“Sorry for that. It was your boss.” He said plainly. “We were in the same batch in the business school. He joined Xenon and here I am.”

Did she hear right? No. She didn’t. Something was not right. Her boss? The man who is interviewing her is a friend of her boss. God! Do these things really happen in real life? No. She must have mistaken.

“We are meeting tonight. He is a good guy”

Confirmed. No mistakes at all. Messed up had got messier. There was definitely no point in being apprehensive of the conference and people spotting her. Her boss must have known by now. What will be tomorrow like? Her getting fired and the person in front of her right now not even giving her the opportunity of second round under influence of his friend. The world didn’t seem dark. It seemed exuberant. It seemed excited at the prospect of finding a laughing stock. She would be the water cooler story from tomorrow. To her credit, she would be a story across organizations. What options did she have now? Absolutely none.

The interviewer seemed to have read the expressions of her pale face. He tried to show his concern.

“Don’t worry. I am not going to tell him till you join us.”

‘Definitely, he was not to be believed.’

“Are we finished yet?” There was no nervousness but firmness in her voice.

“Just one last question?”

‘Really? You want to play further.’

“Yes?”

“Why do you want to join us?”

“Frankly speaking, I applied for the position just because I was not sure of my position in Xenon. It was more of leaving the organization than joining you.” The ambience was suffocating her.

“I have never ever received such a blunt honest reply. You have the spark and we can surely use some of that in catapulting us into the big league. All said and done, when can you join us?”

No way. This was supposed to be the worst interview of her lifetime taking messed up to an entirely new level. How could she get the offer? Were the two friends playing a prank on her?

“Are you sure? What about the second and third rounds?”

“No more rounds. We have our ambitious targets of expansion. It cannot be done without self-belief. I can see that your attitude is in perfect synchronization with our values. Honesty and confidence can be in harmony with ‘I don’t give a damn’ attitude.” He had summed it up to her.

She could not understand her feelings. Happiness, satisfaction, confidence. She could not find a word to describe herself. More than anything else, she had proved it to herself. She was worthy enough in the world. Her job was making her feel otherwise. Her true potentials were finally recognized. She won’t have to deal with that demon and the witch. There was a world where she would be given her due credit.

“Thank you very much, sir. I will give my confirmation in a couple of days.” She spoke as she picked up her handbag, smiled and extended her hand for the customary shake. The interviewer reciprocated back but asked her to wait. He moved towards the door of the café, slowly opened it to take a look around and turned back to say,

“The corridor is clear. Make it fast before someone comes.”

She was both amused and thankful that there were some good people still in the world. She took fast strides and didn’t forget to greet the receptionist on her way out. She hoped that the beautiful receptionist never had a bad day.

“Is that our final decision?”

Being with him lent stability to her persona and thoughts.  He was there for her whenever she needed him. This was a big decision of her life and it could not be taken without the consent of her love, her life. Both of them discussed the pros and cons of the situation at length. The opportunity was huge but Xenon in itself was no small player. In fact, Xenon was a well-established company with a stable growth index. There were perks in joining a new organization which was trying to find its grounds. If things click, her personal growth would be tremendous with a new growth seeking set up. More than anything else, she would get rid of the literally suffocating work environment where even her boss would not hesitate to make others step over her career. He argued that there would be similar people everywhere. The cut-throat competition doesn’t exchange pleasantries. Was this not running away? Working for Xenon for a year had landed her to such a good job. She had to accept that the experience being gained at Xenon was only enhancing her profile. Who knows, a few years with Xenon would ensure her getting the big ticket top management positions. When did she stop being a fighter? She cannot leave because of people. She had to learn the nuisances of the corporate world and keep doing what she loves to do – her job. Staying was more logical than leaving. Moreover, the most important thing was that she had recognized her worth and the industry was open to her always.

She always took his advice. But she took decisions independently. All his logics were good enough. But the decision needed her flavor as she would always do. It was decided. She would stay. But not for what he said. She had a reason to stay. There was a torn shoe to be avenged.

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