Rik was sitting in the spacious drawing room of his office colleague, Amol. Amol had gone inside for fetching something. Amol was his subordinate. Rik had been transferred to this pristine township, last month as the chief executive of a famous private enterprise. The management has entrusted Rik with the responsibility of upscaling of the company’s performance in this newly- developed township.Rik was a widower and spent most of his time in the office. He was often asked by his subordinates to pay a visit to their houses for dinner, which Rik blatantly refused with a wry smile. Rik knew that this was a strategy to be in his good books since their promotion greatly dependent on Rik’s recommendation.
But Rik made it very clear that only hard work would help them in getting their desired up-gradation. Amol was a sincere employee and Rik was quite pleased with his efforts. Rik soon became quite fond of him and he was soon compelled to relent to his ardent request of attending dinner in his house. Suddenly Rik, saw that Amol returned, carrying some evening snacks in a tray and was followed by Anita! She was also carrying a tray full of teacups and pot.
Rik could not believe his eyes. He did not even imagine even in his wildest dreams that he would again meet with Anita.Anita was their neighbor. Their mothers were bosom friends. It was very common for them to visit each other’s place. And as the days passed by, a strong bonding developed between the two. Ultimately, even without their realization, our friendship culminated into an intense relationship.
They were confident that our families would be quite happy with their relationship. But they were wrong. Anita’s parents were dead against this relationship due to some caste issues. Her parents wanted to marry her off quickly. Anita protested but her father was hell-bent. Rik’s parents had no such reservations but Anita could not convince her parents. Ultimately, her marriage was fixed. Rik soon went abroad to study. Rik could still remember the day when we parted our ways.
It was heartbreaking for both of them. Anita was also startled to see Rik. Amol now said, “Sir, my wife, Anita has prepared these starters for you. Please have them, sir.”Rik quickly tried to regather his composure. They chatted for some time. Rik once looked straight into the eyes of Anita and was wondering what was going through her mind at this moment. But both of them tried their best to keep their composure. After some time, Anita served a sumptuous dinner and Rik left the place with a pang of excitement.
Rik failed to constrain his emotions since the precious memories with Anita were now flooding his mind. To his utter surprise, he realized that even after so many years he remembered all the intricate details of their relationship. He was almost in a trance when he reached his place. The days began to roll on, and Rik now started occasionally visiting Amol’s place. Rik realized that he should not continue these visits. But somehow he could not restrain himself when Amol requested him.
But after reaching his place, all his hesitations vanished in thin air. Anita’s presence transported him to those lovely days of yesteryears. Anita had also shrugged off the initial jitters and was now quite comfortable in presence of Rik. They often exchanged stares, and it seemed to Rik that her gleaming eyes and resplendent smile wanted to express a thousand tales. Then after a few months, Rahul, his bosom friend, and colleague arrived in his branch.
Rik was elated to Rahul in his cabin, one fine morning.But to his utter dismay, Rahul was looking a bit remorseful. Rik enquired, “What happened brother is something wrong?’’ Rahul curtly replied, “You have changed, Rik.I never expected to hear these things about you. The image that you have made all these years is getting tarnished, my friend.’’ Rik was stunned but he remained silent. Rahul went on, “Your subordinates have complained that you are being too partial towards a certain employee, Amol. I believe you and Amol’s wife are old friends.’’
Rik silently nodded and he said, “I won’t hold back anything from you Rahul. We were not just friends, we were in a relationship’’ Rahul now said, “I knew it, my friend. You still have a soft corner for her. Amol and his wife have exploited your soft corner, brilliantly. You were Amol’s ladder to success. He knew, that you will recommend him for promotion. And his wife also played her part, beautifully.’’
Rik now replied, “I don’t believe that Anita is involved in this.”Rahul now smirked, “How could you fall in this trap. The harsh reality is that both of them have tried to use you for their benefit. Two of Amol’s senior colleagues had overheard a telephonic conversation of Amol with his wife. They could then easily apprehend the reason behind your partiality. This news has spread across the office like wildfire. Moreover, they knew that you visited only Amol’s place regularly. The employees unanimously decided to inform the head office.
The management did not fully believe these reports. But still, they realized that there must be something wrong since there cannot be so much smoke without a fire.’’ Rahul now stopped and then said with a smile, “So they have sent me with an extinguisher. Don’t worry, brother, everything will be sorted.’’ Rik was stupefied and could not believe these turn of events.