Saturday, 1 February 2014 search of a better tomorrow

The clouds were gathering over the rather gloomy firmament. Vishal couldn’t keep his mind on the meeting and his team was able to detect the lack of his usual presence of mind. He kept glancing at his watch and at the clouds that were visible through the curtains of the meeting room. The team called for early closure of meeting and realizing that he had been caught red handed, he smiled weakly and muttered a thanks before running back to his cubicle.
He hurriedly took stock of the work that he had to complete and he was mentally calculating the time required to complete the tasks assigned to him. He consciously left the laptop on the desk. It brought unnecessary mishaps if carried along. He didn’t need any extra weight on his back or his mind when he cycled up the mountains. 
It looked like the mountains were making fun of him...
Vishal always told his friends that it looked like the mountains were making fun of him and the thunder he often heard sounded like a war-cry to him, calling the beast inside him for a duel.
He checked and rechecked the to-do list before he picked up his bag with a beaming smile that betrayed his enthusiasm and energy for the activity planned. The security guard walked past an animated Vishal, noticing the energy level of the youngster.
Vishal looked at him and smiled pleasantly. It is only on Monday mornings that Vishal is usually low on energy and as the week progressed, he somehow seemed to gain energy until on Friday evenings he is at his peak form. The guard, recognizing the Friday smile asked, “Where to, this weekend?”
“Cycling”, said Vishal with a wide grin to the guard. On hearing this reply the guard simply shrugged his shoulders and announced aloud to the almost empty office, “I come to office by cycle every day, and so what’s the big deal? I can’t understand youngsters these days.” And he gave Vishal a smirk, and went off.
Vishal chose to ignore the comments. Just as he stepped out of his cubicle, he saw Chandru, his senior manager walk towards him. Vishal prepared himself for a defence. This guy never walks up to an employee directly unless there is some thing he wants to be done with ‘business priority’! As much as Vishal hated this guy for the tricks he played to get people to work mercilessly, he was known for his benevolence on hard working and talented guys like himself. And this was not the first time Chandru approached him.
“Tomorrow there is a presentation that will boost up the sales and hence the image of the company. I want you to come along. This will be a great learning experience for you, and this is business priority, Vishal.”, said the boss in his usual calm but firm voice, emphasizing on the last part.
“But Chandru,” began Vishal, “I have already planned something for the weekend and it’s too important to call off” said Vishal with a slight hesitation.
Chandru looked bewildered on hearing this. “At your age I never got an opportunity like this. I would have made it bigger had someone handheld me and guided me like this” he said placing a firm hand over Vishal’s shoulders.
Vishal gently pulled himself away from the senior’s grip and stood facing him. “Chandru, I know that such opportunities are difficult to come by. But I do not want to spoil my present in search of an elusive glorious future.”
“I work hard to earn my livelihood and I know my responsibilities. I may not reach your level by the time I have lived that many number of years, but that alone will not define my success”, he said much to the astonishment of his senior and walked away, adding to his mental to-do list, a task to defuse the tension once he returns.
Chandru called out to him as he stepped outside the office. Vishal was in no mood for any advice from him. Yet he had to oblige. As he hesitantly approached his senior,  Chandru asked him if he had any plans for the weeks ahead and if he could join Vishal in one of his treks.
Vishal couldn’t believe his ears and he smiled a big grin, evidently relieved, and walked out without a word, picking up the laptop on the way out.
"I have already planned something for the weekend..."

Fine-tuning credit:Vivek Ramanathan