Nihar hobbled down the flight of stairs. It was a Sunday and most of his housemates were still sleeping in. Even he would have, on a normal Sunday. But this wasn’t a normal Sunday. There has not been a normal Sunday for him in over six months.
Ever since he joined a new job, as a business consultant associate with a big real estate firm, nothing has been normal. Nihar winced as his mind jumped back to Riva.
It was his first day at work. Nihar was dressed sharply in a white linen shirt, grey cotton trousers and suede shoes. He sat down in the lobby, waiting for the lady from the HR department to usher him inside to meet with his new team. The office door was mostly glass. As he sat waiting, a sudden bustle in the place next door caught his eye. The place with the white door, had a bunch of girls, talking animatedly waiting outside, as one of them fumbled with the lock.
There was nothing to it, but Nihar’s eyes fell on one of the girls, the last one of the group. She was standing with her back towards Nihar, her slender frame highlighted by the figure-hugging lime green kurta she was wearing. Her bare hands were the color of alabaster, and the single gold bangle on her right hand glistened as if placed on a sheet of snow. Her thick brown snake of a braid cascaded right up to where her waist met the curve of her hips. Nihar was strangely dumbstruck. He had not even realized that the HR woman had walked up to him and was asking him to follow her.
Mr Vaid? Hello Mr Vaid?
Finally, disrupted from his vision of the woman in green by the HR woman’s voice, Nihar managed to stand up, take his eyes off the door and walk inside after her. By the time he looked back, the girls had all gone inside the white door. His day passed very swiftly and he managed to sneak out from time to time, sometimes on the pretext of getting a coffee from the vending machine placed in the lobby. But his attempts to catch a glimpse of the woman in green landed in vain.
The white door mostly remained shut. Although throughout the day, many women entered and came out through the door and helped Nihar catch a sneak peek at the goings on inside. The white doored place, quite obviously was a Beauty and Hair Saloon. The girls were most definitely the employees and the women entering and leaving, their clients.
So this became Nihar’s daily routine. He would arrive at work early, set up his desk and finished off some of the urgent tasks for the day. Then he would come out on the pretext of having a hot cup of coffee, and loiter around the passage, waiting.
And as if on cue, every morning, the girls would noisily arrive, and wait until the leader of the pack, managed to open the white door. Day after day. Gradually the girls started noticing him, shooting glances at him every once in a while. Some even struck a conversation with him if he was lucky. But the girl he watched, always stayed at the corner, patiently waiting, barely aware of his presence. Once or twice Nihar tried walking up to her, asking if he can hold her bag while she waited, and every time the girl would nod in reluctance.
As he watched her more and more, Nihar began falling in love. Her eyes were the most unusual grey Nihar had seen. And there was something about her eyes that made him unsettled. They weren’t happy. Yes, that was it, there was a distinct glint of sadness about them which tuned in completely with the rest of her behavior. She was mostly quiet, a little aloof towards him, and almost never chatty with her colleagues. Whenever Nihar looked through a slightly ajar door, she would be going about her business, quietly.
(To be continued)
Eccentric, eclectic and headstrong. I am a writer, author and editor and I write content for a reputed IT firm, for a living. When I am not doing that, I write for myself and my Facebook audience. I am also a Tarot reader, a mystic, a crystal healing enthusiast an indoor gardener and a mother of a feisty 8-year old.