Grace under pressure.

GV Rama Rao By GV Rama Rao, 4th Dec 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

Sometimes, the solution to a problem is just in front of our eyes, and yet we miss it and keep searching for it all over the place.

Grace under pressure.

Raj looked at his watch. It was 5 p.m. Friday. All his plans for the weekend were ruined. The project scheduled to be completed three days earlier got stuck. The final step for the program looked so near and yet so far. Impatient, he decided to take a break, stroll around the office and to stretch his legs.

The office now looked different and dreary. Priya, the pretty woman in the next cubicle, seemed dull and lackluster. Jane, the buxom white woman whom he had secretly admired, now looked cheap as if she were advertising her over-sized boobs. He found her shapely and voluptuous figure now almost repulsive. Instead of enjoying the sight of her cleavage and ample bosom, as usual, he felt irritated. "Why can't these American women cover their chest properly instead of wearing tight T-shirts under the jacket?" he wondered.

"You look tense and distraught. What's the matter, Raj?" Sunil the boss asked. He looked his usual self, calm and composed in sharp contrast to the whole team from the project leader to the programmers who were racking their brains. In fact, it was his baby, and he should be the one under stress, thought Raj.

Jane stood, stretched her hands and went out for a walk.

Phillip, the team leader walked across and met his boss. Disappointment was writ large on his face.

"How is it going, Phillip?"

"We are stuck at the final step and worried we might let you down this time."

Sunil, the owner, assiduously built his firm on irrefutable reputation to provide reliable, faultless IT solutions on schedule. He had always been a stickler for meeting the deadline and planned everything meticulously. He had never failed, and his business prospered beyond his dreams. Now he drives a Ferrari and lives in a spacious house, in an upmarket gated community. Reputations and business cannot be built overnight but can be ruined with a single deal. Any failure to deliver the product on Monday would ruin his reputation and hurt his employees, Phillip thought.

"We have been working the last thirty days well beyond the normal hours. We thought we had it all sewed up, but we are stuck at the last step. No one has a clue how to clear the last hurdle," he said.

"You have the weekend to finish it, as our presentation is scheduled for Monday."

"We were to finish this three days back. We kept three days in reserve for any contingency and reserved Saturday for debugging and trouble shooting. But we are stuck. I'm worried like hell. We have only two days before Monday."

"You need any additional hands?"

"No, we'll be wasting time briefing and starting them."

"OK, let me pitch in."

"No, thanks. All we want is just a bright idea, a spark that fires the project to run, one final touch."

"You guys are all sparks. Now what's wrong? You left your sparks behind at home, or what?"

Phillip felt offended although he knew his boss didn't mean to offend.
"Give me a break," he said and walked up to Jane's cubicle. An eye candy, she always ignited sparks in him but could not be seen in her seat.

He looked at Priya and found her uncommonly pretty and beautiful in some strange way. The Indian chicks had something going for them, he thought.

In the next cubicle, he found Rao watching the monitor and scratching his head. "He is forever scratching his head. Maybe, that is his way to find the solution," he thought and laughed at his own brand of humor.

"Why are you laughing?" Sunil asked.

"It's nothing. I'm reminded of an Internet joke."

"Why don't you share it with us?"

"It's not for mixed company."

Soon, a babble of voices had started and everyone started speaking of something totally different from the project and the problem at hand. Even Priya, normally reticent, started shouting at the guys for disturbing her.

Sunil walked to his room, picked a glass tumbler, rattled it with a spoon and said, "Quiet, please."

Silence overpowered the existing tension.

"You guys seem stressed out. Come and join me in the conference room."

When everyone joined him, Sunil conjured up a bottle of single malt whiskey and a dozen paper cups.
He filled his glass and passed the bottle around. Everyone helped himself to a drink. Even Priya had filled her glass to two fingers and surprised her colleagues. Rao, the eternal head scratcher and a known teetotaller, filled more than half his glass.

"Cheers. Have a drink. You guys relax for half an hour without talking. Meditate or think of something pleasant."

Half an hour of silence, pin drop silence prevailed. Rao thought of getting into bed with Jane, and Phillip wanted to see how the Indian dames differed from the westerners. Raj thought of his lover that he had left behind in Bangalore. Everyone in the group fantasized about something or other and entertained weird ideas.

"Back to work." Sunil's commanding voice brought them out of their reveries. They trooped back to their cubicles and resumed work.

Half an hour later, Rao yelled. "Hey folks, I got it. It's simple. How did we all miss it? We must have been monumentally stupid or morons of the highest order."

Nobody minded his language but gathered round his table and looked at the monitor. Only three easy steps showed the solution. It looked as though the monitor was mocking at them. How could he miss it? Phillip thought and scratched his head.

"I trumped the ace. This is it. It is all over. Now you guys put it in code," Rao said and slumped on his desk. Sunil who had heard the noise came charging, looked at the figure collapsed on the desk, picked him up in a fireman's lift, took him to the conference room and laid him on the table. The rest of the team finished the work in the next two hours and closed the shop.

"It's all done, boss," Phillip said.

"Not till one of you take Rao to his flat and tuck him in bed. Let's go home; it has been a hard day."

As Sunil left, Jane asked Phillip "What do you call that?"

"Grace under pressure."


Break, Debugging, Delay, Easy Solution, Glaring Yet Unseen, Grace, Meditation, Presentation, Program, Schedule, Spark, Stress, Trouble Shooting

Meet the author

author avatar GV Rama Rao
I am a retired naval officer and a published author with three books to my credit. I am a winner of nanowrimo competition for 2008,9, &10. I like humor best..

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author avatar Sheila Newton
4th Dec 2011 (#)

Bravo! Excellent story.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
5th Dec 2011 (#)

My dear Sheila Newton,
Many thanks for your appreciation.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
5th Dec 2011 (#)

My dear Sheila Newton,
Many thanks for your appreciation.

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author avatar Buzz
5th Dec 2011 (#)

Oh, you're a great man, GV, and a story-teller too! Loved this.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
6th Dec 2011 (#)

Many thanks for your appreciation. I am just a wannabe writer. With best wishes.

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author avatar Songbird B
29th Dec 2011 (#)

Great story, and such truth too..Sometimes things make so much sense when you walk away from it for a while..Enjoyed this GVR..

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
30th Dec 2011 (#)

My dear Songbird O,
Many thanks for your appreciation.

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