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It is strange how if you buy flowers, they don’t stay with you even till the next day! There is the attempt to provide them water and minerals – you can put salt in the water, keep them in sunlight, but they fail to prosper. The freshness in them is lost with time….

Sometimes I wonder if we are like flowers. Starting out with ecstatic smiles in childhood, why do they wither away with age? As you grow up, you find yourself engulfed in the idiosyncrasies of life, being slowly torn apart from the simple ecstasies which existed. And strangely, we tend to build the same past environment we have always known. The meaning of joy changes; some look for the reflection of luxury, while some feast on the comforts of a family, and some just materialize their worlds as if there is no tomorrow.

I am a perfect example of the flowers you keep - maybe on your desk, or that window sill, or in your hallway. I started out happy - nice job, nice house, an energetic outlook and a positive viewpoint.

All until I came across Sushma. She was the apple of everyone’s eye in office. They looked up-to her as she could get any work done; yes ‘any’ work. I was mesmerized when I first saw her. Envied looks, a perfect body, perfect sense of dressing which left you wondering if she had inherited Princess Diana’s closet!

You could never miss her cheerful “good morning” and her bright smile. How I wished I was so bright and bubbly. She engaged into instant conversations.

“Rody, how is your dog now. Did that Vet help whose number I gave you?” “Oh Seema, you look glowing today, I am sure you are getting a lot of proposals lately?” How did she manage the upkeep of so much data? I could not even keep my daily appointments!

My Manager was not far behind in mentioning her. “Have you seen Sushma today? What a fantastic presentation she made.” “She has great PR skills you know. She even helps our sales department. What an all rounder!” You could not miss it even if you were eating lunch. “She helped me fix the flower arrangement. She has great taste.” “She even suggested a good plumber to me.” What a multi talented persona I was around!

My first presentation in my office was due that day. I had fixed up the slides, but could not manage the sales data. I thought Sushma would be the perfect one to ask for help. I would introduce myself to her, maybe she would even know my name. I went up to her cubicle. She was having a rather flamed conversation on the phone. So I turned around and waited. After five minutes she looked at me, “Nice to finally meet you. I have heard so much about you. You have a facebook account? Hey, this is my number, what is yours.” She was very sudden for me, but I managed.

I described my situation to her and asked for her help. “You know dear, I will instantly talk to the folks in the sales team and fix up the data for you.” I was overjoyed and ready to take on the world. I came back and waited for her email. Four hours passed. I called her but I got a busy tone. I sent her reminders, but no response. I even went to her cubicle but she was busy talking to someone. She gestured that she would send the data in five minutes. I came back and waited.

“What is taking you so long. Come to the meeting room.” I trailed my manager to the conference room. I still had my inbox open, but no mails. What was I going to do? Suddenly, in walked Sushma with her laptop. I smiled at her and she smiled back. It was going to be a great one!

I started slowly but picked up pace. “Why don’t you have any sales data to back up your idea?” “I have it, I will share with you just now.” I looked at Sushma, but she looked away. I didn’t know what to make of the silence. “Sorry, we cannot absorb this idea without relevant statistics.” I kept looking at Sushma, my eyes pleading, but she did not budge. Then Sushma said, “I don’t quite agree with the presented idea. With your permission, I will show you the pitfalls and the sales data.” What? This could not happen. She was the ideal woman- kind-hearted and helpful. What was happening?

Her presentation confirmed my shocks. She had taken the slides I had mailed her and highlighted the negative aspects by making cross-references. She had bullied and ridiculed my ideas and I could not say anything. I felt like the world was crashing on me and it was all my fault. When it ended, people applauded and left. Noone even noticed I was standing right there!

I took a tissue and rushed to the restroom. The day had been devastating. I wondered why she had the misleading public image? Had I been swooned away by the cover and failed to see the book contents? Had I missed the undertones and sarcasm in people’s voices when they praised Sushma? Was the flower arrangement “fixed”? Or was the plumber sent to repair some “damage” already been done? Had I been wrong about life altogether?

I did not want to be the plastic flower which always shone! Even if I could not retain the freshness, I was not going to let myself turn plastic. In this world of artificial projections, the hardest thing to do is maintain your integrity and I could take up challenges for sure. So even if rains the heaviest, or snows, or leaves wither away, I am going to survive....not like the flowers on your desk that blossom and fade away...but like the ones which stick on to their plants...and even if they die....leave behind the fruits to cherish!

 


Comments

malind
01/31/2010 9:22pm

Wonderfully written as always, love the way you stitch mundane occurrences with philosophical undertones. Keep it up girl! And spread the fragrance far and wide :-)

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Prajwal
02/01/2010 9:11am

Liked this entire narration but loved the ending notes. I couldnt take it off my mind.

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Salini Kumar
02/01/2010 12:28pm

Very well written.I was curious to know whether it was based on a real life occurrence or on fiction ?

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Lovya
02/01/2010 2:20pm

Thank you guys :)
@ Salini : Not entirely fiction, but greatly inspired from life!

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DonnieB
02/03/2010 2:17pm

ahh..finally u realize it! u knw, every1 carries a dark passenger with him/her. smthg which they want to keep it to themselves.the things which we see are hardly the things they really are, but who cares in this age where deception n visibility lead u to success?
u were unfortunate to witness her darkness..but there is still smthg u can cheer abt coz now u knw tht every1 has smthg hidden deep within..its nt just u!
PS: had it been i wouldnt hv vented out my frustration or anger thru my tears..at times storing those tears help!

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Lovya
02/04/2010 8:54pm

Maybe it helps to store the tears, but not everything goes as planned right? And these situations actually prepare us the worst!

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DonnieB
02/04/2010 9:27pm

"prepare for the worst"--exactly, thts y its useful to store the tears...u knw, at times u do need the strength to come from within..and i dnt think there is anythg stronger than a dented spirit.

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Lovya
02/08/2010 8:36am

To each his own....i strongly believe in the retaliation part, but I also believe in not suppressing ones feelings!

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Rakesh
02/09/2010 2:01am

May be, it wasn't really as bad as it seems!
I really dont get your point here tho'.
You started out with being the flowers, then along came Sushma, she stole your thunder, then you ended being another flower - this time attached to the plant.
Somewhere along the line i missed the relationship between them. (I understood the sections individually tho; :P)
But again, I a mere mortal!

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Lovya
02/09/2010 12:51pm

I won't really explain, but let me form a flow of thoughts for you - fresh flower, wants to survive, does not want to turn plastic, tries hard to make a mark, so decides that stick to the stem (firm ground of values) to stay longer. Hope that throws some light!

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Abhishek
08/14/2010 12:19am

!

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01/13/2011 6:17am

Great post, nice.

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