I sit there with my lunch tray filled with crap. Also I couldn’t believe I pay for this crap. As I dug in with great difficulty, gossip begins…gossip that I am so sick of hearing…but it goes on and on.. like blood pouring out from a fresh cut..it just flows..in all directions..in every proportion and I listen with  ears open..He talks..she talks…In a language i don’t understand…I munch and regret and still I listen. The lunch break is over. And I gladly get up.

She sat there chewing on her food. It was Christmas. The families sat around her. They talked about old memories. They recounted funny incidents. They munched on their desserts. She waited for her phone to vibrate. But it didn’t. Tears rolled in her eyes. She couldn’t finish the rest of her meal, parceled it and marched out of the mall. She found a beggar right outside and and handed him the food. “Merry Christmas brother!” She said. The beggar eyed her. She walked away, her sunglasses covering her pain.

Late office hours:
“That was hell of a win” Chetan  screamed in delight . “Yeah…!” I said. We both hi-fived. People screamed around cubicles.It was quite a feat in the current project. “Lets head out to “the shacks”, drinks on me” Ranveer announced. The crowd hooted and started shutting down their systems. “You coming right?” Chetan asked me.

“Ehmm…” I paused.

Chetan raised his eyebrows. “Its Friday!”

“I am not really in a mood for a drink” I said.

“Come on..the whole teams celebrating..You don’t want to sit alone here now!” He said. “Actually, I have few urgent mails to reply..Why don’t you go ahead. I will try to wind it up and join you”I said.

Chetan sighed. “Don’t be so old! I want you there..” He said swinging the bike keys and left. The cubicles were silent now.. I opened my drawer and there the reports lay of my liver biopsy…

The bus was about to leave. I hugged him. And he entered inside. He sat near the window seat and pulled away the curtains. He smiled and waved. I tried smiling and waved.  There was a weight in my chest. “Call me when you get there!” I said.

“Who else i am gonna call?” He said.

“That’s what “HE” said ” I replied.

“I will..” He said.

“YOU are the one who needs to worry. I am going back home” He said.

I skipped a heart beat. “I can always return” I defended. “Yeah…yeah…That’s what “he” said” I smiled. “You are pathetic.. I am glad I shifted here.” I said and the driver honked. “See you during holidays?” He asked. My mouth twitched. I just nodded and his bus left. I turned and dragged my luggage searching for an auto rickshaw.

It was 12 am. It was just me and Manav in the office cab. I was the last drop . We were busy cribbing about work and didn’t realize reaching his house. “See you at work tomorrow !” I said as he got down with his bag. “Cya.!” His mother stood in the gate waiting for him. “You could have called.. Now I have to heat the Wadaas again!” She said angrily. “I am not hungry..”Manav said entering inside. His mom followed him. I urged the cab driver to start… Few minutes later, I reached my place. “Bye.!” I said slamming the cab door and walked in to my apartment. Tired, I fished in the kitchen but nothing was left except a packet of noodles.



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