Chapter 189: Paper Works
“Sheila chachi isn’t well. Let’s go see her.” Sunaina said.
I am unweller than anyone. Rajani looked at her MIL. “Please Mummyji may I stay at home?” Rajani’s voice was low. “I am not feeling well…”
“Why? You don’t have any fever do you?” Sunaina put a hand on her forehead.
“No. I am feeling weak and dizzy.”
“That’s from lying around on the bed for days on end. If you go around, meet people…”
“I need to look for a new job too. Write some applications. Harsha marked out a few advertisements…”
“Okay fine.” Sunaina gave in with poor grace. “I’ll go alone.”
“No Mummyji!” Rajani’s voice rose instantly in protest. “Please.” She added hastily. “Please take Dipika along. She wont let me do any work. See how she’s moving towards the door. She knows…”
Sunaina laughed and picked up the chubby little girl waving her tiny arms in excitement. “Of course she does!” she kissed and cuddled Dipika. “After all she is my granddaughter. Okay I will take her along.”
Rajani lay back among the cushions on the sofa with relief.
Alone at last.
But was that a good thing? Would the voices in her head ever give her peace and quiet? She could run away from the others but how could she run away from herself? Besides, she was tired of running of living among ‘enemies’ as an ‘enemy’ of constantly waging a battle but pretending as if all was well.
If only she could go home, pull the covers over her head and wake up before the nightmare began – before her accident. And begin all over again.
She longed for the comfort of home. But home was no solace either. Tempers were running high and mood was at an all time low in Chandigarh. Ritu had convinced Abhi to apply for permanent residency in Canada. Paperwork was in progress and Nisha was terribly depressed while Ritu was fuming mad at their obstructionist regressive attitude and never tired of reiterating and highlighting it to anybody who cared to listen.
Yet, craving to hear the familiar comforting voice of her mother Rajani called her up. After the initial niceties, Nisha got on to her favorite horse.
“I don’t know what sins we have committed in our previous life.” Nisha sniffed, “Why can’t Abhi and Ritu to stay in the country? Who will look after us in our old age? What’s the point of having a boy if he is going to go away?”
“Let me come back home Mamma. I’ll look after you. Always. I promise.”
“As if girls can look after their parents!” snapped Nisha.
“If she can look after somebody else’s parents why can’t she look after her own parents?”
“That’s not the way of the society…”
“One day I will die and then you will see how much this society of yours…”
“Shut your mouth girl!” Nisha interrupted. “Always thinking and saying negative things. Come out of yourself Rani. Look at the world and look at yourself. You have everything and yet all you can do is grumble and complain. You have to make the best of the situation but no. You like to make a fuss and destroy others’ happiness as well.”
“Give me a break Mamma! I had typhoid, I lost 4 kgs, I have no appetite, I can barely stand, I lost my job, Harsha wants me to find another job asap. As if they grow on trees. On top of it Mummyji held a dinner last night and the maid didn’t turn up. So I had to cook…”
“You have to do this much for your family Rani. Everyone does it. Even I did. Your Dadi never kept a maid. Why I cooked lunch the day after Abhi was born.”
“But you separated from her didn’t you?”
“We also want you to separate from your in-laws. Your father spent a fortune but who can fight destiny beta?”
“Anyway, forget it.” Rajani said bleakly. “I don’t expect you to understand or see my point of view. You just care about Bhai. You couldn’t even come down to see me, not even in hospital…”
“Oh Rani beta! Don’t think badly of us! Of course we care about you and worry about you. We haven’t slept nights wishing we could bring you home or at least see you.”
“Then why didn’t you?” Rajani asked.
“We didn’t want to pass the wrong message to your in-laws that we don’t trust them to take care of you.”
Bloody nonsense. Rajani banged down the phone. She immediately felt terribly guilty for thinking such awful thoughts about her own parents. Perhaps she was to blame, just like Harsha taunted. There was something wrong with her that even her parents had abandoned her.
Desultorily, she pulled the newspaper towards herself. A job would be nice. But would she be able manage? She was so exhausted. All she wanted to do was sleep and even that eluded her. She spent nights staring at the dark ceiling planning plotting fretting rebelling destroying shooting pleading hoping wishing but it all came to nothing.
A job. She forced herself to focus.
Rajani scanned the encircled bits. All sales executive jobs! But she didn’t want to travel. Besides, she hated the job, pushing shoving to reach doctors when she should have been the one on the other side of the table. If only Papa had sent her to Manipal. Surely he had spent that much or more on her wedding? Maybe he didn’t have the money then. Poor Papa. He was trying so hard, working till late at night so that she had a happy married life. But he didn’t know her in-laws were bloodsucking leeches.
She had specifically told Harsha that she wasn’t interested in a sales job and yet he…but of course he was just interested in the money. And have an excuse for not starting a family. It would be her fault, because of her job…
Rajani ignored the ones Harsha had marked and instead focused on the others. Surely there was something she could do? Maybe she could join some coaching institution as a Math teacher?
What was that?
How well do you read English? Can you spot the erorr? Yes? Drop in for a walk-in-interview for a proofreader today.
Rajani sat up straight. This looked promising even though she was hazy about the job requirements or even how much it would pay. But come what may, she wasn’t going to be a sales executive. She shuddered. Not again.
Feeling revived Rajani, called up the number mentioned, “Hello? I am calling about the proofreader’s job. Is it still…?”
“Yes. Come.” A harassed voice responded and disconnected the phone.
Rajani blinked at the silent phone in her hand.
Hesitantly she called back. “I wanted the directions to your office,” she said without any preamble worried that she would again be disconnected.
“Give me your number, I text you the directions.”
“When should I come?” Rajani dictated her number and asked.
“Giri! Giri!” the voice on the phone shrieked. “Don’t…wait…the zip is still open! Nidhi, hurry, and zip up Giri…”
This time Rajani disconnected the phone. She couldn’t control her giggles.
Rajani’s phone beeped. Now where was this place? Should she call up to ask again?
Her phone beeped again, with instructions this time. Second floor, white building opposite the Hanuman mandir.
The lane behind the Main Market.
Rajani got ready and dashed off a couple of texts to her wardens and ventured out into the bright winter sunshine and caught an auto. The temple was an easy landmark and taking blessings from Hanumanji, Rajani ventured into the office-cum-commercial complex.
Anil Bansal MD
Paper Works Pvt Ltd
Rajani gently pushed the door. It didn’t budge. She pushed harder but the door was unimpressed. Rajani took a deep breath and pushed with all her might.
The door swung open and she would have fallen if it weren’t for a pair of hands that reached out to steady her.
“Oops sorry.” He flashed his teeth and vanished.
She looked around with interest. The door opened into a large hall lined with several deserted workstations with one girl typing away assiduously at the far end of the room. She could see more rooms leading down the hallway on the right. On the left was a cabin.
And that’s where all the action was.
“What the hell is this?” The huge lady was waving the sheaf of papers threateningly at a diminutive girl.
The unfortunate girl visibly flinched. “Sorry Ma’am Gayatri left without any notice…”
“I don’t want any excuse!” She threw the papers in the air.
“Yes?” She barked at Rajani.
Rajani trembled regretting her hasty decision. The lady looked mad enough to eat her up. She hadn’t even told anyone where exactly she was going. What if something happened to her?