As reported earlier, initially Aman tried to avoid Poo and noticing his aversion to her company, Poo also withdrew and busied herself in learning the tricks of the trade at the office as well as she could by interacting with the other staff and whenever possible, ASR himself.
But then as fate would have it, when ASR decided to open a branch office at Gurgaon (where all the actual work would be done with a corporate office in South Delhi), Aman and Poo were forced to work in close proximity. Aman was deputed to oversee things while Poo was sent as well mostly because it would be a wonderful opportunity for her to see a project start right from scratch. There was tonnes of work, the best way for Poo to learn the ropes but then for Aman, time was in short supply and neither did he have any inclination towards running a nursery or teaching someone A for apple, B for badka apple, C for chutka apple, so on and so forth.
Still, Poo persisted and she would land up at Aman’s door each morning and ask politely, “Any work for me?”
Aman would mentally sigh and hand her a few files and mutter, “Just go over these and check for any irregularities.”
Poo could see very clearly that she was being fobbed off but then short of throwing a temper tantrum or complaining to ASR she had no choice but to accept the situation. Strangely she found Aman’s avoidance and obvious reluctance to include her on his team very challenging. She of course knew that Aman was ASR’s right hand and it was sort of intriguing that Aman had the gumption to ignore his sister, adopted and scarred though she maybe – after all agar ASR ne kisi ke sar par hath rakh diya toh wohi kaafi hota hai sabka moonh bund karne ke liye right? So what’s with this guy she mused, surely not so put off by the scar that he couldn’t bear to be in her company. Unlikely, she thought with admirable detachment, but possible. So in deference to his possible ‘phobia’ she again began using her hair as a curtain to cover her scar and while focusing her energies on diligently going over the files and checking all details assiduously. I will break through the invisible barrier you have erected Mr Man, just you wait she swore silently to herself.
Her diligence slowly paid off and she was able to report back to Aman with a couple of detailing oversights as well as technical errors, nothing earth-shaking but significant nonetheless and earned a couple of grudging ‘thank yous.’
Things came to a head one day, when two of Aman’s trusted aides went on emergency leave, simultaneously, one because his father had a heart attack while the other tripped over his son’s toy and fractured his arm. Aman sighed as he sat in his cabin surrounded by piles of files demanding his attention – ASR would surely have his hide this time, just then Poo tripped in with, “Any work for me?” and took in the mess on his table.
Aman rubbed his head wearily, ab isko bhi entertain karo, he grumbled to himself, ‘create’ work for her while I sit drowning in it, he seethed.
Not taking the hint, Poo held her ground, it was today or never, “I believe both Rahul and Punit are on leave?” Poo coughed and then said clearly, “I am not just a pretty face you know.”
Aman’s head shot up and he looked at her full in the face, she met his slightly shocked glance squarely; he nodded a bit shamefacedly, “Yeah I know,” he mumbled and then his eyes widened and he turned a bright red, “Oh I am sorry, I didn’t mean…” he stuttered, “I meant…”
Poo laughed, “Don’t worry, I know what you meant and now if you are done with your prejudice about ‘babysitting your boss’ sister’ how about if I try to make your day worse?” she said archly.
Aman laughed a bit grimly and admitted, “You could hardly make it worse,” he looked around his table, “The problem is that I don’t know where to begin, that pile,” he pointed, “was Rahul’s and this one Punit’s and the rest mine,” he sighed, “and now ASR intends to take stock today instead of on Saturday,” he leaned back in his chair and steepled his fingers, “Any suggestions?” he asked with studied politeness, only bothering to include her because he still felt awful about his earlier faux pas.
“How about if you go through your pile with me, and discuss with me while I make notes,” she waved her hands, “You know, make a list where phone call has to be made, facts checked, figures totaled, further research required etc etc,” she was in full flow, “And then I could re-organize that list to see which could be further delegated to other office staff and that which you need to personally check or follow up or,” she hesitated and then plunged right in – in for a penny in for a pound, “or perhaps I could see if I do these, with help and advice from you of course?” she added hastily, “That way at least your pile would get done faster and leave you some time to skim through the other files so that you are at least able to brief ASR, and I am sure he would understand that a complete report couldn’t be filed because two people are absent ek saath,” she looked at Aman expectantly and waited for the verdict.
Aman was silent; it was a good suggestion and possibly the best way to salvage the situation under the circumstances, “Of course ASR would probably pull me up for not contributing enough as a team member,” she added slyly as an afterthought.
“Ok ok,” Aman surrendered – waise bhi what the hell am I fighting and why? – he wondered to himself, sahi toh keh rahi hai, together they could easily bring the situation under control so why was he so reluctant to include Punya? In any case this was war and no time to give bhav to his own petty prejudices, “lets get to work,” he pulled a file towards himself and waved her into a chair. Punya barely had time to fish out a notepad and pen, leave alone gloat before she was inundated with comments, suggestions and queries. They worked steadily and compatibly over the next few hours and were able to dish out a reasonably worthwhile report to ASR by evening.
“Not bad Aman,” that was high praise coming from ASR, “especially since two of your right hands are missing today.”
“Yeah, no,” Aman waved a hand towards Punya, “I have to give credit to Punya,” he coughed and cleared his throat, “She is very organized I must say and I couldn’t have managed without her help.”
Arnav smiled approvingly at a beaming Punya who was over the moon at having broken through the glass ceiling – a word of approval from ‘the Man’ himself.
“Aman,” Arnav turned to him, “You need to go to Jaipur to organize the material supply from Kirodi Lal and sons, how about next weekend? All this would have been wrapped up?” he waved at the pile of files, Aman nodded.
“Okay fine then, I will ask Di to go as well,” he turned to Poo, “You also go along, it will be a good learning experience for you,” Poo nodded happily.
Aman sighed mentally and interjected, “I should take Mahesh as well, his father-in-law is a reputed businessman in Jaipur and close to Kirodi Lal.”
“Good,” Arnav gave his approval, “Well that’s fixed then? Just an overnight trip, leave on Saturday morning and be back by Sunday night,” he looked at Aman, “don’t be late, remember both Di and Poo are your responsibility.”
Fate grinned and rubbed her hands in glee.
Click here for Chapter 358