Megabytes Software Solutions was buzzing.
The atmosphere had been depressing for some time now ever since their dynamic MD, Shantanu Bhattacharya died in a tragic accident. His stand-in Mohammed Younus, had clearly indicated that he would retire the moment a permanent appointment is made.
He called an emergency meeting of the whole staff. It was 5.30 pm. Samosas, Coffee/ Tea were served. Mohammed slowly rose from his seat. “Friends, I have good news for all of us. We have a new MD. He will join next Monday. The management has asked me to hold on for a month and show him the ropes. Then I will have my long-awaited retirement!”
“What is his/ her name? Who is this person?”, someone shouted.
“Norman Ulysses Bannister. He is the CEO of a startup. Dynamic, I hear.”
“Newbie,” shouted the office wit, Kamini. Mohammed admonished her for being impolite. Kamini with an innocent smile on her face said,” It is his name. NUB, NEWBIE”. There was a nervous laughter all over.
Two months later
A tearful farewell had been given to Mohammed a day before.
Newbie had fit well into the informal atmosphere in the office. He was fortyish, tall and handsome with a salt and pepper hair, clean shaven.
He treated the nerds with kid gloves. He was witty, friendly, dynamic, efficient. He had already brought in some changes for the better. He was easy going but firm in his ways. He had brought laughter into the office. Business had improved so much that he declared a substantial ad hoc bonus.
But there was an air of mystery around him. While he would mix freely with everyone, he would have moments of unease. From time to time, he would shut himself in his office. No calls, no meetings. Mobile switched off.
Another peculiarity about Newbie was that he will never join in the traditional Friday evening ‘ let your hair down’ office party. He will leave precisely at 4 pm.
Nobody knew about his personal life. There was no family photo or anything personal on his desk.
One Friday evening, Newbie had left at 4pm as usual. Kamini had an urgent call from her friend, Amita at 4.30. Amita’s car had broken down. She somehow reached her Friday evening meeting. Would Kamini pick her up at six ? She sounded in panic.
Kamini left the party early, in time to reach Kailash Enclave. The distinguishing AA in triangle sign was hanging on the lobby of a smartl office building. She waited for Amita who was successfully battling alcoholism. The elevator pinged. Amita got down while busily chatting with a fellow alcoholic.
She waved cheerfully at Kamini and breathlessly introduced her companion.
“This is Norman. He lost his whole family to a road traffic accident. He is so brave fighting the ‘ Enemy’ “.
Kamini, the office chatterbox was left speechless!
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