The Security Guard at the gate waves at you as you arrive. You groan for you have probably forgotten your dog collar at home again. But the Guard has a smile on his face which you return with frown. He hands something over to you.
It is a tiny flag! Once again, your reluctance to use the calendar has left you unaware. It is Independence Day silly. And what better place to celebrate it than in the galley? Everyone else including the receptionist is dressed in national colours. It is like you have wandered back stage at a circus and are feeling under-dressed or you are caught in a time warp in a sci-fi movie where only you appear in black and white. You have to unmark admin e-mails from the Spam folder.
You dig into the trash folder and discover that today is; indeed, day of Independence Day celebrations for the Slaves. Little flags everywhere that will be in the dust bin or under foot tomorrow, tri-coloured desert at lunch and what’s more, a fashion show to adjudge the most garishly dressed zealot. If only you had signed up for the army, you wouldn’t have had to see this day of plastic patriotism.
The mail from your socially aware admin dept. also states that at 5 pm sharp, we shall all rise to the national anthem. ‘Stand up wherever yo are,’ it says. To ensure compliance, a .mp3 file is also attached. It is supposed to go off at the designated time preceded by a meeting reminder. Off course, none of this goes according to plan. More mails follow instructing you to open the file yourself and directing you to web pages to update your Media player.
When it finally does go off, all workstations are out-of-sync. In addition to the annoying loop on the track, it makes for one big racket. You can’t take the fashion show after this, you may end up shooting someone. So you walk out, exercising the freedom of flexi-timings.
To make sense out of this holiday of irony, you have to watch one of your favourite movies again:
‘There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today… And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that… perfect world… in which there’s no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock. All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused.’