If you walked up the stairs to our fourth-floor office then you could be sure to find at least three couples sitting on the stairs. You could find the rest of the romantic pairs in the office cafeteria or maybe at the Barista, which was right below the building. The place was a startup and it was swarming with young people so flings and romances were inevitable. Our office was nicknamed Vrindavan by many. We took office romance to a different level I guess. All the couples who would be frequenting the stairs and Barista got married eventually, except for Varun and I. There was a twist in our tale that I regret even today.
(As told to Tina Vashishth)
Our office romance took off at the pantry window
This was a small room at the other end of the office with a window that gave the best view of Kolkata. You could see the majestic Victoria Memorial, the lush green Maidan, the Vidyasagar Setu and even the Howrah Bridge at a distance. Varun and I initially converged at this window just for the birds-eye view of the city. I was dating someone and he had a girlfriend too. So conversation would be simple, casual, with a bit of office gossip thrown in, once in a while. That was all.
My tears and his hug
I was standing at that window one day and couldn’t help the tears from flowing. I had caught my boyfriend cheating on me. We had a massive showdown and I had called it quits the night before.
Varun walked in, saw my flushed face. He didn’t ask anything. He just stood there with me for a long time and then turned around and wiped my tears. I hugged him tightly, he hugged me back tighter. The connection was instant, electrical.
Our office romance thrived in the pantry
Within months Varun also broke up with his girlfriend. We would now stand by the window initially holding hands, then a quick peck, which speedily progressed to a passionate French kiss. Strangely no one walked in while we were there and we grew bolder and bolder. I guess people at work now started to get a whiff of what was going on inside the pantry when we were there. They wanted to save themselves and save us from the embarrassment, if they walked in on us.
Everyone knew about the blooming office romance
We hadn’t talked about our relationship to anyone but the way we behaved in office or the way we danced together at office parties, nothing was left to the imagination. Everyone knew. My boss hated my relationship with Varun, his boss pretended not to notice. Some of the office couples had already started tying the knot and we attended their wedding in full finery. The question always asked was: Who’s next? Varun always winked at me when he heard the question and I would blush. Our romance was magical. Till Varun took a step that he shouldn’t have.
We did the unimaginable
He bribed the office boy and got hold of the keys to the pantry that was locked after 6 pm. He coaxed me to stay back late at work and despite the fact that I was in two minds my need to make out with him got the better of my need to stick to the rules. It seemed like a great adventure at that point.
Both of us left work early but we came back around 9 pm saying that we had some pending work to finish. All our colleagues and bosses left by around 10 pm and then we had the whole office to ourselves. Careful about the CC TV cameras we ensured that we stayed put in our place till I picked up my bag as if to leave and went to the pantry where Varun had already got in using the keys.
The darkness did something to us
We had no clue how long we were there. We had no issues with the small space and hard floor. We just devoured each other in the darkness, only Varun sometimes kept silencing my ecstasy with his palms. I never felt like that ever in my life again. It was heady, it was crazy.
The key in the lock turned
Thankfully I had dressed by then when I could hear the key in the lock turn. I clung to Varun in the darkness, totally aghast. I could see the silhouette of my boss at the door. He was leaving in his car when he spotted us coming back to the office, he made a guess and came back and extracted the whole story from the office boy. We both were sacked. That was good in a way. I couldn’t have dealt with the whispers and pitiful stares after that.
Our office romance couldn’t survive that incident
This incident was a severe jolt to our relationship. We couldn’t deal with the regret, the guilt and our inability to control ourselves and embark on such a ridiculous adventure. We were jobless for some time that took a bigger toll on the relationship. We belong to an industry where news travels quickly so wherever we went for interviews the smirks that greeted us said it all.
Thankfully Varun found a job in Mumbai. I really wanted him to move away from the city. I loved him too much to see him suffer like this. I did realize that without a career and a well-earned image our hugs and electric chemistry could not hold us together anymore.
We both moved on
Since I couldn’t find a job in the city I became a recluse. That’s when my ex-boyfriend made an appearance again and wanted to tie the knot. I forgave him. We got married and moved to Singapore after the wedding. But with him, I could never find the physical connect I had with Varun. I avoided our bedroom sessions and I heaved a sigh of relief when he started cheating again. We got divorced after 3 years.
Am back in the city now…
I have heard from common friends that Varun is back too and is divorced. Sometimes I think should I get in touch with him again? Could we only take away the passion from that fateful night in the pantry, and start afresh?