Chapter 2: The Cynophobia
The only constant in life is change. Some people beg for change after a life-altering event whereas change appears in somes life without any prior intimidation.
Nivritti tried changing her hair colour, changed her job, yet something was missing, her past was still following her. She was still looking for a change that would give her peace of mind.
For the past year, she was living in hell, no matter how far she went her past followed her. She changed home in Delhi multiple times, then shifted to Bangalore and was ready to uproot herself again.
So, she took up a job in a land far away from India. She took a job in South Korea. Fearing for her privacy, she didnt tell anyone about her new job or where was she going, not even her family or friends.
She woke up early even before her alarm rang. It was her first day at her job. She took a shower, prepared toast, had her breakfast and coffee and left her home.
The day she arrived her cab driver informed her that her house was 15 minutes away from her office. She chose to walk there. The morning was cold, and she had a mask on. She grabbed her overcoat closer and walked the distance. The cold air on her face was numbing, the sensation she exactly needed.
“Wow!” exclaimed Nivritti nervously. She was standing outside the big glass building. It had a big K&Q letter on the front. It was one of the biggest media companies in Korea.
For a few moments, she kept looking at the building. The beautiful building was captivating. The morning sun was shining on the glasses. The building was bathing in golden light. It was hard to avert eyes from that. She stood there for a minute and took in all the beauty of the building.
It was her first day. She was nervous as well as excited. She entered the building and went to the “SCRIPT DEPARTMENT” on the 11th floor. She could hear her heartbeat. She exhaled loudly and introduced herself to the head of the department, Choi Chung-Ho.
The kind-looking, middle-aged man welcomed her, showed her, her cubicle and informed her about a meeting in the conference room which was required by every member of the script team to attend.
“Settle down everyone,” announced Chung-Ho and requested everyone to take a seat in the conference room.
Everyone fell quiet except a middle-aged woman who teased him, “English”
Chung-Ho smiled and answered, “yes, now these meetings will be in English. We have a new member in our midst. Please welcome Nivritti. This is her first day on the job.”
“Hello everyone,” said Nivritti and she bowed to all of them. They all smiled at her as she showed them respect.
“Now for the meeting, you all know that Rencontre is coming soon,” Chung-Ho said.
Nivritti had heard about Rencontre. She knew every year it was held but it was a great event, and everything was about performing songs, what that had to do with the script team. She looked confused. Chung-Ho noticed that.
Chung-Ho started, “Every one of you know that we write content for their music videos, daily videos, anniversary celebration ideas for all the group. The two boys group and three girls group depend on us. This year is special. We have to divert our attention to ASD. Dont worry we will keep doing the same we have done all these years. But this time ASD i.e., Artist of Singing and Dancing, our seven-member boy band are in their eighth year. You all know it is said to be a seven-year crush on all idol groups. Most bands disband by then but not our boyband.
“The day of their anniversary, which we celebrate as “Rencontre” is in six months. ASDians, their dedicated fanbase will expect something special from us. Of course, our boys will be performing for them, but we need to do something special too. So, the production team has charged us with coming up with a banging idea.
“You guys all have 24 hours to come up with ideas. You can pitch as many ideas as you want. The person with the best idea will pitch it in front of the CEO.”
All gasped at the last sentence. They never had to report to the CEO directly before. This would be a great chance to get in the limelight. This would be great for the resume.
“So, we will meet tomorrow with the ideas. Nivritti, its your first meeting. Any questions” asked Chung-Ho.
“Um... me” her name out of Chung-Hos mouth surprised her. She didnt know he was observing her.
She exhaled loudly and said, “ah... okay here it goes. They will be performing as they do every year, right You said that.”
“Right,” replied Chung-Ho.
“So, you want us to come up with ideas in addition to that or to replace it” asked Nivritti.
Chung-Ho smiled at her. “Very good question.”
“Thank you, Mr Choi.”
“We want something special in addition to the performance,” replied Chung-Ho.
“So, guys we have six months to prep for the Rencontre. All other bands will take a seat back and all of you focus on ASD. The meeting is adjourned. Write the script for today and start working on your ideas, anyone of you could go in front of the CEO. This is your golden chance. Good luck everyone,” Chung-Ho finished his briefing.
All started coming out of the room and went back to their seats. The script editors gave explicit instructions to their script coordinators. All were busy working at their stations.
Nivritti was seated on her seat busy churning ideas after ideas. She opened a document and started typing ideas after ideas in them. She would delete some if she didnt like them, or add some things to the already typed sentences. She kept scratching her brain for ideas. She knew she was good at thinking quickly, but these ideas were getting harder to come by.
She was working patiently and diligently but a soft yelping sound was making it difficult. She typed in a word and there it was, a yap.
“Oh, shut up! Let me think,” she talked to herself.
Again, a yelp.
“Oh no, not again. I have to find a therapist to deal with my cynophobia. I am hearing faint dog sounds. I am going crazy,” she mumbled.
There it was again a faint bark. Now she knew that she was not hearing sounds. Some dog was near her, but where She stopped breathing the moment she realised. Stealthily she looked down, a cute white Japanese Spitz was staring at her. Instantly her brain signalled her feet to lift themselves up.
She opened her mouth, but nothing came out of it. She looked around for help unable to speak. Everyone was busy with their work, no one paid her any attention. She could not move, could not speak, just kept staring at the dog.
The cute puppy was looking like a dragon to her. She was sweating with fear. She started shivering. She remembered her training on how to calm herself down. She started breathing through her mouth, taking in big gulps of air, and exhaling the same amount. She kept gulping with fear.
She was frightened but that puppy kept looking at her cutely. But all she could feel was fear. His cuteness was making her afraid. He stood on his hind legs and tried to reach her feet. That was the last thread. Her brain was in fight and flight mode. She chose flight. Her brain told her to run.
Without giving it any more thought, she jumped off her chair which made the dog cry and run away yelping. She ran in the opposite direction. She kept looking backwards to make sure that the dog was not following her.
Both the dog and Nivritti were running in opposite directions. The room went chaotic after that. Everyone stood up to find out how did a dog enter their department. They saw Nivritti running away from the dog.
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Nivritti kept looking behind and did not notice that someone has entered the department. She was looking at the dog and ran into a chiselled chest. She looked up and her mouth fell. She knew that man. She had seen his posters. She thought she would never meet up with him in her life but there he was standing before her. Not only standing before her, but he was also holding her shoulder. He stopped her from falling.