If only she could be as blasé and bindaas as Riteish.
Tanya had passed by his station twice to check and hurry him but he was quite oblivious to the urgency. He moved his cursor and fingers in a leisurely and relaxed manner whilst busy chatting and joking with her. If he had his way he would have sat on the poster another day or two making changes to an already perfect poster. All said and done, under the tomfoolery he was an artist and the final outcome was beautiful. Perhaps she would keep a copy of it for herself, and put it up in her bedroom Perhaps Harsha would get the hint. She didn’t want to directly confront him. She knew what his answer would be. Have you got the appointment letter? Employment is not so easy for pregnant women, you do know that don’t you? Well he could hide behind that excuse but not for long. Next week the bosses were back and Tanya had assured her that she would personally ensure that her appointment letter was signed.
Finally the day arrived, a flurry of activity and Tanya came at a trot and whisked her away to meet the Managing Director Mr Bansal in his cabin.
“So you are the new recruit?” Portly and balding he did look more like a shopkeeper than an MD.
Rajani nodded. “Good morning Sir.”
“Do you like working here?”
“Children?” Rajani shook her head.
“Must be planning?” His beady eyes bore into her. She flushed and stiffened. “Then you will also leave like what’s the other girl’s name?” he looked at Tanya, “ahh yes, Gayatri.”
“We are like family here where our God is work. There is no such thing as this is not my job. Understand?” His eyes dissected her. “Leaves and holidays arent encouraged. If you work hard there is no limit to your growth but slackers are not wanted. Clear?”
“Yes Sir.” Rajani clenched her fists and stood still. “I like work Sir.”
“We can offer you a job on the same terms and conditions as Gayatri was employed.” He tapped the letter that Tanya had placed on his table.
Rajani cast an agonized look at Tanya who nodded encouragingly at her. “We can review again after six months.”
“Yes of course. And there’s a monthly bonus as well. All depends on how hard you work and what is your output. Did you explain all that to her Tanya?”
“Yes Sir.” Mr Bansal signed the appointment letter with a flourish and held it out Rajani. “Welcome to the family.”
Rajani’s face lit up. “Thank you Sir.”
Mr Bansal seemed to relax. He shook his head. “You aren’t a very good bargainer.”
Rajani looked from him to Tanya.
“You could have argued for a higher remuneration. Gayatri was hired two years ago.” He chortled at her expression of dismay. He turned to Tanya. “Make an appointment with Naina, we have some new ideas and projects.”
Rajani slipped out as they discussed work. “Congratulations!” Pakhi and Avantika crowded her. “Happy now?” They nudged her. “We told you it was nothing to worry. If BBW and Tanya want you, then it’s as good as done! But you are such a worry wart.” Pakhi shook her head.
“What’s the matter?” Avantika asked.
Tanya joined them. “You know how he is? He likes to puncture people’s balloons.”
“Sadist.” Muttered Nidhi. “What did he say?”
“Never mind now. You can talk it out at lunch. Now go back to your work.” Tanya urged.
“We want a treat.” Riteish popped up.
“Let the poor girl get her salary first.” Avantika said.
“Then we’ll have a party.” Nidhi joined in.
“Sure.” Rajani smiled. Feeling happy and overcoming the niggle over losing out, she called her parents. They were probably even more worried than either Harha or her or even both combined. Everyday they would call and enquire while her mother shed tears and keep longer and more difficult fasts and prayers. “Mamma, I got the job.”
Nisha sobbed and blubbered so much that Rajani couldn’t help but join her. She dashed off into the washroom for some privacy. But that wasn’t to be. BBW was there. But she forbore to say anything and walked out. “Okay Mamma, I’ll call later.” She mumbled.
“Okay just talk to your father for a minute.”
“Congratulations beta. This is great news. Now you can look focus in expanding your family. Just by coincidence I got to know of a renowned infertility specialist in Delhi. I have fixed up an appointment. I’ve texted the details to Harsha…”
“He agreed?” Rajani held her breath.
“Why would he not? He’s not paying for it. I am. Don’t worry beta. Everything will be fine now. I am there for you.”
“Thank you Papa.” She choked up. “Please tell Mamma to relax. I don’t know why she became so emotional…”
“Oh you don’t know?”
“What?” “Abhi and Ritu have been accepted for Canadian citizenship.”
“Oh!” Rajani was stunned. Talk had been on for quite some time but she had thought that’s all it was. That Bhai would actually leave the country had never registered. No wonder Mamma was so upset. Poor thing. She loved Bhai so much. Nidhi entered the washroom. She nodded at her. “I better go Papa. I’ll speak to Mamma later.”
Bhai was leaving. How strange and weird that felt. But not really sad. Sad for Mamma of course but for her it was a ray of hope. She could now go home. And stay there. For as long as she liked. Just the thought that she had an option made her feel tonnes better. She would go to the infertility specialist, have a baby and if things didn’t improve between her and Harsha she would move out to Chandigarh with her parents and have the best of all worlds.
Sounded like a plan!
She almost crashed into BBW. “Sorry Ma’am.”
The eyes pierced her. “All okay?”
“Yes Ma’am. My brother is leaving permanently for Canada so my mother was upset…” she trailed off feeling foolish. She should have just said yes and left it at that. Why explain? Budhoo. She kicked herself and escaped to her corner.
“So was your darling hubby happy with your appointment letter?” Nidhi poked her at lunch. “How did he reward you?” She asked wickedly. “Or shouldn’t one ask.” They laughed.
“He was okay,” Rajani pecked at her food, “until I told him about the poor bargainer bit.”
“What happened?” All eyes turned to her. Regretting opening up, Rajani shook her head and downplayed it. “Nothing.” She smiled. “I just got an earful for being such a fool.” She was proud of her blasé and casual tone. She was learning from Riteish!
“Even I had a tiff with my hubby.” Pakhi looked low. “What happened?” They turned to her. “Somebody snitched my wallet in the bus.”
“Oh no!” A chorus of dismayed voices rose up. “How awful for you! Was there a lot of money? Your credit cards?”
“See! See,” Pakhi pointed excitedly, “This was all I wanted to hear. But he came right back at me all guns ablaze. You are fool. You have no idea what’s happening around you. One day they will pocket you and you won’t even notice! Etc etc. He just snarled and growled until I also lost my temper and blasted him. We still aren’t talking.” She looked dolefully at her mobile. “Not a single call or message since yesterday.”
“Both of you are such fools.” Tanya said, but not unkindly. “A successful and happy marriage is heavily dependent on how good an editor the wife is.”
“Meaning you should only share information strictly on a need to know basis. And that too in brief.” She paused. “If at all.” She grinned.
“I don’t understand.” Rajani looked at Pakhi who shrugged and shook her head. “What did you hope to achieve by sharing about your being a poor bargainer?”
“Nothing. I just wanted to share…”
“Share and what did you expect his reaction to be?” Tanya derided and switched to a false voice. “Oh you poor darling, my sweet little darling, don’t you worry I’ll go and shoot that man or better still make him sign another appointment letter at gunpoint.” They fell about laughing with Rajani giggling the most.
“Well?” Tanya looked at Rajani and Pakhi.
“No.” Pakhi said “Nothing like that. I just thought that he would understand and I…”
“I should confess all and unburden my heart and soul to him and he will just absorb it all like a sponge? He would tenderly wipe my tears, enfold me in his warm embrace, shush me console me, take me for a movie, a drive, a dinner…”
“Something like that.” Pakhi spoke over the laughter.
Tanya sighed. “Come out of the fairy tale world. Or should I say the M&B world. That’s fiction not reality.”
“So if something like this happened with you,” Nidhi gestured to Rajani and Pakhi, “you wouldn’t discuss it with your husband?”
Tanya grimaced. “If I needed help in making an FIR perhaps I would have but after so many years of being married, I prefer to handle crisis situations myself.
“The thing is they get so stressed out when they cant take any remedial action such as bashing up another guy, they do the next best thing – blow up the nearest convenient target.” She pointed an imaginary gun at Rajani and blew at it after pulling the trigger. She shrugged. “I am sure there are exceptions.” She tapped her chin. “But I havent found any.” She grinned.
“So I should just swallow all my thoughts and keep it all bottled up?” Rajani couldn’t quite keep out the resentment. “I can’t tell my parents either because they would also get upset.”
“Not at all!” Tanya denied. “That’s where girlfriends come in! Girlfriends are to whom you should unburden your heart and soul.”
“Oh please!” Nidhi rolled her eyes. “I don’t want my girlfriends to call me darling or sweetheart!” “Don’t worry they won’t!” Tanya spoke over the laughter. “They will likelihood call you a budhoo but boost you too.”
Click here for the next chapter: War of Words