Hosted by the fantabulous Reena at https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com/2017/12/08/reenas-exploration-challenge-week-16/
Here is a character narrating different episodes from her life. You get an idea of the overall personality. Pick just one sentence from the story, and develop further on that.
MAYA: LITTLE MORE THAN ILLUSION
By Neel Anil Panicker
I see the rage in my boss’s eyes and know that is time to quit. Or, more appropriately, that is time for me to be asked to quit.
There he is, sitting opposite me, in that favourite swivel chair of his, the chair, the specific make and colour that I helped him to chose, staring down at me, those limpid blue eyes now a raging red, its pupils trebly enlarged, the nerves threatening any moment to burst out.
I bravely refuse to give in and like a fool who rushes in where angels fear to tread, I lock eyes with him.
I see his head, bald as an eagle’s, the strobe lights streaking in through the translucent windows doodling all over his six foot gym toned frame, the hands, large and hairy, like a grizzly bear’s fiercely clutching onto a palm sized paper weight, furiously rotating it over the oblong sun mica topped teak wood table.
I see a melange of emotions, predominantly distaste, written all over his usually placid face, now a bundle of bumbling emotions.
I see a lot that I haven’t seen in the past six years, the years that I have known him since, the years that I have worked under him, the years that he has been my boss, also the years that we have been lovers.
I know it is time for me to leave, allow for him to be alone so as to be able to process all that has happened.
I get up and calmly hand over an envelope. It contains my resignation letter addressed to Shiv Kumar Sharma, Director, COACHING TIME, New Delhi from Maya Talreja, General Manager- Planning.
‘I shall see you in the evening’, I say, and walk out of the cabin. I know he’s my man and I know together we’ll battle our way out of this storm too.
My name is Maya. Maya Mirchandani. I am a 30-year-old Sindhi, a divorced Gujarati born Sindhi to be precise. I stress on the divorced part because that’s was defined me, at least for the first five years since my marriage with Kunal, a regular parochial wife beating male chauvinist pig fell apart. Wait, fell apart did I say?
Shred to pieces, smashed to smithereens__these would be better descriptors of the hellish times I spent with Kunal whose favourite form of abuse was to strip me naked, chain me to the window sill, and then beat me black and blue with a steel belt for hours together.
Of course, he did take power breaks in between, replenishing himself with whisky on the rocks and snorting cocaine, just one among many of his addictions.
One night soon after when he and the entire world were in deep slumber, I climbed down the bathroom pipe, walked barefoot upto to the nearest railway station, and took the first available train to my hometown.
My parents, saddled with typical middle class mores thought I had committed a crime and did everything possible right from weeping and begging to cajoling and threatening to somehow force me to go back to Kunal, to give my marriage yet another try.
But I had resolved that enough was enough and would under no circumstances go back to marriage which I know equated with hell for short of a milder word.
That broke their dam of patience and I was subjected to another round of torture.
This time it was mental, and especially so by own parents, who feared that a daughter, beautiful and educated as she may be, had no life outside of marriage.
Things deteriorated from bad to worse and then one day, when unable to bear their near non-stop rebukes and emotional blackmails, I packed my bags and left home.
In less than 100 days I had hit road again, the only difference being this I had burnt all my bridges and there was no going back, anywhere whatsoever.
I decided to hit a new town and landed up in Delhi. The first few months were sheer hell, as armed with nothing more than a college degree I walked in and out of countless interviews without any luck.
It went like this for a month or so and soon things reached a point when I had no money to even pay the rent for my single room Paying Guest accommodation.
It was then that the landlord offered me a life a line: He would forfeit my dues if I agreed to sleep with him.
Disgusted I slammed the phone down and was about to smash it to the wall when it began to ring.
I picked it up and was about to hurl my choicest abuses when I heard a woman’s voice, soft though business-like over the phone, “Am I speaking to Miss Maya?”
“Yes, this is Maya”, I somehow managed to mumble.
“Congratulations,” the voice continued, “You have been selected. Please kindly collect your offer letter from Coaching Time”.
A melange of emotions swirled through my mind. One moment I was down and out and the other I was on top of the world. I was over, my ordeal, my quest, my struggle for survival. I had finally bagged a job.
The next day, my heart full of joy, I walked into my new office, and fell straight into the arms of my boss.
Well, it so happened that I had just left the HR Manager’s cabin, clutching in my hand an appointment letter that said my designation was Executive Secretary, Director, Coaching Time.
“Walk straight and turn left. Extreme corner is Kumar Sir’s cabin.”
I did as she had guided me, and found myself standing outside an impressive oak panelled cabin door that sported a gold embellished capital lettered name plate ‘DIRECTOR’.
I was wondering whether to knock or to simply step in, when the door opened all of a sudden and out stumbled a man and almost fell into my arms. In fact if he hadn’t held himself against the wall, both of us would have come tumbling down like nine pins.
“I…I am sorry. ‘Am in a hurry.” was all he managed to blurt out as we pulled ourselves together.
I looked at him, half fearful, half embarrassed.
Pushing the wrong side of forty, the man had a shock of curly grey hair the sides of which fell over a square face that reeked of a childlike naughtiness.
“Sir, I am Maya…your new secr…”
“Sorry, got to go. Shall meet you in the evening. Make yourself comfortable” was all he said before he vanished down the corridor.
I shrugged off the awkwardness and stepped inside to find the room, a mid sized hall rather, a picture of disarray. Half opened books, files, stationery, even Coke cans were littered all over the place__ on the work table, under the chairs, on the mosaic floor, a few even near the attached washroom.
My womanly instincts came to fore and I set about putting everything in order, even at one point picking up the intercom and requisitioning the House Keeping Department.
And when Mr Kumar walked in through the door in the evening all he did was stand and stare in wonderment at the metamorphosis his cabin had undergone.
He rewarded me with a hesitant half smile.
In turn I extracted a cup of hot Nescafe from the Coffee Machine and placing it on his desk, said, “ Sir, I am Maya, your new Executive Secretary”.
He motioned me to the chair opposite him and apprised me of the tasks at hand.
I was to take care of his appointments, attend all his meetings, take down their minutes, prepare notes, and help him with the general functioning of his office.
The next few months I immersed myself fully in my job, voraciously lapping up each day and new experience as part of my learning curve, ever learning, at times faltering, at times making mistakes but never repeating them.
At the end of six months, I had learnt enough to make myself an indispensable part of the office, befriending one and all, helping all and sundry, ensuring the smooth and efficient running of the organisation.
The wheels of time spun and soon a year passed by and another and then yet another.
I was happy, at peace with myself, had a job, a great one at that, one that I loved to the hilt, and most importantly was independent in all senses of the term.
By now I was promoted as General Manager-Operations and my salary was ten times over what I had started with.
And then I fell in love. Or, we fell in love. Shiv and I.
It was not one of those Slam, Bam, Thank You Ma’m kind of puerile, lust filled entanglements that you hear of but quite on the contrary, a slow brewing, deep stirring, meaningful heart enriching, life affirming love between two mature fully responsible consenting adults.
As such we resolved that our love, romance, relationship, affection or whatever one may choose to call it, would in no way interfere with our official duties. We turned increasingly discreet, making sure that not one soul got a whiff of it.
But then as they say such things have a dirty habit of leaking out and soon someone somehow poisoned the ears of the powers that be at the Head Office.
Soon enough Shiv received a terse one line note from the head honchos asking for my scalp.
And that’s where things stand now as I sit in my cabin wondering over the dilemma that stares Shiv, my boss cum lover.
The intercom buzzes; I pick up the phone.
“Maya. We’re in this together. I’ve put in my papers. Now, either we swim or sink.
Are you with me?”
“Forever, my sweetheart”.
I kiss him over the phone.
I am happy, elated, over the moon.
I have finally found love.
I have a man, a man who’s man enough to take on the world.
For me, for him, for us.
©neelanilpanciker2017 #fiction #shortstory #CATolgy #BSchool #MBA
3 thoughts on “neelwrites/maya:littlemorethanillusion/fiction/shortstory/reena’sexplorationchallengeweek#16/14/12/2017”
Reblogged this on Reena Saxena.
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There are different layers to the story, and it brings out the perspectives quite well. The sordid details of her marriage gave me goosebumps though.
Thank you, Neel, for the constant support.
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I am glad you liked my short story and appreciated my effort. Your constant support and praise spurs me on week after week to deliver my best. For that alone i am indebted to you and thanks a lot, Reena.
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