Written originally for a school presentation !
“Oh come on Anya. You know your work is flawless! I just don’t understand why you’re stuck up with this boutique. You should go for one of those big fashion chains…” Namita, a daily customer of the boutique, babbled, picking up her delivery and proceeding to pay.
The bright smile on Anya’s pretty little, twenty nine year old face shrunk a bit as she averted her gaze. Why bring up this topic, she winced inwardly, deciding not to answer her.
“Answer me!” Namita prodded, “Do you want me to help you with your CV?”
“Uh-no,” Anya replied, “I had done this, years ago. They say I need a degree in Designing and Arts to qualify for a seat…”
She paused for that to sink in before perking up her expression and returning the change.
“And why, in the lord’s name, did you not go for it when you were younger?”
“Ah-a long story!” Anya replied, her face blushing.
“I love long stories,” Namita answered with a grin, making herself comfortable on the plastic chair.
With a sigh, Anya took her seat behind the counter, her elbow resting on the counter top, “Dates back to when I completed my 12th with a 95% in physics. I dreamt of going in for NIFT entrances, you know National Institute of Fashion Tech.”
Namita nodded for her to go on.
“And so, I revealed my wishes to Mum and Dad. Dad, being the typical traditional fellow he is, immediately objected claiming I was born to be an engineer.
On the other hand, being the typical rebel I am, told him what I thought of his great idea f making me an engineer.
Daily there were squabbles and finally we decided I’d appear for both the entrance exams.
In my opinion, both my exams went off well. The condition was I’d opt for the subject I score better in. I passed JEE with a placement in one of the best colleges. Dad was overjoyed. But I waited for my NIFT results…which never came. I never lost hopes, but when months passed and it was time for me to start with my engineering, I had to give in. Seems like I failed. I did my engineering. It was tough. I’m a B.Tech. in computer software. My husband’s the MD if an IT company. But I can’t work with him. You know why?”
Namita shook her head.
“Because I’m an engineer without any knowledge of engineering! I mean I can’t program a simple thing because when I sit to do it, my head spins and I fell like ripping my skull apart!” Anya paused to take a breath and continued, “What do you suggest I do? I tried whatever was needed but…well now it’s too late to ponder over that!”
There was a chime at the door. Anya stood up as a man in his mid thirties entered the boutique.
“Mrs. Anya Tiwari?” he announced looking at the two ladies.
“That’d be me…” Anya said, “Tiwari’s my maiden name,” she gave in the way of an explanation to Namita’s inquiring look.
“Nice to meet you madam. I’m Tarun Halat and I’m here to give you this,” he said, fishing an envelope out of his bag.
“What’s this?” she asked, turning the big thing in her hands.
“Well, well, well! You see ma’am my father, Late Mr. Arvind Halat was a postman,” he waited for her reaction, when none came, he continued, “About ten years ago, he won a lottery of half a crore through those stupid games we see at TV stations. Well they’re not so stupid after all! Ok, so to talk of the envelope, he brought a new house and stuff and left his old coop locked up. Recently he passed away and we got the opportunity of sifting through his belongings. Inside his cubbyhole, we found a whole bag of undelivered letters dating back to the day he resigned. As the irresponsible man he was, he forgot all about these. But we decided to turn them in to the rightful owners…so here it is. We went to your home on the Prithvi Road, your parents told me I’d find you here…”
“Oh,” Anya whispered, reading the address on the envelope having a NIFT seal. Peeling off the seal, she slid out a worksheet along with a letter.
Tarun and Namita waited patiently as Anya read and re read the contents. Her eyes watered as she looked up to the two of them. Tears welled up those beautiful black eyes as she repeated the printed lines in her mind…
…having secured a merit position in the NIFT entrance exam, you are bestowed with the privilege of selecting the institute of your choice…
Reply within a period of ten days…
“Why have you brought this to me…” she whispered.
“Pardon?” Tarun said, leaning in to her better.
“WHY HAVE YOU BROUGHT THIS STUPID THING TO ME…” she yelled, tossing the envelope by his feet, “You realize what this is? You want me to cry all over again? You to make me REGRET?”
“Ma’am,” he tried to cut her.
“If only you had brought it ten years back…if only…” she whispered, stumbling on her chair and turning her face in an unsuccessful attempt to hide her tears.
“I’m sorry, from my father’s side…” he began.
With a jerk, she looked straight at him, “YOUR FATHER SPOILT MY LIFE MR. TARUN HALAT. GET LOST! I DON’T WANNA SEE YOUR FACE…” she hissed.
Later on in the day, she realized she was wrong in scolding him. He had helped her and she had been ungrateful. But she had to vent out her feelings…no?
Ten years, ten long years she had lived the life of shameful failure, had believed she’d FAILED not just in the entrance exam but in her life! A life of low self esteem, dismay, and uselessness is something worth crying after…
And all this at the cost of a man’s irresponsibility?