Xerox – A Love Story

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A story of how Xerox played an important role for two strangers and what happened when one of them fell in love.

“One copy each. Please make it quick,” both said at the same time to the photocopy guy standing behind the Xerox machine. The photocopy guy raised his head and took a good look at them, first at Soham and then at Anita.

“I’ll be late for the meeting. Please generate a print for me first,” said Anita in a hurry. She was already running late for her startup pitch.

“I need to submit a copy of my thesis in 15 minutes or I’ll be debarred from the course,” said Soham. He was pursuing his Ph.D. from a college nearby.

Upon hearing them beg for taking out their copies first, the photocopy guy said “We have two Xerox machines,” and they both sighed in relief. However, none of them stopped ranting about hurrying up as they didn’t want to get all the more late for their respective commitments.

As soon as he handed out the copies to them, they grabbed them and rushed towards their destinations.

Anita was relieved to reach the investor’s office just in time. But the very next moment anxiety took over Anita as she glanced through the Xerox copy! Yes, her documents had been exchanged with Soham’s thesis.

The next day Anita waited for Soham outside the Xerox shop as Soham had found Anita’s number in the photocopy he’d taken by mistake and had planned to exchange their copies back. The scorching summer heat of Delhi forced Anita to wait inside a cafe nearby. Soham arrived after 10 minutes and they exchanged looks as if mocking each other in a funny way.

“Hi, I am Soham Sharma. Sorry for the goof up,” said Soham extending his hand for a handshake.

“Please. It wasn’t anyone’s fault really. I am Anita Rai. I am sorry about your course,”  Anita replied while they shook their hands.

They ordered coffee and discussed how the other day had turned out for them. While Anita was disheartened to lose another investor, Soham interrupted her by saying “I’m sorry but I couldn’t resist from going through your document. Pardon me, but there are many areas which could be improved to build a stronger business model,” Soham shared his views upon how a few things could be improved and Anita was impressed by his immense knowledge on the subject. That’s when she asked, “How are you so familiar with the subject?” To which Soham replied, “I too worked hard for a similar startup once. But I had no one to guide me and then life had some other plans for me.”

Anita asked Soham if he could help her better the pitch and he instantly agreed.

They now met almost every day at the same coffee shop and Soham was always enthusiastic with the startup. He paid attention to each and every detail and planned to leave no stone unturned. What they didn’t realize was a seed of love had been sown and Anita couldn’t wait to meet him day after day.

Their work cum coffee dates extended to dinner dates and soon they were spending the entire day together. Anita never felt happier in her life. Although she sometimes wondered how Soham managed to take out all the time from his schedule while pursuing his Ph.D., she never asked him as she didn’t want to cut down the time they spent together.

A week or two passed and Anita was now ready to pitch the final proposal to an investor whom she had approached two days ago. She insisted Soham to accompany her as he had worked day and night to better the business model. But he did not agree to it and told her to go on alone as at the end it was her dream. After a lot of insisting and resisting, Anita went on alone with her pitch.

Anita gleefully came out of the investor’s office. They loved the pitch and were willing to invest in her project. She quickly took out her phone and dialed Soham’s number but it was out of reach. She dropped him a text message informing him about the big win and asked him to meet her for dinner tonight at The Oberoi at 8:00 PM to celebrate.

She got home and started dressing her best as she had decided to propose to Soham this evening! Her happiness was boundless and she kept singing and swaying around the house. She reached the hotel 10 minutes prior to the decided time and waited there patiently. When Soham didn’t turn up until 8:20 PM, she dialed his number again and it was still out of reach. She tried his number several times but always got the same message from the other side. She had now started to worry a little and hoped for Soham’s well-being.

After waiting for quite long and trying his number a dozen times, she decided she couldn’t just sit there and wait for him now. But she didn’t know where to go or whom else to call. Soham had never mentioned anything about his family or where he lived. She only knew where he studied. She went to his college but there was, of course, no one in the building at that time of the night. She had no other choice but to wait until the next morning.

She couldn’t sleep the entire night and kept calling Soham’s number but reached nowhere. The next morning, as soon as the clock struck 7:30, she rushed to his college. She frantically searched for the administration department and inquired about Soham Sharma. She met Mr. Randeep Sahay, the Administration Head and explained everything to him. She was confused to see a scandalized look on Mr. Sahay’s face and asked him what was wrong.

To which Mr. Randeep replied, “Soham Sharma was a Ph.D. student here but he jumped and committed suicide from our college building five years ago because he faced a heavy loss in his startup!”

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