Tanya was cooped up in office the whole day. She was a new entrant to the corporate world, and in her enthusiasm to learn, she usually ended up leaving work late.
Today, as she came down to the foyer, the sound of heavy rain hit her ears. The lobby was deserted, and she wondered what to do.
Calling a cab was futile, as the phone lines were usually jammed. Her studio apartment was a 3 km walk from her office. She usually walked it down, but with no umbrella, she was at a loss.
The rain showed no sign of abating; and left with no choice, she decided to make a dash for it.
As she ran-walked her way out, huge drops fell on her, causing her to shiver. She walked briskly. When she was a few hundred metres into her walk, she walked past another young lady, who was walking with an umbrella. As she crossed the lady, she called out to Tanya.
“Hello, why don’t you join me, seeing as we are headed in the same direction”, said the lady.
Tanya smiled and joined the lady, Veena, as they walked, making small talk. The lady told her that she worked in a private bank. Tanya told the lady that she visited the bank frequently, as she had an account there.
A little conversation, punctuated by sloshing shoes and heavy rain, as the two ladies walked on.
The wind played truant as it kept flipping the umbrella inside out. And that’s when Tanya saw it.
When Veena’s hand moved from the umbrella’s handle to flip the umbrella back down, Tanya saw the umbrella, HER umbrella, with the red and blue striped nail polish on its handle, for easy identification.
She must have left it in the bank on one of her trips there, but the nerve of this lady to use it.
The dynamics under the umbrella changed. Tanya’s conversation petered out with anger and disappointment. She was not sure what she felt.
Veena noticed this sudden cooling and lapsed into silence, wondering what had happened.
Soon, they reached Veena’s apartment complex.
Veena said, “So, Tanya. I will be off. Why don’t you take this umbrella with you. This is not mine anyway. The security guard at the office gave it to me saying that it had been lying in the office for over a month, and that no one had claimed it.”
Tanya looked surprised as she took the umbrella. Veena waved bye and walked away.
Tanya walked home with a heavy heart.