"You know Nik, it takes all kinds of people to make the world the way it is.
There is this kind that I find particularly fascinating - I don't know if sociologists have a title for them but I call them The Influencers...you know what I mean?" Nina asked Nikhil who was trying to catch his weekend winks. "No?" came the slurred reply.
The Influencers are a part of every group, every age, every strata, every field. You know in any group, formal or informal, there is this one charismatic, genial person who's best friends with all but ensures none within the group bonds with the other."
"What rubbish Nina! No one can force people to do their bidding, haven't you heard of Free Will?" Nik was up on his elbows now, sure that he wasn't destined to catch any winks with Nina on her philosophical mode.
"Oh, free will, yes, yes! That's the one that can be tampered with at will," Nina snorted. "You needn't force people but you can certainly influence them to think the way you want. History has time and again proved the existence of such 'influencers'."
"I'll tell you about one group that I have been covertly observing in my office and you decide whether one of them is an Influencer or not!"
This sounded exciting so Nik sat up on the bed to listen to Nina, she really did observe the most peculiar things!
Ram, Leena, Rachel and Mohan were whiling away their time on mobile games and online shopping. Their last project completed, they were on a breather till their Team Leader Adil came to them with the new one. The girls compared sites, busy drooling over the latest fashion trends. Ram was cursing steadily as he furiously tackled the new level on the latest game he'd downloaded while Mohan flitted from cubicle to cubicle.
"Hey cool game dude, I must get that one!" Mohan commented peeking into Ram's phone.
"I know right, its crazy freaking good!" Ram muttered, triumphantly jumping to the next level.
Mohan began,"What's with Adil?" Having drawn Ram's attention from the game to him, he continued, "He's handing us one trashy project after another, none of which is taking off."
"I know dude, the last one I nearly broke my back on the coding and all he tells me - Well-tried!" Ram vented.
"Yeah, but Ram its only we who have a problem. Leena is best friends with Adil's wife Shirley and Rachel has a secret crush on him."
The two girls were whispering excitedly as they made their way to the cafeteria. Seeing them Mohan said, "Chalo, leave it, lets head for lunch," and proceeded to catch up with the girls.
"So what are you gals gossiping about?" he asked. A quick glance assured him that Ram was back into game mode and he casually draped a friendly arm around both of them.
"This!!" They chorused and showed him a candid video of Ram snoring in his cubicle.
"Ha, ha, ha this will tickle Adil for sure!" Mohan chuckled.
"Oh, no! Its just for our eyes, we shot it for fun!"
"Hey, relax ladies, I was just kidding! Ram was telling me that you both have hardly any time to work in between browsing."
"Oh! He said that did he? Maybe this video needs to be shared," Leena said to herself.
"Lucky you Leena! Shirley is inviting you for the weekend office party, isn't it?" he asked innocently.
Rachel was surprised and looked accusingly at an embarrassed Leena while Mohan moved ahead swiftly. He'd spotted his TL Adil and Adil's elusive superior Nitin making their way towards the executive buffet counter.
"Hi Adil, hello Sir!" he brightly addressed the duo.
"Ahh, hello, you are...."
"Mohan from my team Nitin," chipped Adil.
"Yes, of course. Hello Mohan, how goes it? Adil treating you well?"
"Absolutely sir, all ship-shape with Captain Adil at the helm!"
"Good, good," said Nitin moving on to load his plate while Adil hung around to chat with Mohan.
Diligently Mohan enquired,"Adil, I hope there is no issue with the last lap of the project. I managed to crack it only because of your tip, a real brainwave that was!"
"Oh, no problem Mohan, it works like a dream, the client loves it. I am glad you took my advice on it."
"Yes, good I listened to you Adil, even though my colleagues didn't think it would work."
"Hmm, I see," a little frown creased Adil's brow and then cleared. "Come over after lunch to my cabin, I want to discuss the strategy for the next project that Nitin just briefed me about. And remember to keep it quiet."
"Sure Adil, anything for you."
Mohan happily made his way to the corner table his group usually took. Long faces met him.
"Hey, why so quiet?" he cheerfully quipped, bringing out an over-large lunch box.
"Guess what? Ma made paneer tikka rolls for all of us! Dig in!"
"What were you talking about with Adil just now?" Ram asked grumpily as he took a bite of the luscious roll.
"Oh, that?" Mohan mumbled between mouthfuls, "The usual...he was complaining, you guys need to get serious, blah, blah. I told him boss, we are doing our best, you can't get a better team."
"Really, Mohan, YOU ARE THE BEST! What would we do without you?"
"There you are my boy! Now tell me is this guy an influencer or what?" Nina plumped up the cushions and came to sit beside Nik.
"What a smooth operator this guy is! How come you've never mentioned these chaps before? And lady, take a bow! Seriously tell me, are you doing a sting operation in office?" Nik replied, genuinely impressed.
"Nah, nah...I just made that story up, to keep you from sleeping through the afternoon!" Nina giggled and ducked a cushion Nik threw at her!
Read other stories from Nina's World:
1. Sunday - Happy Day
2. A Change of Heart
3. Delirious Dilemma
4. Holiday Ahoy - Part 1
5. Holiday Ahoy - Part 2
6. Party Time - Wardrobe Woes
7. Party Time - Beauty Woes
8. Musical Rhapsody
9. The Influencer - What would we do without you?
Disclaimer: All the characters in the Nina's World series are fictional, any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental and unintentional.
Copyright © 2016 KALA RAVI