"Avika! Wake up! It's enough of you being irresponsible. For the last time, know your manners, you aren't a child anymore."Avika's mom tried waking her up in pretty much a way that she'd jolt with no time to get more of her screams on her.
Never did she understand her mom calling her irresponsible. Was she destroying their home? Or was she partying all night long? All she would do was live according to them and yet face such criticism. She had started to feel herself as a burden. And now who can one depend on if they were not comfortable in their own skin.
Well, Avika apologized as always and soon was in her way to get ready for her work life. Well she was a graduate now, and the place she was working absorbed her soon after. She wanted to live a life alone once she started earning, but maybe her parents trusted her too less to let her live out alone or maybe they were scared of the outrageous society out there.
She had compromised on everything now but was happy she had her work place to deviate from the inner demons, and more importantly she had someone who would make her feel alive. She knew it was for few years or may be days before her parents got her married to some guy they selected for her without her own consent, so she wanted to cherish all the moments she could in the while.
It had already been an year since she started working by now and was working on a project under Vaibhav. Avika rushed her way to the office, she knew for sure she'd be a dead meat if not her mom would not have woken her… or so she thought.
"You're on usual time. I mailed you to have your time till afternoon to come office, you worked till pretty late yesterday afterall. Didn't you check your mail?" Vaibhav asked.
"… No sir, I totally forgot checking my phone for notifications. And there's still reviewing left and I had to fix few mistakes in Kruti's documentation before sending clients the mail. I 'm not really tired anyway."
"Well, Kruti already sent the mail to the client. Are you sure the work wasn't documented properly yet? She worked under your commands so I thought it was over without any error."
Well this had Avika's anxiety shoot up, she never wanted to be glitch which her parents often called her to be and now she's proved it.
" Sir, it is totally my fault…. I don't know how …. You should fire me." She started blurting words as if to loose control of what's happening, she probably couldn't sit easy and how would she even be? She was made to feel pathetic about her smallest mistakes ever since her childhood.
" Calm down Avika! I'll ask the client. Just correct the documentation work and mail me the completed work. Mistakes happen. It wasn't intentional, was it?" He was trying to make her feel that it wasn't a big deal and things like these happen and that it can be corrected.
"… I'll get back to work." She somehow was very guilty still. It was eating her from the inside. She was so frustrated as to why does she feel so much disturbed and why wouldn't she have a normal mind like Vaibhav's.
By evening everything was set, the client's loved the work. And Vaibhav made Avika get the appreciation. She knew she didn't deserve it. For once she was just in mild confusion, why is he having her praised where she actually created a problem. Well, she knew it was his generosity towards her.
Vaibhav gave his group a small treat on his behalf for their hardword. He somehow believed 'Happy employees work efficiently and effectively', and he wasn't wrong though. Soon everyone left and while Avika was about to leave Vaibhav stopped her.
"Do you have a moment?"
" Well it's outside work so you can call me Vaibhav" he winked. "Look Avika, I don't want to beat around the bush so I'm going to ask you directly. Why are you so much uncomfortable in your own skin? I might be wrong but that's what I've observed from the past few years."
She was amazed at his perceptional skills, he could tell as if everything is written over her face. Well for the fact it was, others didn't care much but he was an exception.
"Are you … Not happy? Not necessarily work but life as well. I know it's personal, but I consider you a very good friend. And that's what friends are for, they stand by you."
This was the first time if someone actually asked her if she was happy. And all she was focused was on the first part of what he spoke.. 'Are you not happy?'. Tears started filling her eyes and even before she could control, they rolled down. She felt dead all this time but for first time, a person's concern made her feel she had emotions too.
She didn't speak a single word, her tears did it for her. She was devastated, she knew she never had happy moments, and a few she had , she could count them on fingers.
She dropped kneeling on the ground, for some reason feeling all her energy drain. She felt lucky that there was no one else to see her destitute but was ashamed showing Vaibhav her helpless state.
"It's ok to show emotions you know.. atleast to the people you trust. Trust me this'll remain between us, so cry all you want, let it out." He just didn't need her explaination, he knew she'd tell if she wanted to, but was glad that she was letting her pain out finally. He tried so many times as to ask her, but felt she'd feel hurt, but somehow he knew it was required… Very much indeed.
She nodded to his words. And once she was fine, Vaibhav offered to drop her home. And to his surprise and probably anyone's surprise she asked him for a favour. She never asked anyone anything, but maybe she realised that slowly she should open up.
"Can we go out some place fun? I just need some fresh air."
Vaibhav smiled. Not his calm soothing way, but a brighter one. This made Avika feel so much better. She just needed a person she could rely on, to just assure that they'd pick her up when she's not at her best.
She knew she'll be late home, but with the new branch to hang on to it felt worth. As he revved up the engine, Avika asked him to tune to the radio channel playing the old songs."
May be she'll have courage to finally stand for what she needs. Maybe she'll rev up like the engine did that night, and finally when there's nothing really more to do, she'll tune her radio to the old songs playing in background while driving through the city, revisiting her life the way she wants.
Author's note: No it's probably not a happy proper ending, and no maybe Avika and Vaibhav will or will not in the end be together, I leave it on YOU, the reader's imagination. But one thing I would want to tell, not always can we be strong, and it's ok to take a shoulder if necessary. I know that they'll leave, or maybe they'll stay, but is it worth not having the experience?