“How do you know Sanjana?” Adi heard a rushed whisper thrust into her right ear. Before she could look up from her laptop she felt her colleague standing over her shoulders. “Are you sure you know Sanjana,” she rephrased her hushed query with an urgency that called for trepidation and a look that warned of compliance.
Working at the place for the past three years, Adi knew her colleague enough to understand that when she made an unscheduled visit to anyone’s desk it was either to reveal some discomforting news or to confirm one. Good news held no fizz, it was an open dewormed bottle for her to care.
A senior manager and self-proclaimed socialite, she corked herself up only until she spilled over social media. She maintained her fiefdom by letting just a selected few physically share her office hours. The selection process lasted one lunch date – usually the new recruit’s first day at work.
Adi was swept clean off her personal data at her first noon in office three years back. After which it was just a smile; a how are you; when are you taking leave; where are you going; or bye see you tomorrow.
So gearing up for some rancorous talk, Adi saved her file and leaned back on her chair to give her senior the undivided attention she came seeking and replied, “Why do you ask?”
“You are tagged in a photo with Sanjana,” she asked seemingly irritated with a query for an answer.
“Yeah, I met her over the weekend at a book launch,” Adi said by way of explanation.
“How long since you know her?” she asked pulling a chair and readying herself to settle down.
“I met her there. We shared a table and got talking. And the photographers there clicked us together.”
Half-way towards lowering herself, she straightened up, pushed the chair back heaving a huff, “Ooo! OK. Carry on. Sorry to bother you.” She was walking away, when Adi called out, “Excuse me, but why do you ask?”
“I was wondering how YOU know her! Sanjana’s dancer and her husband is the chairman of the golf club. And you know, her elder son is studying in…anyways…it doesn’t matter. I was shocked because you don’t roam around in such circles!”
And she was gone. Later Adi saw her comment on her FB picture, “Looking fab as always Sanjs!”
PS: Do you know her?
The only child of doctor parents, who were practical and broad-minded, I expected her to withstand the tenacity of her spine.
Well, this girl was not-so bright a student as much as bright a girl she was. But then, she was neither a girly girl, which made her mom remark more often than she ever took her name that her daughter was “at all times four hands full”. I niggled to ask if that’s the reason why they never had another child, but I swallowed my curiosity.
She played in her neighbours’ homes; studied at her friends’ places; scored pranks with boys on the street. She was the referee and mediator for group squabbles and always stood by right, no matter what it cost her – a reason, why even as a child she never had any close friends. If she drew her grandparents’ wild, her teachers were tired of advising her to concentrate more on studies. But that was all they could do because she never once flunked. More importantly, she was the face of her school. She was the captain of the table tennis team winning her school cups in inter-school competitions. Students of other schools fretted her debating skills, so much so her reputation went ahead of her into college.
By now, her parents were proud of her because she grew up into an individualist, who never compromised her righteousness.
She graduated in commerce and took an MBA to boot. In the meantime, she got close to one of her childhood friends.
While the guy’s parents were vehemently against his relationship because she belonged to another faith, her parents were their only strength.
The doctor couple entertained the love-struck youngsters and even attempted making peace with their daughter’s to-be-in laws. But none of their efforts bore fruits.
So they advised the youngsters to move base. The guy lied to his parents about a lucrative job in Delhi and boarded the train. The doctor couple followed suit and had them register their marriage in the capital city.
But… the guy was disoriented. Soon she realised her husband was not the man she loved. And she decided to sort the issue out. She asked her parents to buy her a home in Delhi and deposit as much money as possible into her account. Though hesitant initially, they ceded to their daughter’s demand. They sold all their property in Bangalore and transferred the amount to her account.
She bought a home in Delhi and used the rest of the money to buy crazy quantity of gold. Took proof of her assets and confronted her in-laws. Rather begged to be accepted into the household for their son’s happiness.
Her in-laws still had one demand – Transfer the money in their names and handover the gold so their daughter could be married off! This she did without batting an eyelid and returned to Delhi to begin a peaceful life with the man she loves.
She was a brilliant student who dreamt of being a pediatrician. With a Math-Science combo she scored an overwhelming 96.4 per cent. [Now that’s what also-ran eager-beaver parents call ‘good’]. Without donations and key money [yes, the latter term is not exclusive to real estate brokers, I learnt] she got into a medical college.
Her parents – school-teacher mother and engineer father – never lost an opportunity to say how proud they were of her as they were living their dream through her. And every time they paid her fee, she was told how her post-grad would be taken care of by her would-be husband. “What we saved is to get you married”.
She didn’t require much coaxing as she was a girl who was happy making her parents proud.
No sooner than she completed her medical studies, she became the wife of an eligible doctor, whose parents in turn were on the lookout for a doctor bahu, less qualified that their son.
Settling down into her new role took her about six months after which she started earnest preparations for her MD entrance. “You can study your whole life. But there’s a deadline to start a family,” her in-laws reasoned. Her husband cajoled. She initially resisted and then saw reason in their collective decision.
At 24, she became a young mother. Her books collected dust and she began slipping into depression. So she was sent to assist their family doctor. No sooner than she started blooming, than she was pregnant the second time. She cursed herself. But quickly saw logic in her husband’s reasoning. “Let’s quickly get kids off our way. They’ll grow up together and you can settle into your professional life. And don’t forget, our parents are ageing. The more we delay we’ll have no help at home.”
At 26, she was a mother of two. When the infant kept her awake at night the toddler ensured she was busy through the day.
At 30, after enrolling the second child in school, she got back to her books. A brilliant student that she was, she required no tedious effort to clear her exams. “Being a practicing pediatrician is fine. But that’s going to be a hectic life. While you treat other kids, your own blood will be orphaned…” reasoned her family. “We are talking from experience…look at your husband, when does he get home. How often does he spend time with us… Imagine both of you leading busy schedules…aren’t you being cruel parents…”
At 32, she began scouting for job offer. After a year-and-a-half she found one that suited her needs. She joined as a junior doctor in the radiology department at her neighbourhood health centre, working five days a week from 9 to 2pm.
Do you know her?
Most women take the shape of the bottle they are put into!