Friday, May 21, 2010

What if beggars became choosers?


Office party. The usual suspects doing the unusual dancing and making merry like there was a nationwide merry shortage. It's fun though, this ritual of putting people who you work with in a semi-dark room with 80s music,  free grub and booze, while expecting them to relax and forget all about low pay packets, stalled increments and all those bad hair days at work in a single night of drunken swaying. This can have a particularly surreal (eerie?) quality to it. Especially if the hallowed venue happens to be the House of Horrors, where they "do not serve anything Indian" and the kebab-like apparitions are referred to as "chicken charcoal", in awed whispers, if you please. Where pizzas are thin and tongues get fat, pretty soon, with second-rate vodka.

So this place? It's a temple of kitsch where pseudo-faithful devotees can pay obeisance to Panjoo excesses. Well, the faux Adonis & David statues aside, the lighting is upscale dhaba, and the dining room at the back makes you feel that any moment soon you'd have someone's head served to you on a platter. Preferably one that you've been meaning to off for a while now! Then there's that fountain of giant mutant grapes and water spray fans that generate so much mist that it's entertaining enough to watch people stumble in and fumble their way towards the "party". Oh, and every time you open your mouth to speak, it tastes like you swallowed a mouthful at Marine Drive (which, by the by, I did, once -- but then that's another story for another day). As some one said, "If Veda is an old world brothel, then this is all leather and chains". I believe there is a Rohit Bal connection here as well. It figures. Though I do wish I could claim that line as my own. Sigh.

Still, I like office parties. They're so overrated. That's why they're so much fun. As it is with most overrated things. Like having sex with the most popular boy in school. I'm just saying. Or designer labels. Well, you won't see anyone swinging an Hermes Birkin bag complain about what an unwelcome burden it is, will you? Me? I'm just saying.

Popping bubble wrap. Now, that's still waiting to get its rightful place in the world. We need a revolution.

Ok, time out. We just got our annual appraisal letters, so this blog post must be cut short. Something about me being an open book and all that. Besides, I did think about scratching out all of the above, it might come out sounding like I'm hurt if the news ain't good.

Which, by the way, I already am. And this is what I have learnt from the experience: intense pain is the most effective antidote to extreme embarrassment.

Don't believe me? Try falling down on your hands and knees at a big traffic crossing, bang in front of your office, and then valiantly walk in to your place of work -- all covered in mud with a bloodied knee and a big tear in your dark lycra churidar through which said knee is winking mortification at the world -- and you'll know what I mean. Oh, and on top of that extreme physical and emotional ordeal, add the fact that someone from a local bus asks you "Arrey, kya hua, Medem?", as you wince and try to recover your dark glasses from where they are now precariously perched, on the bridge of your nose no less, while bravely lifting and dusting yourself off, all the while trying hard not to cry at the unfairness of it all, especially after a savvy lunch at one of the city's finest restaurants where you gave some heavy-duty gyan to a foreign diplomat and THEN you'll know what I really  mean. Damn CP and its muddy pavements and scattered stones and errant wires that lurk beneath them -- pure evil in Delhi's darkened heart.

But the pain, it rescues you. It lifts you up from the immediacy of the humiliation and transports you to a place where you wave a dusty palm in a sheepish hello to sundry colleagues who stare at a muddy you -- aghast at the possibilities -- and politely wonder what hit you. This, right after you pop a cotton ball on the bloody knee, using the hole in your pants to access what's going to be a nasty, nasty bruise the day after. Let's not even go into how the rest of your mortal frame might feel after a day of re-living the fall followed by a night 's worth of fitful sleep after a few mind (if not pain)-numbing drinks with an old friend.

So, yes, I'm in pain. Truly. May the tetanus shot be damned.

And the letter? Oh, that? Hmmm... As I said, I'm in pain.

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