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‘Please. No. Not now!’ The frustration could not be contained seeing the phone ringing. It was him. The villain of her life.

“Yes boss?” She tried to sound composed.

“No, I did not close the discussions. I will follow it up tomorrow”

……. “Today?… I can’t………. I have some important personal work……..Yes, I know….. I am putting in effort…….I could not avoid…. I am not arguing….. But….” Every word of her was bordering frustration.

The line was disconnected. Silence. Relief. Hatred. Anger. Anxiety. She was a blend of emotions at that moment.

‘The day will come when I will get the better of you. And that day, you will beg for mercy.’

‘Get out of your dreams Madam. You simply can’t do anything.’

Her thoughts were running from one end of the spectrum to the other.

Something was giving a nagging sensation in her head. ‘Oh! It is the torn shoe’. If an exhausted appearance after the day’s turmoil called work was not enough, she had to deal with a torn shoe accompanying her to the interview. And why on earth did she wear a semi-casual outfit for work today? ‘Yes! You had planned to take half day off, come back home, freshen up and appear for the interview. Great planning. Are you insane? Don’t you know that office is the socially accepted legally recognized version of the proverbial crime world? You just can’t get out of it as per your liking.’

Now she has to rush for the interview. An interview which was a gateway to freedom. Freedom from the demon himself and his adorable witch. ‘Ah! That witch. Yes, now I get it. My torn shoe. Thanks to the witchcraft. A fortnight full of sleepless nights, deciphering huge pile of data and collecting insider information through contacts had resulted in the baby – the presentation. It was done for the biggest client of the company till date and it would have been presented in the presence of the CEO. What does the demon say, “Umm, It is kind of alright. My lovely little witch here, who is actually parallel to you in the hierarchy, but since she is having an illegitimate affair with me, will be giving the presentation to receive accolades and promotion,” OK! Exaggerated a little. The meaning was same but words of the boss were different. “They are very important client to us. I think someone more experienced should do the presentation.” Oh yes? Six months extra is more experienced?’ Her thoughts were raging inside. She remembered how she had stomped her foot after both the demon and witch had turned their back. She didn’t realize that the strap of her shoe was caught in a screw protruding from the leg of the chair.

“Madam! Are you sleeping or what?” The crude voice was back in business.

They had reached. The Phoenix hotel. She took a deep breath, tried to calm her nerves and got down from the cab. Thanks to modern technology, she did not need to turn back to face the driver. The payment would be done automatically. She looked down one more time and said her mental prayers.

As usual, the receptionist had to be elegantly dressed smiling nymph. Seeing the receptionist, she could feel her state of being overly self-conscious getting accentuated. ‘Why can’t receptionists have bad days? Even better, why can’t they be ugly?’

The receptionist gave her the directions to her destination. She wore a fake smile and turned around to find a notice board glaring in her face.

‘KNB and Xenon International welcome the delegates to vendor partner meet.’

Thunderbolt struck. How she wished she was Sita so that mother earth would take her within. On second thoughts, not coming here would have been enough. Out of thousands of hotels in the city, this had to be it?

KNB were the vendors with whom she had to carry on the discussions about which her boss had called. That is not the end of the story.

Xenon International was the company her boss worked for. And yes, she was working under her boss. Exactly. She worked for Xenon International.

She was in a soup. Her heartbeat was running its own race. Calm down. She murmured while literally running out of the exit. The receptionist watched her in amazement. She was doomed, to say the least. She might have gone out to a safe distance because she had started counting her options.

‘What do I do here? A. My company is here. B. My boss might be here. C. My colleagues might be here. So? What happens next? A. My boss sees me and gets to know that I am here for an interview and I get fired. B. My boss doesn’t get to know that I am here for an interview. He sees me having my time in a hotel leaving behind official discussions citing personal urgency. I again get fired. C. I face the interview, get the job and resign myself. Yes, so right for you. It is a piece of cake. There will be at least three rounds of interviews and by the way, you carry a legacy of being rejected in interviews. So, good luck with the plan of cracking the interview and resigning. Nevertheless, you lose your job in all scenarios. What if they don’t see you at all? There is a slight issue here. I guess I have not brought my invisibility cloak with me. Why didn’t anyone tell me about the meet? Oh! I am getting crazy.’ She had pressed the panic button.

In such uncertain times of life, he had been with her always. She frantically called him and narrated the situation she was in, in one breath. He was her biggest support in life. Love and life were synonyms with him. He was her greatest achievement. He advised her to inform the interviewer that she would not be able to make it. ‘Fake some injury or excuse and get out of there. Ask them to reschedule the interview’. But the girl she was, she had a knack of getting things done her way. She always took his advice but added her essence to it.

“Hello! I am extremely sorry that I can’t make it to the interview.”