When Life Comes a Full Circle (or Learning for an Immediate Need could Change your Life) – A Short Story.
Vikramjeet Ahluwalia, who preferred to be called Vicky, suppressed another yawn and tried to focus on the presentation once again. He was hoping that the trainer would switch those lights off instead of just dimming them. It wouldn’t change anything for her because she didn’t look at them anyway, but it could really help him doze off without worrying about getting caught.
“Wake up, man. It’s five minutes to the morning coffee-break,” Raghu whispered from his left. Actually Vicky owed his sanity to Raghu. He couldn’t have gone through these three days of training without Raghu’s support. Vicky was from Delhi, this was his second job, and he hadn’t known that the three-month orientation program would be conducted at Exaltor’s Hyderabad office. Not that it had made much of a difference, but he would not have gifted away his iPod to his brother. The iPod could’ve saved him from Shridevi Reddy’s boring sessions.
But then he remembered the real reason why he had taken up the Exaltor offer. It was his breakup with Radhika – the village belle his mom was trying to push under his nose. He liked her and she was fun to be with – but the way she hero-worshipped him made him uncomfortable. So despite that little twinge in his heart, he broke up with her. She had gone into depression – and that wasn’t taken well by either her family or his. Unfortunately he just couldn’t imagine himself being tied down to someone like Radhika…even if she loved him to distraction. His dream girl was pretty, smart, and intelligent. A rare combination, but he knew that he’d find her sooner or later.
She’ll get over it, he told himself and then turned his attention to the trainer who was now announcing the break. Shridevi really looked nice at times such as these. May be it was because the only time she smiled was when she was announcing the breaks – could it be that she too was happy to get away from the madding herd of greenhorn content developers?
Another day of her lectures and I am going back to Delhi, he thought, as he followed Raghu out into the dining hall. Exaltor had made to the Global Top Hundred list of Best Employers, and one of the things that they ensured was that their employees were fed in style. The dining area looked almost like a restaurant of a five-star hotel.
They found a table and sat down. “So…you don’t like it here. Do you?” Raghu inquired. Raghu was right. Vicky didn’t like it there. He didn’t like the tea and he had started drinking coffee, he experienced difficulty in changing his food-habits from Rajma-chawal to Vankai kura and Sambhar, which they served at the guest-house…but what really drove him crazy were the training programs. They were – well…canned! He wasn’t learning anything – but that was the least of his troubles; his main problem was, he was finding it difficult to stay awake. He had shared his concern with Raghu, who had taken it upon himself to prod Vicky once in a while. However, even this was stopping to work – and they were only three-days into a three-month program.
So they sat there and talked about it, until it was time to go back to the class. They settled into their chairs, which thankfully were designed ergonomically. After giving a lot of thought to how a trainee might need to sink into it as he dozed off, mused Vicky.
Sridevi switched the projector on, and dimmed the lights. Vicky flared up his nostrils and pressed his lips together – it was too early in the session to begin yawning…but then suddenly, everything changed. The dim lights brightened up, and the boredom receded in an unknown crevice of his mind.
A soft and melodious, and yet sparkling clear voice had asked a question. Vicky’s head swiveled to find the source of the voice, and what he saw, made his heart race as never before. He was looking at his dream girl, and she had literally taken away his breath. For what seemed like an eternity to him, he stayed trapped in that moment. Her skin was the color and texture of chocolate caramel, her eyes so black and deep that you could lose yourself into them forever.
“Vicky…are you okay?” Raghu nudged him worriedly and broke his trance. Vicky looked at Raghu, gave him a funny smile and said, ”Oh, yes. I’ve just found out why I am not going back to Delhi.”
——- § § § ——-
By that evening Vicky had discovered everything that everyone else in the group knew about her. Her name was Shinjini Bose. She was from Kolkata, and she loved history. She had been asking everyone about the historical places in Hyderabad and she appeared…well…unencumbered, as Vicky preferred to put it. It appeared to Vicky that the gods that his mom prayed to, were actually looking out for him. But Vicky didn’t believe in leaving everything in God’s hands, especially as he didn’t have a strong personal rapport with him, unlike his mom. So, he took matters into his own hands, and set about acquiring the attention of his object of affection.
——- § § § ——-
The remaining three days of the week were pure heaven for Vicky. He now didn’t mind the monotonous drone of Shridevi – and not once did he wish for complete darkness to prevail during the sessions. In fact, Raghu pointed this out to him, that all those three days he didn’t yawn even once. Vicky would spend the whole day looking at Shinjini, who wasn’t unhappy with his attention either.
By the end of the week in which Vicky had discovered Shinjini, he had managed to introduce himself to her, ask her out on an ice-cream date one evening, and gotten her to say “yes” to a sight-seeing tour the next weekend, in which he had promised to be her guide. They were going to the Charminar and the Salarjung Museum, places that Vicky knew nothing about!
However, Vicky was going to learn all about it from Raghu, who readily agreed to coach him and confidently drew out a training plan. The training plan included knowledge-transfer during Shridevi’s sessions, followed by road trips to Charminar and Salarjung on Raghu’s bike, during the evening. As Shinjini loved the little details and the stories associated with the places, he needed to remember a lot of information, so Raghu scheduled the reinforcement quizzes during the breaks.
Vicky, the laziest member of the training group transformed into a serious student of Hyderabad’s history. He now looked forward to attending the very same training sessions that he had abhorred the previous week – and to his credit, he was doing a mighty fine job.
So the week passed, and the weekend approached. Vicky’s new, learned avatar, arrived at Shinjini’s room at the guesthouse to take her out. She had her hair tied behind her neck – but the breeze was nudging them to escape – that fragile look coupled with a modern outfit made her what she was, Vicky’s dream girl.
——- § § § ——-
“So, was she happy?” Raghu asked Vicky when they met that Monday.
“Yes, she was,” he replied after a short pause.
“But you don’t seem very happy. Are you?” Raghu quizzed him. The quizzing was in order, thought Vicky. A week together – but there was no warmth between them. He told Raghu about it.
“So what? Girls take a long time to commit themselves.”
And so that put matters to rest. More so, as Shinjini wanted to visit the Golconda Fort that weekend…and Vicky had to learn all about it.
——- § § § ——-
That week passed, then another…and another until the training ended, and until Shinjini had seen almost all the historical places in Hyderabad, except that they haven’t been to the place that every couple goes to – the Tankbund Road. All those hours that Vicky spent with her, made him admire her even more. There was nothing that he didn’t like about her – and he thought that it was time for him to pop the question…and he wanted to do it at Tankbund…near the beautiful Hussein Sagar lake reflecting the golden glow of the setting sun. If he could convince her to stay another day…
He walked up to Shinjini’s room and rang the bell. He had expected her to be there ready and packed to leave, but waiting to say goodbye.
The door opened. A Bengali man in his early forties, holding the hand of a girl of about three stood in the doorway.
“Yes,” he inquired.
“I just…” he fumbled with his words, “I just wanted say goodbye to Shinjini.”
“Oh, come on in. You must be her guide. She’s been so full of admiration for you – and she’s told me how you’ve been helping her to collect material for my thesis. You see, I am doing my Ph. D. in History, and my main area of research is History of Islamic Architecture.”
——- § § § ——-
Note: Last we heard of Vicky was that he is working as a guide for foreign tourists in Hyderabad, and they say that he’s the best. We also came to know (through various undisclosed sources) that he tried approaching Radhika, but she refused to recognize him.
—————- Copyright © 2011 – Shafali R. Anand —————–
- Adult learning principles
- ARCS – John Keller’s Model for Learner Motivation
- Did Vicky get what he deserved?