It has been a while since I posted something, and I hope I am able to do justice to the break. On indiblogger, there is a workshop for fiction writing and I wanted to put up a good show on it. Was working on the short story, the main elements of which was provided by TF and C Suresh, who are accomplished bloggers, and the participants worked on the details. The link to the blog created for the workshop is :
Certainly a very novel exercise. Enough of gyaan... here comes the story
"Arup, Problem ticket 121419, for installing Lotus Notes on my work station is still pending...."
Meghana Menon, Vice President of Lumiere IT solutions, was about to go into the daily status call with the CEO. Meghana was a star performer of the Marketing team, who graduated from the prestigious IIM A. It was barely a week into her joining Lumiere. She relocated from Delhi to Bangalore as she was offered the post of VP and it was an offer too good to resist. She was yet to pick up friends here. But she was kind of independent anyways, din't really feel the urge to make any new friends. In any case, she felt that friends could be made only at same intellectual levels and she hadn't met any one who could really stake claim to that, apart from her B school friends.
"Right away , Meghana. It was under the procurement's queue. Ticket is updated by them now. By the time your status call is done, your machine will have the Notes, okay? "
“Hmm...better be done with it quickly....by the way...call me Jovi...” Without even a smile as a token of courtesy, she went off. Arup looked down and a smile escaped him. He knew that she was a bit heavy on the head, but then she was beautiful, a mix of Madhuri and Raveena. And nice looking girls have a right to be cocky. She dint even look at the collection of Ninja Turtles action figures that decorated much of Arup's cubicle. It could not have escaped her eye. Everyone who came to Arup's cubicle had a question or two about this strange collection of his, strange as it was.
Arup was the Team lead of the IT Infrastructure team. Being from a family having limited economic means, Arup was forced to fend for himself quite early in his life. Starting as an office boy, he took up BCA degree through correspondence and acquired IT skills to earn a job at Lumiere. And that was the beginning of Arup's assiduous tale rise to success. Earning the IT wings gave a fillip to his dedicated work, and in 6 years became the Team lead of the infrastructure division.
Although about 34 now, Arup dint look a bit more than 25 26. He was good looking enough to get a second glance from most ladies. But Meghana seemed different. She didn't even care to look.
Arup pinged Meghana on the intra company chat tool
“If call over...coffee??”
“nops....work to do...”
“okie....np :) ”
Arup smiled to himself. Beaten, again. Never mind. It was Friday and already plans were being made about the weekend.
“Going home for the weekend, Arup ?” Asked Lakshmi, his junior.
“No, some work to do at the room. Cleaning is pending, and the credit card verification guy would come. Sheesh, I hate it when I cant go to mama on the weekends. ”
“Dont worry, she will be alright. She would be happy that she doesn't have to do wash your dirty clothes this week. Ok bye, see you on Monday. “ said Lakshmi, and she left for the day, leaving early to catch her bus to her hometown.
Arup entered his room, and the smell of dirty clothes soaked in water hit his nostrils.
“Oh my God!!...these clothes stink real bad....will take a good hour and half to wash them all”
Looking at the time piece, he suddenly had a start. Just 10 minutes to the showdown at Empires of the East online game, that was a rage on the Internet. He was the Strider in the game as he headed a clan, which was further divided into groups based on the work every sub clan was doing which included farming, trading and being in the army. He was responsible for the welfare of his sub clans, much like a king. It was a testimony of one's intelligence at strategy and execution, and Arup was one of the best at it. With a flick of his wrist, he switched on his laptop and quickly joined the game. He was to attack a rival clan today. And he had prepared a “King's Speech” to pep up his armed units. He had planned to ambush the rival from 3 different directions, and use an ally from a neighbouring clan to work up a treaty, which would leave Arup's clan “Ninja Turtles” very rich in loot. But could that ally be trusted?. Arup was still jittery.
“Hey, I already have my ambassadors with my ally. So in case something is amiss, I would be informed immediately. But just in case, the reserve force can be called to move very close to the ally's borders, so that he doesn't have a change of heart at the last moment.”
He shared the plan with the “Ninjas”, the leaders of the sub clans. He knew that Meghana from his office headed the clan that was instructed to ambush from the left flank. The opponent's weakest spot, where he deployed his strongest forces.
“Jovi, attack the lumber units, and the mining units. Peasants and fishermen, you can leave without killing. We can send the monks to convert them to our units. Without economic resources they will crumble quickly.”
“Roger that, Splinter. ” Arup called himself Splinter while on the game, named after the Famous sensai and adoptive father of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He also named the Attack Units as Leonardo, Rafael, Donatello and Michelangelo, the four mutant ninja turtles. He knew that Meghana headed Leonardo. But wasn't sure if she knew about him.
“Splinter, you know my pet name? I dont remember having told you about this.”
“Forget it Jovi, sorry, Leonardo. Focus on the task. ”
“Aye aye, Splinter!”
Meghana was amazed. The only person outside of her B school friends whom she admired was this guy. And he also knew her pet name.
“But his profile says he stays at Bangalore and I don't happen to know any one from here to have told my pet name.” She thought to himself.
“Really, I think it must be Rahul Garg that IIM C guy who topped the Strategy in Business class, whom I met during the College Fest. Hmm, so he is here right? Well, even if he is not Rahul, I don't mind. I think I have fallen for him. Wonder what he looks like in real. Should meet up some time. How to make that happen?” She wondered aloud, with just her iMac for company, life could become solitary at times.
“These multi player online games can be real engrossing. Cant judge time at all. Seems like just 10 minutes that I started it, but almost 6 hours are gone, and I am still awake, sharing the spoils of the successful raid. Hmm, so Jovi doesn't know that it is me. Well, that is ok. Should be more careful about addressing her. “ Arup pushed away the blanket and was about to sleep, when the smell of soaked clothes hit his senses again.
“Damn. I have clothes to wash.” And darting out of the bed, made way to the washing machine, and let it rumble, while he was soaking in the glory of his double victory. One over the opponents, and another over Meghana. She din't know it was him. That was some achievement.
“Good Morning, Meghana. Hope the Lotus notes work fine. If issues are not there, please close the problem ticket that you raised. Open tickets are not good for my health.” Arup said with a chuckle, on Monday at Meghana's cubicle. Meghana just nodded, and then turned to her workstation. Arup went back to his cubicle, with the action figures of Leonardo, Michelangelo, and the like waiting for their master to come.
Right before lunch, Arup's cubicle had a visitor. Meghana had come again.
“Arup, the proxy settings on my computer don't allow me to access the NewsP site. It is essential for me to access it. The settings on our network block it. I have raised a ticket and no one from your team seems to be interested to resolve it.”
“Hey Jovi. Will do that right away. What is your cubicle number? I shall do that after lunch.”
“No, I want it done now. It is really urgent.”
“ Ok, then. Come, lead me to your cubicle.”
While he was configuring the settings on Meghana's system, Meghana asked him.
“Hey, what are those action figures? I remember seeing them as a child. Cant seem to recollect the names”
“Those are Ninja Turtles. Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Rafael, headed by a mutant rat named Splinter. It was a famous show on television long time back”
“ Oh yea... I remember. Never was a fan of such shows, though.”
Arup smiled, but Meghana seemed to be lost in some thought. As if trying to recollect something. She looked quizzically at Arup, and he just smiled again, as if trying to prove some point.
When he was back at his desk, he saw a strange ping on the chat tool. It was from Meghana.
“Care for a coffee today evening at CCD, Splinter? Was waiting to meet you since a long time”
Arup knew the game was up now. He replied.
Meghana was left to ponder over the hierarchies, that exist in the world. While she was relieved to have met the real Splinter, a person whom she admired, she was also dumb struck that she was so wrong in reading people for so long.