I was in the meeting room. Two hours had flown by but the meeting was going nowhere. I checked my mobile for the umpteenth time. Still, there weren’t any updates. I then logged in on the Facebook and skimmed through the latest updates. There were hardly any. Bored, I opened Instagram and started scrolling through the photo feed. The monotony of sitting and doing nothing in a lumbering meeting was killing me.
Fed up of the phone, I opened up the office mail. There were some random emails from HR, something about referral bonus being double for the new openings in the Delhi office. I deleted those emails. I then checked the office communicator. I scrolled down and saw Rahul’s status. It was showing ‘away’ for the last forty minutes. Lucky dog, I thought.
Rahul was in the digital marketing team, the most overstaffed, and the least burdened team of our office. There was hardly any work. And no meetings at all. On top of that, that department went on team outings for at least twice a month. And Rahul had made the best use of that. He had become closer to Nisha in these outings. They were dating now. I made a mental note to apply for the internal transfer to his team in the next quarter.
With nothing to do on the laptop, I raised my hand to flip down the screen. But just before I could flip it down, I saw a new message notification at the bottom right corner of the screen. It was a group conversation invite. I accepted it and found out Arup and Diya chatting on the group.
I was confused as I knew them only in passing, and we weren’t even in the same team. In fact, they were juniors and had joined the company only a couple of months back. From one look at that chat, it became clear to me that they were already discussing something and have added me by mistake. I decided to exit the conversation.
But then a second thought came to my mind. I thought what’s wrong in little snooping by becoming a passive observer for a while. I was already bored as hell. A mischievous grin broke on my face and I started reading the chat with a serious face that I usually wear when I am pretending that I’m working on something.
They were talking about a party which Arup had attended last weekend. There were mentions of “a lot of booze“, “Vodka Martini“, “late night party.” It was the usual ‘first-year’ stuff, the ‘first year’ being the term for the freshers in our company.
Fresh out of the MBA college, with loads of money to spend, the ‘first years’ party almost every weekend. I remembered my first year in this firm, it was exactly like this -parties, clubbing, night outs, last minute plans. It was like college, but with money to spend and a new city to explore.
But now with two years in this firm, our group had scattered throughout the country, working on different projects. Even those who stayed back in this office were busy most of the weekdays. And the stretched targets and the peer pressure ensured that most of us remained busy even on weekends. Parties and outings had become rare. Very rare.
I remembered Mansi, my girlfriend in the first year, our mad mad affair. We knew each other from college. Our love bloomed after we joined this firm, working in this city. And our group, a bunch of eight mad people. We had explored every inch of the area in and around the city.
Now we hardly meet.
I remembered our trip to a hill station in the city’s outskirts when I had almost fallen off the cliff. I was trying to get the perfect shot of the waterfall from my new Nikon Df DSLR. And how scared Mansi had become, shrieking at the top of her voice ” Nitin .. Nitiiinn …. Nittiiinnnnnn”
“Nitin. Nitin . . Nittin . . . “
It took a nudge from Amrish, who was sitting on the adjacent seat to pull me out of my dream world. A couple of seconds had passed after I realize what was happening. It was my boss’s voice which was ringing loud in the meeting room. I looked at him with a blank face. Then I realized that every person in the meeting room was looking at me. Some of them with an amused grin on their faces.
“Yesss .. yes Sir.”, I managed somehow. Mr. Thiyaga, my boss, didn’t require a second thought to realize what had happened. “Mr. Nitin, if you are done with your dreams and are back to our world, then would you be kind enough to show the deck for this quarter’s sales performance”, he said sarcastically.
“Sure… sir,” I fumbled and before he could make other comment, I rushed to the projector with my laptop. They were still chatting, Arup and Diya, I could see on the screen. I connected the laptop with the projector and started outlining the rehearsed presentation as confidently as possible. But in my mind, I was still cursing the moment when I’d decided to eavesdrop on that conversation.