Meera was slowly walking up the stairs. For the last fifteen years she had dragged herself up the staircase of this old dilapidated building every working week day. It was a dark dirty staircase with pan stains plastered over the walls of every corner of every floor. Like every day, today also she counted the stair as she hauled herself up one step at a time. …3 ...17…17…16 …17…17…17 till she reached the third floor. Like every day, she wondered today as well on why, was the stairway leading to the mezzanine of the second floor, one step less. She reached her office cubicle and parked herself on her chair and switched on her computer. Her desk was in its’ usual mess with files, papers and a couple of chai glasses that the peon had forgotten to clear up last evening. Not that she really cared. She herself had never really been a very organized person. Mess, in fact, made her feel comfortable.
Meera was forty years of age. She was tall and pretty with an hour- glass figure. She looked around thirty but she had always dressed and maintained herself like she was fifty. Crisp cotton sarees, hair tied in a bun, a small black bindi on her forehead, and a thin gold chain around her neck. Her Titan watch, which she wore with the dial on the inside of her wrist, had been the same one for all these years. She had stuck to the same boring black/maroon flat heeled chappals from Bata. But she still looked quite stunning. Meera lived alone in the city. Her parents had died when she had just started earning. She had never married. She did have a couple of romantic affairs when she was young, but they somehow always ended up on a bad note. So she finally concluded that she was pathetic with relationships and would not indulge in any henceforth. She was quite happy at that. This was also because she had always enjoyed her own company the most. She had bought her own two bedroom apartment in the city and lived there with her stock of books, music and movies that accompanied her well.
Meera had joined this place after her master’s degree in finance. She had been an average student. Intelligent, but average. When she got this job, she thought well before she took it up. The workplace was not at all suave, in fact there were absolutely no processes or systems. The people around were twice her age and uninteresting. But the pay was good. Also they had offered her the position of a cashier. She was glad about that. Within a year of joining she got promoted to a supervisor level. Besides having done her job well, the fact that she was an eye candy in this gloomy place had also helped her get the promotion. She was well aware of both the reasons and she was happy about both. . She rarely spoke to her colleagues in the office. She found them way below her intelligence while they, had always been too intimidated by her, her persona. She would struggle to this place every day at 9 am, work all day in silence, and leave at 6 pm. For lunch she would normally call for a sandwich which she would munch on at her desk amidst all the papers and files and her computer. This same routine had continued for the last fifteen years. Every day, every single day. Now she was the finance head. She had her own cubicle which was also quite dull. And, besides a few additional responsibilities, the routine had been the same.
But today, today as Meera switched on the computer, she had a slight smile on her lips. Yes, finally today was the day. The day she had been waiting for, for all these years. The last two days she had successfully managed to clear up all the data from this computer. No traces left. She rechecked everything. She had wiped out everything. The IT system here was not strong enough to have kept a backup in their server. Ah, the bliss of working in an unorganized small company. She opened the desk drawer and lovingly fingered the passport and ticket lying in there. She picked them up and carefully kept them in her hand-bag. She checked her check list again. She smiled as she remembered the shopping she had done over the weekend. She had created a rampage in the mall, picked up all that she could lay her hands on. And the ecstasy that she felt as she tried out those short skirts, denims, tank tops at the trial rooms was incredible. She had really like what she saw in the mirror. And those high heeled shoes, she could barely walk in them but she had still picked them up. Oh, she had felt so good about it. She had also got a hair-cut. She had cut it quite short. She had remembered the look on the faces of her colleagues when she had entered with the new hairdo. She smiled again.
She had visualized this day for really long. For fifteen years. Ten crores! Ten crores had been a target she had set to herself when she had joined this place. For the last fifteen years slowly she had managed to accumulate ten crores over and above her earning. She had skillfully managed the audits. They had never suspected her of her frauds. In fact they had never suspected the frauds at all. Yes, she had been good. She felt a chill go down her spine as she thought of how they would all react when they got to know. But she would be untraceable by then. She smirked.
Tonight was the flight. Her stuff had all been packed and moved from her apartment. This was her last day in the city, in the country. Tonight she was going to start living again. The way she had always wanted. The way she had dreamt. Always.