The Giant Leap
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|   Apr 05, 2016
The Giant Leap

Copyright  Anubhuti Maurya 2016 All rights reserved

Disclaimer

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance with a name, place, living or dead is purely coincidence.

PRELUDE

Ramya had dreamt of becoming an industrialist, successful and a famous one. She had spark in her always. With her tremendous leadership qualities, brilliance and a strong will to make her distinct identity, she had made everyone believe in her. She had started ascending the ladder of success too, slowly and steadily, but after her son was born she chose a different path like many other women. She decided to quit her lucrative job to take care of her little son. She gave upon her career to hold her little son’s hands. Some people criticized her, some reinforced her decision but she didn't lose faith in herself. So, will she succeed to live her dreams someday? Will the opinion of her critics deter her resolution or will she take the giant leap of success against all odds?

THE GIANT LEAP

Ramya was startled by sound of the doorbell when she was entirely engrossed in watching interview of the famous businesswoman, Nancy Oberoi whom she had extensively admired as a child. She did not want to miss even a second of it but she did not have an option. She got up to open the door. It was the postman.

‘Greetings madam’, said the old postman.

‘Hello Uncle, how are you? What is it?’ Ramya enquired.

The postman handed over an envelope to her. Ramya, in return gave a glass of cold water and biscuits to him considering the scorching sun which would have drained water from his frail body, a gesture any person as generous as her would do. The postman gulped down water without taking a breath. He thanked Ramya while handing over the empty glass to her before leaving for his next destination. Ramya accepted his gratitude smilingly. She checked the envelope; it read imperial college of management.

It had come from her graduation college. The mere mention of her college widened the smile on her face and unearthed many memories from the past drowning her in a pool of emotions. Having got an admission here, she had moved a step forward towards realizing her goals. She had dreamt of being an entrepreneur and grabbing a seat here was no less than attaining a milestone.

She still remembered first day of the college where she had woven most of her beautiful memories. The vivid imageries of the lush green college campus, the lively canteen which was  hotspot for students owing to its lip smacking food, the zealous cultural events, the hot cup of coffee and a few unforgettable friends, all of which had been an essential part of her life once began unfolding before her. Sometimes she wanted to go back to the college to relive those days and she definitely would have had if she possessed a time machine but alas!

As the vibrant picture of the past floated before her eyes, a tear escaped from her left eye rolling down her cheek and before she could wipe it off, it fell on the envelope washing away the name of the college written in blue ink, but not her memories or ambitions.

She was completely lost in her thoughts when she heard her son crying. She ran to carry him. Holding his son, she looked at the envelope again, this time firm not to go back to the bygone days.

‘What it could be?’ she muttered to herself.

She tore open the envelope hastily to get rid of her curiosity. It was an invite for an alumni meet. Though a friend had informally stated about the meet some time ago, she had forgotten about it thoroughly.

Holding the envelope in her hand, she pondered whether to go or not. Most of her class mates had scaled the everest of their career in a period of eight years after graduating. However, she picked to leave her job after her son was born. She believed she would be out of place among her classmates. After giving it a day long thought, she declined the invitation only to later submit to her best friend’s urgings.

‘So, you are coming, right?’ Neeti, Ramya’s friend asked her over the phone.

‘Yeah, I will.’

‘Great then, do not forget to send the confirmation mail to the college ensuring your presence at the meet.’

‘Sure dear, bye.’

While composing the mail, Ramya switched cursor between send and cancel options several times before finally sending it. The next evening, she got a call from her college.

Ramya received the call, ‘Hello.’

‘Hi, is this Ms Ramya?’ said a man in a soft voice from the other side.

‘Yes, who is this?’

‘Hi, this is Samay from The Imperial College of Management.’

‘Oh yes tell me.’

‘Madam, we got your confirmation mail concerning the alumni meet. Actually we need two people from your batch to give a speech during the meet. Professor Mr Singh has recommended your name. He said you were one of the fabulous orators they had in the college.’

‘Please call me Ramya and wait, what sort of speech?’ she asked anxiously.

‘You have to share your experiences in the field. So shall I confirm it?’

‘Oh can I tell you in a day or two?’

‘Sorry madam, I mean Ramya; we are running short of time. We need to finalize the names today itself.’

Even though Ramya loved being on the stage, she wavered. She thought for a while before responding in affirmative.

‘All right, you can confirm my name.’

‘Great then, see you in the meet, bye,’ Samay said ecstatically.

‘Yeah, bye,’ Ramya said and hung up.

As the day of the meet neared, Ramya started to chalk out her speech. She wrote it several times but was not contented.

‘Why did I confirm my name for the speech? It’s been quite long now I left my job. I don’t have anything big to share about my work. What I am going to do? Shall I withdraw?’ she mumbled to herself holding her head with both hands in tension.

Ramya’s husband, Rishab noticed her worry. Ramya had talked about the speech to him a few days back. He walked up to her, put his hand on her right shoulder and said, ‘Be calm dear, just share what you have. It need not be big. All it should have is inspiration.’ She sighed heavily.

Rishab knew well about Ramya’s dream. He had also suggested of sending their son, Arjun to a day-care, so she could join work again , however she restrained. She wanted to be with her son in his initial years of growth.

The day of the meet approached soon. It was to be held in Bangalore. Ramya left a day before.  Rishab accompanied her. They had left Arjun with Ramya’s mother owing to his illness. Ramya had left him behind with a heavy heart but her mother assured he will be well soon. They reached Bangalore in the afternoon and hired a hotel.

The day of the meet…

Ramya woke up early. The anxiety of the meet with added concern about her son’s health didn’t allow her to sleep properly. She saw Rishab sleeping soundly. In fact, he was snoring. She took a deep breath and shook him. ‘This is why you have come here, huh?’ She said angrily.

Rishab turned to his side. He opened his eyes a bit.

‘What time is it?’…whoa…you are wearing a saree, ’he said astonished. Ramya loved to wear saree for special occasions.

‘This is why you woke up early,’ Rishab said joshing Ramya.

She frowned. When a woman frowns even at a joke, it means she is not in a good mood or probably tensed. So, in such a case, one should pull back besides trying to put the situation right which Rishab knew well.

‘Oh, ok, come on...let us rehearse your speech.’

‘No, I have done it enough. Get ready now. We will go for breakfast.’

‘Alright,’ Rishab said and came forward to hug her.

After half an hour, they both were in the hotel cafeteria. The breakfast counter was lined up with mouth-watering delicacies. Rishab filled his plate with all types of sandwiches along with cereals leaving no scope for anything else. Ramya took a toast and an omelette along with coffee. She finished her breakfast quickly and got up to leave. She called her mother once before leaving. Her mother received the call after seven rings and with every ring that went unanswered, Ramya’s heart paced faster.

‘Hello’, her mother said.

‘Maa, what took you so long to receive the phone? How are you and how is Arjun now?’ Ramya spoke in one breath.

‘He is fine now. You need not worry. Wait, he wants to say something.’

Arjun took the phone and said in the sweetest way possible, ‘Hello mamma, all the best. Don’t worry about me. I am fine, love you.’

‘I love you too my darling, bye’ Ramya said lovingly trying hard to hold her tears.

‘Don’t worry, he will be fine. You should leave now,’ Rishab said passing her a tissue.

‘Yeah, I should. Bye, see you.’

Ramya hired a cab to reach the venue. A few of her batch mates had arrived before her. Having met after a long time, all of them were quite excited and euphoric. They were completely drowned in remembering the golden college days. Some of them were indulged in boasting their success post college. Another bunch of alumni was getting group photographs clicked with smiles which disappeared immediately after the camera flashed. Some were involved in serious conversation with professors. Ramya saw a few of her old classmates chatting. She joined them in the discussion. One of the girls Anshi who was employed in a giant business firm asked her, ‘So, Ramya where are you working now a days?’

‘Oh, she is not working anymore. She is only at home looking after her son. Her career is finished,’ said another woman, Anika before Ramya could say anything. Ramya looked at her in amazement and anger, both mingled. Anika gave a wicked smile. She had grudge against Ramya as she had overshadowed Anika’s performance with hers, be it in the college or in the company they both were placed in.

Nevertheless, a part of what she had said was true, Ramya did not like the way it was put, yet she didn’t utter a word. Instead, she crushed the paper in her hand in annoyance which had her speech. Ramya had feared such sarcasm, which was why she was reluctant to attend the meet.

Just then, a handsome man dressed in a black coat-suit requested everyone to take their seats. As everyone settled down, the man on the mike said, ‘Hello everyone, I am Samay, your host. I welcome all of you to this wonderful event. We will start off with something which is inevitable. Yes, I will grab the opportunity to call upon stage, the head of our department Mr Singh to share a few words of motivation and wisdom.’

The audience applauded as he took over the stage. He said how the students from the department were slowly making their mark in the industry. He also unveiled the placement agenda for the upcoming batches along with the necessity to organize more alumni meets. The crowd roared into applause as he finished his speech.

‘Unlike his boring lectures, he wrapped up this speech quite fast,’ said one of the students to another. They both giggled.

His speech was followed by a couple of events. Next came the turn of Ramya. Samay called her upon the stage. ‘All the best,’ he said passing over the mike to her. Ramya smiled as she took over the stage.

She shared her invaluable experiences with the audience. The audience was completely mesmerized with the way she spoke. She proceeded on to say, ‘Friends, I know the time slot designated to me is already over, but if allowed I would like to share something more, a story.’ Samay gave a bewildered look to Mr Singh. He gestured a yes. Ramya started narrating her story. The spectators heard attentively.

Once upon a time there lived a girl. ‘Intelligent and hard-working’, was how her teachers used to describe her. She topped her class every year. Nobody could ever beat her in grades or in spirit. At the age of fourteen, she could easily sacrifice her favourite television shows to give more time to study, which is not everyone’s cup of tea. The majority of her classmates envied her because of her great grades. The rest flocked around her for their reasons.

She graduated from one of the country’s finest colleges which landed her a well-paid job. She impressed her seniors with her immaculate performance. After a year, she got married and soon after her daughter was born, she left job to be with her. Though, she missed her job, she loved to see her daughter growing. After a period of time, she felt or rather she was made felt by being at home she was wasting her potential. She became upset about this and discussed this with her mother. Her mother said, ‘No dear, a woman’s potential only multiplies once she becomes a mother. You are investing your time to nurture a life, your beautiful daughter. Don’t worry, you will bounce back. Give it sometime and enjoy motherhood right now.’

‘You are right Mom because if she can happen to me, what follows will also be good,’ said the woman hopefully.

And a few years later she did bounce back. She started a food chain in her city which multiplied its growth in short time. She came up with new business ideas. She was conferred the most successful businesswoman of the year award. You know who this woman was? She was no one else but Nancy Oberoi, the eminent and efficacious business tycoon. She continued further, ‘What I want to convey through Nancy’s story is women who leave their job to take care of their children can also do well professionally later in their lives because one doesn’t stop to dream even while sleeping. All it takes to realize a dream is a strong will power and an opportunity perhaps.’

Mr Singh stood up. He clapped loud. The crowd followed him. Ramya’s eyes gleamed with happiness. The meet came to an end post lunch. Everyone was bidding adieu to their friends with promises to keep in touch thereafter.

Ramya also met her batch mates before leaving for the hotel. She reached her home town the next day.

Ten years later…

One fine morning, Ramya was having breakfast with her family. Rishab was engrossed in reading the newspaper while eating. Ramya interrupted him as usual, ‘Read newspaper later. Finish your breakfast first.’

‘Arjun, how are your preparations going on for the sports day?’ Ramya asked him as she saw him lip syncing her statement. Rishab suppressed a smile. He tried to control the situation before Ramya could give further scolding to any one of them.

‘Ok come on. We are getting late for work, you know. Hurry up,’ said Rishab.

‘I know and I also know you change the topic efficiently,’ Ramya said smiling.

Rishab grinned. Arjun had become a big boy now and Ramya had started working again.

They all boarded the car after a short while. Rishab drove the car as the driver was absent. He first dropped Arjun to his school and then Ramya to STAR business solutions, her workplace before leaving for his own.

Ramya entered the building. She saw a familiar face amongst a group of people who were waiting to attend an interview. She tried to recall. ‘Oh yes, she is Anika,’ she said to herself. Just then, she was reminded of an urgent work, so she proceeded towards her desk without meeting her.

A few days after the interview was conducted, the selected candidates among which one was Anika, were called to join. They were told to attend a meeting with the CEO of the company after rests of the formalities were over. As everyone was waiting in the conference hall, the CEO arrived. ‘Sorry for the delay, I was stuck in a meeting,’ said the CEO. Everyone stood up to greet the officer, except for one. Anika remain seated in her seat with her eyes wide open in sheer disbelief. All she could utter stammering was the name of the CEO, ‘Ram…ya.’

Eight years back…

Ramya decided to make a comeback to her professional life. When she started looking for work, she faced simply disappointment. Though talented, her resume was rejected everywhere due to insufficient experience. She tried hard, however everything proved in vain. Ramya was distressed. One day, she saw her son playing with colourful geometrical blocks. He was trying to make a pillar by stacking them onto one another but as soon as it reached a little height, the pillar used to topple. She observed though he was failing every time, he did not give up, instead collected all the blocks without losing his cool to make a fresh attempt. She walked up to him and said, ‘Arjun, make base of the pillar strong, then it will stand tall and robust.’ He did so and the pillar thrived. Ramya realized what she said.

‘I also have to make my base strong. I don’t have to give up. I can’t,’ she told herself. She hugged Arjun tight and said, ‘Thanks sweetheart.’

‘It’s my pleasure mamma,’ he said without knowing the reason and kissed her on both cheeks. Ramya was speechless.

Ramya was determined to start afresh. She well-versed herself with current software which seemed hard initially, nevertheless with absolute perseverance, she learned them soon. She also studied various books to brush up her knowledge. Later, she assisted one of her friends in his work and also took up several projects individually which slowly gave her the courage to launch a company of her own. She had established brilliant professional relationship with her clients in the past few years, so projects came pouring in owing to her perfect performance. The company became huge progressively from five to fifty to hundred employees and generated big turnovers. The performance of the company was described as extraordinary in business magazines. Though Ramya started small, she reached pinnacle of her success and proved her mettle. She left no stone unturned to make her dreams real.

Present day

The city’s business association had organized an award function at Stupa convention Center. The event was managed by one of the top event management companies. The center was made to look ravishing in its new avatar. The entrance was made grand with arches wrapped in red satin cloth running from one end to other. The red carpet led the guests to the hall. The stage looked beautiful draped in mauve colour curtains. Tables and chairs were exquisitely clad in a darker shade of purple and pink. A crystal vase with lovely fresh orchids centred on the table finished the look. Top industrialists including Ramya were seated around the tables. Everyone was waiting for the event to set off. People could be heard guessing as who will bag the most prestigious award, the most successful entrepreneur of the year.

The anchor took over, ‘ladies and gentlemen, welcome to yet other chapter of awards organized by the business association. Without further ado, I would like to call upon stage the president of the business association, Mr Shyam to announce the award for the first category, ‘most successful industrialist of the year.’ Mr Shyam was escorted to the stage and an envelope with the winner’s name in it was handed over to him. People grew anxious as he opened the envelope to reveal the name of the person. What he said was anticipated by most of the people, ‘unquestionably, Ms Ramya, CEO of STAR business solutions.’ Ramya stood up to walk to the stage.

As she reached the stage, the anchor said, ‘Ms Ramya, we have a surprise for you’. Ramya gave a curious look. The anchor smiled and announced, ‘may I take the pleasure in inviting the most sought after personality of the business world, Ms Nancy Oberoi to give away the award to Ms Ramya.’

Ramya had goose bumps. Receiving an award from her role model was like a dream come true. Ramya shook hands with Nancy. She took the award, raised it high and said, ‘this is dedicated to hard work of each and every employee of the company, howsoever small role they play.’ Journalists hovered around to click their pictures and pour in questions.

A journalist asked Ramya, ‘Ms Ramya, ‘what do you have to say to the young generation?’

‘Follow your heart and chase your dreams because no dream is too big to achieve.’ she said.

Another woman journalist from one of the leading TV channels asked her, ‘Who has been your inspiration?’

‘Nancy Oberoi and my son, Arjun’, she said.

Cover picture source: https://www.colourbox.com/image/silhouette-of-a-girl-jumping-on-the-meadow-image-6457135

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