Pankaj could not take his courage in both hands to walk up to his boss Rishav. His heart sank in fear. He was an otherwise carefree and street-smart chap, but something happened that away took every ounce of confidence in him. He checked his watch again. It was only 10:30 in the morning. There was no reason to make a mess of what could be a beautiful Friday, or maybe there was.
In a software company, like the one that employed Pankaj and sent him to England on deputation, customer was God, if not something more powerful; while managers were vultures. Even without being poetic, most, like Pankaj could appreciate the subtle metaphor in it.
He checked his watch again. 10:35. ‘What could have possible gone wrong? ‘, he said to himself. There was no obvious answer. There was no mail till then, at least not in his mailbox. But 38 missed calls in 10 mins! He wondered what was going on. Something had to be very very wrong.
He had a very good working relationship with Craig. If Craig had something to say – he wouldn’t go to Rishav, but get it sorted with Pankaj. Their mutual understanding was just right. They would travel together for meetings off to London or watch matches or get a drink before weekend. They even had dinner together the night before. Craig was the last person to have called him 38 times and then not answer his phone.
Pankaj looked at his phone. It was too costly a possession to bear the wrath of his frustration. ‘You can’t afford to throw your iphone like a Nokia 3310 handset’, he said to himself as he punched his left palm with right hand, ‘what kind of an idiot silences his phone to put off an alarm?’ Clearly, he was the finest of them.
The clock struck 10:50. In another ten minutes, he has to tell Rishav – no matter what, that is if he hadn’t known already from other sources or if it was Craig himself who he was in call with. With each passing second, Pankaj started feeling what cold sweat was like. Premonition of forthcoming events started rehearsing at the back of his mind. This could be his very last day in customer engagement – so no more going out and having free drinks, losing of that importance among colleagues without having to work his ass off or even worse, sent back to India for having a massive customer escalation, quite contrary to what happened last night which should have charged up his career instead.
Craig had expressed his interest to try Indian cuisine or Pankaj’s version of it, to be specific. Pankaj was no good in cooking, but how could he let this opportunity pass by? If he kept Craig happy, he’d hardly have to slave around like others in the office. Then in England no one need to know cooking to make Indian food. He invited Craig to his house after buying a bottle of jalfrezi paste, chicken and some readymade frozen parathas. He shouldn’t have emptied half of that bottle of paste but it was a boon in disguise. Though the butter chicken was spicy, it seemed to have flared Craig’s taste buds. He finished five of those stuffed parathas with the notoriously red gravy of the side dish.
Pankaj checked his watch again. It was 10:55. He got up from his desk. Tiny bids of sweat now actually accumulated on his forehead. He knew his knew his knees were trembling. His mouth was getting dry in search of catch phrases to open conversation with Rishav.
Right then his phone beeped. A message from Craig read, “Now I know why you Indians prefer water than paper.”
This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. We give out creative writing topics each weekend for Indian bloggers. This time your entry must contain, ’38 missed calls in 10 mins! He/She wondered what was going on.’