Pallavi is a 29 year old single woman, attractive, tall and skinny, technology-savvy and works and stays in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Gurgaon – choose any city. She is a Graduate in Business Communication and works as a Project Lead in the Indian subsidiary of a Multi-national company. She is well-paid and well worked by the company. She stays in a studio apartment and it takes around an hour of commute from her studio flat to the workplace. Of many things she has achieved in life so far, one is her cute smartphone.
Her immediate aspiration is to be promoted to the Project Manager, get a loan to have a bigger flat once mortgage on the studio is part paid-back, upgrade her car and also to go back to school to have a higher degree in Management.
She has yet no steady man in her life. Reasons : she finds most men approaching her not upto the mark, she has many career aspirations which a relationship will cause trouble and she hates to admit, since last three years or so, she has found lesser number of ‘orbiters’. She defines ‘orbiter’ as some man who is too nice, mishy-mashy, tries to please her, gives ‘likes’ to her most trivial activity in social media. She does not find anyone very interesting or attractive but convenient nevertheless. She cannot articulate the convenience factor why but without these likes and attention missing (like a year back when he lost her phone and had to be without a phone for almost a day)
Two years back, she met a man in a Company Party. He was a freelancer and was also a personal friend of Vendor Manager . The man was 35+, quite rough looking but well dressed and with a very deep voice. The man sat in a corner in a very relaxed manner and was watching people like people watch a movie. Except gentle nods and greetings, he appeared to be a gazer. Their eyes met and the man looked at her steadily and then smiled. She smiled too. The man dropped his glass and came straight to her and said – ‘ Pardon me Ma’dam, did we meet by any chance in Churchgate?’
‘I don’t think so’, she replied instinctively and then realised that something better should have been spoken.
‘Oh, very sorry and apology for the intrusion. By the way, do you work here as a cubicle rat or as a freelancer ?’
She found the reference of cubicle rat insulting but strangely refreshingly and funny. The man took the silence in reflex as admission and said – ‘I was once’.
Meanwhile, her best friend Damini came near and mumbling an excuse told her that there is a big prospect and they need to meet.
She apologised and left. Since then, she did not remember any man making any lasting impression on her. Later, Damini told her that one of her successful female friends have finally got engaged with the MD of a company who was once a client. It was an indirect way for her sincere friend to tell her not to settle for anything less.
Pallavi loves her smartphone. She regretted that Steve Jobbs had died otherwise the man would have designed and gifted so many beautiful electronics to the world. One man actually gifted him Steve Jobbs biography but she could not get time to read it fully. The book and the man both have gone to some backyard of her ‘to-do list’ where very important power-points, excel sheet management, meeting notes, marketing mails fight for space.
She sleeps with her smartphone a feet away from her head. She wakes up and finds it great when she finds so many likes and comments regarding her posts which are more or less one liners or one words, pictures of last party or something like that. She hates to admit but even though she upgrades everything quite often, her profile photo always remain that classic one when she was 23 and was shot in her best skirt with hair flowing. She finds the dress now not fitting well and she has already made her hair cut short. She needs to do something about this, she muses.
Her smartphone appears more like a small baby for her. Once she went in a party in a 7 start hotel and it was great. But all the while she was having the anxiety like a nursing mother as her phone showed 7% battery remaining. It was a pity of unthinkable proportion that she missed at least 50 photographs of the excellently beautiful foyer and lobby. Even her own photos were less among 120 photos shot. It was very frustrating. She now disciplined herself to charge her mobile phone as soon as she finds a socket available.
A year back she visited a cousin of hers in another city – a housewife who did not have much ambition nor was she very bright. She married when she was barely 25, just after her graduation and a bright class-friend of hers. She was married some five years and strangely, she looked younger. This caused a mild envy in her but you cannot have everything. This cousin was in awe of her – her work, money she can spend, her accessories and smartphone. The cousin found the smartphone operation intimidating. She was comfortable with her archaic phone. The phone it was told was a gift from her husband before marriage and even though the husband has offered a better phone for her, she refused. Pallavi enjoyed staying with them, one kid – a three year old boy child kept her engaged and even distracted her from her smart-phone which for its safety was kept away.
Pallavi found her cousin’s husband very strange. He was handsome, earning well, smart and sexy in all the way. He was too tech-savvy and had his own business. How this man is happy with this woman ? Or is he ? Is he cheating on his wife ? She slyly asked her cousin but she laughed and then said, sending chill in Pallavi’s spine – ‘ My little sister, you should get married to understand this. No book can teach you this. As for me, I have told my husband long back that he is a king and so smart that they can get any woman he wants. I shall not be able to even figure it out. I think he does not cheat because it will hurt his manliness to cheat a surrendered and helpless 30 year old woman..’
‘How can you be so sure?’, Pallavi asked. She knew first hand that how murky is the world outside.
The cousin delivered something which decimated her by the sheer weight of the conviction and cunning – ‘ I know. If after five years of marriage, I don’t know what will prevent my man going wayward, then I am not a woman.’
On the previous day of her return, she met a friend of her cousin’s husband. He was a married man, currently a forced bachelor with wife at her father’s place. He came with his six year old son and it was visibly clear that the man was training his son in a manly way. The man was very funny but crisp.
In dinner, he was telling how to make one’s job a career. Pallavi listened intently. He said that HR women in corporates had a boring job but they have detailed access to most men of certain age group in terms of CV, earning, education and even photo. These women can easily transform her job into a lifelong career if she makes the right research and right move !
As the man spoke, she looked at her cousin and she appeared to be enjoying the conversation. At this moment, her smartphone rang. She excused herself and took the call. It was Damini.
Damini informed her that from her last photos uploaded, one man has shown heavy interest and she is going to meet her and seems to be a good opportunity and future potential.
She kept her smartphone near her head, plugged.
Slept to wake for the following day for the office.