Chapter Three


Parking his car in the basement, Jay walked towards the office. His heartbeat increased as the distance to the door decreased. He presented his office-id to the guard outside. Getting a nod from the guard he pushed the door open. In front of his eyes was an abundant sea of cubicles. He noticed in that endless sea of cubicles, there were people furiously typing on their computers staring at their screens. Some of them had their pen in their mouth thinking whereas others ran to and fro into different cabins. He slowly walks towards the receptionist.

“It’s my first day here.” Jay smiled, passing his id card to the receptionist. She smiled, taking the card and tapping on a scanner which brings up Jay’s information on her computer screen. “You should see Mr. Debashish Arora first. He’s the vice president and since you’re working on a classified project, he’d be the one to guide you around.” She smiles as she returns Jay his id card. “Where would I find him?” Jay clips his id around his belt hoop. “He’ll be in his cabin. It’s the last cabin to the right.” She gestured, giving him a smile.

It wasn’t new  for Jay when girls kept sheepishly smiling around him. These days even Parnika did the same when they used to spend time together. She used to play with things like a pen or little hangings of her dupatta. Initially, it used to creep him out but as time passed he didn’t bother about it much. Hence, he didn’t bother about the receptionist and walked towards the cabin.

He knocked on the door and awaited a response. A deep voice from inside called him, “Come in.” He opened the door to find a sea of cable wires around. Between those wires there were two men standing. One who was constantly busy on his phone whereas the other was working on the cables. “Hello! I am supposed to report to Mr. Debashish Arora.” Jay enters the cabin carefully avoiding the tripping hazard. “That’s me, what can I do for you?” The person busy with his phone asked Jay, completely focused on his phone screen.

“Uhm, It’s my first day. I was informed that you’d show me around.” Jay’s nervousness wasn’t getting any better.What’s wrong, with all these cables spread around in the room like inedible spaghetti spread on a large plate, he wondered. “Ah, don’t bother. There was a power surge and it short-circuited the wirings. Therefore, I am here trying to catch up with work on my phone.” Debashish glares at the person working on the circuit board before getting up from the couch. He slipped his phone back in his pant’s pocket as he walked towards Jay offering his hand out for a shake. “Hi, I’m Debashish but you can call me Deb. Also, I know you Jay. But it seems you don’t remember me, do you?” He smiles as Jay still wondered Have we met? “Let me give you a hint. UltraAI Competition, Bangalore?”

Jay wonders for a while before a bright smile appears on his face. “Oh yes, I do remember sir. I’m so sorry. I thought you’d be in Canada” Jay rubs the back of his neck. “Oh yes, I was in Canada but after that AI project of yours I had an idea in my mind that I hoped to work upon. I pitched the idea to my seniors and it was approved. So here I am. You will be working on it and you’d directly report to me. As you might know this is a classified project.” Deb hands him a file carefully trying not to get tripped with cables. “I think we should work somewhere else and let him finish his job?” Jay asked, taking the file. “Yes, I think we should move to your cabin. Let me take my laptop.” Deb arches forward and grabs his laptop bag from the table.

Deb walks him to a cabin a few steps ahead and gestured to Jay to open the door. “That’s your cabin young man.” Jay moves ahead and opens the door. A huge smile spread across his face as he walked in and looked at Debashish. “Yes young man, He will be working with you as well. We had been observing you and your projects after the UltraAI event. As my proposal was approved we decided to contact your college and take your project to an advanced level. We took the liberty of contacting your project team member as well. Hence, you’d be continuing it here for us with your team. Are you ready?” Debashish took the file from Jay and opened the Non-Disclosure Agreement. “Since we don’t want anyone else apart from this team to know, you’d need to sign this NDA so we can begin with the project as we want this to be one of the main features in our upcoming software suite.” Jay reads the agreement and looks at Hitesh. Hitesh nods and Jay places the file down on the table signing it.

Hitesh and Jay together had designed an AI to predict the best investment option for anyone according to their profile. It was so accurate that it had attracted a ton of attention during the UltraAI competition held in Bangalore last year while they were still in college. They had no idea that their fun project would turn out to become a reason for their bright future so soon.

They were discussing the project when someone knocked on the door. A beautiful girl walked in from the door. She comes and hugs Debashish who wrapped his arm around her and plants a soft kiss on her forehead. “Jay, Hitesh, meet my only daughter Shriya. Shriya, these are the two young lads I talked about yesterday.” Shriya extended her hand for a shake towards Jay. She didn’t have the similar smile which he used to get while meeting a girl for the first time. It was a confident one. “All of you would be working together as a team on this software as I want it to have the best of both sides, finance and technology. Shriya will be guiding you with the financial aspects that we’d be requiring in this software.” Shriya stood beside Jay brushing her arm with his, making it appear like an accident by ignoring it. “So, I’ll leave it to you guys. I have to attend a meeting now.” Debashish grabs his laptop and leaves. Jay noticed a smug smile that’s been blooming on Hitesh’s face for a while now. The cabin had a nice ambience to it. White washed walls with brown leather couch and glass top table with two laptops on top of it. From the window you could see the whole city outside.

Shriya took one laptop and handed it to Jay and the other to Hitesh. “These are for you two, you will be working on these machines. We have taken care of all technology based requirements beforehand, right Hitesh?” Hitesh looks up from his phone with a jolt swiping out a notification and nods. “What have you studied?” Jay asked, checking on the new laptop that he’s been given. “I hold a masters degree in Economics and Accounts from The Cambridge.” Shriya smiled, taking a seat beside Jay. “Dual degrees eh? Quite impressive. So, you must be having special plans for this project right?” Jay caught her weirdly staring at him. She realised being caught and quickly shook her head pulling out her laptop from the bag.

Jay noticed the caller id ‘Pari’ as his phone chimed. “Hey! What’s up?” Jay gestured an excuse and walked towards the window. “Hey, it’s lunch time. Did you have your lunch? How was it? I made your favourite Palak Paneer.” Parnika’s cheerful voice always used to enhance Jay’s mood.

“I haven’t had time to eat yet. Just busy with initial formalities, you know?” Jay glanced at his wrist watch wondering how fast the time flew by.

“Ah, first day at the office and you forgot to eat? Wow, great Jay!” Parnika was assured that once Jay starts working he wouldn’t care even if there’s an earthquake. Reminding him to eat was like one of those little things that she followed like their own little tradition.

“You know it’s nothing like that Pari. Can you imagine who’s with working with me?” Jay made a hopeless attempt to reason and change the topic.

“Uhm nope. You tell me first, why haven’t you had your lunch yet?” Parnika again was using one of her fake anger voices on Jay. She smiled thinking about him having a scared look on his face. Jay always made an effort to make her smile whenever she was mad at him.

“Don’t worry baba, hu Khai lais. ( Don’t worry dear, I’ll eat.) By the way, Hitesh is here, can you believe it? We worked together on this project and now in the same team. Isn’t it fantastic? ” Jay dived into old memories as he expressed his happiness reuniting with his best buddy.

“Okay, just two of you in a team?” Parnika’s curiosity piqued as she heard another female voice calling Jay. “Oh, no. We have a new member Shriya. Listen, I’ll call you back later okay?” Jay disconnected the call as Shriya called him back to show something on her phone screen.

Kindly read it at the original source at Also, do share your views in the comment section below. Thank you for your attention.

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