The Secret Life – (Story)

The conference room was filled with the murmur of voices; some approving, some disapproving as a single file of interns and junior managers stood by. Some of them were fumbling while presenting their work; others were sweating profusely despite the air conditioning of the building.

“Get to the point !” barked one senior executive who had taken one look around the entire table; pausing at the end to stare at a woman, and voiced out what they all were thinking. A babysitting shit fest.

The woman at the end seemed unconcerned about the on goings. She was used to this. Unending days of endless meetings. Ramblings. Some productive, others not so much.

Today was one such instance. Her father had managed to convince her to ask the juniors at work and hear out their ideas for the upcoming meetings. “Including everyone for a productive workplace” were some of his words. She liked to think it was just babysitting them. Apparently so did the rest.

As she focused on around the table she saw what she had exactly expected. Over eager, over achieving kids pretending to know more than they do; surrounded by a bunch of people who seemed to have forgotten that they started out in exactly the same place as these kids. Predictable.

She took in the entire room before shifting her gaze to the view outside. The sky was clear, a rare sight. “That will be all” she declared, cutting of an intern before rising up and walking over to the glass facade. It took a moment for everyone to grasp the situation before they began filing out.

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Yes. She was cold. And rude. It didn’t bother her. She needed some time alone before immersing herself in another one of those monotonous talks. It was a perfect day outside. Perfect for a walk in the park. Perfect to sit and do nothing. Perfect to paint. Her fingers twitched at the thought.

Yes. She was the ruthless CEO of a vast business empire built by her father. And no, it was not handed to her despite what people assumed. She and the business grew side by side. It was her father’s dream for him and her.

Father and Daughter. Unbeatable team.

So naturally when she finished high school, despite knowing what she wanted to do; her choice was already made. She loved art, the beauty and dual nature of simple and complex is what attracted her towards it, in the first place. But her father had plans. It seemed that after her mother passed away, she had taken her place in the ‘Dream Team’. Business is what she was taught from the beginning. And that’s what she continued to learn; simply because it pleased her dad.

And she excelled. Naturally.

But, years of studying at Harvard Business School, and working her way up in their own company had done nothing to diminish the craving that she had felt the first day she had picked up a paint brush. So she created an alter ego. The smart, shrewd business woman of the Upper East Side was replaced by a young carefree painter who simply sat on the streets during the weekend painting for people who loved her art. It made her happy.

Not that her father knew. And she preferred the secret life. No complications. She wasn’t a coward. She just loved her father dearly, and seeing him happy brought her joy as well. She just had to ignore the steel and glass rooms and subdued discussions with boring and uninteresting people who seemed to judge her for who she appeared to take on the role as. A privileged self entitled bitch.

“Your father is ready for the meeting Ma’am”, murmured a low male voice, startling her train of thought. She turned and locked eyes with the man before inclining her head; a sign of confirmation.

Another endless day. Another tedious hour. Maybe she could let her alter ego deal with it and not think much about it. Maybe she would paint about it tonight. Lucky she lived alone.

With a long wistful look at the street and the people down below, she braced herself for another colourless hour before striding in her father’s cabin.

“Gentleman, a pleasure to meet you. Now let’s get started …..”

For my last post click Friendly Reminder – 1

For my last Storytime post click Moonlight – (Story)


Moonlight – (Story)

It was the dead of the night and nothing could be heard except the rustling of leaves in the park. Not even the footsteps of a willowy figure walking through.

Crunch. crunch. crunch.

As he stepped over a particular area filled with the fallen leaves of the trees; the sound echoed. He was startled by it. The noise seemed strangely loud and close, and the thoughts which had plagued his mind; now a distant but tormented memory.

As he paused to adjust the strap of his bag which was digging his shoulder he looked around. It was dark. Not dark in a harrowing way. It was the kind of darkness he welcomed. Darkness and peace to help him sort out his thoughts.

He squinted his eyes trying to decipher the outline of a bench nearby. And as he eased himself on it, he gasped in pain that shot out through his ribs.

“Good old Dad” he thought before grimacing and adjusting to a more suitable position. He let go of the bag which was almost overflowing with stuff and got out a piece of paper from his jacket. It had seen better days.

The paper was crumpled to the point of being torn. As the boy unfolded it gently he was greeted with a large stain. A stain that largely resembled blood. Dried blood.

Unknowingly, his hand went to check his nose as he re-read the letter. It was from his mum. Written for him to be opened on his 18th birthday. He checked his damaged watch to remind himself that he was an adult now, and soon enough after the bus arrived he would also be free.

He had been accepted into one of the top institutions for ballet training. On full scholarship. A prestige to learn with the best of the best.  An honor is what his teachers had told him.

Unfortunately, no one told that to his Dad.

“You Gay?!” is what he roared after hearing the news. He father was a free thinker and for him to use the term in a derogatory way made him gape. Did it matter? To his father it did.

“Dancing is for girls” is what he had kept saying ever since his mum had passed away and the money from the ballet performances she did stopped coming home. His father had spiraled into an alcoholic and violent state. But his mum had given him hope. And talent.

Despite being beaten to the point of unconsciousness he made sure to read her letter at midnight on his 18th birthday for some support. She knew that her son was talented and she had left some money for him to follow his dreams. Away from the eyes of her squandering husband.

The honk of the bus slowly brought him back to the present. The driver was looking at him expectantly. He got up slowly, fighting back tears of sadness and pain as he walked over.

But he felt alone. So lonely. He missed his mum.

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And as a sign, just as he was about to step on inside the bus; the skies cleared away for a bright moon to shine on through the darkness. And he smiled. Just as she had said in her last letter to him.

He wasn’t alone. His mum was going on this journey with him. He was going to experience new things, for her.

It was like he was 9 years old again and she was sitting beside him saying, “I got your back Buddy”

For my last post click Ready. Set. GO! – Chase your Dreams

For my last Storytime post click Food for Thought – (Story)


Food for Thought – (Story)

The soft clink of a glass interrupted her from a lucid daydream that she was having. She looked around at the noise which had awakened her and realized that there, beside her half eaten plate of cupcakes was a clear mug which was filled to the brim with what looked like steaming hot chocolate. She peered over, just to check and looked up at the retreating back of the man, with one of the biggest smile she had worn on her face for a while now.

Bless Him.

The waiter had seen a lonely girl sitting aloof and had decided to treat her to a steaming mug of hot chocolate. With marsh mellows !

“There’s a bright side” she thought while picking up another beautifully decorated cupcake. She deftly peeled the covering and without a glance, devoured it within a minute.

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But even the sugar rush could not distance her thoughts from HIM.

He had never appreciated her. Never treated her the way she saw boys doing it in movies. Perhaps her expectations were too high. But that never gave him the right to toy with her naïve mind.

But what could she do ? She was an incurable romantic.

“LOVE. A wretched bond !” she thought back angrily as she picked up yet another cupcake, but this time pausing to really look at it.

“The amount of effort a person has to put, only for it to be never repaid back. Or maybe it was just the satisfaction of the work.” the irony of her own words did not escape her. With a wry smile she picked up the hot chocolate, a perfect drink for washing down after her cupcake spree.

She had spent far too long telling other people and, convincing herself that she and him were meant to be. That the way he made her feel about herself were just her insecurities rising and nothing more. But the tiny teeny voice. Her voice of reason. The calm, sure and authoritative command within herself made her realize that her sub conscience was right. She was right. And she had to walk away. She deserved more. She deserved better.

Hence, the guilty pleasure. The sweet frosting of the cupcakes in the local bakery had pulled her there instantly.

And as she was sipping her hot chocolate and munching on the soft marsh mellow, she was overcome with a sudden emotion. She couldn’t quite place the feeling, but soon, as she felt the warmth spreading through her body with the first sip; she knew.

It was going to be alright. She was going to be just fine.

For my last post click A Second Chance – Find your Passion