As my boss and I entered the house it was like a cottage resort, greenery all around- mango trees, bougainvillea, rajnigandha, roses, lilies, money plant creeping on one of the mango trees, a small lawn on my left with a pond decorated with artifacts around and a swing in the center. On my right there was a porch which led to the entrance.
I was way too nervous to enter now. I was actually feeling like a salesman banging on the door and so 6.2” Meer tried to hide behind his 5.4” boss.
We were greeted by a maid. We followed her from the wooden floor verandah with a Shiva statue with a fountain in the center to the marble floored drawing room. The drawing room was white and gold, yes white couches with gold border, white table top again with golden rim and golden vases adorning the corners.
We waited for the client, neither my boss nor I had met him before. Infact the interactions had always been between my boss and the client's executive and as we spoke the executive hurried in and greeted us.
We started discussing the project when he interrupted saying we have to wait for his boss. Oh! so finally the owner of this palace himself is going to greet us. He must be some old guy, stubborn and old fashioned calling the shots by power. Now I can understand why he is not agreeing to the terms. We are being served tea and biscuits in chic white and gold Bone-China, this guy is very mindful and tasteful indeed, thank God I am wearing white and "khaki", the lesser brother of gold :)
As we spoke the executive gets up and I turn around to see the old guy, I am startled to find a short, puny girl coming towards us. She is wearing a white salwar kameez with a lemon yellow dupatta flung on one side adorned further by her side parted long black hair on the same. She came closer and sat beside us and the executive introduced her to us - Meera Sen, the Managing Director.
This is what happens when one only addresses the other by their last name, you never know who it is. I was the person drafting all the mails addressed to the M.D. And just to add some humour used to always write - “Sen Sir”. In my mind it was the coolest thing ever, actually I was very proud of it and used to think the client will always remember me because of this. I was so right about it.
The executive did the talking and my boss tried to clarify. I really doubted her expertise as she barely spoke and the air around her was not of arrogance or knowledge, it was just plain and simple. She listened and listened and then articulately pointed out two specifics that we had used that specially raised her doubts and bang on! She was right.
I clearly understood what she was talking about because those were the sentences I had framed knowing well that it could be missed in the blink of an eye but here it was not missed at all. I clarified my stance and thought over on what we could use instead but here was a girl too firm to negotiate her way out.
There was something about her that was intriguing and so never-seen-before. The way she spoke betrayed her age, she sounded like an experienced person bringing forth her knowledge subtly while understanding what I really wanted. The words she was using were exactly the ones on my mind, it felt as if she read my mind.
I have made a rule for myself wherever I go and whoever I meet I have to ensure that they'll remember me. This one time I had to make it work and get rid of my previous message. I looked at my boss and we decided to redo the terms.
I don't know if I was charmed by her place, her power, her face or her words but nonetheless charmed I was.