The following is an extract from I Am Ahmedabad, a collection of short stories


Hi, this is Aditi. How may I help you?”

“Hi, this is Nishant again. I’m sorry our call had got cut the last time.”

“How did you get through the same person, me, again, so soon, Mr. Nishant”, the knowledge of Nishant’s background was unmistakable in Aditi’s voice.

“Well, I don’t know. I just dialled the call-center number again and I got you. If you wish, I can put the phone down.”

There’s silence for a moment. Aditi struggles to figure out whether Nishant was playing with her or was genuinely unaware. And then, she suddenly realises something.

“Why would you think that this is a call center, Mr. Nishant?”

(“Oops”) “Well”, Nishant re-arranges his thoughts, “I’ve just come back from the US and I know that most such helpline tasks are outsourced these days. So I thought, maybe, this one’s a call-center too”

“That’s so smart of you Mr. Nishant”, Aditi fires a little sarcasm at Nishant. “Yes, it indeed is a call center.”

“Oh, OK. Cool.”

“So, you like call centers, Mr. Nishant?”

(“Wow, she’s having a go at me!” ha ha) “Well, ya, sort of. Am in the same business.”

“I can see that in your records. NishTECH Valley Pvt. Ltd., that’s your Company, right Mr. Nishant?”

“Ya, it is. Cool.”

“And you want to now buy our Company. Right, Mr. Nishant?”

(“Whoa! She knows it? What should I say?”) (takes a moment and then laughs) “I wish I could, Ms. Aditi. Then at least my Company would have had a nightingale. Right Ms. Aditi.” (laughs again)

Aditi finally loses it: “Look mister, I don’t know who you are and how do you know my office name. I don’t even care if you are going to buy this Company or not. Because I’m going to leave this Company anyway. And so would a lot of others. I’m sure of it. But what I would like to know before that is how do you know about me.”

“What if I say that it’s a trade secret. And that I can’t tell you?”

“What if I bang the phone down on you right now?”

“What if I say, I will make you the boss of this Company?”

“What if I say, I don’t care to be the boss of a Company that starts the process of getting sold without even letting its employees about it?”

“What if I say, that it is a routine practice across the globe?”

“What if I say, I give two hoots to routine practices?”

“What if I say, that’s one of the reasons I love you Aditi?”

(“WHAT! WHAT DID HE JUST SAY? BLOODY CREEP!”) (With simmering anger) “And what if I say, Mr. Nishant, that even at 3 AM in the morning, you sound just as freshly sick as you would during the day?”

(laughs) “Well Aditi …”

“Please call me Ms. Aditi, Mr. Nishant.”

“When did THAT come in code of conduct of the callers. We can call you by your first names, if we wish, Aditi.”

“Who the &$#& is this?”

“Nishant, Nishant Vaidya”

“Do I know you, Nishant?”

“Hey, hey. Call me Mr. Nishant, Aditi”, Nishant takes a fun potshot at Aditi.

(Not that Aditi cared much for it, as she repeats her query in the same vein) “Do I know you, Nishant?”

“You’d once said that one day you will marry me.”

“What! What nonsense. I don’t even know you. This is such a disgusting trick.”

(smiles) “This is no trick Aditi. I know you.”

“How? From where?”

“We were together in school.”

“What! When? Which school? Which class?”

“When you were in Class 1 and 2 and …”

“Class 1 and 2! I don’t even remember anything of class 1 and 2. And I don’t think there was anyone called Nishant Vaidya in my entire school life.”

“Yes, there wasn’t.”


“I wasn’t called Nishant in class 1 and 2. And neither was I a Vaidya then.”

“What is this, some kind of a Kyuki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thhi kinda story or what?”

(laughs) “It’s even worse.” (laughs again)

(Not sure why but Aditi too couldn’t help but smile. And also got amused by Nishant’s cool as cucumber temperament)

“I have no idea what you are talking about. And I don’t even know why I’m talking with you. I thought you would be a serious person, considering you are supposed to buy this Company. But after talking with you, I guess it’s not going to happen. My Company is safe.”

(laughs) “So be it, Aditi. But can I complete my K-story?”

(smiles) “Ya, go ahead. Amuse me.” (smiles more)

(laughs) “When you were …”

“OK, wait a minute. Which school are we talking of here?”

“Our school, which else?”

“Well, I know where I studied my class 1 and 2. Which school do you think we were together in?”

“Ms. Sherelock Holmes, we were together in ASIA English school.”

(“Oh my God! He knows it all!”) “Wow! You’ve really done your homework.”

“Yes, I have. These days I call it groundwork.”

“Hmmm!” Aditi starts getting sucked into the conversation and the enigma in the form of Nishant.

“Anyway, when you were class 2,  I was in Class 8 … ”

(”Oh, yeh toh UNCLEJI hain”)

“…and I was called Nisarg Mehta.”

“Matlab? You’re not Nishant Vaidya?” (Aditi was now getting totally confused. Not that she needed much to confuse her.

“Oh God, wait. Don’t talk again till I complete myself.”

(Aditi gets taken aback a little at the confident authority shown by Nishant. It tickles her inner self.)

(Nishan continues) “I was Nisarg Mehta till class 9. But then my parents got separated and I started living with my mummy, a Vaidya. Because of the bitterness associated with the whole thing, she changed my name from Nisarg to Nishant. And I became Nishant Vaidya.”

“I don’t believe this!”

“What? I mean you don’t believe that such things can happen or you don’t believe me only?”

“Well, I don’t know …”

(Laughs) “You won’t believe this, but you used to say ‘I don’t know’ even when you were a small kid.”

“What rubbish. How can anyone remember things that happened 14 years ago, especially when those things happen at a very small age.”

“Well Aditi, 14 years ago, I was already 13 years old”


“I’m sure you would be thinking me to be uncle-like.”

(”WHAT! Is he a mind reader or what?”) “Of course not, 27 is very young.”

“Wow! Though I don’t think you are speaking the truth, it was great to hear that.”

(Smiles) “You do have guts to accuse someone of lying, right on that person’s face.”

“I couldn’t have reached here without guts, you see. Wait, I’ll send you my picture to you.”

(Startled) “What!”

“Yes, I’m sending it.”


“Sent it. You’ll get it in a moment. Check your phone.”

“You know my number.”

(Smiles naughtily) “Yes, Aditi.”


“Someone very close to you gave it to me.”

Just then, Aditi’s boss happens to cross Aditi’s desk. Aditi, still shocked at the news of her number being known to Nishant, looks at her boss with a puzzled look. The boss stops and asks in gesture about the person she was talking to.
Aditi silently lips Nishant’s name.

The boss raises her eyebrows in surprise. Suddenly, Aditi’s phone receives an MMS.

“I just got the deliver report. I think you’ve got it. Have a look.”

Aditi does not speak anything and starts opening the message on her phone. The boss waits for a moment and finding Aditi busy with the two phones, leaves the place.

(”Wow! Style bhai hai”)

“Got it?”

“I will see it in the morning. I’m at work at the moment.”

(Laughs) “Ok. No probs.”

There is a long pause. Aditi keeps on looking at Nishant’s picture and Nishant dreams a bit more about the future.


(Naughtily) “Yes Aditi?”

“Is there anything more?”

“I guess this is enough for the moment. Remember, I’ve made you an offer of you becoming the boss of the Company that you are working in.”

“Oh come on. I don’t want to become any boss-woss.”

“Anyway. And the second proposal from me would be told to you tomorrow morning by uncle-aunty. Your parents i.e.”

“WHAT! You know my parents too?”

“Very, very well.”

“How! Oh my God, what is this, how?”

“Well, apart from many other reasons, I was born at your mum’s hands.”


“And that one of the clients of my USA office is your dad’s Company.”


(Laughs) “That is a lot of ‘whats’, Aditi.”

“What? I mean …”

Nishant bursts out laughing.

“I don’t believe this. It all feels like some CIA plot.

“Well, it was a plot alright. Because I wanted to be with you since the day you had said you would marry me, as a 6 year-old.”

“Where did that happen?”

“During the play that we had staged in the colony.”

“Oh my God yes! I remember that.”


“But it was only a play. I was just saying the lines.”

“But I felt them even then, as a 12 year-old.”


(Laughs) “Ask your parents about the rest. Thanks for the help, Ms. Aditi.”

As the smiling Nishant puts the phone down, he knows that his dreams were now about to come true. “Wow!”




Author. Entrepreneur. Filmmaker. Journalist.

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