy has an axe to grind with Dad – forget it Angel, she told herself, forget it and focus on the work. The sooner this is done the faster you can be out of here.
Her fingers flew over the keyboard (and the phone trying to organize her pick up to the party venue with her friends 😉
“Hey Angel! What are you doing here so late?” It was Dr. Tarun.
“Hi T!” Angel eased her aching back and pushed back her chair with a groan. She deserved a few minutes break.
“Aren’t you going to the party?”
“No.” Tarun sighed. “I am on call. I came here to do work on my article. What are you doing?”
“Working off Stingy’s angst.”
“What do you mean?”
Chotti unburdened her evening’s woes (taking care to leave out Munna Raja out of it) to Tarun’s sympathetic ear.
Tarun whistled. “That Stingy needs a sting or two.”
“Yeah. Millions actually.” Chotti said dolefully. “But how?”
“How much work is left?”
Chotti rifled through the files. “About an hour or so more and then I have to re-check it for errors. She has her claws out for me.”
“Why worry when Tarun is here? Leave it all to me.” He said grandly. “I will do it.” he reiterated when Chotti stared at him disbelievingly.
“Oh really? Great! Thanks, but what about…”
“Don’t worry I have the whole night. Even if I do get called, there will be ample time to find an hour to transcribe these files. And check it. A second person check is better isn’t it?”
Chotti threw her arms around him. “You are a priceless gem! Thanks a ton! Anything I can do?”
Tarun grinned sheepishly. “Actually there is.”
“I need your help with my article. My English isn’t so good. Big Boss threw the papers at my face.” He grimaced.
“Aww.” Chotti was instantly sorry. “How mean! Mail it to me. I will send it back to you by Sunday evening. That okay?”
“Cool! Now off you go.” Tarun gave her a light push. “And let me work. Ciao.”
“Ciao!” Chotti did a little exuberant little jig and punched the air. “Take that Stingy!” And just you wait Dr Ashubham – here I come!
Traffic was a nightmare but luckily for Chotti, she made full utilization of the time by dozing off in the cab. She woke up 45 minutes later feeling quite refreshed and gung ho.
She would show him, floor him, and make him swoon, she swore over and over again to herself.
Nothing would give her greater pleasure than to wipe that smirk off his face and that condescending patronizing look!
Alternately, gloating and swearing, Chotti entered her studio apartment.
In the confusion of her delay and nap (and dreams of wowing that Man), she forgot to pick up her dress from the cleaners.
What the hell was she going to wear now? She had laid out all the accessories to go with her pink dress in the morning and all she had to do was pick up the dress – oh what a disaster.
Could she go and pick it up now? Would they deliver?
She called them on an off chance. But luck wasn’t on her side. Nobody answered the phone. The shop had probably shut for the night.
She stared wistfully at her open cupboard. What could she wear that would go with her accessories and didn’t need to be washed or ironed?
Maybe she should just forget it – the party, dressing up and stuff was too much like work – rest and sleep was what she yearned for.
A pair of gleaming eyes taunted her – Chotti stiffened.
No! Not going was not an option. Not even if she had to go in her pajamas.
But what about that patronizing derisive grin?
Desperate, she scrabbled around her wardrobe. Why o why now of all times did she have nothing good to wear? She cast a look at the clock, almost 8.30 pm. The gang would be arriving soon to pick her up. She had to start getting ready now.
Something in pink – that would save a lot of bother.
Hey! What was this pink cellophane wrapped thing? Had her dress been magically teleported to her wardrobe? She drew it out.
Oh! It was the sari Daddy had bought for her.
She had loved it the instant she had laid her eyes on it but Khushi had rolled her eyes. “You couldn’t find anything else or what?
“What do you mean?” ASR retorted, “And what’s your problem? Angel loves it. Jealous?” he mocked.
Khushi heaved a big sigh. “I am not you! And stop judging people by your standards,” she wrinkled her nose at him. “Chotti has never worn a sari before and this material doesn’t drape very easily. Don’t you know?” She mocked him.
“Don’t underestimate my daughter,” ASR said, “I am sure she will manage just fine. Won’t you Angel?”
Chotti had nodded, happy to side with ASR. “I do love it! Please will you get the blouse and stuff stitched?”
Despite misgivings, Khushi had apparently done the needful and even slipped it in her case, the last time she had been home. Darling Mamma!
Time was short and she had never worn a sari before – but looked like she had little choice.
It was either the sari or not go to the party.
But of course that was not an option – HE would be there.
For the concluding part click here – Chotti’s Day Out – II