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The following is another short story. Please feel free to provide your comment on the same. I highly appreciate and value them. Also feel free to comment on any other of my posts. Those are invaluable feed back for me.
And special thanks to all those who urged me to continue to write. There were many of them. To name a few: Shakti, Arun, Saravanan, Ragav, Jeevan and many more and they all mean a lot to me.
Personality Development - A Short Story:
I was about to ask the most beautiful girl in the training hall her name. Before I do that let me take you 30 minutes in the past
The room was surprisingly quiet. It was a training hall located at the 4th floor of the building with the so called state of the art facilities (of a reputed IT services company). I was sitting at the last row and waiting for the training instructor. To be very frank I have a different opinion about trainings. Any topic for training is a subject by itself and what could they achieve in this 8 hour session (which includes tea and lunch breaks). Today’s session was about personality development. Well you cannot shape the personality of any person after 25 years. What ever they have become so far will be in them, very hard to change it. It only reminded me of the saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink”. There were 20 persons in the hall (including me).
Once again I scanned the room for familiar faces, but in vain. The first row was filled with sincere sigamanis. Sincere sigamanis could be identified very easily. They will have a note or a diary in their hand and write down everything that happens on the day (even if pen fell from their pocket :) ) and make sure that their respective managers notice that. The second and third rows were filled with the kadalai gangs (A bunch of boys and girls). Again there will not be any difficulties in locating such groups in any office. The most common place to find them is the cafeteria, where boys and girls will be sitting alternatively (may be in alphabetical order??? ) and chatting about God knows what. I guess if you list the topics that they were discussing you will be running in circles. Otherwise it is not possible to chat for 2 hours with a half tumbler of Tea. The boys there are spineless. There were 5 persons in the last row (including me). One of them started to yawn (has the training started? ).
The instructor came in sharply at 9 am (admirable). I was expecting the usual drill of mutual introduction. But there was a surprise in store for me. The instructor wrote the word introduction on the board and looked at us. And smiled. The introduction went like this. The instructor’s name was Mahadevan. But he said it as ‘Marvelous Maha’ (Mahadevan starts with a letter M so a positive adjective with the word M). He asked the first person to say the instructors name (as he said it) and say the person’s own name (with a positive adjective which starts with the first letter of his/her name). The second person has to say the instructor’s name, the first person’s name and his/her own name. This chain has to continue till the last person (that’s me). This means that I have to say all the person’s name in the room. Wonderful!
After that introduction, the instructor started the session. All the instructor has was an exercise. The members in the room were divided into groups of 2. The two members had to get to know each other and present about their team member and suggest ways to improve their behavior. This is part 1 of the exercise. Part 2 will be explained later. I was least interested. My only curiosity was who would be my team mate. The instructor took the age old method of lot in deciding the team mate. Almost all the names in the room were called out and as usual my name did not feature. This remained me of school days where the teacher would call you names in the answer sheets along with their marks and my name would always be in the late second half. At last my name was called and my team mate was a girl from the kadalai gang. Wow….I mean Gosh…. What a day… I thought. The teams were made to sit separately and I was about the most beautiful girl in the training hall her name – we had to disperse for a break.
We gathered after the break. It was the irritation of her perfume that made me to look at her. In the modern dictionary she was definitely beautiful (very rare in my company). She was wearing a modern form of chudithar the one for which I do not know the name, but it does give a modern look or that is what they think.
“What is your name?”, I asked.
“Priyadharshini. Yours?” she replied. Aah now I remember it was Pretty Priyadharshini.
I told her my name. A moment of silence followed. She was texting someone. I really wonder how the girls could text so fast with one hand. I guess that is a talent which you inherit when you become a part of the kadalai gang.
I asked her “What is your father?” – Now what kind of a boy will ask a girl about her father to start with? Before my mind could give an answer the answer to my original question came.
“He is working in State Bank of India as an assistant manager. How about your father?”. She replied.
I was getting irritated. Does’nt she knows to ask her own questions?
“He works in state government” I replied.
This discussion is not going forward. There is a task to be finished i.e. to advice on improving on her habits or character. I decided to push forward.
“What are your hobbies?”
“What?” she asked looking into her mobile and texting again. I was angered a little. Don’t these people have any other useful work within their gang. At that instant I noticed that one more girl in the same room was also meddling with her mobile and she looked at Priyadharshini and laughed. Oh come on!! I thought. Texting within the same room and laughing at each other. It cannot get more childish. What is there to laugh about? I repeated my question.
“What are your hobbies?”
She replied, “There are no specific hobbies.”
Me: “Then how do you spend your free time?” – Free time must be in plenty with you.
She: “Chatting. Watching TV.” I decided to press further.
Me: “What are your favorite TV shows?”
She: “Medical Detectives”. I was surprised. I was expecting any cartoon network programs or any of the stupid reality shows. This was interesting. But I was also getting a bit worried as I was the only one asking questions. Anyway I continued.
Me: “Can you explain me your daily routine?” It occurred to me that if I have to suggest any improvement I need to know where is she wasting time in her day to day activities.
She was a bit puzzled at my question. Yet she answered. “Hmm my day starts at 8. I leave for office at 9 and reach office at 10. Will have a tea break for 30 minutes; lunch break for 1 hour; another tea break for 30 minutes followed by a 15 minutes snacks break and leave for home by 7 pm. Dinner will be at 9 and after some TV and chat I retire for the night at 11.” I made some points in my mind.
Me: “I have been asking the questions so far. Do you have any questions for me?”
She: “I was waiting for you finish.” – Is she trying to act brilliantly? I was not in a mood to give away. No 'ladies first' in my policies. Ha Ha Ha
Me: “Do you watch movies? What is your favorite movie?”
She: “I do not watch lot of movies. I liked Avatar.”
Me: “Can we discuss about current affairs. How about state elections?”
She: “I have no interest in politics.”
Me: “Books? Any favorite?”
She: “Not much. I read some Sidney Sheldon during college.”
Me: “ Your favorite place”
She: “The Beach.” There was a smile in her face.
Me: “Ok. I am finished. Your turn.”
She shooted her questions. There were not much questions. Almost the same that I asked her. My favorite movies, books, authors etc. I gave her my answers, between her texting she listened to them.
Her last question was interesting.
She: “What do you think of this session?”
I observed her again. This even remained me of the scene in the move Liar Liar where Jim Carrey (he will be incapable of lying at that moment) will be asked to say what he thinks of his future boss along with the dialogue. “He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious b****d. A belligerent old fart. A worthless, steaming pile of cow dung.”
I replied, “This is a waste of time. I do not think that we can change people’s character in this little session.”
She just smiled.
We breaked for lunch and regrouped. This is the time where we present whatever we have learned from our team mate and guess what our team has to start. These kinds of waste dumb lucks will always be with me (like the first to stand and read the Shakespeare sonnet in the English class). I had to go first for our team. I had rehearsed the lines for her.
“My team mate name is Miss.Priya dharshani (oops I never asked whether she was married or not). Her father is working in State bank of India. She is cheerful. Probably the fastest sms texter I have seen (smiles in the crowd). Her favorite past time is chatting and watching TV. Coming to my message to her, she has a lot of interest to a variety of things. For example her favorite TV show is medical detectives which requires concentration. If she could show this interest in productive things like reading books other than chatting, sms ing she can do justice to that talent. Thanks.”
I went to my place. There were very few claps. I had a sinking feeling. Hope I was not too arrogant. I looked at her, she started to get up. It was her turn now. She hid her mobile within her hands. Her finger action indicated she was texting. Come on sms ing even at this time.
“My team mate name is Kind Karthik” – My positive adjective. Cha I missed hers.
“ He is working in Verification. He is 26 and his hobbies are reading books, movies. His favorite book is Motor Cycle Diaries and his favorite author is Sujatha. He also does some campaigning for marxist student assosiation during free time. I really do not have any advice for him as he thinks that it is not possible to change a person’s character through this small session. However, I will share some of my observations about him. He is probably a book worm - Living with books all the time and in the process forgetting the world outside him. I would guess he sees the outside world only through the characters in his books and thinks that he knows all. I could be wrong. He probably have an opinion about all the issues and things in the world and will not change it very easily. Throughout our discussion he was very very formal and this makes me guess that he draws a boundary and will never cross it under any circumstances. This has probably made him to converse poorly with girls. Probably he do not believe in love. Karthik please excuse me if I am wrong.” She came back to her seat and continued to text.
My face began to frown the moment she started to say her opinion. But her last sentence made me gasp for breath. How the hell did she find out that I do not believe in love. I have not mentioned it to her. There is no way she could have found out. How did she do it? I kept staring at her. Everyone kept staring at me. I was confused on how I missed this straight forward speaking girl.
Among this confusion I never ever realized that I will be proposing to her after 3 months.
I write all my stories via the view of the protagonist as it is very easy to convey the thoughts. But that does not mean I am projecting myself :) :) :)