Chapter 15- Oops!

Photo by Dellon Thomas on

Sikha got up before her alarm could buzz and sat on her bed with her eyes closed for a moment.

 Triiiiiiiiinnnnnnggggggg. The alarm rang loudly.

“ Chup,  bas chup” ( Quiet, just be quiet), Sikha said to the alarm clock with an irritated voice.

She could not decide, what was the reason for her feeling bitter early in the morning. Was it because it was a Monday? Was it because she woke up too early? Or was it because she had to go to work where she might meet Manav?

 She looked up and prayed for a while with her eyes tightly closed. And then made herself accept that, no matter what she has to face reality. After all the job market was not very optimistic and she had to survive on her own. After all, she had been on her own for a long time. Her parents had almost given up on her, the day she abandoned her own marriage. Her younger brother did visit her sometimes. But he too took every precaution that their parents never knew about it. So, she would meet her brother like a stranger for a few hours and would know about her parent’s well beings. It had been years, but she had not been pardoned. And Sikha had promised herself that no matter what, she would not go back to the same place where her opinions did not have any stand. So, she had to fight. Even if it felt difficult. She had to fight. Even if it felt unfair. And she had to fight even if it felt easier to give up!

 She wore black trousers with her favorite lavender formal shirt and her black pointed sandals. She wore minimal jewelry and put on very little makeup. She wanted to look professional on her very first day in the new office.

She entered the office building and was greeted by the HR and was welcomed to her seating arena. She had to report to Mr. Iyer, the Chief of Branding in the Firm. And today she had to give a brief introductory presentation to her team!  Something very unusual because usually new members are given a breather space to feel comfortable in the new setup! Her face seemed calm and composed while only she knew what turmoil was killing her inside! She was guided to the main conference room where her entire team with whom she would be coordinating had already gathered up.

“Hello, Everyone. I am Sikha  Mishra and I have joined as your creative lead. While I  started my career in Sales and Marketing  but branding has always been very close to my heart  …”

Sikha went on confidently with her presentation in front of the podium sharing her experiences, achievements, and downfalls in her earlier assignments amidst the sound of claps from the audience and answering all the queries that they had.              

Suddenly she saw someone enter the conference room from the back entry door quietly. The room was dark as the projector light was on her and other lights were turned off for better visibility. But somehow she recognized the silhouette.  It was Manav!  Her heartbeat went high up instantly.

Her excellent skill of delivering speech over the years helped her calm her nerves and she went on to complete her introduction. And then her entire team stood up and some even whistled and cheered her on. And to her utter surprise, some of the members burst balloons like kids at a birthday party. The HR was smiling away and her boss, Mr. Iyer was finding it very hard to suppress his laughter.

Sikha stood on the podium completely confused, unable to understand the chaos in front of her. The lights were turned on and she saw two hazel eyes quietly stuck in her direction. Manav was still seated on his chair, a little far from the whole crowd, and was quiet like a rock. He looked dashing in the plain black shirt that he had paired with white cotton chinos.  He sat with his mobile phone in his hands in a relaxing pose. Unlike most men, his eyes were looking directly into Sikha’s eyes. And Sikha somehow felt confining. She had always wanted men to look into her rather than check out her curvaceous figure, but today, she wished to just vanish and evaporate into thin air! It felt so uncomfortable that she hesitated to look in the direction where Manav was present.

Unable to understand the cacophony, she blabbered on “Did I do something hilarious? Can someone guide me ?”

And then the whole team just burst out laughing. Sikha too grinned because she had no other choice.

“ Ms. Sikha, loosen up. This was just an ice-breaking session. Unlike many MNCs, we follow a very friendly atmosphere and we believe that letting employees be themselves helps them to tap into their creative best. After all, we have to build brands!” Mr. Iyer said from his chair.

 “And no need to wear formal attire, Ms. Sikha. You can wear casuals to work. Formal wear is only when we meet clients or attend conferences.” The HR  announced.

Sikha just nodded along and realized she had made a fool out of herself for being too serious! She should have guessed it. After all the advertising & branding industry was very different from her previous work experiences. But she had been too stressed out that she had completely forgotten her basics!  While she cursed herself silently, she looked at the gaze that was still on her.

It is all because of him. I would have figured out all this, had  I not met him the first day. Calm down, Sikha! It is okay.’ She said this to herself in her mind.

“Welcome Sikha and we look forward to working with you. And now we can all assemble at the cafeteria for team lunch.” Mr. Iyer declared and the entire crowd started clearing the room.

 As she too was moving towards the pantry, she noticed Manav continued sitting in the same chair. His silent presence was unbearable for Sikha.

‘Why did this happen? Why now? And how long will this silence help both of us remain sane? Is he too thinking the same? Or is it me just stressing so much?’ Sikha slightly twisted her leg while thinking all this in her mind.

Oops!” Sikha exclaimed

“ Careful !” She heard a voice from behind. After all these years, a voice she had never forgotten, gave her goosebumps. It was Manav. She closed her eyes in embarrassment and without looking back, marched out of the conference room.

She has not changed a bit. ‘Till how long will you avoid me? Till when? Let us see! I shall wait!’ Manav thought to himself as he started scrolling his phone.

PS: To be continued.

This blog post is written for #BlogchatterA2Z2023


To read the previous parts please click the below letters



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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Deepti Menon says:

    I think the hero is here! 🙂 Let’s wait and watch!


  2. Hmm, Sikha and Maanav ignoring each other is refreshing to read about after the eerie stalking incident


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