It was not the watch or the cost of it, which made Pragya uncomfortable. She was contemplating to break a news to Saptajit. A news which was good, but she was not sure of how Saptajit would react to it. Would he accept it gracefully? Would he react? Would he sulk further? Whatever, be the reaction, she wanted to break it on her birthday.
Pragya was undergoing a tough time to keep up with the sulking Saptajit. Saptajit had always been cheerful and joyous. He used to keep the home alive. But off-late, that optimism and bustling energy level had been missing in Saptajit. She used to pray to the almighty that he gets a handsome job as early as possible. But, praying without consequent action has never yielded any result. Had it been so, the world would then have become only a happy place to live in, with no sorrows and miseries. After considering various options, she had approached the principal of the college where she used to be a professor. Pragya was a professor of economics at an institute with a descent reputation. She had requested her principal, to take an interview of Saptajit for the post of a faculty of the Business Administration department. The institute was a private one, where recommendations mattered more than the weightage of CVs. The principal, Mrs. Shelly Mukherjee, jumped at the offer. If Saptajit, a candidate with such academic brilliance and career record joins her institute, it would certainly add some value. She asked Pragya to request Saptajit to come for an interview the next Monday, which Pragya knew would be more of a formality than judging the abilities of the candidate. There were very few in the institute who had the caliber to judge the qualities of Saptajit.
It was tough news to break. But, she had to break it. 19th October, was the Monday when the interview had been fixed for Saptajit. Pragya had promised the principal that Saptajit would be there before the interview panel by 11:00 A.M. and it was already 8:00 clock in the morning.
‘Baby, I want to tell you something. But, you have to promise me that you will not say no to me. It’s my birthday after all’.
‘Have I ever said no to you darling?’
She knew that, he was a man of extremely high male ego, but would often submit to his wife and mother. But, this was a news, which would not be easy on him. She rearticulated sentences in her mind.
‘Baby, you know Mrs. Mukherjee, our principal. That fat lady who was convent educated, but opens her lunch box much before the lunch period and then again have a full meal from our teacher’s canteen during the lunch hours!’
‘Yeah I know her. She was here at our last marriage anniversary.’
‘Baby she wants to meet you.’
‘Meet me? But why?’
‘Just the other day, she was lamenting at a teacher’s meeting that we lack good professors in the MBA department and you know Mr. Bose, the HoD of Business Administrations, he sighed saying only if we had a gem like Mr. Patranabish and looked at me. I was utterly shocked. I said, Mr. Patranabish? By any chance do you refer to my husband? Yes Mrs. Patranabish, he is a gem of a person. I have this friend of mine, who had been working with your husband at some company and he had always been in awe of your husband. Such a multi-talented person. I asked, but why would he join us? He has been working in the corporate and he has no experience of teaching. To this Mrs. Mukherjee said that you know why he suites best in this team? It’s because he brings to the table that corporate experience with an excellent academic record. Then she almost pledged me to fix an appointment with you as early as possible. I was not sure, but owing to their constant pursuance I finally gave in and said okay he would be here the next Monday, but I cannot guarantee you that he will consider what you guys want. Baby, I am sorry, but can you please keep my words?’ she fabricated the entire story and tried to make it as real as possible.
Saptajit was bewildered to say the least. He was an extremely intelligent person and could understand the happenings. He knew how much Pragya loved him and cared for him. Any other person and he would not even pause a moment to say No straight on the face. He hated to be referred and had immense belief on his own capabilities. But, he did not want to dishearten Pragya.
Smilingly he said, ‘So the queen of my heart, what exactly do I need to do? Put on that white shirt, gray jacket, take the briefcase and appear for an interview at your college?’
‘Are you kidding me? They have been almost begging me to have you on board. Put on that black tee shirt, the pair of denim and the flipflop and oblige our principal by meeting her.’
He shaved, took a good 10 minutes shower, put on the white shirt, gray blazer, the black watch and with a charming smile embraced Pragya, exactly 30 minutes later. He was handsome and when he dressed well, Pragya could not take her eyes off. He loved the charming Saptajit. It was her day. She took out the car, sat at the driver’s seat and drove Saptajit to the college.
Two days later….
‘Thank you baby, for giving me my life back’, Saptajit said.
Saptajit and Pragya were undressed and under the quilt. They just had a warm love making and were sleeping next to each other.
‘Why are you thanking me? You had the abilities and you deserved the job.’
‘You know why? If it had not been you, I would not have ever taken up a job where someone had referred my name. But, I understood how badly I needed this job. And to tell you the truth I might not make as much money as I used to make in the corporate, but I will have the flexibility and will also try to pursue a higher degree. This will also help me to get back to my academic days through the eyes of the students and I will try my best to teach them about the methodologies to deal with the most stressful days of life. Thank you for giving me the opportunity.’
Tears rolled down Pragya’s cheek. She could not utter a single word. She tightly embraced Saptajit, put her head on his chest and cried like a new born baby. Saptajit put his arms around her and kissed her on the forehead.
‘You know how I missed you. I could not bear seeing you sulking. I could not take your doomed face. I have never seen you getting rejected by companies. You have always been the performer. Seeing you in such a state of mind, I would often cry at the bathroom. I so prayed to God that you be happy. I always wanted you to be happy’, Pragya almost whispered, still trembling with the after effects of the whimper.
‘I knew and I wanted to be normal, but could not. Even I was not used to rejections. It was hard to take those. But, now it’s over and let’s celebrate the moment. The bad days are over and good days are about to begin. Let’s not cry and make this evening dull, honey’, he said with a wink in his eyes!
Now we need to give some THEM-SPACE to the happy couple and shift our eyes elsewhere!