Neerav was a self-made man with lots of responsibilities. These responsibilities had made him mature beyond his age. The struggles of his childhood had made him strong. He had learnt to hide his true self so much so that he even felt embarrassed whenever he fell ill. Neerav’s hard work and dedication had helped him secure a well earning job in a prestigious company.
Snehali was from a middle class family. She had a loving family and a very different view of the world – a world where people were at peace with themselves. She had been a sincere student throughout and now was hired in the same company as Neerav.
They worked in the same company and in the same team. Being the kind of people they were, Neerav and Snehali did not give much thought to each other. But now, they were assigned to work on a project together and it was inevitable that they would get to know each other.
They both did not know much about the differences in their personalities but they felt intrigued whenever they met each other. Snehali and Neerav did not think much about the curiosity that was building in them and just ignored it to get going with their individual tasks.
After working together for a couple of months, they both knew about each other’s working style very well. Neerav worked silently and to perfection but it was Snehali who bridged the gap between their tasks. He now knew that she was different from him as far as work was concerned but he liked her style. Snehali also appreciated the way Neerav worked his way towards perfection and how he paid attention to details. He made every task seem easy.
They had now developed a friendship where they shared coffee multiple times in the day in the office corridor. There were times when their coffee sessions got extended because there was no way they could cut short an interesting discussion. Many times it was a ping from a colleague that made them to get back to work.
Neerav had always maintained good terms with people but there were only a coulple of friends around whom he was himself. In spite of all his inhibitions, he now had made space for a friend in his life, for Snehali.
Snehali had friends, very good friends but they had always been limited in number. For her friends, she was a talkative person and liked to share minute details from her day to day life. Work made her happy and now that happiness was also being associated with Neerav.
Snehali and Neerav were working on the same project for 6 months now, their professional camaraderie had given way to a mutual understanding and care. So whenever the need came up, he did not hesitate to offer help to her. Once he dropped her home because her car had broken down. One other time, he had got Samosas for the team just because Snehali had mentioned the day before that Samosas were her favourite snack. Neerav had also started planning his leaving time in co-ordination with Snehali’s so that they could spend sometime together after office too. She never minded any of this, in fact, she appreciated what he did and had started considering him a good friend.
It was not only Neerav who helped Snehali. He lived in a flat alone away from home and was heavily dependent on office/ready made food for his survival. One day, he was complaining about the office food. Snehali was thoughtful enough to bring a tiffin filled with home-made food just for him the next day. He ate the food with leisure that day and his happiness knew no bounds.
They were smoothly sailing on their boat of friendship. Though they did share most of the office time together but still they never called each other during off hours. This was going to be a problem for both of them as Neerav had to go on a personal leave for 1 long week and Snehali did not know the reason.
After a lot of deliberation, Snehali could not bring herself to call Neerav. She could have easily texted Neerav on WhatsApp and asked about him but she did not know if he would consider this normal. So she did not send him any text. She was not sure if calling him would be considered invading his personal space.
Neerav too had left without saying anything to her. The fact was he usually forgot about all other stuff when he was with Snehali so he even forgot to tell her about his leave. At his home he was busy in the preparations for his sister’s marriage. He did not have the time to think about anything else during the day but at night when he was alone he would check his phone – no message from Snehali would make him feel dejected and again he would put the phone away and go to sleep. All this continued for the week.
After the week, Neerav came back from his home.While entering the office, he only had Snehali in mind. While walking towards his seat, he knowingly took the longer route so that he would have to cross Snehali’s cubicle, but his smiling face turned to a sad one when he could not see her there. Even the place where Snehali kept her Bag was empty. Neerav consoled himself thinking that she might be late today and went to his seat to catch up on the pending work from last week.
Neerav was going through his emails from the last week, when, after a few minutes he got the notification of a new email which turned out to be from Snehali. The email was sent to the office group.
To be Continued …..