It is hardly a month since I joined the company. After some initial training, I was assigned to the newly formed marketing support group reporting directly to the Chief. I had not met many in the office and was happy when the chief asked me to introduce myself and make a presentation on the new group in the seminar of all marketing executives the next week. I prepared well to make an impression
The conference hall was crowded. When my turn came I started with initial trepidation but grew confident when I saw the happy smile in my Chief’s face and the attentive listeners. When I paused at one point to change the image on the projector, I noticed a young guy staring at me intently. He was strikingly handsome in his dark maroon striped shirt with a yellow tie. He must be a tall man, slightly rugged and fair complexioned reminding me of Brad Pitt.I avoided his gaze and proceeded with my work. But there was something compelling that made me look at him again and again. He was literally staring at me as a tiger at its prey I felt my mind was losing its focus and sipped water.
When the presentation was over, there were some questions mostly seeking clarification but the ones from this guy were mischievous with intent to test my knowledge. Though irritated, I was equal to the task and on one occasion my chief came to my help. The guy kept quiet there after without diverting his attention from me.
During the buffet lunch in the hall, when I was standing in a corner alone, he came near me and asked with a smile “Did I upset you with my questions? They were actually intended to draw your attention to my presence”
I liked his audacity and dash and said “Not at all. It showed that you were attentive to the lecture. I was well prepared any way.’
“I am Girish, senior marketing executive and work in sixth floor” He added with a mischievous grin “Congratulations. You did extremely well. It looks that I may have to seek the help of MSG (marketing support group) rather frequently henceforth.I know you are Akila as you introduced yourself in the hall.”
“Thank you, Girish.I think they are assembling for the next session. We can meet later. I am in the third floor very near my Chief’s room”
“Would you consider it inappropriate if I sit by your side in the afternoon session? Seats are not earmarked, you know and you cannot anyway object” he said with a smile that made me involuntarily extend my hand’
“With pleasure, we can sit together” I said and hastily moved unable to resist his magnetic charm.
I chose a seat in the corner where there were not many participants and he came promptly to sit beside me. His proximity and the mix of mist perfume with his masculine odour were heady for me. I could hardly pay attention to the deliberations. His hand rubbed against mine and what I initially thought was inadvertent turned out to be by design as he never removed his hand. I chose to ignore the goose bumps and listened to his whispers. He was telling about himself and his XLRI days the very same institution where I too had studied. The three hour session went by so fast. He pressed my palm before getting up and said he looked forward to the pleasant days ahead.
Within a few months we were deeply in love with each other. He spent many afternoons in my cabin ostensibly to seek MSG’s help but really for love talk. We dated frequently and went to pictures and restaurants. He was telling once that his parents were status conscious being wealthy and that my humble circumstances in relation to them may prove a minor hurdle but was hopeful of his bringing them around. He hugged me once and said “Never fear. I will not let you down”.
A few months later he dropped into my cabin and said “Tomorrow evening there is a function at the Banquet hall in Taj Coramandel.I want you come in your best You can meet my parents there. Do not be put off by the high society females there. I will be there looking for you”
I have never gone to such social function of high society. I had a shower, put on the best sari I had and the expensive perfume he had gifted. I had a touch of lip gloss and a faint brush of color on my cheeks. I was hesitant when I entered the banquet hall and looked amidst the crowd for Girish.There was a big crowd of well to do people and ladies decked in finest jewelry and costly apparels. I glided carefully to the centre of the hall where there were many milling around.
When I saw Girish in richly embroidered cream Lucknowi achkan with a jasmine garland and a young woman of immense charm in a very costly sari studded with gold and zari, my heart stopped beating and legs became weak. I felt giddy and thought I may fall down.”What a cruel joke and treachery inviting me to his betrothal function. Never did he give an inkling of the deception he had in mind during all the intimacies he had with me” I thought and wanted to let out a scream. I saw him looking at me but made no attempt to come towards me.
I went away from them all with my hand on my sobbing mouth and wished to make a quick exit. But the wretch I am, everything went black and I was about to faint when two strong hands held me”Akila, are you ok.I am sorry. You would have been very rightly shocked. I should have told you beforehand.”
“You wretch, take your hands off me. I will scream if you touch me” I shouted at him
“What are you blabbering Akila? Here is orange juice. Have it. I will take you to my parents first to introduce you”
“Whatever for? Our relationship has ended. Go and marry the girl waiting there for you, you cheat”
Girish started laughing uncontrollably even as he said “That is Gautam, my twin brother. We are identical and I chose the same cream achkan for fun. What a foolish and sensitive girl you are”
He put his arms around me to the amusement of all assembled as he led me to his parents.