All in a day’s work…

All in a day’s work…

I rush down my desolate street, half walking half running. Mr. Don’t-mess-with-me and Mr. A-Friend-in-need-is-a-friend-indeed are already in the cafeteria having breakfast. I tuck my shirt in as I walk. Tamil aunties on the road give me disapproving looks, I grin back shamelessly. I reach the railway gate and scan the vicinity for I-will-drop-you-for-twenty-rupees Anna. Thank heavens, he’s there. I save my five rupees again. I make small talk in the 2 minute auto ride in my apologetic Tamil, he only smiles and smiles because he thinks I’m conversing in Telugu. I give up, say thank you and jump off the auto once I reach the gate. I arrive at my office block, smile a toothy smile to whoever is at the reception and swipe my access card. I turn my head to the right to check if Mr. Don’t-mess-with-me is at his seat, he isn’t – he’s safely ensconced in the cafeteria.  First things first, I login to the communicator. Mails can wait. The moment I’m green/red, I get bombarded by multiple pings. Sample this:

Miss I-smile-therefore-I-am : “Go through the document I sent you and ping me for clarifications.”

Me: “Sure, give me five minutes”.


Mr. Missile: “ Tu ab aayi? Main toh kab se kaam kar raha hoon! Bada bhaari task hai yaar. Mar di aaj toh meri. Kal toh puri raat humlog idhar hi baithe. Bada bhaari hai yaar”

 I press Esc.


Mr. X: “Dinner this weekend?”

I press Esc.


Mr. Y: “Lunch this weekend?”

I press Esc.


Mr. Z: “Movie this weekend?”

I press Esc.


Mr. I’m-not-wearing-heels-I’m-really-this-tall : “ Abe sala subah se missile mera sar kha raha hai. Mar dalunga us chutiye ko”

Me : “Mat puch yaar roz jhelti uski bakchodi”


Mr. X1: “Dinner this weekend?”

I press Esc.


Mr. Y1: “Lunch this weekend?”

I press Esc.


Mr. Z1: “Movie this weekend?”

I press Esc.


I rush to Miss I-smile-therefore-I-am’s seat. Mr. Yo Yo is ogling at everything feminine around him and maintaining minimum contact with his own screen. In contrast, Mr. I-will-save-my-skin is glued to his screen like his life depends on it. Mr. I-think-therefore-I-am is looking at his SharePoint designer and expectedly, thinking.

Miss I-smile-therefore-I-am flashes her magic smile; I return it with a generous dose of affection. She explains the requirement to me, asks me if I have any doubts and offers an avalanche of suggestions. I turn to leave when she calls me again to her seat and says, “Finish it by lunch.” She bestows that magic smile again. This time I don’t return it.

I reach my seat and check Mr. Don’t-mess-with-me’s status. Aah, green. Good. I ping him.

Me: “Busy?”

Mr. Don’t-mess-with-me: “Hmmm. 2 mints.”

His 2 minutes stretch to more than thirty minutes and my stomach coils up in hunger and protest. I ping him again.

Me : “ Jaba?”

Mr. Don’t-mess-with-me: “Hmmm. Bola.”

I go to his seat. He smells good as always. I stand beside his system waiting for him to look up at me. Disappointment is in store for me- he doesn’t even acknowledge my presence. I look at my wrist watch and grimace. He finally pushes his seat backwards and says, “bola”. I grin and take him to the Taj Wings refectory, and order a Gardiner salad with two portions of dressing for the price of one. I smile. They oblige me. At least my smile works somewhere. Mr. A-Friend-in-need-is-a-friend-indeed calls Mr. Don’t-mess-with-me to ask where he is. To this, the latter replies, “having my second breakfast for the day.” And then he looks at me and smiles. My day has begun!

We rush to our seats and get on with our respective tasks for the day. His task is his task; my task is our task.  So I’m more at his seat than at mine. Mr. Speak-only-in-puns nudges by whispering the only Hindi words he’s managed to learn in the last three months, “Kya jee? Kya jee?”. Miss Snobbery-is-my-birthright-and-I-shall-have-it shoots me a cold stare. I give her a nervous smile suddenly feeling guilty about parking my ass on Mr. Don’t-mess-with-me’s desk. In less than ten minutes, I’m turning heads. This must be blasphemy by IT standards; I wonder aloud and slip down the desk to leave for my seat. At that precise moment, a shudder goes down my spine as I stand or sit or half stand half sit face to face with The M. I can practically feel the final nail being hammered down my coffin. My ears turn scarlet in a heady mix of embarrassment and fear. I make my way towards my seat so fast that the air around me turns into a gust of wind and I feel it kiss my ears.

Mr. Speak-only-in-puns looks at me and attempts to converse. I avoid eye contact. He pings me, “what happened? Did you have a chance encounter with The M?” To add insult to injury, he also ends his query with a winking smiley. I groan and press Esc.

The next one hour, I resolve to do what my organisation pays me for. Work. Soon it’s time for lunch and I, Mr. Don’t-mess-with-me, Mr. A-Friend-in-need-is-a-friend-indeed and Mr. Never-go-to-a-Tamil-wedding-the-food-sucks hit the cafeteria a second time in the day. We eat, talk, laugh, smile, express concern, make weekend plans, take off on each other, and one hour breezes past.  At the same time as we amble back to our block, the missile appears out of thin air in his pink shirt. We have only our monkey like agility and quick reflexes to thank as we dodge the missile by inches.

By the time we reach our respective systems, Miss Snobbery-is-my-birthright-and-I-shall-have-it has not only mailed to Mr. Don’t-mess-with-me demanding a status update but also copied The M in the mailer.  Mr. Don’t-mess-with-me has been messed with and the first thing he does to salvage his plummeting performance is to promptly get rid of me. Nearer home, Miss I-smile-therefore-I-am has forgotten to smile because neither the missile nor I have been able to complete our tasks. She warns us that our weekend would be at stake if we failed to deliver by EOD. I code with renewed vigour now.  Mr. I-will-save-my-skin, Mr. Yo Yo and Mr. I-love-your-dressing-sense-Snata-do-you-have-a-boyfriend walk in Indian file for a tea break and mock contort their faces as they pry into my monitor. I smile foolishly. Mr. I-love-your-dressing-sense-Snata-do-you-have-a-boyfriend has the audacity to wink at me. I pretend not to notice and clench my fists so hard my nails  make half moons on the skin of my palms.

Finally, ten minutes before six, both the missile and I complete our respective tasks. I ping Miss I-smile-therefore-I-am to notify her about it. The missile flies at supersonic speed through the length and breadth of the bay and proclaims to all and sundry about his valiant endeavour, the completion of his uphill mammoth gargantuan colossal mind boggling task. Nobody bothers to ask him what it was. Nobody would risk striking a conversation with him. So he comes to me, his most gullible prey. Whilst I put up with this occupational hazard, Mr. I’m-not-wearing-heels-I’m-really-this-tall starts giving me multiple missed calls. He is clearly relishing the scene. Sadist saala!

Meanwhile, there is a veritable stampede at Mr. Don’t-mess-with-me’s desk. Mr. I-think-therefore-I-am is doing his best to get Mr. Don’t-mess-with-me’s task done on time. Mr. A-Friend-in-need-is-a-friend-indeed has descended from the fourth floor and come here to accord moral support. Tongues rattling away in Telugu – all wanting to get the mission accomplished. Even Mr. I-live-to-browse looks concerned. There is palpable tension in the air. Will he be able to deliver or will he not? Thoughts of The M hacking Mr. Don’t-mess-with-me into pieces is chilling everyone to the bone. The air is thick with heavy breathing. Everybody’s hopes are now pinned on Mr. I-think-therefore-I-am. The clock is ticking away wickedly.

The tongues are tied now. The bay is silent. All you can hear is the sound of Mr. I-think-therefore-I-am’s fingers on the keyboard and the ticking of the sinful clock. Mr. A-Friend-in-need-is-a-friend-indeed’s phone rings. It’s his girlfriend. He silences the phone – no time for love. My mother calls. I press silent too – no time for motherly love. Both Mr. A-Friend-in-need-is-a-friend-indeed and I are sweating in the conditioned air. Mr. I-live-to-browse has stopped browsing and is cracking his knuckles. Then I see the corner of Mr. I-think-therefore-I-am’s lips curl into a smile. He looks up at Mr. Don’t-mess-with-me’s face and says softly, “It’s working da.” Immediately our bay resembles the Gandhi Parivar’s quarters after a Congress swept victory. Minus the fire crackers but equal the joy in the hearts. Mr. Don’t-mess-with-me pats Mr. I-think-therefore-I-am’s back and gives him an approving nod. Then we all pat him and he blushes profusely.  There is free flow of words like genius whiz kid guru to name a few. He blushes even more through his smiles; I have a gut feeling he just wants the carpet floor to gobble him up so that he can run away from the attention. In minutes the status update mailer is ready and sent. Sent to The M.

We pack our bags to leave. I rush to the rest room. I always have to pee before I leave office. The janitor inside asks me where I got my nose pierced. She tells me she loves the ring. She wants to know why I wear silver and not gold. I want to tell her gold will look hideous on me, but I don’t know the Tamil word for hideous. So I smile and say, “I’ll try.” She tells me she has a night shift tonight and I say goodbye and leave.

Outside, Mr. Don’t-mess-with-me and Mr. A-Friend-in-need-is-a-friend-indeed are waiting for me. We walk towards the cab. After getting down from the cab at the office main gate, they walk me down to my place. We walk in silence. These are some things I’ll miss when I leave Chennai. Like walking down this road with people who mean so much to me. I reach my gate. I turn back and wish them a good night. I look expectedly at Mr. Don’t-mess-with-me. He says, “Thanks.” Both of them smile.

I walk up to my floor and fit the key into the lock on the door. I realize I’m smiling too. All by myself.


13 Responses to “All in a day’s work…”

  1. Mighty impressive! 🙂

  2. Awesome write……great to put it to the pen’s length 🙂

  3. encore'... Says:

    Yenna supera…mind it!!!!!!!!!;-p

  4. eightbeats Says:

    Appadiya? Rombo thanks machi!

  5. Miss-I-love-to-advice-inspite Says:

    Hi da…nice write up…perfect timing of humour and satire…’but'(butting in at the ripe moment when your oh-i-am-gloating-with-pride) you could have gotten it proof read once… 🙂 A lil use of abbreviations instead of oft-repeated nomenclatures wudnt have been a killjoy!
    A-halo-over-my-head-smile 🙂

  6. Really good rounding up of events. Enough of atmosphere in the not-meeting deadline part. Real good post.

  7. I so enjoyed reading it… great post !!!

  8. boy, i’m blown away . I think the nomenclatures were important simply because going back up to find out who it was would have robbed the post of some of its juice. The names also describe the character types so it matched with the situation wherever you used them, which made it an absolute entertainer

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