"Tch tch, it's a pity to be working on such a beautiful day." She said to herself while looking at the blue skies from the window. It was going to rain. She knew instinctively. But there was work to finish before she could enjoy the rains.
She raised her head to see Rohan smiling in front of her.
"Farewell gift for Sid."
"I have already given it to Roopa."
"You must have given her 100 bucks, the budget is now increased, need 100 more."
"200!! You must be kidding! I don’t even know that guy!"
"What do you mean you don’t even know that guy? He is in the team that sits next to our team, both teams go out together to coffee, lunch, all the time. I am surprised you are haggling like this for mere 100 bucks."
Chitra could feel her face flushing and eyes narrowing with anger. "You guys must be going out, I have never ever!! And mister, it's my money. For you 200 bucks might be alright but for me it is a ridiculously high amount to spend on someone I don’t even know! I would have contributed 200 bucks, even 250 bucks if he was from my team but this thing makes no sense at all!! I am already repenting why I gave 100 bucks to Roopa in the first place." Chitra raised her voice. She was so angry with herself for justifying to Rohan. She regretted her outburst and thought a simple "I have run out of cash. Will give later" would have been more appropriate.
"Okay! Shall ask Roopa to return your money. When you leave I will make sure that nobody gives you a farewell. Yeah, remember, not even a farewell. I need not bother actually. The way you stay cooped up in your cubicle the whole day, nobody will even notice that you have left." Even before he had said that Rohan was praying he hadn’t said it. He knew he was being too rude for no reason. He was so sorry and looking at Chitra's lower lip quiver he felt ashamed of himself.
Chitra's face was blank, she just stared at nothing in particular for a moment and then whispered, "Okay" and sat down.
"I am so sorry...I...I didn’t intend to say that...I really didn’t mean it." Rohan stood for a while but Chitra did not lift up her head. He left.
Chitra tried hard to concentrate at her computer screen, but it was just a blur. Tears trickled down her cheeks and she with great effort controlled her composure. She knew that what Rohan had said was not true. She knew that she would be missed by all. Even the housekeeping staff whom she knew by their names. But she found it hard that somebody can behave so unprofessionally at workplace.
By the time she got up after an hour, everybody had left. She was glad that nobody had seen her cry.
It was raining heavily and the skies had grown dark gray. Thank God, she rarely left home without her umbrella.
She would have to catch a rickshaw to reach home tonight as buses would be crowded and it would be impossible to wait at the bus stop in these rains. As she rushed to get out of the office gates she saw a familiar figure waiting near the car park. She knew she had to avoid him. She tried to walk fast but holding the umbrella in one hand and her books in the other hand, it was not easy.
"I am sorry Chitra, I really am." She heard Rohan running and catching up with her.
Chitra just kept walking as if he was invisible.
"Please!! Stop making me feel so guilty. What can I do to show that I am really really sorry?" He pleaded.
"Get lost." She said and turned around to face him.
He had spoiled his clothes running after her in heavy rains.
He still kept walking with her.
"What's it now?"
"Can I drop you home?"
She frowned at him. "No need to be chivalrous. I will take a rick."
"I am just trying to make up for spoiling your mood, Can I drop you home?"
"That's fine Rohan, I felt bad just for that moment. And anyways I am not affected by what others say and what they do." Chitra said, hoping that Rohan had not seen her wiping her tears.
"Right! And I can see for myself that you are certainly not affected by a fool's plight, particularly when a fool waits for you for an hour and half on a Friday evening, follows you in such rains and gets drenched without worrying about catching cold. You didn’t even offer me your umbrella!! Not even once in all these 5 minutes!"
"You can’t argue with a fool!" Chitra broke into a smile and gestured Rohan to come under the umbrella and he knew that she was not angry with him anymore.