So, here we are. And this time, we’re writing a story, in collaboration. We’ll take turns to write, one chapter each. So here goes.
The world was simple in the eyes of Rohit Agrawal. It all came down to a few straight lines. One from his penthouse in Park Street to the ground floor. A fifteen minute drive along Park Street to the offices of Agrawal Enterprises, and back. A bi-weekly flight to by Mumbai, and back. Occasional business meetings in the Astoria, and back. His world had the simplicity of luxury and the detachment of money and power. For him, it was a good world. It minded it’s business, he minded his.
Word had spread among his associates and fellow businessmen that he was hard and unfeeling. That he had no capacity for emotion and his only care in the world was his business. He never denied it. On the contrary, he encouraged such talk. He had never donated to charity, and seemed to let his brain run his life, his heart taking a back seat. All in all, the kind of man who would be accused of being a heartless businessman.
It was said he saw the world in black and white, in terms of his gains and losses. Those who said it, they had no clue how near they were to the truth. For Rohit Agrawal was colour blind. Partially. His condition was complicated. In fact, nobody else knew of it. Normally, he saw the world in black and white, but with one person, one Jyoti Roy, manager of the Mumbai branch, he saw colour.
In his chauffeured BMW, he was trying to think of the world of colours, the last time he visited it. He couldn’t. Grey asphalt outside the window, his black leather seat, mottled-grey overcast skies above all kept dragging him into the real world, with the pale gray chauffeur and his black uniform, the dappled grey of the trees and the majestic white buildings speeding past. He looked at his own colourless palms and then picked up a colourful grey advertising brochure he was supposed to be reading. Today was one of the grey days.
At work, he attended a sales presentation, where he took two minutes to figure out which curve on the graph was green. Then with a masterful speech on why he believed the new tactics would at the least double sales, he went on to his own office. He decided he’d expand into the property business, and told his secretary tell his Delhi agent to scout for land he could invest in. This was followed by reports from various branches of Agrawal Enterprises, until the secretary reminded him of his 12:30 lunch with the Income Tax department representative, and the 5 pm flight to Mumbai. He stared at the black mahogany of his desk, and then of a face, candles fluttering in the wind, yellow irises in a white porcelain vase… suddenly, the vision vanished, and his hand reached into a drawer and drew out a sheaf of papers, and began poring over them intently, making notes in the margins, letting his work flood over him.
That evening, on the plane, he smiled at the white clad airhostess and idly toyed with a grey silk handkerchief, anticipating its miraculous bloom into a yellow sliver of fire when he entered an apartment that night. Then, shaking his head, he devoted himself to the mails his Delhi agent had sent him, occasionally making notes on a pad using a ball-point pen writing jet black ink. His attachment to colours surprised him.