The Day She Went Away

5th April 2022

I saw her with a few kids in the playground. To confirm my suspicions, I went near but stood silently. She was telling them a story animatedly. Her body language, gestures and voice modulations held the kids spellbound. Even me….

“Sir! A penny for your deep thoughts.”

“Reena…..Where have you been all these years?” I could only manage to say so much as I found a dozen inquisitive eyes boring into me. I managed a half-smile. The kids ran away laughing, perhaps they found me to be fatuous.

“How come you are here, Sir?” she ignored my question first.

“I come here often. Once in six months at least. I usually donate something to the orphanage and the school.”

“I come as I was brought up here. My home ever since I knew,” she volunteered.

“Oh!” It was all I could say before she left, her graceful form melting into the eventide.

1st July 2013

It was the first day of the campus interviews in IIM, Ahmedabad. Some prominent players in the business had lapped up the crème-de-la-crème of the applicants. Me and my partner, Ashutosh, were dreading the prospect of having to recruit any of the rest as we knew that it would only add to the woes of our start-up. We needed someone smart, aggressive and adept, personally and professionally, to work with passion like us.

We got ready to pack up and leave the next day afternoon when Reena was ushered into the office.

An hour later, the unthinkable happened. Reena had accepted the offer letter to work as a management executive at Oxymoron Logistics.

“I have a doubt, Sir,” she said a few months after joining, “I don’t understand why you ventured into this in your fifties.”

I laughed. “I was not brave enough for the plunge when I was young, you can say. And the usual middle-class problems. But I was sure I had to fulfill my dreams before it got too late. Now with my experience and contacts, it is going well so far.”

Reena proved to be an asset in every way. She steered the company in the right direction, formed a good team of staff, clinched several business deals and within a year we could get a post a good profit margin.

One day, about three years later……

“I am sorry Sir’s; I don’t see my future here. I am sure the company will do well, but it’s time I move on.”

That was she. Matter-of-fact. Decisive.

5th April 2022

I couldn’t stop her retreat that day. Not even today.

She was brought up here? Time creates and unfolds so many mysteries as we go along.

My legs pulled me to the orphanage office.

“Let me see, Mr. Ram. It might take some time to check the old records.” Mr. Sharma, the accounts manager said.

He laid out a large, hard-bound book when I was called in later. My handwriting read……

“Reena Venkatraman, age 2 years, DOB 5th April 1989”

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