Chapter 7 -Gossip Sessions

Photo by cottonbro studio on

Sikha turned around in a reflex. She took a deep breath to calm herself and then she looked closely behind the pillars in the parking area.  There was no one!

The phone suddenly rang and flashed Deepali’s number on the screen. Shikha answered the phone and hurried towards the lift. She could feel as if some footsteps were following hers. She turned around, paused, and searched again to find someone but in vain.

Then she ran with all her might towards the lift while chanting ‘Hanuman Chalisa‘ and pressed the lift button while praying hard for the doors to close as soon as possible.  Drops of sweat formed their appearance on her forehead.

She pressed the bell of her apartment and was greeted with a wide smile on Deepali’s face. Only a person like Sikha could understand what it meant to have someone cheerfully welcome and open the door when one comes back home after a tiring day!

Both the friends were too tired and called it a day.

Sikha kissed the forehead of little Ayush and waved to Deepali before leaving for work.

Sikha wore a striped formal shirt and paired it with her favorite black pencil skirt. She loved dressing up to work and sometimes even this earned her enemies! She never had any scarcity of people judging her for her life choices, for her viewpoints and many also had problems even with her existence!

 Why can’t this woman marry and settle down in life?

Do you even know, she does not even visit her parents!

She is a hippie! A man needs a woman with grace and one should just look at her!

How can she be single, when she seems this happy all the time?

Must be changing boyfriends like her clothes?

Always Happy! It is all the hormones doing the happy dance and we all understand why?

Sikha was used to hearing all the labels about her and yet she chose to ignore them, every single time. She could neither control the gossip sessions nor could she interfere in the official grapevine system!

On some days when her thick skin would get hurt, she would cry herself to sleep! But Sikha knew she had just one option, the option of being strong and hence she did what one needed to do… keep all the pain hidden behind her happy-go-lucky persona!

And today, Sikha was in a very happy mood. She walked through the lobby of the office and punched her Identity card. Just when she was about to open the glass door, her heels twisted a bit and she was about to fall. She didn’t though!

“Lagta hai madam soi nahi hai kal raat! Jara Sambhal Kar! Kaho to hum madat karde. Ek baar humein bhi chance dijiye na ?” ( It Seems Maam has not slept last night. Please be careful. I can help, give me a chance too !)

She heard someone say from behind. She turned around and found Nikhil sitting on the couch & lowering his newspaper with a lizard-like smile. At least that’s what he seemed to her.

If she would have an AK-47 rifle, she would have pointed at this man’s nose and blown it away in one go! The nose that poked her the most. She thought to herself but said nothing.

At lunch, the HR manager, a lady in her early twenties came to Sikha’s desk and invited her to the boss’s cabin.

When she entered the cabin, her entire team was already present. There was a cake on the table and she saw Mr. Rajat standing beside the table with a knife.

 Sikha scratched her head for a second as Mr. Rajat resembled the butcher near her apartment. Just that he had a short knife and that too a plastic one!

“Come, come… Sikha, see this is all for you! Your efforts must be recognized. The company has a vision of making sure the employees have an enriching professional experience and one key factor is recognition of efforts.  So, we have all arranged this for you.”

Sikha tried hard to smile but it felt very difficult. She blurted out saying, “ What was the need for all this? We have appraisals coming up shortly, you could have recognized me enough then na, boss!!”

“ Ha  Ha  Ha  Ha… Sikha, you never miss a chance!”

  After the short cake-cutting party, Sikha requested Nikhil to take a group photo as she did not want the lizard-faced man to be in the photo.

 Nikhil was hesitant and pretended to not listen to her plea.

“Aap Kal Raat nahi soye hein na Nikhil ji ? Kuch sun hi nahi rahe hei!. Waise mein sochu kal boss ki wife  ke sath evening mein aap kya kar rahe the ?”

( Nikhil ji, did you skip sleep yesterday night? You seem to not listen to anything ! That is why I wonder what you were doing with the boss’s wife in the evening ?)

 There was pin-drop silence and Mr, Rajat was almost frozen.

 “Joke !! Boss !! Remember it is April!  It is April -Fool’s  Month!”

Mr. Rajat finally breathed and said “Sikha, you naughty girl! You keep me on my toes! I would have just fainted ”. And then he burst out laughing.

The whole team too joined the laughter session but Nikhil had almost gone red from the embarrassment.

Just then, Sikha’s phone rang .“Hello, it is Deepali here. Sorry to interrupt, but can you come home a little early today?”

“What happened ?”, Sikha interrogated.

PS: To be continued.

This blog post is written for #BlogchatterA2Z2023


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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Swati Khatri says:

    Just read the previous chapters of the story, its unfolding nicely.
    I really want to know whose footsteps were there in the parking lot.
    Will have to wait for it now 🙂


  2. Deepti Menon says:

    Every chapter is intriguing… can’t wait for the next, Chinmayee!


  3. Harshita says:

    I like this girl, she is sassy and spunky!


  4. Wello done, Sikha. Sahi jawab diya Nikhil ko.
    I wonder who’s following her though. Sounds so scary


  5. Nice.. loved how she handled this guy


  6. Nazish says:

    The only option she had was to be strong. Ah! That hit me hard. A kind of reminder.


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