Geeta’s hands trembled and she felt her teeth chatter. A tremor passed through her body, and she realized she was shivering. Her clammy hands reached out for support and found a chair. Sitting down, she wrapped her hands around her middle and rocked herself, willing herself to calm down. This literal earth-shattering reaction was new to her. But the voice inside wasn’t.
It made her go ice cold.
She didn’t know when she started hearing it, but her earliest memory was a graduate exam.
She had studied for it last minute and was almost certain she was not going to make it.
A month later, the results were posted on the wall for everyone to see and she prepared herself for the walk of shame.
Her best friend, Prabha, came up running.
She nodded, almost in tears.
“That is incredible!”
She started nodding and then stopped, confused.
Dazed, her mind churned the possibility.
She had barely studied.
People congratulating her seemed unreal. Her mother called. Squealed. Told her she was proud of her. That night her father got a cake.
As she cut the cake, she heard the voice.
She swallowed. There was the guilt and the shame like she had committed a theft. This was a one-off.
But she always seemed to do well in exams without studying as hard. Or so it seemed. She kept waiting for the ball to drop. She accepted things with a constant sense of accident when they didn’t.
Liar! Wait till they find out!
She cruised through graduate school and was approached by the Big 4. She got job offers from three and accepted an enviable position in a top financial consulting firm.
Nerves hacked her to pieces in the initial weeks, waiting for them to find out she was just a hack job.
She did well, though, to her surprise. She enjoyed the numbers, the job, and the people. It showed. She rose quickly. In just a few years.
She still heard the voice with every new client, project, challenge, compliments, and adulation from time to time. Sometimes she dismissed it, but there were times it still got to her. Like today. …
“Ms. Sen, we are happy to tell you that we have decided to offer you the opportunity to be a partner if you will have it…”
She was only 32.
She had worked so hard …
Liar, you did nothing special….
But this was overwhelming…
Of Course, there are others more deserving than you….
She had the aptitude she knew …
Heh! Whom are you kidding?
But for them to think she could be partner…
You can fool them no more; they will see you exactly for who you are…
She closed her eyes. She wasn’t an imposter and her milestones weren’t accidental. She had earned her place and was here to stay. A smile lit up her face. The voice didn’t speak this time.
Finally, dawn arose.
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