Episode 4: Party and Petrification

Yuvika was unlocking the door. It was a busy week in her office as usual. But she never really enjoyed Fridays. She loved her work so she was not the person who always looked forward to weekends. For holidays, she always had special plans for her articles or plantation in the garden. To add the cherry on the top, she could go out for strolling in the beautiful valley. Chitgarh was not a crowded town but was filled with natural beauty. The hills were always green and surrounded by dense forest. Each house, big or small, has a lovely garden with a lot of greenery. A variety of flowers made the houses more magnificent. From the day, Yuvika stepped into Chitgarh and started living in her grandmother’s house, she had never thought of leaving it even for once. She always felt fortunate that in the distance of one hour, she could her enjoy work. Living alone for years made her a person who enjoyed solitude. But she was fond of people around. She loved to talk to them. She often wondered how a house with four bedrooms, two halls, one kitchen and her large study room filled with positivity even with no one around! She called it her grandmother’s love for this house and her happiness with work she was doing because it was the only event which happened every day. Delhi’s discos and pubs never attracted her. She would hardly attend the parties. The only faces who visited the house were the housekeeper’s and the cook’s. They came twice in a day but usually when Yuvika was out for work.

“Hello,” came a voice from a distance. She looked in the direction from where the voice came. Joe was standing at the gate at Mr Irani’s house. He opened the gate and walked toward Yuvika’s house. He stood at the gate.

“Hi,” said Yuvika while opening the copper door handle. She stood facing Joe.

“I am arranging a party tomorrow. I would love to invite you.”

“Are you throwing your own welcome party?” asked Yuvika raising her left eyebrow.

“Well, kind of. Actually, I had just come to know that it is Mr Irani’s birthday too. And he won’t celebrate it on his own.”

“Oh, is it so? That’s great,” Yuvika pushed open the door. “I will try to come.”

“You are just one block away. Will you have to try that harder to cross one block?” asked Joe, curving the left corner of his lips.

She smiled.

“How about a cup of coffee?” asked Joe.

“I have just come from the office. I am a bit tired,” said Yuvika. She was still trying to avoid Joe. She wasn’t much impressed by him since the day she met him.

“Well, then I will see you at the party. And hey, please bring your friends too if they are around. I want to have a big gathering. Mr Irani enjoys people’s company.”

“Sure.”

She was not really sure about going to the party.

She changed to her relaxing wavering palazzo and a long cotton Kurta of one size larger. She sat on the chair and relaxed. With a cup of strong coffee on the table, she started noting down the points which she could include in the plot of the book. She was definitely excited about it. It was one of her favourite times of the day; her writing table, her notebook and a cup of strong brewing coffee. She would never want to share this time with anyone.

She hardly wrote anything when she went back to the conversation with Joe in her mind. Should I go? Or should I skip?

She finally decided to push it to the next day. Let’s see. She thought.

 

“Hey, Miss Shroff. Good morning,” greeted Joe while Yuvika was locking the door to leave for the office. She was in her cotton grey trouser and black shirt. Joe was still in his T-shirt and a pair of three-fourths.

“Good morning. Just Yuvika is fine.”

She walked to her car when Joe said, “So you are coming to the party right?”

She didn’t really think about it. She forgot to even consider it as the book and Dalal’s story occupied her mind most of the time. She just nodded to avoid any further conversation. She opened the car’s door. Before she got into the car, Joe said, “Is that a yes?”

“Are you going to allow me to the party only based on my confirmation? Are you having a checklist or something?” asked Yuvika peeking over the roof of the car.

“No. Not really. But not a bad idea,” Joe chuckled.

“Well, in that case, you can check my name. I would like to wish Mr Irani.”

The day in the office was busier. Yuvika was not even spared for a moment. The book kept her busy. She had to run constantly between her cabin and Mr Dixit’s. Dev also tried to ask her for the lunch, but she settled for a couple of strong coffees. She secretly thanked herself for saying yes to the party. But all this hustle was celebrated by Yuvika. She never found it chaotic. She loved this environment where everyone was running for something better. It gave her positive energy.

When she was about to leave the office, she reached to Mr Dixit’s cabin. He was still in the cabin. She stopped there, knocked on the door and opened it. She didn’t go in but just peeked in, “Do you need any help?”

Mr Dixit looked up from his file and smiled, “No Shroff. You have enough of the running today. Go and enjoy your weekend.”

Almost everything was done. Now the presentation remains for the next week. But I have a week. It is enough for the rock solid presentation. Not only this, but Sinha will write two more books with me on this magazine. She could hear herself talking in the air while reaching to her car in the basement.

 

The party was better than Yuvika’s assumption. Mr Irani was literally enjoying his 70th year on this earth. She noticed it for the first time that a 70-year-old man could fluently dance on a jazz with a glass of wine in his one hand wearing his wedding suit. It still fits him. She wondered. Mr Irani was extremely happy to have Yuvika in the party. She had brought a book for him as she knew that he was an avid reader and she was quite aware of his collection. She made sure that the new book accurately fits in his collection.

She was sitting on the chair at the mini bar which was specially built temporarily for this day. Joe reached to her and asked, “Drink for a lady?”

Yuvika blinked and looked at Joe, “No thank you. I don’t drink.”

“Then one scotch on the rocks for this gentleman, please.”

She starred at him for good five seconds.

Joe noticed her confusion, “What? Don’t I look like a gentleman?” He checked his neatly ironed suit and tie.

She smiled and said, “No. That’s not confusion. I never thought you could drink.”

“New York’s shivering cold makes you drink sometimes,” replied Joe showing the glass of scotch.

“Oh. You were in New York too?”

“For a couple of years.”

Her phone rang. “Excuse me.” She left the bar and Joe with his Scotch and received the phone. She came back after a minute. “So sorry. I would have to rush to the office. Have something urgent come up.”

“At this time?” asked Joe getting up from the table. “Should I drive you to your office? I can come. Really.”

“Now that’s a gentleman thing, isn’t it?” They both laughed. “No. Really I am fine. You don’t need to bother.”

She talked to Mr Irani and apologized for leaving the party. She wished him again and left for the office in the party wear.

 

“But how can that be possible?” asked Yuvika annoyingly.

Three pairs of eyes were on her: Mr Dixit’s, Dev’s and office boy’s who just came in the cabin to serve them water.

“Please say something now,” pleaded Yuvika while taking her chair in front of Mr Dixit when she didn’t get any response at first. She sat resting her head on her left hand. Dev was standing behind her, little on the right, taking rest of the side table with folded hands. He chose to say nothing. Mr Dixit leant forward and cleared his throat, “See Yuvika. Mr Sinha is the investor also. He is co-writing the book and it is going to give the magazine one of its biggest heaps. So if he decides to come earlier, we cannot deny to that.”

“But he does never change his timings,” argued Yuvika throwing her hands in the air.

“No. He never postpones. But he surely can prepone.”

“Now that’s the logic. Great. And he doesn’t even see if it is Sunday.” She threw herself back in the chair.

Dev came forward to stand on her exact right, he put her hand on her left shoulder and said, “Look. It is not that big deal for you to prepare the presentation by tomorrow. I know this. Alright? You just relax and keep calm. I will help you if you need any.”

“It is not about the time and speed. I wanted accuracy and perfection in this. I see it was one of the biggest opportunities. I wanted the best for it. And hushing can probably ruin it.” She again rested her hands on the table.

“Nothing can ruin it. It is in your hands, the best possible hands. Nothing can go wrong. And if anything goes wrong, I am right beside you. You know that right?”

They left the cabin. Mr Dixit and Dev were about to leave for the home. Mr Dixit stopped at Yuvika’s cabin and asked through the open door, “Are you sure you want to stay? You can take everything home and work there.”

“I am fine. I anyway will have to stay up the whole night work. And driving back to home and back to the office tomorrow would waste more time. So I better start working right now till the morning.”

Dev was behind Mr Dixit. He also stopped at the door and looked at Yuvika who had already dived into her computer screen and a pile of papers. He looked down for a second and again looked at her. He didn’t feel sorry for her. He was used to her vigorous dedication. He knew she could do this very well. But somehow he could not talk to her. An urge of iniquity was stopping him. He chose to walk away without a word.

Noticing his irked face, Mr Dixit said, “She will be fine.”

Read the consecutive story here: https://faceoffiction.wordpress.com/consecutive-story/

The story is a complete fiction. Any resemblance to the real world is a pure coincidence. 
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