Maya reached home right after her work related lunch was over. She was excited to get home and tell Shiv about the new project she was been assigned. The moment she entered the room, there was a rare silence. Maya called out for Shiv’s name, until she found a note on her coffee table, which read: ‘Gone for a meeting. I should be back by 5. Got flight at 10…’ Maya looked at the time and sat on her couch to relax for a while. She didn’t realize when she fell asleep. She woke up with Shiv’s voice in the background talking to someone about some business thing. She got up and sat on the couch with her eyes still closed. She felt Shiv’s weight besides her, who leaned a little and stretched his right arm and Maya cuddled once again into his arm and had a quick nap of 10 minutes.
Shiv woke Maya up by a kiss on her lips. She opened her eyes and sat straight. She looked at Shiv blankly as she was still a little lazy. Shiv smiled at her and said, “Time to get up baby.” “What’s the time?”, asked Maya. He replied, “Almost 5:30” Maya stood up and opened her hair that had turned into a mess with her sleeping for so long. She tied it into a neat bun and asked Shiv if he wants to have some tea. Shiv nodded while working on his laptop. Maya made some tea, washed her face and came back to the living room with two mugs of tea. She handed Shiv a mug and sat on the balcony with the other mug. She looked outside, the children were playing and the aunties were sitting on the bench.
“I can’t lose the project from them”, yelled Shiv on the phone. He seemed a little tense. Maya looked at him from the back for a few minutes and then took a sip from her mug. Shiv got up, gave her a kiss and went to the bedroom while he was continuously yelling on the phone. After a few minutes, he came and stood next to Maya and said, “I think, I am disappointing dad.” Maya looked at him and said, “Hey! Don’t say that… You are very good at what you do!” She kissed him on his arms and held it tight. Shiv was tensed and said, “You know the big project we used to get every year during Durga Pujo?” Maya said, “The Mumbai contract at Shivaji Park?” Shiv nodded and said, “Yeah! I think I may not get it this year.” Maya asked, “Why?” Shiv replied, “There’s this new Authentic Bengali Food guy in town, who is taking over all the big projects from most of the people. I never knew my restaurant would ever be in danger. I mean, we have 14 branches and we are the best when it comes to Authentic Food.” Shiv takes a sip from his mug and Maya says, “So did your client say that you’ll have lost the contract?” Shiv nodded in a no and said, “We might. Mr. Patil from Mumbai branch called me and said that the new restaurant’s owner had a meeting with the client today. Funniest thing is that they are new in market.” Maya thought a little and said, “Why don’t you get some media publicity, the good kinds and you know get your marketing team working and yeah ask your social media reps to create hype on FB and Twitter and stuff…” Shiv smiled, “Hmmm… Not bad at all…” He kissed Maya on her forehead and pulled out his phone and called his Mumbai manager and asked him to gather the Marketing and Social Media guys in a conference call from all over India and set up a call in 15 minutes, where he will be addressing the teams.” He disconnected the call and told Maya, “I will pay some attention to you and your day in another half an hour, okay?” Maya smiled and got off the balcony to get ready for the airport. She needed a shower.
She took a quick shower and wore a distressed blue jeans and grey tank top. She tied her hair in a top knot. She sprayed some of her lavender body mist and dabbed a little compact and completed her look with a stroke of kaajal. She also applied some lip gloss. She looked at the time it was already 6:30. They had to leave by 8 to reach the airport on time. In the living room she saw Shiv sitting on the couch, with his hands on his forehead. She sat next to him and said, “What happened? How was the call?” Shiv hugged Maya tightly. Maya was taken aback as she had never seen Shiv so vulnerable before. She hugged him back. They broke the hug in a few minutes and she saw tears in Shiv’s eyes.
He said, “Yeah! I spoke to them. They will start working on it. I am just tensed. I think it’s too many things on my mind.” Maya said, “Chill! Go and take a relaxing shower and get ready.” Shiv looked at Maya and said, “Come with me.” Maya stared at him and said, “I have this new project at work and they want me to work from the office for a week.” Shiv nodded and got up and said, “I will go get a shower.” He walked slowly towards the bedroom. Maya heard the door close. She sat on the couch wondering if she should talk to Ganesh or Pranshu and tell them that she can’t work from the office and she will work as always – Freelance. She decided it is the best thing to do at the moment. Shiv was always there when she needed him and now he is tensed and all he needs is her to be with him. She looked at her engagement ring and smiled. She rushed to her bedroom, took out her luggage bag and packed herself a lot of clothes. She packed herself a great deal of clothes, shoes and make-up, not knowing how many days is she going to be with Shiv. Shiv came out and looked surprised and asked her, “What’s going on?” She said, “I spoke to Ganesh. I told him I will be working from home. I am coming with you.” He smiled and hugged her. She laughed and said, “Ohh Mister!!! You need to book my tickets. I don’t know what flight are you in…!” He smiled and kissed her on her forehead.
Shiv said, “I cancelled my 10 PM flight and booked both of us for the 12 AM flight. We should leave by 9…” She smiled and said, “I am ready. You need to get dressed. In the meanwhile, I will call the OLA.” He smiled, while she kissed his chest and went to the living room. She booked their OLA cab for 8:45 PM. Maya asked, “Are you hungry?” Shiv came to the living room with both their bags and kept it near the door and said, “Not hungry for food!” he smirked while she smiled and sat on the couch with her phone. He sat on the chair and his phone rang. He kept talking over the phone for quite some time. Maya sat with her handbag and started sorting things out. She checked her documents, one last time.
She heard Shiv abusing someone over the phone and was worried. She was also relieved that she is going with him. She looked at her laptop which was on charge and saw an email from Pranshu:
Ganesh informed me that you have to be somewhere urgently and hence you’d be working in your on space. I’m glad, you kept us in loop. You’ll be getting the first topic tomorrow by 10 AM and I expect you to complete it and send it to us by 5 PM. Also, at around 12, let’s set up a conference call and I can explain to you what my requirements are.
Let me know if the timings are okay.
Co-Founder, Care for Toddler
+91 9594 xxx xxx
Maya hit reply on the email marking everyone who was marked on the original email:
Timings are perfect.
Maya saw Shiv still talking over the phone. Her phone rang in the meanwhile and it was Ganesh, “Hey Maya, Pranshu needs your mobile number. Could you text him your number?” Maya looked for Pranshu’s email and found his number at the bottom of the email and said, “Yeah I will!” Maya sent Pranshu a text from her number with her name to which he quickly responded with a smiley.
Maya’s phone rang once again and it was time to leave. She went to the bedroom and Shiv was sitting on the bed, talking to his staff. She kissed his forehead and said, “The cab’s here.” Shiv told the person on the phone, “My cab is here. I will come to Delhi and speak to you.”
Shiv stood in front of Maya and smiled. He looked tired. Maya held his hand and they walked out of the apartment with their bags.
Was this a new journey for Maya?