Diary of a Loser
It was a Saturday afternoon and my wife Monisha and I were shopping in the mall. While she went into a store and was picking things out by herself, I chose to walk around and look at stuffs. At one point I thought I noticed my boss Ravi Sohay entering a store. When I spotted him, I immediately went over to him to greet him.
"What are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be in the office raising sales for the company?" he said when he saw me.
“Yeah ... maybe I should. Actually I am here shopping with my wife”
Just then I saw Monisha coming towards us. She had finished with her shopping and was looking for me.
"Oh ... she is your wife? Glad to meet you," Ravi said, as he stepped up, took her hand, and politely shook it. "
"Monisha, this is Ravi Sohay, my boss."
"Nice to meet you...." Monisha said.
"I don't think we’ve ever met. I just hope he doesn't use too many four letter words when he is talking about me," Ravi replied. Monisha shrugged her shoulders. I seldom had much to say about Ravi when I got home from work in the evenings.
Ravi Sohay was the boss's son and had moved to FutureMedia Delhi from the office in Mumbai. The company decided that it was a good idea to spread their VPs around to different cities so that they could visit customers and help close big deals. When I met him he was friendly but the ladies at FutureMedia seemed to think he was great and talked about him all the time, telling me about all the great ideas he had for driving new business, which in the long run would mean more money for the company.
We stood and talked awkwardly for a few minutes and then went on about our business. As we walked away, Monisha said "While we were talking to him, we should have invited him over for dinner."
"I don't think that's such a good idea," I said.
"Why not?" Monisha asked.
"Didn't you notice how uncomfortable we all were? I got the feeling that Ravi wants to keep our relationship professional and think of the impression that might leave with the other sales guys if they knew you had invited my boss over for dinner." I answered.
As far as I was concerned, over the last couple of months, I had established a working friendship with Ravi. From the outset, Ravi let me run my territory without interference and spent his time working, on his side, to improve our sales in other territories.
Monisha understood the fact that I might have a difficult time with the distinction between boss and friend if I took further steps to get any close to Ravi.
"Well, all right. We'll forget about inviting him over for dinner then." Monisha said.
A few days after running into Ravi in the mall, I got called into his office.
"It has been brought to my attention that a couple of your customers have complained about the level of service you have been giving them lately," Ravi said.
"What? I have never had a customer complaint before. Are you sure?"
"Yes. I did a follow up with the customers. In both cases the customers said that you have left out items that were supposed to be in the contracts that you sent to them for their signature."
"Ravi, you know that I have never screwed up on a contract before. This has to be a mistake. Who were the customers? I'll talk to them and straighten this out my self," I said.
"It’s fine really, I have already taken care of it. For now, I just want you to let me check over your contracts before you send them out. Don't worry, I have no intention of interfering with the good relationship you have with your customers."
"I don't understand what could have happened and why would they call in a complaint instead of calling me," I said.
"Actually, they did call in to talk to you but you were out of the office. In both cases, they left a message for you. Somehow I think we have to handle the calls as complaints. "
I wanted to argue that with Ravi but I knew there was no point. His mind was made up.
"Thanks, Ravi, I appreciate your support." I finally said.
When I left Ravi's office, I was as angry as I had ever been. I could not believe that any of my customers had complained. I had always prided myself on the rapport I had with my customers. On top of that, Ravi wouldn't tell me which customer complained because he was afraid that it might affect the way I deal with them in the future. The worst thing of all was that now I would have to suffer the humiliation of having Ravi looking over my shoulders.
"Did you have a bad day?" Monisha asked as I walked into the house that evening.
"Yes, as a matter of fact, I did but how did you know?"
"I could see it in your face as soon as you walked in the door."
I told Monisha what had happened and how Ravi had decided to treat the two customer calls as complaints rather than just let me handle them myself.
"So what happened? How did Ravi handle the complaints?" Monisha asked.
"I told you they weren't actually complaints. Ravi arbitrarily decided to handle them as complaints. He called the customers and took care of the problem," I said. "I still can't believe I made a mistake on those contracts. I proof read them before I mailed them out. Now Ravi wants to proof read my contracts before they go out."
"Isn't it possible that you missed something," Monisha said.
"I guess it's possible that I missed something but I have never made a mistake like that before and now I made two in the same week. I just can't believe it."
"Maybe it's not such a bad idea to have Ravi proof read your contracts," Monisha said.
"Whose side are you on?" I asked.
"I'm on your side, of course. I just think that having Ravi proof read your contracts with you before you send them out isn't such a bad idea."
"I can't believe that you actually think that I need help taking care of my customers after all this time."
"I know you are the best. I am just saying that you should do this, if for no other reason than to just to keep him off your back."
I was disappointed that Monisha didn't seem to be on my side of this issue but I could see the logic in what she said so I didn't argue about it with her. It was obvious that she was able to look at my situation much more objectively than I was.
For the next month I did as Ravi had ordered and had him proof read my contracts with me before I sent them out. Not once did we find a mistake. At the end of the month, I figured everything was back to normal but Ravi called me in for another chat.
"I am now comfortable with the way you run your territory and that any problem you may have had with any of your customers seems to have resolved itself," Ravi said.
"I never thought there was a problem to begin with," I said.
Ravi gave me a look that said he didn't agree with my assessment. "What I am saying is you no longer need me to proof read your contracts but I want you to keep me involved in any new contracts you are working on."
"Can I ask why?"
"I think we need to have better control of our business. I want to be involved in every significant contract to make sure we are doing the right things for our customers."
"Why am I being singled out?" I asked.
"You're not. I will be doing this with all of the sales guys. Don't worry about this. It's no big deal. It won't interfere with what you do; it's just more work for me," Ravi said.
Once again Monisha recognized that I was upset when I got home and I had to tell her what was going on and how much it pissed me off.
"Honey, you know it's just the way things turn out sometimes. Don't get mad because I feel Ravi is just trying to help you," Monisha said.
Monisha was right, of course, but it still annoyed me that she didn't show more support for me. I was angry and I expected that she simply agree with me that what Ravi was doing was an insult to me and he should just back off.
It took almost two months before I started to see the problem. We were at party at a friend's place and it was getting late. I poured myself another drink, silently hoping the party would end soon. I enjoyed these parties, but tonight I was feeling tired and wanted to go home.
I looked across the crowded room and saw Monisha talking to one to her friends, Nisha. I was pretty sure Nisha hated Monisha. It always amazed him how catty women could be. The fact that Nisha’s husband always paid so much attention to Monisha didn't help things.
I walked around some more and saw that the crowd had thinned. "Maybe we can cut out and go," I thought, and went looking for Monisha. She was still talking to Nisha. Their backs were to me, and they hadn't noticed me. I was about to say something and then froze. What had Nisha just said? I stepped back into the shadows, and listened.
"Monisha, you're definitely in awe of this guy," Nisha said as she playfully nudged Monisha's side.
"What? Of course I'm not," Monisha replied.
I peaked around the corner to see who they were talking about. There was nobody.
"Anyway I don't think Rajiv likes him," she added.
"I don't blame him. I'd be mad too if my wife fancied the guy I worked for."
Monisha looked shocked. "I don't fancy Ravi!"
Nisha looked unconvinced. "Even gorgeous guys like Ravi? Come on, admit it, you have hot for him."
"Nisha, you're crazy. I'm married. I only said Ravi is good looking and sexy, this doesn't mean I have crushes on other men." Monisha scowled at her friend, and then laughed too.
I was surprised by these revelations. I never guessed my wife found my boss attractive. That night, when we went home, I recalled our meeting with Ravi at the mall and how Monisha had tried to convince me to invite him for dinner. Women can really be hard to fathom at times, I concluded.
The following day I forgot about all this as a serious problem cropped up at work. One of my customers called to complain about some missing tasks in the contract I had negotiated with them. They asked me what I was trying to pull on them. I had to rewrite their contracts to include the missing tasks. I was confused as I was sure I had written the contract properly.
I later discussed the problem with Ravi.
"This is not good,' he said. "We have to keep the board from finding out about these mistakes or you'll be in serious trouble. I will keep quiet over this one, but promise me you will work out a solution. You have been doing this long enough that you don't need me to read your contracts before they get sent out but you have to make sure they go out right or it will be both of our asses. Besides, I wouldn't know if something was left out unless I was with you when you met with the customer to negotiate the contract."
Ravi seemed to be on my side but it didn't make me feel better.
That evening I discussed this new problem with my contracts and the conversation I had with Ravi with Monisha.
"How can you be so certain that you didn't make a mistake?" she asked.
What was I missing? Was Monisha beginning to think that I wasn't as competent at my job as she used to think I was? That was the impression I was getting from her.
"I don't know what's going on but I think someone is trying to make me look bad," I said.
"You can't be serious," Monisha said. "You just said that you mail the contracts as soon as you are done with them. No one has access to your contracts once your finish with them. If someone could get to the contract, who would want to do that to you? Who could possibly benefit by making you look bad?"
I thought about what Monisha said and realized I really had no answers.
"I guess you're right. Maybe I did make a mistake," I said but I didn't for a moment believe that.
"So what if you made a mistake," she said, "everyone does. Now that you know what happened you can take steps to make sure it doesn't happen again. Maybe you could ask Ravi to start proof reading your contracts with you again."
"No, I still don't believe I made any mistake," I said. "Someone is out to ruin me."
"Do you have any idea how paranoid that sounds?" Monisha asked. "I am beginning to think that you are just stressed out. Maybe all you need is a vacation."
"I am getting stressed out but that is not what is causing these problems," I said.
"I think you need some professional help, honey," Monisha said. "I am really beginning to worry about you."
"I am beginning to worry about us," I said. "Not once since this started have you taken my side."
"That's nonsense. Of course I am on your side. I just wanted to help you."
That was the end of the conversation for that night. Monisha went off to bed and I retired to the family room with a large glass of scotch. I wasn't sure if it was my ego but I just couldn't accept that my wife having doubts over my abilities. I recalled her conversation with Nisha, how she confessed finding Ravi good looking and sexy. Now she was taking his sides too.
The following day, when I walked into the building, the receptionist told me. "Rajiv, Ravi is waiting for you in the office. I think he has a visitor." I thanked her and hurried to the huge office.
Ravi was there with a guy and a woman. The guy was M. Sharma who was one of my clients. They all got up to greet me.
"Rajiv, I got a call from Mr. Sharma, the CEO at Sharma Products. I have been working over this project personally for the last 2 months. He came here with his wife, Mona. Apparently they are interested in partnering with our company for a major assignment."
I wondered the possible reasons for this meeting. I have been talking to Mr. Sharma every month for more than a year. Over that time, Mr. Sharma and I had become friends and I had managed to sort of get my foot in the door. I wondered how Ravi has managed to get him to sign on the lines.
"Rajiv, good to see you again," Mr. Sharma said.
"Hi, nice meeting you," I said. "I guess I should congratulate you on your contract with Ravi."
"Hi, I'm Mona," Mrs. Sharma said.
She was dressed in a sleeveless white blouse that was tucked into a short black skirt, and it was difficult not to stare at the tremendous amount of thigh she was showing. She had sparkling eyes, a cute little nose, and wire frame glasses that only complemented her attractive face.
"Have you been working with Ravi for very long?" she asked
"A couple of months", I replied.
"Good, I'll leave you guys to finalize the technicalities. I'll just join Ravi in his office to sign a non-disclosure agreement. I am sure you understand," she said as she headed to the door. I found myself staring at her narrow hips as she walked away.
Ravi took me aside and said, "I hope you realize that there are a lot of companies they could have gotten these services from. He chose us, so don't let us down. Make sure Mr. Sharma gets what he needs, while I do the same with his lovely wife."
Then Ravi followed Mona out of the room, leaving me with M. Sharma.
"I have always liked you, Rajiv," he said. "I always felt that I could trust you and have never regretted dealing with you."
"Thanks a lot for your trust, M. Sharma."
"Actually we are about to announce the acquisition of two other companies that will at least triple the size of Sharma Products. My wife Mona met with your boss last month in New York and was impressed by his capabilities. Mona suggested we use a single source for all of our services and wanted to give you the first opportunity to put together a proposal for 5 years."
"Five years?" I could feel my heart rate increasing as I considered how much this contract would be worth.
I spent another hour with M. Sharma discussing the scope of the services he wanted our company to provide. Before I left we set up a schedule of weekly telephone calls to update him on the progress I was making.
On Friday, I managed to close one to the three cases I was working on and I was close to finalizing another. That night I stopped after work to have a drink with Shekhar Malik, to celebrate closing. We had a couple of beers and talked about work. Obviously the conversation was about the major deal we were signing with Sharma products. At some point, Shekhar asked about the lady. It took me a minute to realize he was talking about Mrs. Sharma.
"I know you worked a lot on this but there is something you need to know," Shekhar said.
"There is nothing you can say that would be any more upsetting than what I have already been through," I said.
"Okay then, I heard we got the contract because Ravi is nailing Mr Sharma’s wife who is said to be a real bombshell," Shekhar said.
"How do you know that?” I said.
"You know I accompanied them to one of the meetings. Ravi asked me what I thought over this offer. I didn't want to act too anxious so I said that it was definitely interesting but still wasn't sure if it would be worth it. Ravi then asked me what I thought about Mrs. Sharma. I said I hadn't got time to think about her, so I could not really say. He also asked if it would be worth it for the pleasure of working with Mr. Sharma's beautiful wife. At that point I could not make out if he was serious or just pulling my legs. I got the feeling that he wanted to accept their offer for more reasons than to sign the contract. "
"That son of a bitch," I said. "Who the fuck does he think he is?"
"He is one sleazy bastard. I still wonder how he would get a married woman agree to sign a contract with him just for the pleasure of giving herself to him."
Sitting across him everyday in the executive boardroom, it was easy to see why Ravi was so popular with the office females: he was in very good shape and his face was sexy, and he had an air of confidence and a strong dominant personality that really turned women on. I shuddered as it occurred to me that was probably what my own wife Monisha found attractive in him.
Despite his situation as an eminently dateable guy within the company, Ravi had wisely avoided the overt romantic advances of every woman at the office, though this only served to pique even greater interest and make him all the more desirable to them. As a senior guy at the firm, I tried my best to avoid office gossip. Yet, from time to time, rumors persisted that Ravi was seriously 'packing'; something the women all seem to agree was simply too good to be true, given his looks, personality, and the amount of sex appeal he had to spare.
Now the story that Shekhar has told me about him and Mona left me puzzled.
I remember a situation with one of the girls in the team. It was a few weeks back when Ritikha literally jumped up in the middle of a meeting and disappeared into the corridor, saying loudly that she was going to print out a document. Then, only a minute later, Ravi mumbled something and dashed off after her. It was all so sudden that the atmosphere was broken and the rest of the team sat there in stolid silence.
The hands on the clock crept slowly round, five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen, twenty minutes. At this point someone glared at me and demanded, "Well, are we going to conclude this meeting or not?"
My mind was in a mess. As the length of their absence had grown, I had grown more and more uneasy. Luckily I was saved from taking action because at that moment, Ravi walked in followed by Ritikha carrying some print outs about a survey carried out by our company. I had completely forgotten about this incident until now when Shekhar made mention of his suspicions regarding Ravi and Miss Sharma.
Later that night, I told Monisha about the meeting with Ravi and Mr. Sharma and the contract signed, and she again asked me if I was ready to consider asking for help. I was so pissed I didn't speak to her for the rest of the night. The following day, she apologized to me.
"I didn't mean to hurt your feelings; it is just that there doesn't seem to be any logical explanation for the problems you are having," she said.
I chose not to tell her that I heard we got the contract because Ravi was sleeping with Mrs. Sharma.
"Anyway, why don't you forget about work now?"
That sounded like a very good suggestion. Monisha and I took our drinks into the family room and sat on the sofa.
"You have been down and grumpy for the last couple of weeks so this contract is a welcome change," Monisha said.
"Sorry, I was frustrated because I feel I missed out on this proposal that could turn out to be very big," I said.
"You were not the only one; Ravi did put effort on this on it, right?"
I snapped my head around and gave Monisha a stern look. "No."
"Don't you think that the client would not have signed if he did not intervene at some stage?"
"I am completely capable of doing my job without outside interference" I said.
"It is not outside interference. It still is your deal. I just thought that after the recent problems you have had that it was not a bad idea to get some help," Monisha said.
The problems I was having at work were a real pain but the fact that those problems were affecting Monisha's confidence in me is what really hurts.
"I don't need or want any help from Ravi or anyone else," I said. "So let's just drop this, okay?"
To celebrate winning the deal with Sharma Products, Ravi informed us that he was inviting all employees of FutureMedia to a party at his house. Because there had been too many restrictions the year before on our company party, it had been decided to have it at a private house, that way it wasn't technically anything to do with the firm. It was up to each employee to decide if they wanted to bring their partner. Even though we had been married for a few years, Monisha had never before been to any of our company party or socialized with any of my coworkers. I decided to bring her along to meet my friends and colleagues.
On Tuesday evening, I arrived at Ravi's apartment, drove and parked my car.
With Monisha by my side, we walked up the steps and approached the door just as Ravi was coming out. He greeted me with a big smile, "Hey Rajiv, glad you could make it,"
"Hi Ravi!" I said, steeping forward to introduce him to my wife. "This is Monisha; I believe you’ve met before."
"Glad to see you again," Ravi said as he took her hand and politely shook it.
"Oh, thank you," Monisha answered.
"Monisha, we'll have to talk later," Ravi said, leading us inside. "I'd like to get to know you better."
I did not appreciate his choice of words, but Monisha didn't seem to notice it.
"Looking forward to it," she accepted graciously.
“Since I have a few minutes to spare, let me show you around,” Ravi said when we were inside.
Even from the doorway, I became aware of a subtle, exotic fragrance that permeated the entire condo. I had heard of the term ‘a captivating fragrance’ well that was exactly what this was. It was a pleasant scent throughout the condo and it grew even more obvious as we entered his house.
We strolled around stopping at various items as Ravi gave us interesting anecdotes about how he acquired some of the more unusual things. He had a way of telling enough to keep the listener very interested and yet holding back enough to peak one’s curiosity. Many of his decorative items were foreign things found on his trips abroad. It was obvious that Ravi was a man of wealth. His decorations, art work, and collectables exuded money.
It was on three levels with long halls and a good many rooms on each level. The third level was dominated by a large bar area. It looked like a very high end sports bar, complete with a high definition wide panel television over the bar. What an attractive interesting room, I thought to myself. Ravi indicated that his work required a good bit of entertainment so the bar area was used a good bit.
When Monisha and I took our leave from him, I couldn’t help realizing that previously I had been impressed with his business approach, now I was equally fascinated with the man and his lifestyle.
Monisha and I then walked over to the bar to pour ourselves a fruit drink. I greeted several of my coworkers along the way; remembering to introduce Monisha each time. We finished our drink and then made our way through the crowd of people. The party was pretty tame as these things go. There were some two hundred people in attendance counting employees, spouses and significant others. We had drinks and appetizers and then dinner. After dinner, there were more music and dancing. We were all having a good time in spite of the low key party going on around us.
Later, in the middle of the evening, I had gone to the men's room and when I returned I found Ravi talking to Monisha. I got pissed off when I saw that. I knew that I could trust Monisha but I didn't like the idea that Ravi might hit on my wife. It showed a lack of respect for me.
I didn't say anything as I was not sure I could tell my boss to stay away from my wife but and make a scene. After all, nothing had really happened. They were just talking. I thought that night when we got home I was going to have a talk with Monisha about Ravi. I had never told her about Ravi or his attraction to women. The problem was that I could not think of any way to bring that up in conversation without making it sound like I didn't trust Monisha. I couldn't wait to get the hell out of there and go home.
I tried to appear normal I did a good job of pretending to be tired and suggested we take our leave. I felt a shiver watching Monisha as she bent over and gave Ravi a goodnight kiss, and, strangely enough my cock began to grow.
The situation took a different turn the following day when I sat down with my wife at breakfast. "Ravi sure was a lot different than what I expected," Monisha commented from across the table. "I mean at the party, he just seemed a lot nicer than what you made him out to be."
"Yes. Ravi Sohay."
"Since when are you on a first name basis with my boss?" I asked teasingly.
"We are on pretty informal terms," she responded, jokingly.
I was a bit irate about her discussing our personal matters with Ravi. "He just seemed nice at the party," I spoke between mouthfuls of biscuits. "I promise you would feel a lot different if you had to work for him."
"Maybe," she agreed with a smile.
"I just think you would have a different opinion of the guy if you really did have to work for him."
"But since you are the one working for him, we'll never know how he would behave with me if I was working with him."
An erotic thought formed in my own mind. I thought of Monisha working for Ravi, and then wondered if he would ask for any sexual favor if he was her boss. But I shook the thought away and decided to pull Ravi down a notch.
"All in all, he hardly brings anything new to the company.”
"The women seemed quite fond of him, you know," she shrugged her shoulders.
I couldn't believe she was still talking about him! I wish she would drop the subject. I didn't know what to say and shifted my attention to the breakfast. It didn't take Monisha long to notice something was wrong.
"What's the matter, Rajiv?" Monisha asked.
"Something is bothering me but I am afraid that it will come out wrong and I don't want to upset you."
Monisha suddenly looked tense. "What's wrong, Rajiv?"
"I guess I'll just say what's on my mind and we can discuss it until I can clear up any misconceptions. It's about Ravi."
The expression on Monisha's face changed.
"What about Ravi?" she asked.
"I don't know if you know this about him but he has a reputation as a ladies' man."
Monisha laughed. "I know. I've heard all the stories about him at the party.”
"Monisha. This is not funny to me," I said.
"You can't possibly think I have any interest in Ravi," Monisha said with a tinge of anger in her voice.
"No. I am not worried about you. I trust you."
"So what you are saying is that you don't want me to talk to Ravi anymore, is that it?" Monisha asked.
"If you wouldn't mind," I said.
"Well, I would mind. I think he's charming and I enjoyed talking to him. I don't understand what you are worried about. I don't like it when you act this way."
I wasn't happy with her response but I didn't push it any farther. She hadn't done anything wrong and my reaction was probably out of line.
I was worried that Monisha was really pissed at me but when I tried to discuss it further with her, she cut me off. "I will let you know if he does anything that starts bothering me," she said.
The way she said it let me know that the conversation was over. I was a little upset with her unwillingness to even discuss further but I let it go.
Staff meetings were never my strong point. Staff meetings on Monday mornings drove me to distraction. I could not concentrate on anything. To make matters worse, the intensity of pressure at work seemed about to redouble. FutureMedia had managed to get its hooks into one of the biggest and most important contracts in its existence, and we were going to have to pull out all the stops to bring it off.
The meeting had just started when Ritikha made her entrance five minutes late. People had just settled in, mugs of coffee positioned, piles of papers shuffled. Everyone stopped listening. Ravi continued talking for a sentence or two more before he stopped.
“Hi, Ritikha. Welcome. You look nice this morning,” he said.
“Sorry I’m late. Thank you.” She said briskly, avoiding his eyes on her.
Were they an item? Office rumors abound about that, I could now conclusively say something was in the air. I saw Shekhar Malik who was also in the meeting hide a smile. I made up my mind to have a lengthy talk with him on the subject.
The staff meeting was one of those nerve wracking battles where everything is happening at more than one level at the same time. I tried to focus on what Ravi was saying. Long-term relationship. Win-win situation. Security. It was unbearable. At last, with lunch in sight, the battle seemed to be won. We would go ahead with the deal. The final negotiations would be on Thursday and Friday, the signing would happen on Monday. Our key team would have to fly up north to our client’s head office to clinch the deal. Consensus was reached. School was out.
I went straight to the bathroom. I wanted to rest my forehead against the cool tiles. I tried to stay with my breath while I zipped myself up. Ravi came in while I was drying my hands. I saw him in the mirror.
“You all right, old chap?” It was Ravi. He came bustling in, laden with files, dumped them by the basins, and went over for a piss.
“I am fine,” I said.
“Tell me, Rajiv,” said Ravi from his place, “you have any idea how to present our proposal?”
"I was thinking that making a very nice document would help."
"What do you mean?”
"Why don't we hire a professional photographer to make a photo for the cover with a sexy woman model? This is the big game. Real stakes. I want everything to go all right for us."
I got a feeling that the fact that he was talking to me out of the boardroom meant something good. He fixed me with a penetrating, enigmatic stare. “Come with me to lunch. I want to discuss these negotiations.” And I had the distinct sensation he was escorting me out, making sure he did not leave me behind in the toilet…
Ravi heightened my anxiety at lunch. Midway through lunch he bent forward over the table and said, "I was thinking of proposing your wife on the cover of our proposal document."
I was wordless. What exactly did he mean?
"Your wife's really a lovely looking woman, she would be just fine on our cover!"
I immediately grew suspicious.
"Yes, she's beautiful," I finally acknowledged. "But I don't think she'll like that," I responded to his words.
"I'm serious," he changed his tone. It sounded like he really might be serious. "A friend of mine owns a photo studio. I talked to Monisha about it the other day at the party."
"Really," I briefly looked up, pretending to sound disinterested. I hoped the look in my eyes would drive him away. In truth, I felt anything but disinterest.
Monisha hadn't mentioned anything about Ravi's proposal.
"You mean she didn't tell you?" He questioned the surprised look in my eyes. "I'm surprised she didn't tell!"
I thought of Monisha's response to this proposal. An image formed in my mind. I pictured Monisha appearing seductive on the company document. I had a difficult time imagining Monisha talking to Ravi about this stupid photo session, yet I was beginning to have second thoughts. The fact that she chose to hide it from me made me suspicious. I remember how Monisha kept asking me about Ravi at breakfast the day after the party.
Further images formed in my mind. This time it was of Monisha in a photo studio. I imagined her on display. Then I thought about all the sensuous poses Ravi would ask her to do.
"Just an idea," he straightened back up and got ready to leave.
My heart was racing; I felt all of the energy drain from my body. "Who the fuck does Ravi Sohay think he is asking my wife to pose for the company document?" The more I thought of it, the more I found myself nervous. When I plucked up enough nerve to tell Monisha that night, I was surprised by her reaction. I expected absolute outrage. Instead, she said nothing for a couple of minutes.
Eventually she asked, 'What was your reaction when he said that?'
Perplexed by the calmness of her response, I said I thought it was a bad idea.
'It's flattering though, that he would have thought of me for the cover picture, isn't it?' She'd obviously had given it a lot of thoughts.
'Yeah .... But I really can't see you doing that."
'Oh yeah?' she said; and then after a moment's pause, she went on, 'God, you know I would never do something like that, it's just that a wife would love to know how much her husband values her ...'.
'Trouble is .... Oh hell darling, I don't want all the guys at the office leering at you.'
'Don't be daft, they wouldn't do that. At least I don't think they would; but you never know, do you?' she said teasingly after a moment's thought.
I was incredibly turned on by her suggestion and I think she was too, because her breathing was getting quicker. I decided to wind it up because I was beginning to noticeably shake and wanted to take her to bed.
'Wow ... that'd be terrible!' I said sarcastically, 'Look I'm sorry darling, but I reckon you quite like the thought of showing your pictures around to all my mates, despite what you say....'
"Oh what a crazy thought, other men staring at me...” Monisha said as she wrapped her arms around me and kissed me.
"Really?" I said, "Of course. I often hear them talking about you and when I go up to them, they clam up and change the subject."
Monisha looked at me and I asked, "Does that make you hot knowing other men want me?"
We laughed together, but only for an instant. I threw my arms around my wife and kissed her with an eager hunger. Monisha was now worked up, and I was not about to let the moment pass. I had waited for this kind of passion and excitement that had been missing for some time. That night, sex was extraordinary between us.
The next morning I kissed Monisha as I prepared to leave for work. "You know I love you don't you? Last night was wonderful," I said.
"Remember you can't work late Friday," she said. "You have to be home in time to get ready for the party."
I remembered one of our senior directors Mr. Desi called me few days ago and invited us for a birthday party. He invited everyone in our office. Mrs. Desi also invited Monisha and other stuff member’s wife separately over phone.
"What time do we have to be there?" I asked.
“Mrs. Desi said the party will be starting at 6 o'clock. I want to be there no later than 6:30," Monisha replied. "So you need to be home by 5 o'clock to get ready."
"Okay, why don’t meet me at the office and we leave together from there."
“Yeah, that’s a good idea. But what puts you in such a jolly mood?”
“Our night of passion,” I said teasingly.
On Friday I had all but closed my last case. The problem was it was going to be very difficult to get everything done by five o'clock like I promised Monisha.
When I called my wife that I was going to have a hard time getting done by five, she was annoyed.
"You promised," she said.
"I know and I am sorry but I am so close I just have to close this before I leave."
She did not even reply.
"Monisha, you don't have to wait for me. If I am not finished on time, go without me." I said. "I'll get there as soon as I can."
"I don't want to go without you," she said. "I guess I’ll just hang around and wait for you at the office."
"I'll do the best I can to get done by 6:30."
Monisha didn't say anymore about it.
It was 7 o'clock when I finished the last of the reports. I immediately went looking for Monisha, knowing she would have to be waiting for me at the reception since most offices in the building were closed.
When I walked in the reception room, I saw Ravi was sitting with Monisha and seemed deep in conversation with her. I could feel a knot forming in my stomach. I knew that if I said or did anything wrong, Monisha would be angry at me and accuse me of being jealous and she would be right.
Monisha immediately rose to her feet when she saw me.
"Oh, Rajiv is here to drive you to the party, isn't it?" Ravi said when he in turn saw me.
"That's right," I said. I turned and gestured to Monisha. "Honey, we better get going."
Monisha shook hands with Ravi, and we took leave from him.
When we came out of the building, it was raining. I had left my vehicle at the far side of the park, meaning both of us would be drenched by the time we reach the car. I was about to propose that Monisha wait for me right there while I go and pick up the car when Ravi wandered up. His car was parked right outside the door in the director’s reserved parking spot, one of the benefits of being the boss.
"No need for two persons to get wet,” he said, opening the door for Monisha. “Come on Monisha, I'll drop her at the place. It’s on my way. Rajiv, you don't mind if I steal your wife for this drive, do you?" he said.
"Not at all," I said with just a slight hesitation. Monisha seemed to hesitate, looked at me and accepted his offer out of kindness and got in the car.
"No need to worry, I'll keep your wife company," Ravi said to me as he drove off.
I rushed through the rain and got into my car, still puzzled by the turn of event. Driving out of the car park, I was surprised to spot Ravi’s car a couple of vehicles behind me, in the rear view mirror. Then when we got to the road that leads to the highway, he indicated and turned off. I was confused and could not tell for sure whether it was really his car or one that looked like his. Almost reluctantly I kept going, my mind wondering about the situation. Would Ravi really dare trying to seduce my wife? Whilst the thought certainly annoyed me, I was far from decided on how I would feel about the possible threat to my marriage.
After the half hour-long drive out to Mr. Desai's house, I arrived at the party. The rain had stopped and there were people all over the place. When I pulled into the drive I was quietly annoyed to see no sign of Ravi's car. I went into the house and looked for Monisha. There were several people in the house but Monisha wasn't among them, like I expected.
I was actually really worried when the missing pair had not turned up after twenty minutes. After three quarters of an hour I was downright fuming as I began to get more and more concerned. I begin ringing my wife's mobile every few minutes and making regular trips to gaze down the road in the direction from which they should appear.
Going inside I asked a girl I knew from the accounting department if she had seen Monisha.
"I saw her earlier," she said. "She was out in the yard talking to Ravi."
I immediately felt a knot in my stomach. I was going to have to talk to Monisha about Ravi again and I wasn't going to wait till we got home. I went out into the back yard and looked around but didn't see Monisha anywhere. I asked a couple of people if they had seen Monisha and one of them told me that they had seen her but that was more than 15 minutes earlier.
I was beginning to get upset. I was sure that Monisha wasn't doing anything wrong but not being able to find her was worrying me. I walked around asking people if they had seen Monisha and most said that they had seen her earlier but hadn't seen her in a while. I walked over to a guy who was standing watching people in the swimming pool and asked him if he knew Monisha and he said that he didn't. Then I asked him if he knew Ravi.
"Yes, I know Ravi," he said.
"Have you seen him?" I asked.
"I saw him heading to his car about 10 minutes ago."
I don't know what made me ask. "Was anyone with him?"
"Yes. He was with a very attractive woman," he said. "I think they came together."
Suddenly I felt myself begin to panic. Had Monisha really left the party with Ravi? I just couldn't believe that she would do that. Not Monisha. I spun around hoping to see Monisha somewhere in the yard but I didn't see her.
I felt all of the energy drain from my body and I felt like I just wanted to go lie down somewhere. I went around to the far side of my car where no one would see me and I slumped to the ground. I put my head between my knees and took deep breaths and tried to calm myself down. There had to be some other explanation for why I could not find Monisha. I knew she had come to the party because at least three people had seen her there. I also knew that she had been seen talking to Ravi Sohay. I also knew that Ravi had been seen leaving the party with a woman that fit Monisha's description. These things did not add up to a happy conclusion. Part of my brain was telling me that Monisha would not do that to me. She would not cheat on me. The other part of my brain was asking me how I could be so sure that she wouldn't cheat. I pushed that thought out of my head. It would not come to that. I refused to believe that Monisha would do anything that would cause me to leave her.
I knew that if she did leave the party with someone she would have to come back eventually because she knew that I would be there soon. The only thing I could do was to go back to the party and wait for her.
I walked through the house in a daze and went out into the back yard again. I needed to try and eat something to settle my stomach and get my nerves under control while I waited for Monisha to return. I was at the food table trying to decide what foods my stomach could handle when I heard a voice behind me. It took me a minute to realize the voice was directed at me. When I turned around I found Mr. Desai standing behind me.
"I see you finally made it, Rajiv," he said. "Where is that lovely wife of yours? I saw her here earlier."
"I don't know," I said. "I haven't been able to find her."
"Did you try calling her?"
"I forgot my phone so I wasn't able to call her," I lied. I did not want to tell him I have tried to call my wife and she was not taking my call.
Mr. Desai pulled his phone from his pocket and handed it to me and said,
"Here, use mine."
I wondered if Monisha would reply to the call from a different number to mine. I punched in Monisha's number and waited nervously for it to begin ringing. I wondered where she was and what I would say to her when she answered, if she answered.
Monisha answered on the third ring.
"Monisha, where are you?"
"I am at Desai's where are you?"
"I am here in the back yard but I don't see you." I said.
Then I saw her as she stepped out from behind a large mango tree about a hundred feet away from me.
I could not believe the relief I felt when I saw her. I handed Mr. Desai his phone and headed back to where Monisha was waiting. When I got there I found that she had been sitting with two of the girls with their husbands and to my great relief there was no sign of Ravi. I couldn't believe that I had completely missed Monisha sitting behind the big oak tree with the other girls.
"I didn't see Ravi’s car out front when I got here," I said.
"You must have been getting worried," she said.
"Frantic," I told her but I was grinning, such was my relief at getting her safe and sound.
"Ravi had some mechanical problem with his car and had to stop on the way to see what was not working," she explained.
"Why didn't you ring me? I could have come back. I tried your number several times but you didn't answer".
"My battery's flat, it’s going on and off. I tried to call you when I reached here but it was not working. I've been meaning to charge it for a day or two," Monisha told me looking a little flustered. "Ravi came with me here but he did not stay long, he said he needed to get his car repaired and left."
"That was nice of him," I said. "Now let's get a drink and something to eat."
I was suddenly feeling much better but Monisha seemed a little uneasy. I asked her if she was all right and she said she had a bit of a headache. An hour later Monisha seemed to be feeling much better and we had a good time for the rest of the party.
On the ride home I started thinking about how I had felt when I thought Monisha might have gone off with Ravi and I felt my stomach start to tighten again. Then I remembered being told that Monisha was seen talking to Ravi at the party and began to wonder about the woman that was seen leaving the party with Ravi.
Could it have been Monisha? Had she gone somewhere with him and returned before I got to the party? I was starting to make myself crazy. How was I going to find out without causing an argument? I had to know.
I waited until we were home before I carefully broached the subject.
"Did anything interesting happen at the party before I got there?" I said.
"No. I just walked around talking to people for a while and then I sat with Nisha and Latika and their husbands.
"I didn't see Ravi at the party. Did he stay long?" I asked.
"No, he left soon after we got there. Why are you asking me about him?"
I was torn. I was angry with myself for even entertaining such suspicions but I was driven to pursue the answers to the questions that had been on my mind every since I had arrived at the party and couldn't find Monisha. I had been trying very hard to act like I was only interested in what had gone on at the party but my next statement gave away my real intent.
"I was just surprised that I didn't find Ravi at the party talking to you. That is where I usually find him if I leave you alone for a few minutes."
As soon as I said it I wanted to bite my tongue. I waited for Monisha's angry reaction but it didn't come.
"I told you he left soon after we reached here.”
There was something about the way she looked at me when she made that last comment that bothered me. It wasn't guilt that I saw. It was more a look of sadness.
"Really?" I asked.
Monisha's expression quickly changed and she laughed at me and said, "Really. I sense that there is something still bothering you that you are not telling me. You are not still worried that Ravi is trying to seduce me, are you?"
There was no anger in her voice as she spoke. It was more like she was laughing at me but then I saw that sadness again. What the hell was that?
"Rajiv, why don't you tell me what's really on your mind," she said.
"I'd rather not," I said, "I am ashamed of myself for what I thought."
"Now you have to tell me," Monisha said. "I am not letting you get away with a statement like that and not tell me everything."
"You have to promise not to get mad."
"I'll wait till I hear what you have to say before I make any promises."
So I told her the whole story about how I couldn't find her when I arrived at the party and how I was told that she was seen talking with Ravi. I told her that someone told me that they saw a very attractive woman leave with Ravi. I told her about the panic I felt and how sick it made me. Then I waited for the anger but it didn't come. Again, I saw the brief look of sadness but it was gone as quickly as it appeared. I wasn't even sure if I had really seen it.
"You thought I might have gone off somewhere with Ravi?'” Monisha said not with anger but with impatience. "I told you before Ravi doesn’t mean anything to me. It hurts me that you actually thought that I might leave with him today. I can't believe you don't trust me."
"You're right. I shouldn't have doubted you," I said.
"Have you said anything to Ravi?" she asked.
"No. You already accused me of being jealous and told me I had nothing to worry about. I am afraid if I keep bringing it up again, it will sound like I am telling you that I don't trust you and that is not the case. I would just like Ravi to stay away from you."
"Then why don't you just tell Ravi to stay away?"
"I thought of that but I am afraid if I did that he would make things even worse for me."
Monisha said, "I guess this is partly my fault. I should not have gone with him in the car. I knew you didn't like it when Ravi flirted with me. I did no want to rude and create a scene since he was proposing his help. Still I should have been more sensitive about your feelings. "
I decided that the next time that Ravi hit on Monisha I would have that talk with him and get him to stop, even if it meant I might have to lose my job.
It was another Friday night and I was sitting at the gate in the airport trying to get some work done as I waited for my flight to Delhi. I had been working for about an hour and was just about finished updating my project plan when I heard someone say my name.
The question made me look up from my laptop. I wasn't expecting to run into anyone as I knew I was at the airport that night. The man standing in front of me was tall and thin guy. Although I hadn't seen him for a number of years, it took me only a few seconds to recognize him.
"I'm surprised you remembered me," Kushal said.
"How could I forget my best friend?" I replied.
Kushal Arora and I graduated at the same time and took up work in the construction department at the same company I am presently working. However he was later moved to the Mumbai branch but the last I heard about him was when he left the company. We hadn't seen or spoken to each other since then.
"Best friend? If I was your best friend why haven't I heard from you in the last 2 years or so?" he asked.
"That works both ways," I said. "I lost track of you when you left the company. But you never tried to get in touch with me either."
"Pretty stupid, huh?" Kushal said. "So are you at the same company?"
"Yeah still at FutureMedia Delhi. The company is involved in a large city wide project out here and I am one of the sales guys. What about you?" I asked.
"Have you got time for a drink before your flight?" Kushal asked.
"Actually I have a few moments to kill. A couple of beers would help pass the time. How did you end up leaving FutureMedia?" I asked Kushal.
"You married?" he asked. "I remember that you always used to say you never would."
"Been married 3 years," I said. "What about you?"
"Me? Divorced. But I met someone recently and I think we might be getting married soon," Kushal answered.
"That's cool," I said. “But, if you don’t mind me asking, you and your wife Sanjana are no longer together?”
“Yes, that’s what I said.”
“And why is that?”
"Actually to answer your question, I left FutureMedia because I found out my wife was having an affair," Kushal said.
“Oh …you thought she was cheating on you?" I said.
"I saw them together at the Holiday Inn."
"Are you sure they were together? I mean maybe they just ran into each other there and were just talking. I mean could they have just been friends?" I said.
"If they were just friends, they were friends with benefits.”
“What do you mean, you saw them together?”
“They were making out in a hotel room," Kushal answered.
"Did you talk to her?"
"No, she was occupied at the time. I don't think they wanted to be disturbed and I didn't really want to talk to him anyway. I always thought he was kind of an asshole," Kushal said.
Something about the way he talked told me he was not pulling my leg.
“You mean he was a guy you knew,” I finally said.
“Yeah, someone from FutureMedia only, that’s why I had to leave. But why does that bother you so much?"”
"I guess it's because I would never have thought that Sanjana would cheat on you.”
Seeing my concern, Kushal took a deep breath and went on “See, this is something I never told anybody. It happened during a seminar we had before a major presentation, I suggested that Sanjana come along and stay at the hotel. I did not expect the guy to charm her off and take her to bed. The worst part is that it happened right before my eyes...”
“When was that?" I finally said.
"Last year. Second week of August."
“But …why didn’t you report the guy and get him fired ...instead of leaving I mean."
"That guy? Oh, I could not. He was the boss’s own son, that’s why," Kushal said.
“You mean your boss …Mr. Sohay’s son?” I said, my voice trembling.
“Yeah …Ravi Sohay.”
When the plane took off from Mumbai, I was still thinking about what Kushal had just told me. The rumor of how Ravi had seduced and enjoyed a guy's wife during a seminar had been going around since his first day in office. I did not know Kushal was the guy and Sanjana was the woman.
Kushal's wife Sanjana comes from a wealthy family and by all standards, she was soft spoken and well brought up. She has always been rather reserved about letting people get too close to her and does have that certain untouchable look, which often proves an irresistible challenge to people. I personally found her very attractive; and like most guys, secretly wished to seduce her, purely for the thrill of doing someone who looks, acts and is, so much the upper class girl.
I felt a very strange sensation imagining her with Ravi. Driving in a taxi back home, I felt a frisson of sexual excitement and realized that my own cock had hardened sufficiently to force me into making adjustments in order to get comfortable in my seat. For reasons I did not quite understand, I found myself getting horribly aroused imagining Ravi ravishing her right in front of her husband.
When I reached home, I hurried to the bedroom and locked the door. I opened the cupboard and slowly sorted through my wife's dresses, and lingerie. I found the black dress Monisha had worn the other night at the party at Desai, and brought it to my nose, smelling the familiar scent of Monisha's perfume. I felt my penis stiffen in my pants.
My mind couldn't help but think back to the journey Monisha had together with Ravi in the car, and that day at the party when I could not find Monisha and the feelings that went through me.
Then I found Monisha's panties, and my throat went dry. I fell into my chair, my body shaking, my heart pounding.
Thoughts of what happened between Ravi and Sanjana kept flooding my mind. But instead of him plunging into Sanjana, I found myself imagining what it would be like for Ravi to do Monisha. I imagined Monisha crying out with moans and multiple orgasms as he plunged into her, stroking in and out, going at it again and again, all night long. I pulled out my hard penis, and wrapped one of Monisha's panties around it. With a shaking hand, I began stroking myself. Within seconds I came, catching my sperm in Monisha's panties.
Remind me to tell you something later."
It usually started like this; in the middle of a work session, one of the guys in the department will whisper a line like this to the others, and I will know instantaneously that it is not work related.
Usually the turn of the conversation will be along the lines, "So, what is it I am supposed to remind you to tell me about?"
"I can’t really say now because it hasn't happened yet, and I don't want to start a rumor."
"What's it about?"
"Well, the boss came to see me today, and I didn't know anything about it, but he asked me about someone here...but I can't really say what it's about, because it hasn't happened...ask me later."
As a senior guy at the firm, I tried my best to avoid indulging in these types of office gossip. Shekhar Malik was on the other hand of the guys who made himself a reputation of always being the first in the know. If one of guys hears or sees things that happen here at the office, he always fills everyone in. Sometimes, if they bring up some drama, Shekhar will give his piece of the story, and they all share what they know, and together, they come up with the whole story.
A few days after my trip to Mumbai, I was in the boardroom with Shekhar catching up on the projects. For a couple of hours, we worked together on the analysis of a company we wanted to add to our portfolio. It is fascinating the way in which a company's secrets could be exposed by a proper analysis of their financials. We were interrupted by my secretary who dropped in to hand me a resume to look at. I had taken a quick glance at it and tucked the resume in my briefcase to have a thorough look later.
Without asking his eyes from his laptop, Shekhar said, “Whose legs are those? Never seen them before? “
“She's the new girl in accounts, ” I told him.
“Always nice to have an attractive girl around the office, isn't it?"
“How does that matter?” I said.
“She doesn't give you a boner?” was his answer.
“Sadly, I don't think I'm her type." I said
“It doesn’t matter, does it? These girals see the workplace as their hunting ground.”
“How can you say for sure?”
“You have a sexual urge every minute. It's a physical certainty. It's hard-wired into our brain. You can't fight it. Why would you want to? Live a little. Ten years from now you'll need a forklift to get a hard on.”
“Is there anything you don't know?”
“You have no idea. My nickname around here is 411.”
“I bet you know more about what happens behind these doors than anybody.”
“If you think you can pump me for information ...you're right.”
That was the opening I was looking for. Ever since that incident between Ravi and Ritikha, I knew that Shekhar probably knew more than anybody else on that matter.
“So tell me, how long have you known about Ritikha and Ravi?“
Shekhar hesitated one moment, but immediately saw that I was serious.
"Not for sure but I guess it was from the beginning."
"How did you find out?"
"Ritikha told me."
“This is very weird. Women don’t tell these things to guys they know nothing about.”
Something about the look on Shekhar's face got to me. “I had a thing with her.”
“You are amazing…. I mean the two of you were a pair?”
“Not really, let’s say there was the beginning of a spark… until that bastard came along. Then she had eyes only for him.”
"How do you feel about that?" I asked.
"I don't mind."
"Bull shit. I bet it's driving you crazy," I said.
"Well, I guess it bothers me a little. Maybe I'm just jealous that she went to him without a thought about my feelings. I guess it’s every girl’s dream to be knocked up by her handsome boss," he said.
"I still can't believe that it happened so quickly like that.”
“Let me give you a scenario. She’s at the beach, and Hrithik Roshan approaches. He tries to lean in and kiss her. She would definitely resist, at first. But if he was persistent, she might give in a little bit just to see what it felt like.“
What Shekhar said made sense but I did not really believe it.
"You mean he came, he kissed her and she was all for him?"
"Yes, he kissed her at any party”
"Did you talk to Ravi? Why didn't you just tell Ravi to stay away?"
"Do you really think I could do that? If he was hitting on Monisha like that, what would you do?" Shekhar said.
My imagination ran riot and I surprised myself at how immediately I was turned on. It took an effort to speak but I managed to ask, "I would just tell Monisha that I don't like him hanging around her like that. I would tell her about his reputation. I know Monisha would understand that and would let Ravi know in no uncertain terms that she was not interested in him."
“See, what was between Ritikha and I, was not really serious. I wasn't threatened by Ravi because Ritikha told me everything. She was immediately attracted to Ravi and told me in graphic detail all about their flirtatious conversations which often crossed the line. I started to look forward to hearing about their conversations.”
"What exactly is his big appeal?"
“Ritikha told me he is a fabulous lover. She said she never dreamed that it was possible to be made to feel that way."
Later when I went back to my office, I tried to work but couldn't concentrate on anything. I don't know why I was so worked up trying to work through my thoughts. By four o'clock I could no longer concentrate on even the simplest of tasks so I decided to take the rest of the day off. I called Ravi and told him that I had some personal business to take care of and I was packed and on the road.