In the boardroom, Jason and Anh, chairs pulled out at one end and butting armrests, were in rapt discussion. Jason convulsively brought his coffee mug to his lips while Anh draped tightly crossed arms under her skimpy bosom. Jason panned her as Shaku offered him a broad, polite smile, but he only offered a glazed eyes and a knit brow in return. Anh launched the inquisition.
“Shaku, what were doing at the WYREC meeting? I didn’t see any invitation going in your mailbox.”
“I actually am a big fan of Ruth’s,” Shaku lobbed.
“Really, what you do mean, like a groupie?” Jason threw in.
Shaku wanted to erase his smirk by stuffing his mouth with a carrot muffin. She let out low giggle instead, “So funny, Jason. No, actually, I called Ruth’s secretary and said that I heard Ruth was speaking and that I was newly minted agent and that I really thought I could learn from her. Her secretary, said sure, why not.”
“Sure, why not?” Anh launched the next hurl. “What’s her secretary’s name?”
Shaku eyes widened, her teeth biting her lips. “Um, you know, Anh, when you get to my age, you can’t, well, remember everyone’s name. It was Sh- something, Shemara, Shamira, you know.”
As if on cue, Jason and Anh raised their mugs and drank their coffee.
“Really,” Jason uttered again, sniffing. “WYREC is supposed to be for seasoned professionals only, Shaku. You weren’t supposed to be there.”
“I know, and I explained that to Ruth’s secretary…”
“Shemara or Shamira,” Anh interjected.
“Maybe it was Shakira,” Jason punted, while Anh snickered.
Shaku dropped her gaze to her watch: enough time to use the washroom before returning for the meeting. When she crept back to the boardroom, the door was opened.
Anh and Jason had vanquished any signs of their accost, their chairs returned to their chaste, original positions at the table. Most of the other agents had filed in and found seats: Aldina, her freshly-highlighted hair drawn up revealing the sinewy muscles of a bronzed neck, Oksana, in a Pucci-esque printed blouse that stretched over her soccer-ballsized pregnancy and flowing, palazzo pants; and Usman the well-read yet irrevocably Total Uncle, with his coarse, taut black hair worn as a weave. Winson hated being the first one in at a meeting; he would wait a few minutes, ensure everyone had moments for their greetings, and settling into their seats before he would swoop in. Melissa X., his assistant, everyone’s assistant really, had arranged for a carafe of coffee, an urn of hot water for the tea lovers, a basket of black and green teas and a tray of biscuits. Melissa X.
must also have set up the projector. On the boardroom whiteboard was the introductory page of a PowerPoint. Soaring to New Galaxies: Evolving SuperStar for the 21st Century.
About the Book
Author: Nitin Deckha
Genre: Literary Fiction
The Real Estate of Things is a comedic story about real estate, spirituality and politics in the sprawling, multicultural suburb of West York.
Fifty-‐something Shaku Sehgal is looking for a new lease of life. With two grown kids and a supportive accountant husband who gardens, she’s followed her best friend, Neelam, into the exciting world of real estate. While she dreams of becoming the premier realtor of West York City, a position currently held by the much envied, Ruth Leslie, Shaku’s languishing at her current brokerage, SuperStar Realty.
To jumpstart her career, Shaku sneaks into a real estate conference and learns about a new redevelopment contest for a local derelict site. Part of the prize is to be an exclusive broker for the chosen new development. Shaku successfully pitches it to her brokerage, teams up with the young up-‐and-‐coming realtor, Jason Sevende, and they throw their hat into the contest.
Soon, Shaku and Jason find themselves competing against teams across the city, including Shaku’s friend, Neelam and the doyenne of luxury realty, Ruth Leslie. Not only that, the contest draws the attention of global spiritual guru, Chakra Sahib, and the ire of a seemingly anonymous movement protesting and threatening to derail the whole redevelopment.
Join Shaku, Jason and the band of realtors as they confront obstacles and reflect on the meanings of success, love and friendship in this epic race amongst realtors, The Real Estate of Things.
Nitin Deckha is the author of a collection of short stories, Shopping for Sabzi (2008). His fiction has been published in magazines, edited collections, and chapbooks and he has read his work across Canada, the US and India. In 2010, he was featured as part of the Canadian Writers in Person lecture series at York University, Toronto. Nitin holds a PhD in Anthropology and has taught social sciences for over a decade. More recently, he completed certification in Adult Training and Development (MCATD, CTDP) and crafts and leads learning and organizational change. He lives in Toronto. Contact him at @RealEstateofThi