Archive for the ‘Head Slave’ Category

Friends, Family and People You May Know…

In Boss, Head Slave, Hiearchy on February 3, 2017 at 02:19
Sometimes you wonder if beneath all the layers of niceties and formalities does a real person exist or did he go into a coma a long time ago. May be your colleagues think the same way about you. But you don’t want to let the line between friends, acquaintances and co-workers blur. You don’t mind being called old-fashioned but having three real friends is better than having a hundred and seventy ‘people you may know’.
And so you resist. You resist Friday drinkathons by getting all your bitching done during coffee breaks. You resist the annual sports day by feigning hernia. And you resist adding your colleagues on Facebook by not remembering your password. But for how long? Between auto logins and your company’s official ‘fan page’ your online profile is ironically more relevant than your flesh-and-blood self and will outlive it too. The thought of willing your online avatars to your heirs seems disturbing only if you plan to start a family.
Image result for spiderman desk
However most people still do. And they plan the expansion of their clan around their appointments, promotions and transfers completing the circle of modern day slavery. Adding them as friends can be pretty disturbing. Specially the tenured uncles whom you have only seen behind their respective desks. You are not even sure if they have legs! The ones who wear the same blue-striped shirt which is 2 sizes too big; every day of the week. May be they wear different equally forgettable formals every day and your brain has decided to store just one default image of these humanoids to save precious RAM. Or may be they have 5 exactly same shirts so they only have to wash and iron once over the weekend. You would like to believe the later. But on Facebook, Mr. Bhatavdekar is a different person. He has two kids, he wears t-shirts and on weekends, he almost manages to look happy! In some cases the contrast is so dramatic you think he either has an evil twin or he is himself a serial killer!
Image result for linda mcmahon wwe
On recent unavoidable social treks, you have run into the mythical creature known simply as the boss’ wife. She seems normal enough but you have your doubts. She could not have survived Head Slave for over five years without even being compensated with gratuity and still be a nice person. And soon enough, she proves you right. Between comments on your casual dressing and suggestions on how you should start yoga, she went from the boss’ bride to Cinderella’s step-mother pretty quickly. Perhaps by some extended logic, she may feel like the entire office’s mother-in-law. And it gives a whole new meaning to the term dotted-line reporting.
You want to tell her that having a kid does give you a passport into the comfortably fat zone and definitely does not exempt you from atherosclerosis but you can’t, not before updating your CV. And not when HS is there himself tag-teaming on you while you are down. The only thing more annoying than a cute couple is a power couple because they don’t even pretend to be nice.
Stone Cold Stunner Linda McMahon
One would think in the class-less global economy nearing automation, there would be no clans and no extended chains of power. But only the era changes, appropriation always remains a matter of might. And if by chance an honest man like yourself should make enemies, then…
Image result for your enemies godfather quote
– Punit Pania

Property Dispute

In Head Slave, Hiearchy, HR, Office humor on August 14, 2013 at 04:40

Some words are married to each other. No matter how hard they try and how traumatic their relationship, they still end up staying stuck together. Like terminal and illness, Herculean and task, company and policy, property and dispute.

Some of these words have been married so long they don’t remember how life was before they tied the knot. It is true that wherever there is property there is bound to be dispute. There is not much evidence but in all probability, the first word man ever said was, ‘Mine!’


You have to remind yourself of this and the minimalist approach you want to take to life when faced with an encroachment. You have to remind yourself that all ownership is assumed. And the lesser one assumes, greater the chances of him avoiding disappointments.

Matrix minimalist poster


‘This one?’

‘Yeah, that cubicle looks fine.’

‘But he sits there.’

‘Oh that’s alright. We will shift him to the new office near the train station.’

You; off course, have an ‘I am sitting right here!’ expression on your face. But it is lost on your HR colleague’s fascist sensibilities.

So you verbalize the feeling. But it has little effect.

‘One of our VPs wants to move to this office. We need to build a cabin for him. You will be shifted to our new office near the train station.’

Well, now that is pretty straightforward. Insensitive maybe. But it definitely leaves no room for ambiguity. Got to appreciate that. Perhaps this guy should try another profession where his skills could be better utilized. Like an announcer at a train station or crowd control at a religious event or slave driver at a Puma sweatshop in Bangladesh. But with your squatting rights being quashed you find it difficult to be benevolent enough to give the HR person these suggestions.

sweatshop just do it

You do go to Head Slave though, as soon as he is back from his Mediterranean holiday/business trip. He listens patiently and assures you that no such relocation is as yet confirmed. And if at all it is, everyone will move together.

Sweat shop Simpsons


There is not much you can further protest to. But you do put in a kind word for HR and their landlording.

The word together sticks with you. Even if you were to be shifted to a warehouse or a far off hanger, would you want to see the same tired faces every single day? Like the nth rerun of Wonder Years or Home Improvement.

Couch Potato


As you proceed back to your cubicle, memories of blurry, bad and bearable times you have had here flash before you. You realise you are assuming too much again. One thing you need not assume is the inevitability of disappointments. And if you are to endure them, facing newer ones would be less painful than courting the same ones again and again.

challengeaccepted– 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. ‘


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?


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.


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

– J.

Exit Strategy

In Boss, Head Slave, Hiearchy, Hopsquatch, Office humor, Resignation, Wage Slaves on April 16, 2012 at 23:21

You have always felt there are two cuckoos in your nest, if not more. One is the forceful voice you hear in your head and the other is the whimper that comes out of your mouth. They seem to co-exist uneventfully if not peacefully.

It has been growing inside you for months, prodding, teasing and pontificating. But you can’t…just do it. It’s not like ripping off a bandage now is it?  So you build a strategy, an exit strategy. It’s about time you applied some of your business acumen to your personal business.

Off course, you can’t just stand up and leave. That only happens in movies and sitcoms. In all your years as a paddler, you have never seen anyone stand up and yell, ‘I quit!’ Maybe you are not working in the right kind of office. Where is the drama?

Profound tragedies and arid humor do occur in your galley but at a subtle level. Oddly enough, Head Slave always seems friendlier when you have rebellion on your mind.

‘What are you thinking?’ says HS in the middle of an impromptu meeting.

‘I…was just trying to…get my head around how we are going to do this…thing,’ is your elegant reply.

‘We sure need to do a lot of thinking. We should get the server in-house next year. I want you to start working on it.’

‘Like I am gonna be here next year,’ is what you want to say. ‘…Oh..kay,’ is what you actually say with a crumpled smile.

‘Keep working this hard and we may give you an extra screen…and an assistant!’

‘That sounds…very…generous…,’ you stop short of saying thank you.

‘I want you to really sink into this thing. If you face any problems, you come straight to me. As this team gets bigger, we want good people to be in-charge.’

By good, he means government mules and by in-charge, he means fall guy. You have always been confused between a negative and a realistic take on things. When you are non-committal, the self-perpetuating nature of things is clearer than ever…from dictatorships to corporations to relationships.

You want to think this through but you don’t want to go Dubya on your exit strategy. Sure the world is full of opportunities. But what about the Greener Grass theory? Sure you could do better than HS? But what about the Known Devil theory? And what about all the time and energy you have invested in your current liaison/contract? What if he finds out you are straying? Sound familiar?

Between lost weekends and stretch working, HS seems to have talked more to you over the past one year than his wife and kids combined! That is a scary thought. You can’t keep this hollow relationship going for long. At some point, you have to tell him: ‘I am seeing other people!’

A very wise but evil boss told you once that no one leaves overnight, mentally; you have left six months ago. It has been about that long now.


Power Lunch

In Head Slave, Interpersonal, Interview, Office humor, Power Lunch on March 10, 2012 at 20:37

You never liked the office Cafeteria. For one, they never served coffee. The food was barely edible. And the line-up to the food eerily resembles a prison canteen. To top it all, you are required to sign against our name to avoid you from taking seconds. You can’t imagine swallowing one batch of this mass produced feed matter. But systems are made keeping the masses in mind.

Once you secure a plate and pile it what seems least repulsive, your next challenge is to find a place to sit. Sure there are vantage points and sweet spots to be hunted for. But on most days, just finding enough space to rest your derriere and perch your plate is good enough.

Today is one of those days. The company you did not choose to have is Head Slave himself. He looks ambivalent mingling with the mortals. You look harrowed, being one.

Small talk eventually leads to interview type questions. Between giving the safest possible answers and ignoring looks of mock awe from your usual lunch buddies, you get very little eating done. At the end of it, you feel like you have been interrogated for a Class Action lawsuit. HS now knows more about you than your last girlfriend.

You know you should have been prepared for this. An elevator test can happen anywhere. But the barrage of whys and hows coupled with the prison food are hampering your performance. The trick here is to ask a short question: Why? How? Can you elaborate? And then do your eating while your subject jumbles over his answer and fumbles over the food. Unfortunately, as Bottom Slave, you cannot do much asking.  Whenever you are able to swallow the last morsel in time to blurt out a sensible answer, a phone call that HS just has to answer derails your train.

It is no surprise that he finishes before you. With every reluctant bite you take, he seems to be getting jittery. You also seem to be taking an eternity to chew your food. Though bugged overall, you are impressed with HS’s ability to eat/swallow and talk fast at the same time. It is almost as if he has evolved into a post-humanoid that doesn’t need to chew its food. Maybe he regurgitates it later. With that thought, you decide you have had enough, of lunch. You politely get up half-way to signal it’s time to go.

Having lunch at your desk seems like a better idea by the day.



Charting your Existence

In Boss, Head Slave, Hiearchy, humor, SlavesInc, Wage Slaves on February 5, 2012 at 23:49

You are staring at it. You just know it’s going to ring. And it does. You almost pick it up at the first ring. But you hold back, affording yourself a few seconds to catch your breath.


When you are institutionalized, things move like clockwork. You can predict most developments, even human behavior. It is the grind playing on loop that kills you, not anxiety.

‘Hello?’ you say betraying your gurgling annoyance.

‘We are in trouble’ says HS, salutations and niceties being a thing of the past.

‘What is it Sir?’

‘What is it?’ Have you not checked the report?’

‘I have Sir, it is submitable.’

‘Not like this it isn’t.’

He hangs up. The click of the receiver is an unspoken summons to his lair.

You are confident of your work but not of HS’ creativity. You didn’t expect this report to be your breakthrough performance but you didn’t expect it be a self-goal either. Having almost reached, you remember you are without the moral support of pen and paper. You rush back to your desk to get it.

Slowing down your steps, you touch up your hair in the glass of the cabin. It is time to take one of those deep breaths again.

You walk into the dreaded chamber. HS looks at you dismayed. He holds up a page from the report, clutching it like a butcher would handle a chicken’s neck.

‘The Organizational chart!’

Your eyes search frantically for the pain point but you’re stumped.

At utter loss for safer words, you ask, ‘what about it Sir?’

‘There are no photographs!’ says HS in disbelief. ‘Head Office will never approve it. Get everyone to a studio immediately! Will the prints be ready by tomorrow?’

Ignoring HS’ ignorance of technology and not bothering to enlighten him, you move out with a compliant nod.

You spend the next two hours knocking and entering every cabin on the floor. Your mission (since you had to accept it) is to click every last ugly kisser on the payroll and then paste it onto the Organizational chart. There is also the unenviable task of editing and aligning these candid shots on PowerPoint.

It is still an honest buck you are making. And you have one more story to pass on to your grand kids.

Thank God for camera phones.

–          J.

Christmas in Prison

In Head Slave, humor, Office humor, work life balance on December 24, 2011 at 19:38

It is just you and two fellow humans breathing in the thin air of your surroundings. There is enough food to last you a week. There are also some random electric supplies that one could make into a radio or a sailboat, if one were Jimmy Neutron. But what will decide this arduous stay is will power more than physical resources.



Sounds like yet another season of Survivor? It could be. But for now, it is only a lonely Christmas in office. Some of you may have used up all your lifelines (leaves). Some simply don’t have much to stay home for. Others would not know what to do with themselves in the free time. Either way, you have to deep breathe through this one long day without going into a depressive episode.

Your Galley does provide a homely atmosphere complete with lights, a crib and a Santa (10 clams/hour). But instead of cheering you up, it only reminds you of what you are missing. Yes there are free rum cakes and ‘holiday music’, but that is the least your Enslaver can do for keeping you on the most special day of the year.

You want to walk out into a half day. But you can’t before you finish your assignment for the day: sending a Christmas greeting to all your customers, many of whom have only a casual acquaintance with English. Also you need to make the greeting ‘different’ as ordered in the two-liner from Head Slave’s fruity phone.

As greeting after greeting pours into your phone and on your computer, you just can’t imagine what a ‘different’ greeting would be like. You have already received the images Google search throws up in your inbox.

What if Santa was carrying a pitch fork or an i-Pad?…probably not in business communication. All you have written so far is: ‘Merry Christmas’ in different font colors. The spastic nursery rhymes and pay per hour Santa are not helping. Your concentration is further violated when Office Santa comes to your workstation and demands you vocalize a wish. You feel like a thousand little elves are dancing around your head urging you to punch Santa in the face.

With monumental effort, you don’t. You hit the send button and walk out. You realize that more than morals and dreams, what you have sold for a monthly salary is time. But at least you have this evening to salvage.

You wouldn’t wish a lonely holiday on your mortal enemy.


– J.

The Overlord and the Underling

In Boss, dust bin, Head Slave, humor, Office humor, SlavesInc on December 15, 2011 at 01:40

Nothing says occasion like confetti. The last time you saw this species of decoration was X’mas. The last time you saw it in office was never. Any hint of out-of-ordinary scheme of things should excite you. But a childhood fear of crowds comes back to you instead.

You sit your grey frame down amidst the conspicuous party supplies. You figure it must be someone’s B’day or deliverance (retirement). After some time, you notice you are the only one working. Distant voices of merriment make you pinch yourself to rule out a day dream. As a slave-cum-reveler passes by, he stops to answer the Q on your face. ‘Haven’t you seen the mail? The Global Head of Continuous Improvement is visiting our office for the very first time!’

Your solar system stopped at Head Slave and Slave-in-Chief. But little did you know about the Global Head of CI. This is just the kind of Greater Evil that is unveiled at the beginning of a forced movie sequel (You thought Dinosaurs were bad? Now they can talk, and fly). The ascending and descending orders in ‘Sort by Date’ always confused you. Closer inspection reveals an unread mail titled ‘Time to Party’. You had almost put it into spam.

What follows over the next few days is nothing short of royal treatment. Red carpets are rolled out. Lights you did not know existed on the office ceiling are turned on. The relieving room is overstocked with tissue and toilet paper. At lunch, nothing but the finest assortment of local seasonal fruits is presented to the Overlord. Though all slaves have survived on plain old tap water all these years, only mineral water will do for Mr. O.

On one of his impromptu get-to-knows with random slaves, you too are part of the crowd. Mr. O bables away puffing on his stick as the drones listen attentively but without much comprehension. You almost shout at a fellow slave who throws a cup of coffe inches from the dustbin. The wayward cup falls just a couple of feet to Mr. O’s left. But what catches your attention instead is even more horrifying. Mr. O just dropped his stick and walked away as randomly as he had appeared. He didn’t even put it out. Having proved yourself a true Underling, you will not be so eager to please next time.

– J.

Hamster Paradise

In conspiracy theories, Head Slave, Hiearchy, humor, SlavesInc, true enlightenment, Uncategorized, Wage Slaves on November 28, 2011 at 13:34

Have you ever got the feeling that you are paddling away in a trance? Like a long drawn hypnosis that is hard to tell from reality. Like some Art of Living mojo you heard while on the herb. Has to be some out of the ordinary explanation that keeps you slogging away in the ordinary. How else could one mire in this daily drudgery till death or old age prevail?

There must be thousands if not millions of hamsters like you at it every day. You cannot fathom how your drone-like paper pushing ultimately makes business happen, generates revenue, satisfies share holders and credits your monthly ration.

Its 2 pm in the afternoon. And it is just like you to drift into a heady day dream post lunch.

Just when you think you are on to something…the phone rings to snap you out of realization. It is Head Slave and he wants you in this cabin with the Acme contract. You rush in trying to collect your thoughts only to find HS even more disoriented.

‘We have 9,000 employees in 73 countries and we can’t get an auditorium entry?’ HS was demanding of his secretary.

‘They have been all booked for a week sir,’ explained Sec.

‘I am Vice President of this enterprise,’ reasoned HS.

‘Sir, there are 123 Vice Presidents globally, Head Office had only reserved seats for 90,’

In visible disbelief, HS turns to you. He keeps staring having forgotten why he had called you in. At this time, he would probably have trouble recalling your name too. Finding HS in this very pedestrian situation, you too forget what you were there for.

After an awkward few seconds, you wisely step out and slip into the comfort of your pointless but peaceful existence.

Knowledge is power but ignorance is bliss.


Boy For the Job

In Head Slave, humor, Interpersonal, Office humor on November 8, 2011 at 02:43

He never frowns at your laziness and is always willing to help. He knows just how much sugar you like in your coffee and just how much you dislike wet washroom floors.

Unfortunately, he is not the perfect husband. He is only the office boy. With more than twice your tenure and less than half your compensation, he is a rare package of loyalty, versatility and value for clams for your employer. Yet he never takes his position for granted nor does he question his earnings.

However, like perfect husbands, office boys are in short supply but invisible to appreciation when around. Having spent enough working days without one to call on, your dam of appreciation is ready to break.

It has been so many days since you had a decent cuppa that you have forgotten what it tastes like. You have sent back many a guest, vendor and customer without even offering them water. Your indoor plants are on the verge of death from malnutrition. The air conditioning does not start and stop on time. Stationary has become a scarce and coveted resource, like cigarettes in prison.

You and your fellow inmates resemble a pack of zombies in desperate need of either the comforts of modern civilization or a bullet to the head! That is when an ordinary caffeine-starved morning suddenly begins to look up.

He is much too old to be referred to as ‘boy’ but there he is: the new office…guy, Jerry. Shutters up, AC on and a warm smile to go with your random errands. Everyone is walking up to him to shake hands and be introduced. It is all too congenial. Jerry is like the cool guy at the after party or a celebrity guest on Oprah.

The very next morning you and a few other early birds are perched outside the office, waiting for it to be opened. You carry mixed feelings for the new office boy has not turned up. You pray that he is late and not absconding, conveniently forgetting that the last office boy was fired precisely for coming late.

But Jerry does turn up having lost his way in the parking lot. You instinctively walk up to him to wish good morning! Head Slave himself walks up to him: ‘Pleased to meet you,’ he says sounding more genuine than he would have taking his marital vows. You finally feel some compensation for the office boy’s minimum wage.

– J.