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Archive for the ‘Festivals’ Category

Santa None the Less

In Festivals, humor, Office humor on December 25, 2013 at 05:00

‘What’s wrong with a table clock?’ You say having never bought into the secret Santa gimmick.

‘Nothing, if it was 2012,’ says Karen, obviously more sold than you.

‘You mean a table clock is so last year?’

‘Not the gift, but Nitin’s designation has moved up in life, leaving cheap gifts and open cubicles behind.’

‘Just give it now, isn’t it the thought that is supposed to count?’

‘It is but not in office.’

If you had a dime for every time you heard that, you wouldn’t need to work in an office in the first place. But you have accepted it as a fact of life, as routine as complaining about the traffic and doing nothing about it.

Annual events remind you that you are still here and nothing much has changed except the date. What changes is how badly you want to break free and the time available to you to execute this jail break, both of which are on a downward spiral.

Christmas_Ad_Zippo
‘The thought should count for something. Like 40%,’ you say, still not convinced about the designation theory.

‘Let’s just say that the thought is only table stakes, you need to back it up with action.’

‘Man, this is gonna be painful. How about a fancy lighter?’

‘He doesn’t smoke.’

‘It is never too late to start,’ you say dryly.

‘We have ten more minutes, then my vacation starts. Do it or Secret Santa flops,’ Karen was serious.

‘A Wine Set?’

‘Too informal.’

‘An actual bottle of wine?’

‘Too expensive.’

‘A box of rum balls?’

‘Too predictable.’

‘I give up then.’

‘Don’t you have something…non-narcotic?’

‘Not in office.’

‘What?’

‘Can’t think of anything…flowery right now.’

‘Good bye then, see you next year. Merry Christmas!’

‘Secret Santa my ass!’ you exclaim.

You get back to work trying to ignore the sad looking cotton balls masquerading as snow and the thin guy from accounts posing as Santa. Working through it seems to be the only revolt of some semblance against what you feel is just another shopping festival.

Christmas Mall

*Gift for Nitin* continues to stare at you from the top of your to-do list. But you just can’t get around to the formality. At 8 pm on Xmas eve; it is just you, Nitin and his name on the list that are left in office.

Alone in an office at night, an FBI agent sifts through files.

You decide to confront him, walk straight into his newly acquired enclosure, wish him and leave. He sees you coming a long way away and waves you in. But you rush back to the desk and put that zippo lighter you never used into your pocket, just in case.

Zippo ad kids

‘Long day eh?’ he says

‘Yeah, just like any other. Hey, can I help you with something?’

‘Oh no, I’ve…I’ve got it covered, thanks,’ says Nitin in a smile too big to be true.

‘I plan on being here quite some time. Why don’t you head home to the kids on time for once?’ you offer.

‘The kids are not at home…I don’t have custody for the holidays,’ says Nitin still smiling.

‘I’ve got nothing waiting for me at home either,’ you say pulling up a chair. Secret Santa still has a chance.

Santa-Smoking

– J.

EliteInc.

In Festivals, humor, Interpersonal, Office humor on October 13, 2013 at 01:47

A company is a highly designed place full of people who have landed there by default. Once there, they learn the rules of the reality show called employment. Like in any other motley group, some learn fast, others learn the hard way.

You always wanted to learn fast. But wanting is only the first step. And you have your whole working life to figure out the rest.


Tom_Sawyer_Gang__South_Park_by_Nuii_Pirate

A slew of colourful boxes has made it to the office in the morning sending much a flutter on an otherwise ordinary day. The boxes are too small to be product consignments and too bright to be routine stationary. They have to be gifts, big ones. It is not nearly festive season yet nor is the birthday or retirement of any office celebrity in the offing.

Gifts

Gossip, speculation and wild guesses rule till some time before lunch when the coveted boxes containing unknown payload start being handed out by none other than Head Slave himself. Each recipient emerges from the cabin a happy man, one box richer than when he went in. It is a rare sight. He also announces the name of the next man summoned into the sanctorum.

Then, the summons just stop and the exercise is at a sudden but definite end. So exciting this has turned out to be that no one noticed the pattern to the chosen box receivers. ‘It is a Diwali gift, only for line managers,’ said smirking Smriti just in case you had missed the appeasement.

Poggie

You have never been one for giving or receiving gifts. But those boxes were just so…happy looking. You feel like a step-kid on Christmas day in a crowded family. Like a stray dog who is not cute enough to get attention and not weak enough to earn sympathy.  Like the only guy without a date at a swanky coffee house. You have actually approached HS’ cabin and are standing dangerously close as Smriti makes the obvious more biting my mouthing it.

You walk off without acknowledging the glee on her face. You can now the see the boxes distributed over various desks, not distributed over others. But they don’t seem colourful anymore. They look a distant grey. Before the discrimination kills your appetite, you decide to head off for lunch. You ask around for company, making it a point not to ask the gift recipients. This does not stop Smriti from pitching in:

‘Can’t come, all line managers have been invited to a special lunch at The Chateau`!’

‘Did I ask you?’ you snap back, ‘I am only asking mortal non-line managers.’

Visibly recoiling from your outburst, Smriti walks off saying, ‘We need to talk.’

Gift boxes tie

A company is a highly designed place full of people who have landed there by default. You try to be tolerant. But trying is only the first step. And you have your whole working life to get used to the rest.

– J.

Season’s Meetings

In Festivals, Head Slave, Office humor, work life balance on December 25, 2012 at 05:58

Seasons are what you see on TV or read in the news. Work drags on in cycles or rather, a death spiral. In the lab that is your office, climate control and uniform lighting keep the seasons and the sun at bay. You go by proxies to keep track of the outside world. The odd kite marooned in the parking lot says the end of winter is nigh. The admin dept. dusting out the old plastic X’mas tree signals the end of the year.

Prince Charles Weather Man

HS confirms the news:
‘Gentlemen, X’mas is upon us. And we haven’t even gotten off the ground yet with our mailers.’

‘Season’s greetings?’

‘Yes, but with coupons. Those stamps don’t come free you know. We estimate that even if 5% of customers use the coupons, the campaign would have paid for itself. Anything beyond that is profit!’

HS is clearly in love with his marketing skills. You are in doubt as to whether 5% would even open the envelope. Since you have not even had your first shot of caffeine yet, you decide to conserve your energy instead.

‘Thousands of coupons need mailing. This is not going to be easy gentlemen,’ he was being unusually honest.

‘But don’t worry. I have a plan,’ he was going quite out of his way here. ‘All of you leave whatever you doing. Whatever you are doing, just drop it. We can’t go home till all the envelopes are dispatched. No matter how late it gets, no matter how messy. The envelopes are our priority from now till X’mas Eve. ‘

Christmas-Office

And so they are. In fact, the envelopes are the closest you will get to X’mas this year. You and 4 other unfortunate slaves. You arrange yourselves in a mini assembly line: address, personalised message, signing and attaching the coupon being the steps involved. You try to imagine yourselves as little elves working round the clock to bring joy to the world. But the fact that you are peddling coupons for a hand sanitizer reminds you that you are working round the clock only because you have to and it brings you closer to the end of the month.

Elves at work

If targetted TV programs have taught us anything, it is that if miracles are to happen, this is the time. So you leap for a mini-miracle of your own. You urge your fellow slaves to see the envelopes as a stumbling block to holiday bliss. You try to rally them into the fastest way to finish the task at hand. But years of conditionaing gets in the way. You end up quarelling over the nuttitest of things like whether the order in which you sign the envelopes should follow seniority or whether the use of glitter pens confers an unfair advantage?

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Its 8 pm, 500 envelopes still await your attention and there is talk of complaining to HS how Mr. A took up too much space to sign his name and how Mr. B took the top spot that should have been reserved for HS himself. X’mas is pretty much written off. This is when rare inspiration dawns on you. You take the soup you have ordered and empty the contents on to the pending heap of envelopes. You make sure almost every last envelope is smeared hot’n’sour.

Before your fellow inmates find their wits to verbalize their shock you are in HS’ cabin. You tell him you tripped, you spilled the soup, there are no more envelopes left, you apologize and you leave.

You wish them a Merry X’mas and you walk out into the remainder of the evening’s magic.

christmas-evening

Seasons are what you see on TV or read in the news. The real tempest is what’s on your mind.

– J.

The Drop of Diwali

In Festivals, Holidays, Office humor, work life balance on November 12, 2012 at 15:26

‘Mr. Pai?’

Speaking

I am calling to confirm your office address

My office address? What for?

For the drop.

Err…

It is that time of the year Mr. P

But what is it?

Let’s just call it a surprise

(now in a whisper) But I…don’t like surprises. Nor does my boss. It is against policy in fact.

We can always send it to your home

(now in a quiver) My home?

That’s right

But…I can’t

Tell you what Mr. P…Here’s what I am going to do. I am going to hang up this phone and wait. If you want, you can message me your home address in the next half an hour. After that…the window closes

Click.

Yes this is what you do on holidays. No, unfortunately, you do not work for the mob. At least that way you could have saved on tax. You are a regular slave at a regular galley. In fact, you seem to be worse than regular for only you seem to be working today.

So on D-day when no orders are being punched, you can still come to office and guess what? Decorate the place! That’s right. It was not exactly part of your job description. But here it is. Do it and act like you are loving it or be a non-conformist.

With the number of hours you spent rowing, your fellow slaves are more of a family to you than your blood ties. So might as well observe all sins and seasons at your desk. In fact, anything you can do at home, you can do it at office. It is really taking the work-life balance to the next level where all traces of life are wiped out. All traces of personal life anyway.

What do you do on Diwali anyhow? Dress in garish new clothes, put on some lights and ingest some suspect confectionary, right? You can do that here. Come on over. And what else? Give and receive gifts? Mostly give? Tell you what, we can do that too. In fact, we should do it. How can we not treat our customers like family? All these mass produced and bulk procured gifts are not going to mail themselves. And a courier service is just not personal enough. So you have to take this opportunity to further our relations with our customers.

On your ninth call, you start feeling better. You feel like you have effectively killed Diwali and survived! Leave it to business to create clarity. Festivals and holidays are not a time to get together, pay respect to our ancestors and in general create a hum of good wishes. Festivals and holidays are a time to shop. And you can do without this vacuous consumption. You work here long enough and Nirvana doesn’t seem that unattainable.

But you still can’t get over the fact that only you are working today.

You and Mr. Pai. And he did come around by the way. In half an hour, he messaged his residential address. Just when you need your faith in humanity restored, it fails you miserably. But at least, it doesn’t give no false hope.

– J.