The Bestseller She Wrote

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Authors: Ravi Subramanian
want to save as many jobs as possible.’
    ‘How lucky they are to have you as their boss.’
    Aditya looked pleased. Any bit of praise coming from her elated him.
    ‘I don’t mean to sound opportunistic, but do you think it will make for good reading? Writing about this?’
    Aditya didn’t understand what she was trying to say. ‘As in?’ he asked her.
    ‘A story about a guy who loses his job,’ Shreya said. Before Aditya could respond, his phone started ringing. He picked it up as Shreya left the room.
    ‘Hi Maya, we have a small problem,’ he started off and then went on to tell her about the scaling down of the wealth management business and how his presence here was necessary.
    ‘So NASA is out?’ she asked.
    ‘I will have to skip it,’ he said, sounding sad. ‘If I go, these people will be tossed around. They have worked for me. I need to protect their interests and help them find jobs in other units within the bank.’
    *
    That night when they were in bed, she cuddled up to Aditya and said, ‘Don’t worry. We will miss you but we will not hate you for not coming.’ She hugged him tight. ‘On the contrary, had you come leaving those people to suffer, we would have hated you for it.’
    This is what Aditya loved about her. She never put him under any pressure.
    ‘I am not worried about you, Maya. I know you would never ask me to leave them and come. I am worried about Aryan. He will surely be disappointed.’
    ‘Leave that to me. I will manage him,’ Maya assured him.
    He smiled, kissed her on the forehead and switched off the light. Maya always made sure that he had fewer problems to handle at home.
    A few miles away, curled up in bed, Shreya was re-reading one of Aditya’s earlier books. Over the last few months, she had read it so many times that she knew most of the lines by heart. She couldn’t help but admire the subtle subtext in his prose. As she turned the pages, she wondered if Aditya meant what he said—‘If instead of malls we built libraries, the future generations would be a lot smarter.’
    In the dead of the night, Aditya’s sleep was disturbed by the beep of his phone. Turning towards the side table, he picked it up and looked at it. It was a message.
    
    Aditya looked at it momentarily, smiled and kept the phone down. He turned towards Maya, hugged her and went back to sleep.
    Beep! the message tone sounded on his phone.
    This time Maya woke up. ‘Who is it?’ she asked him.
    ‘A reader.’
    ‘Reader? A fan? At this hour?’
    ‘How do they care?’ he mumbled with a sleepy drawl and turned towards her. Before turning however he quietly put his phone on silent.
    Sleep had deserted Aditya. His mind was far, far away. What had made Shreya, a mere management trainee, message him so late at night?
    But did he really mind her sending him those messages? Aditya knew the answer.

17
    A DITYA WAS ALWAYS the first to reach office. The next day was no different and at 8.30 am, he stepped out of the lift and walked towards his cabin. The rest of his team would normally come in by 9.15 am, giving him time to clear out the pending work and plan out his entire day.
    Surprisingly, the light at the far end of the hall was on. He walked towards the corner.
    ‘Shreya?’ he exclaimed the moment he saw her. ‘How come so early?’
    ‘Sanjay sir wanted me to sort out some data for him.’
    ‘On your second day at work?’ It was obvious that he didn’t believe what she said.
    ‘Some donkey work,’ she smiled. Her teeth were perfect. There was something irritatingly cute about her.
    He just nodded and turned away. It took an effort to look away from her. He started walking towards his room.
    ‘Aditya sir,’ she called out after him.
    ‘Again “sir”?’
    She didn’t reply but just extended her right hand towards him. It held two sheets of paper. He took it from her. ‘What is it?’ he said as he

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