“But Suzie, I am doing all this for us after all”, whispered Samrat, timidly.

“Oh, please! Speak only for yourself. I don’t need all that extra money. I am not a brand-maniac like the wives of your co-workers who never spare a chance to show off. All I want is your time. Our time. Can you remember the last time we had dinner together? I have been working too. But I haven’t gone crazy like you!”, Sujata replied, fuming and almost sobbing.

Samrat was an investment banker in the Wall Street and Sujata, a dietician. There was a huge difference in the nature of their professions and thus, the stress levels.

Two days to that heated exchange and the couple hadn’t spoken a word to each other. In a bid to end the cold war, Samrat immediately booked a weeklong trip to Maldives. He was confident that a tropical vacation amidst the long and dreary winter of New York would certainly ease out the tense air between them.

The next morning when Samrat and his co-worker Punit were gobbling up their breakfast in a rush for their weekly meeting, Narashiman, their boss came storming towards them. Narashiman was an obese workaholic, in his early fifties.

“Hey guys, today’s meeting is cancelled”, he gasped while adjusting his glasses.

Samrat and Punit glanced at each other. Given similar experiences from the past, they knew something catastrophic was coming up. Being friends from college and co-workers since forever, they could read each other’s minds.

Their fear was confirmed as Narashiman broke the news about a new project that needed to be tackled urgently. In other words: ‘no holidays until the targets have been achieved’.

As Samrat and Punit were going back to their desks, Sunidhi, a team member, interrupted them.

“Guys, three associates and one VP have been fired yesterday. The atmosphere is very strained. Everyone must be on their toes”, she whispered hurriedly and worriedly.

Later that evening…

“I am going to be destroyed completely, Bhai. That bhains (buffalo) doesn’t have a life of his own and wouldn’t let anyone have one either”, said Samrat as he gulped down a peg of Glenfiddich.

Yar, I’m caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. If I don’t go on the vacation, Suzie is going to kill me. On the other hand, if I do, I get fired,” he further added as Punit lent a sympathetic ear.

“Sometimes there is no happy choice, Sam, only one less grievous than the others”, Punit winked as he replied with a mischievous smile.

“Thank you, my friend! This is ‘the perfect time’ for such heavy philosophical preach. Bring it on”, Samrat replied sarcastically while rolling his eyes and Punit burst into laughter.

A few minutes later, as they walked out of the pub, Punit wrapped his arm across Samrat’s shoulders, trying to comfort him and said, “save your job man! Bhabhi would be mad for some time, but I am sure she would understand”

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The above story is an entry into #TheChoice a Five00-6 entry. Do share your comments/reviews and rate it out of 10.
Check out event guidelines here: https://artoonsinn.com/five00-6/

Check out Sudeepta’s space here: https://artoonsinn.com/author/sudeeptamohapatra/

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Photo by Nik MacMillan.

Thanks for reading.

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