A sudden halt by my driver, took my eyes off the laptop and we stopped near a mall where the home guards were blocking traffic so that few vehicles make their way out of their building. Meanwhile there was this guy, dressed in blue shirt and black pant wearing a tie on a hot summer day, with many brochures and boxes in hand, running towards the traffic jam from inside the mall. I don’t know how but he sensed that I was observing him, and immediately began sprinting towards me. I was about to gesture him that I had no time for it but he flashed the bright blue tie inside the box indicating that I could carry one by giving him a listening. I opened the window to give him a chance.
“Sir.. Platinum card for shopping across lifestyle and other related stores. Lifetime free and you can take the tie as well” He said while catching his breath.
I knew it was the 25th of a month and it’s a month end push.
“Am really sorry but I have too many cards” I said.
“Sir, it’s absolutely free and you can use it as any other utility card” he said and before he continued “Rey Aravind! concall twaraga raa (Come soon there is a con call)” a voice interrupted.
Another guy wearing a similar uniform tried rushing this ‘Sale-in-process’ Aravind.
“Yeah like I said you can use it as an extra card.. and..” he was not convinced by his flow.. probably the mention of concall caught his attention.
“Ok sir. I need to go Thank you” he said and there were a few extended seconds of eye contact from aravind, before he turned off his head to face the oblivion called as the SALES CONCALL.
“Whom are we waiting for” Siva asked.
“Some customer in this building. He is coming with documents” I said.
“Tea?” Siva asked
“Cant you see am filling this form? I asked you to bring your bike and you always come by bus. How the hell am I supposed to fill so many forms on a month end, am going to be late today also” I said.
For sales guys a motor cycle happens to be their worktable. It’s their means of transport, logistics, workstation, what not.
“Sorry but there is no petrol. I am waiting for the salary. I have to survive in 500 for next 3 days” Siva said.
“Make it 4. Salary comes on 31st and today is 26th” I said.
“31st is Sunday, it will be on 30th only” he argued and he suddenly put his arm around my shoulder and began tapping it as if to show me something.
I picked my head to notice a very beautiful girl who was just exiting the building we were waiting at.
She was fair, perfectly elegant, had a friendly and pleasant face and looked a traditional type. She walked outside the building and was crossing the road towards the side of the road we were on, probably headed towards the bus stop beside us.
“My mother’s choice would have been like this” Siva said.
“Yeah right! Probably you wouldn’t have been her mother’s choice” I sneered. Siva took a slight offence to my comment and I could sense that.
“As in, the kind of jobs we are in..” I continued as if it weren’t about his fat and bald looks anyway.
“But are you supposed to have a background to fall in love with Beautiful girls” he asked innocently.
“That’s a million dollar question. Who says no” I said.
Just then something happened, the lady actually, as if she heard our conversation, gave us a stare and to be very honest she stared at me.
“Lucky idiot she is staring at you” Siva said.
“Oh come on! May be she just heard our conversation” I said trying to play it down. But I also kind of felt it.
“No dude she stared at you. I know” Siva said.
And immediately as if to justify his findings she stared at me again and this time I felt a little assured of the findings. She continued the stare a little longer than expected and now I began feeling a sudden rush of blood and I was definitely not stable.
“I told you, she is staring at you” Siva declared after her current stare.
“Dunno man but I would love to have such a girl, at least as a friend” I almost lost my fake composure while making this statement, awkwardness I thought.
“You know what? These opportunities don’t come again. Just go and say hi to her” Siva said.
As soon as he finished saying those words I felt as if I was hit by a thunder, not because I cannot do it but because I was somewhere considering it.
“Are you mad? Can anyone say hi to a girl just coz she stared at you” I retorted expecting an encouraging statement from my friend.
“There she goes. She is clearly staring at you and now this is obvious. If you have guts go and say a hi, I will fill your forms” Siva said.
Filling forms is the last thing I am thinking about here, but how can I do it.. what kind of a public embarrassment is this, I thought.
“What if she ignores?” I asked.
Siva immediately raised the pitch in his voice, sensing the fact that am considering it.
“If she ignores you just forget it. But if she retorts.. It is worth a try. She is in a bus stop and that bloody bus can come in any moment” he preached while expressing through his bloated face.
“Who knows if this hi can change the course of your life” Siva continued.
He said it.. he uttered the lines required to fill my back with a propellant to do the needful.
I cursed the situation but my heart was pounding now with excitement. I was breathing very hard and I was rehearsing saying a hi. Just then siva shouted “Rey mama!”
We observed a bus that was 200 meters away, pulling into the bus stop and somehow even the girl was staring frequently at our animated behavior as if she was expecting a quick output from us rather me.
I declared to siva “I cant do it so quickly dude. Let her go.. forget it” I said as the bus halted at the station.
“Waste fellow! If I were you I would have never left this opportunity” he said and I sulked.
However something curious happened here. The bus had just left the bus stop and we could notice that my dream girl was still here (bus stop), standing at the same spot and has just completed giving me a stare.
Now it was Siva’s turn to stare at me “You doing it or shall I shout at you in public?” he threatened.
“Can anything be more coincidental? The bus is gone. She is still there. Do it you fool” he cried.
“Ok fine fine” I said and I rehearsed it for one last time. I began walking towards her and the very clever girl has finally realized that I got the trigger. But somehow she was no longer staring at me as if she didn’t bear any fault in this ‘hide and seek’ that was taking place in the last 5 minutes.
I was about to reach my angel and just then my mobile began vibrating.
I obviously cannot say hi to a beautiful girl with a hole bring drilled in my pocket and I immediately picked it up to finish it off.
“Hello” I said.
“Yeah this is Vinod here.. Are you the guy in blue shirt at the bus stop?” the person asked..he was my customer for whom I was waiting all this while. I just turned around to find him standing behind me with a couple of documents in his hand.
Oh god! All the inner strength I conjured for this moment was supposed to be interrupted this way, I thought.
The customer began loudly “Take the documents boss.. See I need this account activated in 3 days else I will cancel my request. I don’t need fake promises” he said.
I was devastated. I donno if I heard him clearly but am sure that the angel standing behind me heard clearly and now she knows who I am.
“Ok sir. There wont be any such problems. We will take care” I said in an almost inaudible tone.
“Can you give us any references sir” Siva asked. I was now upset because this is delaying my tiny sweet act.
The customer began smiling.”Ah let me see. Well..yes one second” he said looking over my shoulder. “Hey Archana just come here” he called.
I turned around to see that it’s the same girl and to my horror she was walking towards us…I never wanted to hurt anyone but I really wanted to hurt Siva very badly for asking a reference that day.
“Hi Vinod!What you upto?” she asked.
“These guys are asking for references. It’s a bank account ..Its good, they give an ‘all atm free’ debit card” he said.
I just kept looking at the customer and I acted as if I refused to acknowledge her presence over there.
“Oh really! All atm access is free?” she asked, to which siva nodded his head. She asked a couple of other questions as well to which only siva responded. However the best was coming.
“OK anna.. I too want to open this account” she said.
I felt like the organs inside were flushed out deep into the earth while siva stared at me in horror. The dreamgirl( a little while ago) has now called me anna and has jumped to become my sister. She has asked me for that dirty application form which ruined my life’s biggest quest . I felt like I was being repeatedly crushed under some boulder.
“Siva can you handle this, I have a call” I said to which an understanding Siva obliged.
I never turned my head again to look at her and I could see things getting blurred owing to my eyes turning moist but looks like I can’t even have these moments in solitude. My phone began ringing again. I checked it and it was a new message that just dropped in.
It read “Concall in 5 mins, be ready with leads & login scores”
Sir this traffic isn’t moving here at all. Shall I take another route…my driver asked.
I dunno when I fell asleep during these few minutes. “No no lets wait for 5 more minutes” I said.
I opened my window and I could see that Mr. Aravind has just moved into the building and was trying to connect his phone. I waved my hand across to a security guard near by and gestured to call aravind.
Aravind came down running to me “Yes sir”.
“This is my card. Give me a call in sometime and tell me what documents I should give tomorrow” I said.
His expression totally changed. He could not understand the chemistry of my decision making but he surely was at loss of words before he finally said “Yes sir I will call you”. An event that occurred 7 years ago is still fresh enough to help me empathize with my fellow salesmen.
I gave him my details just in time when the traffic cleared. I know am just a lead for him but a good enough lead to save his evening from a concall. A feeling of nostalgia and content engulfed me. Such are the days of a salesman.
A little bit of Shamelessness, Creativity, Hunger and lots of insult to face in our daily lives.