Keep it down…Under the Belt…

Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this article are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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While I was still struggling with some ‘Monday Blues’ (best excuse to avoid work on a Monday morning), I got a call from one of my vendor – Jasmeet. Initially I thought it would be a routine call at the beginning of the week to check for new business, but that wasn’t the case. 

Jasmeet: Hi Mo, I need to speak to you about Vidya who joined your company on Friday
Me: What about her, has she absconded?
Jasmeet: No..No.. She called-up over the weekend and was crying….she told me that one of her male colleague misbehaved with her. She was supposed to go with him for house-hunting in Mumbai.
Me: What??? Is Vidya coming to office today, I need to speak to her & get more details on this.

Although I mentioned to Jasmeet that I need to get more details, I had no clue what I was going to do. Still in a state of disbelief on how someone could misbehave with a girl – she had just relocated to Mumbai a week back & she gets such a treatment! Realising that I was too junior to handle this, I quickly walked-up to my senior & gave him a download.

My senior – Prasad, heard me out patiently was very calm (being an experienced guy, he must have heard such cases this many times in the past); he instructed me to speak to the Project Manager – Devika and then get into a face-to-face discussion with Vidya (the victim), Murali (the alleged culprit) and me (the observer, who had no clue what to observe).

I called-up Vidya & requested her to come to office for a quick chat. Murali apparently was already in office & did not show any signs of being nervous once I asked him to come for the meeting. Devika too was briefed on what had happened & was available for the meeting.

We sat together for a discussion – Devika initiated the conversation with directly asking Murali about where he was over the weekend. Murali replied calmly that he had been out on a house-hunting spree. Next question: “Did you meet Vidya at her Hotel? Yes, we were supposed to go together but when I reached the Hotel, she informed saying she isn’t feeling well & would not be joining me. I had to then go alone”…Grrrrr….Vidya interrupted Murali & said that this guy is a liar….

Vidya broke into tears…Devika tried to calm her down, she slowly started narrating her side of the story – “I landed in Mumbai on last Thursday & was provided a Hotel accommodation. I was introduced to Murali (who too had joined with Vidya on Friday). While talking to him during the day, we realized that both of us were in search of a flat in Mumbai. We decided to meet over the weekend & take this hunt forward. He came to my Hotel & called me from the reception. While I asked him to wait there, he asked if he could use my washroom. Reluctantly, I said yes to him & he came over to my room”.

“He went to the washroom, came out & walked towards the main door to put the latch from inside – I raised my voice & asked why he did that. He rushed towards me & pushed me down on the bed. While he was about to overpower me, I started screaming vehemently – he got scared, got down from the bed & ran towards the door. While moving out, he said he will get back to me. I sat on the bed in a state of shock & could not believe what this guy just did. I was wondering whether it was a right move to come to Mumbai. I decided to call Jasmeet & gave her an account of my nightmarish experience in the city”.

By now, Murali was looking a little tensed but kept on denying doing any such thing with Vidya. Devika looked at me & asked what do we do (as if I had all the answers with me) – I said let us meet separately & then take a call. Both of us walked into Prasad’s cabin to seek his opinion on this. His message was straight & clear – a girl wouldn’t want to tarnish her image in public by putting such allegations forward to us. We will have to support her – and the decision was taken to ask Murali to leave the company with immediate effect. Both the agencies for Vidya & Murali were updated on the status respectively.

While Murali was asked to leave, he still insisted that he was innocent – whether he was guilty or not, the truth is that this case of a Man trying to get fresh with a Woman wasn’t the first one & certainly wasn’t the last one as well.

Towards the end of the day, I met the Operations head in the corridor & he asked me about Vidya & Murali – I gave him a quick overview & he put his thoughts across to me very simply – ‘if things under the belt were kept down (or were in control), the world would be a better place to live’.

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