Waking up in the morning is such a pain! Straight from beautiful blissful dreams to the nightmares of work. Not that I remember my dreams, mind you. But then, they must be beautiful, I suppose. If they were not, I’d probably remember them.
I must say though, I have started to enjoy the first five minutes after the first two minutes after I’ve woken up. I am dimly aware of my room partner shuffling around the apartment, picking up the cleanest shirt from the floor where several lie in a dump, including some of mine, sniffing it, especially near the armpits and then rushing to iron it as best as he can. Then the occasional rattle of vessels and cutlery while he makes himself some tea. Finally, he puts on his shoes, contemplates polishing them but does not, and then submerges himself under deodorant.
This happens daily. And I enjoy it daily. I am better off than he is.
Thankfully, it’s a Friday today. Something to look forward to at the end of the day. I finally get up, a good ten minutes after my partner has left, and make an inspection of the entire apartment. Not with any definite purpose, simply out of habit. At the end of it, my consciousness is complete and I am ready to brush my teeth.
I chuckle when my eyes alight on the dump of shirts on the floor. Today’s Friday. I can wear a tee. I never iron my tees.
On my way to office, in an auto rickshaw, I consider my options for breakfast. I eventually settle for a flimsy packet of wafers, hardly enough to satisfy a one year old's appetite. But it saves time. I can always make up for it during lunchtime.
As always, I am amongst the first to reach office. It’ll take at least another hour for the entire place to fill up. They’re not very particular about timings here, at least not at the start of the day. I’ve never quite understood the logic of delaying coming to office and then sitting through half the night to complete one’s duties. I mean, an extra hour in the morning hardly merits much attention, but that same hour in the evening is the difference between a movie at the theatre and a dismal dinner at home while the television plays popular tracks by Himesh Reshammiya and news from the latest bomb blasts. And not necessarily on different channels.
I check unread mails, respond to those that deserve such treatment. Then I log onto gtalk and wish my friends in other parts of the world good whatever time of the day. There’s some chitchat; I keep at it till I am fed up and then get myself a coffee from the vending machine. With the coffee in hand, I walk over to those that have already arrived and chitchat some more. Unfortunately, these early arrivers are typically the clerical kind, which seriously limits the scope of conversation. But then, one has to make do with what one has got.
My Boss is an incompetent asshole. I can scarcely believe he is the marketing head of my organization after I’ve interacted with him. But, I must admit, the guy’s got a pretty wacky sense of humour. If nothing else, he’s at least fun to be with. I often wonder why I don’t reciprocate to him in similar vein; something I know I am capable of. I think it is because I am not quite sure if his interpretation of humour allows for more than one practitioner at a time.
Coming back to my initial assertion about him, I’ve never yet elicited a satisfactory answer from him on the doubts I’ve raised and clarifications I’ve sought. I might as well stop asking him altogether, but I do it to keep him happy and to keep him updated on what I’ve been doing without being too blatant about it.
What I’ve been doing though, is far from what I expected. It is staggering to see the inadequacies and inefficiencies of the corporate world of today. There are processes and protocols built so ridiculously, it is difficult to imagine the people designing them, doing so with straight faces. What can be accomplished in one meeting is stretched to three. Even the simplest mailed communication is copied to half the organization to let everybody know just how responsible one is towards one’s work and to escape all responsibility if something goes wrong in the future. But then, that’s the way it is.
Towards afternoon, one of my friends from campus calls me and invites me to Hard Rock Café in the evening. He reels of the list of names, mutual friends, expected to be in attendance. I accept without hesitation.
My boss takes me along for an important meeting during lunchtime. The incompetent inconsiderate asshole! On top of that, the meeting turns out to be the usual. Irrelevant. I smile and yawn my way through it.
On returning to office, I get news of another series of blasts in a major city. I read through half baked details of the incidents and the strong statements made by political heavyweights. This whole thing has gone from shocking to ridiculous to mundane. I am not sure if that’s what the terrorists aimed for. My mailbox is full with mails from my friend groups enquiring into the wellbeing of those friends that are based in that city. One or two have already replied stating that they remain unaffected. I suspect by the end of tomorrow, everybody else will have followed suit. At least, everybody we know is alright, we’ll say at the end of it.
I meet representatives of a national jewelery brand sometime later. We discuss possibilities of association for their brand with a couple of ours. They want to associate with only one, I want them to do it for both. We discuss for a while. In the end, I agree to give them a better deal on their preferred one and they agree to support the other.
Back in office, I am informed that I need to work on a presentation my boss is to deliver on Monday. That heartless prick! Has to discover work like that just when the sun is about to set! And what presentation! I could’ve made it when I was in 5th grade. And the damn thing’s going to take time on top of that! What happens to my Hard Rock Café commitment now? No, I tell myself. I am going to attend that get-together, whatever happens.
I suggest to him that he might not really require my services for the task. He tells me that it is all a learning experience for me and how he was asked to staple photocopied documents together neatly for his first year in service. Yeah, right. I am sure he was. At least there was somebody who knew what he is worth. I desperately think of other extrication measures. Headache? No, too lame. Another important meeting? He’ll ask for details. Somebody else who can do it? Everybody else has already slipped out. Dammit! Dammit! I know what I am going to have to say. I don’t want to say it, but I know I have to.
I have some personal commitments in the evening, I inform him. I pause for a second or two, gauging his reaction, and then offer to come to office early next day and get it done. Yes, on a Saturday. He agrees. I’ll think up something tomorrow too, after that he’s got to do it on his own, I tell myself.
I know I will come to office tomorrow.
I am already late for the get-together. Taking a cab is out of question. I take the local train, straight from office. Throughout the journey, I keep stealing a look at the bags and attaché cases of other people. I am sure they do the same to mine.
I am the last to reach the café. Which is not such a bad thing, for they’ve already found a place after having waited for half an hour. Great to see these guys! Amongst loud laughter and conversation and even louder music, I order a Jack Daniels. On the rocks. The waiter tells me, regretfully, that it is unavailable. He recommends another drink. Balls, I say! We get up in a huff and find ourselves another café. A man should get to drink what he wants to!