Varsha Vaidya looked at T P Susheela, wondering if her manager had become senile.
“Trust me. SLAG will be a fabulous initiative.” With a flourish of her red marker, Susheela stopped scribbling at the whiteboard and returned to her chair.
Varsha adjusted her glasses in a feeble attempt to prevent her eyes from rolling. It had been two years since she joined Use Us IT Solutions & Services as a Quality Expert. The firm provided services to customers across Europe for various products like routers and wireless phones. Varsha’s job was to ensure that the Germans didn’t complain about the language skills of her team.
“Susheela, come on! We are not native speakers.” Varsha broke the uncomfortable silence. What can I frigging do if ‘Tschüss’ sounds like ‘choose’ from a Marathi mouth?
Susheela looked as unmoved as a cat during its afternoon siesta. As the Project Manager, she had been getting complaints from Germans about the abysmal pronunciation of the agents. So she launched the ambitious Speak Like A German.
Varsha continued, “If you hire from Baburao Hemantrao Apte Institute of German & Spanish, this is what you’ll get. At least request someone from Germany to train them.”
Sighing, Varsha got up. “Let me see what I can do.”
“Come with a SWOT Analysis tomorrow.”
Words like these are not gonna impress the management.
[The Next Day]
Varsha got up at seven. The office laptop lay on the table, forgotten.
Can I just feign sickness and go off somewhere?
As the tea leaves brewed and acquired a wondrous hue, the idea in Varsha’s mind grew bigger. Having made her decision, she decided to message Susheela about a bad migraine.
With a spring in her step, Varsha typed a short WhatsApp message and packed her rucksack. In an hour, she was in her car, driving to Goa. Her mobile was in silent mode. Thankfully, Susheela didn’t call her and order her to come from the ICU to discuss a SWOT on her SLAG.
Varsha checked into a modest hotel and slept like a log. Feeling as fresh as Pond’s talcum powder, she woke up at five. Varsha rummaged through her rucksack and fished out her ‘Goa special bikini’ purchased on a whim two years back in a mall. Throwing an oversized tee over her black two-piece ensemble with glitters that looked like tacky disco lights, she left her room.
The waves looked inviting, and Varsha shed her inhibitions. The Calangute beach was abuzz with foreign nationals, and that made her comfortable. An hour late, she took a selfie, pouted, and posted it on Instagram.
#GoaGoals #MeTime #VacayWithVarsha
The fun-filled evening continued without a glitch, and Varsha went to dine out in a happy frame of mind.
While sipping a martini, she began to check for notifications. And froze!
One of the comments came from Susheela. SWAG!
Shit! She had forgotten that out of her hundred followers on Instagram, twenty were from Use Us.
The martini tasted like castor oil. The lobster in front of her looked as if it would take to its heels (or whatever they have) any moment.
I have to face the music.
Susheela’s message was on the top in WhatsApp.
Are you going to auction your bikini pics? Are there migrants in Goa?
Varsha’s eyes widened. She replied with five question marks.
Susheela’s reply was prompt. Look what you typed in the morning.
Varsha scrolled up and choked on her martini.
Migrant issues. Can’t come.
Varsha slapped her forehead. Autocorrect had always been her bane. But this? Replying to Susheela now meant adopting a more tactful approach. Since when did Goa and bikini become a remedial cure for migraine?
Let’s talk on Monday. You need to attend a FICC. That was Susheela.
Fake Illness Convincingly Course.
OUCH! Varsha almost threw her mobile on the sand, wishing for a group of zombies to whisk her away to a ‘Susheela-less’ land.
Prompt of Story #3 –
An annoying boss, a bikini, a fake illness
650 (excluding the subheadings)