In case you have been reading the story I started writing last year, here is the next installment.
Namrata looked at him with disbelief and prompted, “Pranav?”
He met her eyes and affirmed, “I quit my job to take this trip.”
“You can’t be serious.”, she responded.
“Why not?”, he asked her.
“You cannot quit your job that simply.”, she proclaimed.
“From my experience Nam, keeping a job is a much more tedious task than getting rid of it.”, he quirked.
“Am I supposed to find this funny?”, she asked annoyed at how we wasn’t giving her any details.
“What you should or should not find funny is solely at your discretion.”, he answered testing her patience further.
Namrata could not take another circumvented response; she held his hand and reminded, “Pranav remember you wanted us to talk a while ago. I want you to cooperate. Tell me why you quit.”
“I quit because I wanted to come here.”, he replied.
“You could have applied for a leave.”, she suggested.
Pranav chuckled at her response and spoke, “You can really underestimate my brains Nam. Of course I could have asked for a few days off; that was the first thing that occurred to me. But here’s the thing, my calendar was blocked that week and it wouldn’t have been long till it was blocked for the next two weeks also. I was sick of sugarcoating my words with Nitin to get things done. I wasn’t sure of how I should approach the situation. But I was sure that I did not want you to travel to Kashmir alone. I sat for an hour considering the means and the words to open my schedule. And I realized that I did not care much about retaining my job any longer. So I wrote down a formal resignation and handed it to Nitin.”
“And Nitin accepted it?”, she asked him.
“No, it came as a huge shock to him.”, he told her.
“I don’t blame the man; I still cannot believe my ears.”, she exclaimed.
“I remained vehement that I cannot continue working any longer. I will serve the notice period and be out of here peacefully. He tried rooting out the motivation behind the abrupt decision. After quite a lot of persuasion and negotiations we agreed that I can take a break for the 10 days following the weekend, after which I begin my 6 week notice period.”, he informed her.
“After the break, your decision to leave is subject to revocation, right?”, she confirmed.
“Yeah, he believes that I may be able to clear whatever is it that is troubling me. But, if I decide to maintain my decision even then, he will not coerce me further and make it official.”, he asserted.
“So you haven’t quit in the literal sense of the word as yet. This can all be a charade in the end to avail a ten day vacation.”, she argued.
“It could be, however I have made the choice Namrata, I am quitting my job. You may believe it or not, it was your impulsive decision to take this trip that has led me here.”, he maintained.
“Pranav, what are you going to do?”, she quizzed.
“I have to think about that.”, he responded.
“Will you take another job?”, she questioned him.
” I hope not.”, he said.
“It’s difficult to digest that you haven’t thought out the biggest decision of your life. Where are the plans, the trajectories, the risk analysis, and the charts plotting the returns? The man I married was the man with the blueprint.”, she asked him bewildered.
He smiled at her and said, “I have none this time Namrata. Remember that episode from FRIENDS, where Rachel keeps on complaining about working as a waitress and Chandler suggests that unless she quits her waitress job she will never be able to muster the drive to pursue a career in fashion. I thought of that episode and as erratic as the advice seemed prima facie, it works for Rachel. I acted on that advice.”
“Pranav, FRIENDS was a show, written by people like you and me. They found the premise of a character following her passion promising. So they made it work, deliberately.”, she reasoned with him.
“I understand the deliberation there Namrata. But, if you think about it, it does make sense. In order to do what you yearn for, you cannot continue to be complacent. I cannot even recall why I started working in the first place but I know why I kept working. Because I got accustomed to a certain lifestyle, a certain sense of comfort that I was to scared to lose. But now I want to do something that satisfies me, something that I believe in. And I cannot do that with luxuries and the restraints of my job.”, he explained to her.
“What do you believe in Pranav?”, she asked him.
“This trip, to begin with.”, he replied.
“You mean us.”, she confirmed.
“I mean you and your decision to come. I believed in it.”, he replied.
“What if this doesn’t work out like last time?”, she cross questioned.
“I did not try last time Namrata.”, he responded.
“And you’re confident that you will try this time?”, she inquired.
“I have no other options.”, he told her
Nmarata looked at the sky, she shut her eyes and after a brief consideration, she spoke, “Now that I see us making some progress, I have something to tell you.”
“Let me guess, that your Sherlock brain had long ago deduced that something’s wrong at work because I have not been getting any calls or mails.”, he said in an attempt to out wit her.
“Yes, of course I knew something’s fishy; also I have been seeing a shrink.”, she answered in a self assured tone.
Pranav could not understand if he heard the last bit correctly, so he asked, “What?”
“I have been going to a therapist for almost a year now.”, she replied.
“Wow, do we even know each other anymore.”, Pranav exclaimed.
“Going by this conversation, I think not.”, she chirped in.
This is the 14th chapter of the story I had begun to write as a part of AtoZ. To make more sense of it, hop onto the page Anniversary and Kashmir.