It was an official call. The caller was melancholy. In another five minutes, it all happened. My performance ratings for the fiscal year were not even close to my expectations. My spirits faced a mighty downfall. My smiles collapsed to give room to expressions of indifference and frustration. I was facing away from my friends, and I could still hear them laughing. I stared through windows into space. The guy had already disconnected the call, but I was pretending to be on call. My eyes welled up. I am not an over ambitious techie who expects a double promotion with an onsite project in these times of recession. The right to desire the minimum is still mine. The passion and loyalty behind it is genuine and as real as life. I felt like being dropped unfeelingly from the top of a mountain into bare vacuum.
Holding the mobile closer to my ear, I rubbed off that tear with my dupatta. I was still on pretending mode. I was told that the guy who did my ratings had left. There weren’t officially anyone to help me, even though there would always be peers to join in my disastrous performance ratings and console me. My eyes were still fixed on nowhere. The urge to go back and join them at lunch was declining by the minute. If I go back now, I knew that my face would declare aloud the frustration which I do not prefer to disclose. It would spoil the only brief camaraderie which we all enjoy during lunch hours. I dint want to put the fly in the pudding.
I grabbed up some fake expressions, painted them beautifully on my face, and walked back merrily to the bunch of friends who never stopped eating. I talked and laughed as normally as I would always do, and left the cafeteria gradually, showing no signs of the fast depleting courage.
Back in my den, I leaned back and got lost in thoughts. I called up my sister and talked the matter out. Its almost out of my head now. But there are traces.
These ratings sure left a mark of despair,din't they? Not to let history repeat itself, is still in my ever optimistic hands. Safe until the next fiscal year.