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The Cliche

"You asshole"

She didn't say that. I felt it when we broke up. We broke into two equal halves, one raged with anger and the other mellowed with guilt. You know who I am. I am the man in the equation. The man with guilt-filled to his throat. The guilt of two-timing. The guilt of falling in love again while I was in love with another woman. You know who I am. But do you know my story?

I met her on that beautiful afternoon. Wait! I didn't tell you, who I am talking about. The first one or the second one? The one with whom I had a relationship that was tangled in strings or the one with whom I had a relationship that was blooming like a flower? I guess you will figure it out, just like I did.

I met her on that beautiful afternoon. I was sitting at my desk typing up some jargon on the white background of my manager's PPT. I was dressed rather drab that day, if you ask me - with my blue shirt out of my black trousers. I wore a mismatched pair of socks, one black, and one white. My hair was frizzled as if had just woken up from the bed. While noticing all this, I realized my shoelaces were undone and I bent down to tie them up. That's when I saw her. 

I saw her as she walked down that hallway. Perfect. What else can you say when you see a beautiful woman, a woman like her in a spotless white kurti, spectacled, with a cat-like beauty, contrasting with the innocence on her face, only made more perfect with her flawless hair. I just stared at her for two entire minutes during which she walked in a slow-motion and then stared back at the white background of my laptop before it started getting creepy. I regained consciousness only to realize that my shoelaces were still undone. 

I looked up at Mohan - my personal gossip columnist when it came to office affairs and a part-time friend. I asked him - Ah Mohan, who is she? 

The girl you were staring for two minutes? - he questioned as he typed his managers report at the speed of lightning with his face glued to his laptop. He is your typical IIT-IIM guy, the only difference being that he was neither from IIT nor from IIM. 

I paused before saying 'Yes' - Yes, I am asking you about the girl who I was staring at for two minutes. He communicated all the details as if he was reading out a report. She was a new joinee in HR. That is the only thing I could understand from his two-minute-long bio about her. How is it that all beautiful women end up in HR? 

Anyways, I went up to the coffee station, even though I prefer tea. I went because she was there, alone. Perfect timing to start off a little conversation - I thought to myself. I went near her and said 'Hi'. She didn't respond. I said 'Hello'. She didn't respond. She just kept adding biscuits to her plate while my anxiousness skyrocketed. 

Priya - one of my colleagues, also came there to grab a cup. I told her about this new joinee and about the ego that she carried with her. She just ignored my words - I complained to Priya. You're a dumb man. She is deaf & mute! She obviously won't respond to your words - Priya replied. Priya then tapped her on her shoulder and made introductions by writing my name on a piece of paper. She waved at me, while her bangles clinked. I nodded, while Priya took her away. 

I saw her beautifully tucking a stray strand of her hair behind her ears, revealing her shiny earrings as she went back to her workspace. I was dumbfounded by now, but not because she was deaf & mute. I was dumbfounded about how judgemental I was. When I saw her, I assumed that her beautiful face will only have a beautiful voice. I stood there for two seconds, then mumbled to myself as I walked back to my workspace without coffee but instead with a piece of paper with Priya's writing on it. 'Rohan - Assistant Manager' - It read. I folded that piece of paper and kept it in my bag. 

That afternoon was the best part of my day - I recalled as I rested myself on the cozy double bed in my home before going to sleep alone, hugging the pillow by my side. 


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