When it rained – A short story


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.

Working Late – A Short Story


Naomi got off the elevator. She had her laptop bag with her, stuffed to overflowing with papers that needed to be looked at once she got back home. It was already 9 pm, and she didn’t really relish what the rest of the evening had in store for her. She had been travelling, and while she’d closed some good deals, what work she’d left behind, seemed to have been put into a multiplier machine.

She sighed as she walked out of the office building, hoping for a cab. Cabs were quite hard to come by at that late hour. She waited for ten minutes with no luck.

She decided to walk down to the train station. On the way, she saw an ATM, and decided to withdraw some cash, as she was running low. The whole road was deserted. She thought longingly of hot dinner followed by her favourite movie and the prospect of the weekend.

But no, it was only Monday, and the week stretched ahead without any end in sight.

She stood her laptop case on the ground, between her legs, as she extracted her wallet from the utter chaos inside her handbag.

This was one of those ATMs that was on the road; no booth attached to it. As she inserted her ATM card into the slot, she sensed, rather than saw someone behind her. She pushed her eyeballs as far as they would go, to see the person. She saw a black hoodie and blue jeans. She quickly withdrew the money, pressed ‘No’ for a printed receipt, picked up her bag and walked away as quickly as she dared, without making eye contact.

Just as she was about a 100 metres away, she heard footsteps echoing across the pavement. She turned; it was the same man, from the ATM.

She had to make a dash for it. He had seen her withdrawing cash. To run, she needed to get out of her high-heels, which she did. She broke into a run.She could hear her heart pumping and bellowing in her ear drums.The man called out as she ran.

Furtive glances showed that he was running as well.  She had read and seen so many things like this and knew she had to think smart. She  mentally ran through a list of the things she had in her handbag that could come in handy.

The roads continued to disappoint. There was not a soul in sight. Where was everbody? And finally, hurray! there was a Starbucks, glowing warmly, in the distance.

She invested all her energies into that last sprint to safety. A glance backwards showed that the man had slowed down.

She decided to bolt into Starbucks, and call the cops if required. She was completely out of breath as she opened the door at Starbucks. Totally drained out and relieved.

In just two minutes, the man opened the door too..! She gasped in shock. What would he do?

As she stood frozen, her mouth preparing to scream for help, he said, “Miss, you left your ATM card behind.”