Chapter 2

2 years ago

“Seriously maa, I am just 23.” A girl clad in a yellow suit and red pants with a dupatta on her shoulder said as she walked through the elite streets of South Bombay..

“Haan Haan…. You keep saying this. I am telling you I am not going to marry anytime soon.” She said dusting her clothes as she saw the café she was supposed to be in “I only came here because Baba gave his words to Malika Mausi or else I’d have never come here.” She said cutting the call and standing outside the café thinking about the man she was supposed to meet in there.

She is Shreya Patil. She hates to read but her fate is so strong that she got a job in a library. After finishing her masters in English Hons. she just wanted a job to support her father. But this world wants experienced people and the new graduates get lost in this crowd of experience. When she didn’t get the job of an editor she took the first job she was offered which was looking after a library. It was an old library filled with old books, the history of Maharashtra and some unsung heroes of our culture from Maharashtra, and some new books.

Right now, she is going to meet the man her parents chose for her. She doesn’t want to marry so soon and at least not an arranged marriage. She wished to marry someone she fell in love with but no one ever turned back to look at her. The man her parents got the proposal of is a software engineer in some big company. She looked at the luxurious café in front of her and she knew this relationship won’t work anyway. She opened her hair combing them with her hand to look a bit presentable among the crowd.

She entered the café and her phone pinged instantly. It was from the mausi who introduced her family to the boy’s family

When you reach the café. Just go to the receptionist and ask for Abhishek Mehrotra. You will like him shreya.

Shreya shook her head at her lovely mausi’s message. She squinted her eyes widened her lips to form a fake smile, and patted her cheeks to make them a little red and look presentable.

She walked up to the receptionist “Hello.” She greeted me with a smile.

“Hello, mam. How can I help you?” The receptionist asked replying to her smile.

“Abhishek.” She said forgetting about the last name.

The receptionist quickly checked in the computer and called a waiter “Please take her to table no. 20.”

Shreya looked at the hospitality and she was shocked. She visited many cafes in her life but never went to any such café. She looked at the waiter asking her to follow him and she walked without any question.

She walked through many tables seeing some couples, some men in business suits, some college students. She didn’t realize when she reached the table until she felt the waiter stopping. She stared at the back of the waiter until he stepped aside and looked at the table where no.20 was written on a tissue box which was placed beautifully in a wooden box.

She looked at the other chair where a man was sitting looking directly at her.

“I’ll be coming back soon for the order.” The waiter said leaving them alone making Shreya nod.

She looked at the man sitting in front of her who hadn’t spoken a word since she came.

 “Rude” she thought sitting down.

“Hi, I am Abhishek ya….” He introduced himself

“Shreya.” She said interrupting him in between.

Abhishek’s brows furrowed seeing the attitude of the girl in front of him. He was here for the interview of a secretary for his new publishing house. He wanted to do something in his life without his brother’s help and decided to open a publishing house. After a lot of requests and struggles, his family finally agreed for him to work independently but only for 2 years. He wanted to enjoy it fully so he chose a location away from his family. And he landed in Mumbai. He bought a small office site here with the money he saved all his life. He issued some advertisement in the newspaper for a need of secretary but he got no calls except for one and he was supposed to meet that one interviewee here today.

Abhishek heaved a deep breath thinking about his condition and a drought of employees “Let’s come to the business without beating around the bush.” He said to the girl noticing her face was different from the picture blaming it for the editing.

Shreya looked at him with a scrunched nose at his cold voice. She doesn’t want a Khadoos husband but a cutie “I don’t want it.” She announced her decision.

“What?” Abhishek was shocked.

“Yeah, I don’t like your rude way of talking.” She replied but stopped as the waiter interrupted them asking for an order.

Shreya looked at the menu in front of her not understanding most of the things and not wanting to be the talk of a joke, she decided to order something simple.

“One cold coffee please.” She ordered

Abhishek looked at her baffled. She has no professionalism. She doesn’t talk nicely, has no gratitude, no respect for the employer and she didn’t even wait for Abhishek to order and he knew that she was not getting this job.

“One cappuccino,” Abhishek said and the waiter left.

Shreya and Abhishek both were silent for a moment when Abhishek spoke again “Why did you even come if it was a no?” He said getting angry at her for wasting his time.

Shreya looked at him and moved the hairs coming to her face “Because my Baba gave his words to Mausi.”

“Mausi?Baba? Is she insane? Did she inform her whole family and relatives for an interview?” Abhishek thought.

“They didn’t need to know.” He said

Shreya looked at him with wide eyes “Harami manush!!!!! He wanted to meet me without informing my family.” She thought.

“I don’t do anything without telling my family.” She said wanting to let him know that there would be nothing hidden from her family.

“You are not a child. You need to do something for experience.” He said wanting to give her some advice although he didn’t like much of her attitude but he was just being kind.

“Experience?” Shreya said thinking about some other kind of experience.

“Ye………..” Abhishek stopped as the waiter put their cold coffee on the table.

Once the waiter left, Shreya asked him again and Abhishek replied to her.

“Yes, experience is important in today’s life.” He said taking a sip of his coffee.

Shreya was shocked at his words “Do you even know what are you saying?” She asked again giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Abhishek nodded “Obviously. No one wants an inexperienced person.”

“He is such a scoundrel?” She thought “Experience? Who talks about such intimate things in the first meet?”

“I don’t need any experience. I am better the way I am.” She said stuttering at her words.

Abhi looked at her with furrowed brows “It doesn’t work like this. I am just giving you some advice as you are the first one to be interviewed.”

“In my life, it works like this.” She replied sternly.

“Interview!!!! He is saying as if he is going to give me a job.” She talked to herself in her mind.

“Hey. I am saying that ….” He looked around and leaned to her “Look I am in need.” He said looking down at his lap where the newspaper was kept with his advertisement on top.

Shreya looked at him looking down and she corrected her dupatta over her chest.

Abhishek whispered “I really need someone. Only one month is also enough for me.” He said thinking about the hardship he was going through due to no employees. “You will get experience and I’ll also get some help.”

Shreya was shocked to hear him talking so explicitly in a public place. She stood up instantly

“You shameless ………” She said holding the coffee glass in her hand “No one will marry a man like you.” She said as she threw the coffee over him.

Abhishek was shocked at getting attacked. Before he could understand something, he saw her going out of the café. He looked around to see everyone looking at him.

“Pagal ladki.” He grumbled under his breath collecting all his material and left the café. (Stupid girl)

Shreya took an auto telling him about the location. Once she settled in auto, she quickly dialed her mother telling her what an assh*le their choice was. Her mother attended the call in one ring.

“Shru, Sorry beta. Your mausi just called me and apologized. She told me that the man was already married and hiding his relation from his family. But today he came clear to his family. Sorry beta you have to wait there alone.” Her mother said instantly without giving her a chance to talk.

Shreya was even more shocked “You mean, he didn’t come?”

“No. That’s why I called you.”

Shreya cut the call quickly “Then whom did I give coffee bath?” She said out loud holding her face between her palms.

While on the other side, Abhishek sat in his car grumbling at the incident earlier when his phone pinged

“Sorry sir, I won’t be able to come to the meeting. I am selected for my dream company.”

He looked at the message and his eyebrows furrowed “Then who was that girl ?”

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A microbiology student who is mad about fiction.