a friend of mine, who was working in Manhattan at the time, told me that she had to take up smoking, after living healthy enough to see the big three-oh! as a non-smoker, just to stay in the loop at work. be that as it may, i have to now endorse her view that yes, well, the smokin' staircase is where its at!
... to think that the nation's storytelling often has its origins in the whispering that goes on under the big "dhoomrapaan nishedh" sign... yes, this is where the hallways of power converge, guiding the mighty keyboards that bring you your daily news! "the sign" itself presents a fitting analogy for the goings-on in our political system. its status is somewhat akin to the Indian President, if you like - that quintessential figurehead of our wayward nation. so it is with "the sign", i'm afraid.
all sorts of measures are in place to make ours a healthy republic, but we carry on nevertheless and it is only in times of acute crisis that we reluctantly turn to that great emblem of authority: "the sign". like after the Great Fire, when the guardians of workplace clout invoked "the sign" to smoke us all out of the stairwell... you see, this place has a long history of revolutions and counter-revolutions to abolish/re-instate the right to abuse our lungs, ever since that last bastion of creative oomph: the vaunted first floor, fell to the bearers of "the sign"; but, mitigating circumstances apart, most experiments ended in abysmal failure.
oh, they banned it. what followed was a sudden spike in loo breaks, working lunches, strolls to the parking lot and, of course, sheepish hanging around the stairwells and other suitably shady corners. for this is an incorrigible bunch, much like our parliamentarians who are, as we speak, making impassioned speeches on national TV, all the while wondering who it will be within the hallowed portals of the House who will stab them in the back... and for how much! you see, the system is flawed, its twisted and more crooked that Tinu Anand's teeth, but it works. not very well sometimes, but it chugs along, and there is only so much that a rubber stamp can do. so, it is with "the sign". the rule of thumb here is: Thou shalt decree and, sure as day follows night, it shalt be flouted.. again and again and again....
so there we all are, puffing away with impunity, and the republic's back in business... would i could say the same about the other Republic that's older than "the sign" and is still pointing in different directions but going nowhere... alas! we can only fight one injustice at a time my friend.... and its time to find out what's with the damn coffee machine :)