Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Blonde - Part 2

I was overwhelmed. My chest swelled with pride. Mr. Bajpayee’s words were like music to my ears. The appraisal time is only 3 months away. I am sure of getting promoted now. He thinks so highly of me. If I stay in his good books for another year, then there is a possibility of my getting another promotion next year itself. Wow. A senior manager within 3 years of joining this company would be no mean achievement. My fellow batch mates would go green with envy. My super juniors at the School of Management would cite my success as an example. Aspirants would want to get into the School of Management and emulate my success story. Wow. For that kind of stardom, I don’t mind getting a call from the big boss at weird hours in the morning. As long as I am in his good books, I don’t mind. Has he called me to give me a hint that if I continue working like this, I am a surety for promotion in the coming quarter? Has he called me to praise me on the kind of revenues my product brought in last month? But why would he choose this weird time in the morning if he just had to congratulate me? Why on earth can't he break this news to me tomorrow or any other day when he is relatively free from these board meetings? Why on earth is he being so sweet to me? Why? Why? Why?

“Swami….Hello…hello…Swami….Mr. Swaminathan……Are you there? Hello…hello. Are you there? Swami……..”

That shrill in his voice when he took my name had surpassed the threshold decibel levels enough to pull you back from the world of dreams and questions. “Uh…Yup…Oh…Yes Sir. Hello….hello…Yes Sir. I am right here Sir. Actually I held up my breath for a minute as part of the breathing exercise which I do without fail everyday at 6:18 am Sir. I couldn’t break the daily ritual Sir. I am so sorry to have kept you waiting. I really am.”

“No, no it’s fine. Yes it’s fine. It’s perfectly okay.” I felt I could hear Mr. Bajpayee clenching his teeth, as if trying hard to conceal his anger. Was I nuts? How could he? He has been so sweet and has been praising me all this while. Why on earth will he get angry just because I was not responding to him for a minute? He can’t get angry yaar. Why on earth am I imagining things? Isn’t it winter season? Why can’t that be the reason behind the clenching teethes?

“I just wanted a favor from you Swami.” Mr. Bajpayee interrupted my chain of thoughts once again. This time there was urgency in his voice. He continued, “I think I should not interrupt your chain of breathing and other exercises and come directly to the point of the matter. We are expecting a special guest today late evening Swami. Are you there Swami?”

“Please go on Sir.” I was prompt in replying back.

“We are expecting a special guest from the states today Mr. Swami. It's someone from US Tele, one of the American giants” Mr. Bajpayee continued, “Christy will be here in Mumbai by the 8 pm flight. God, what a young thing! And a brilliant brain to supplement that smart looks. A deadly mix, undoubtedly. It did not take me long to get amiable with Christy, even if it was in the midst of a business meet. I still remember the discussions I had with Christy during the last conference in Bangkok. We had zeroed down on some areas where we could partner and leverage on each others strengths. I had not known that Christy will come down personally to discuss and bring those rough plans to a closure. And you have no clue the tune of profits this strategic tie up is going to bring in Swami. It’s going to be you who will be spearheading this project if the meeting with the top management goes off well. And these Americans really like to be taken care of and be made to feel important. I want Christy to feel at home and personally looked after. Of course we will be sending a chauffeur driven car for Christy. But I want someone to be there from our company to receive Christy. The flight and other details of Christy will be available with Sheela. Please do collect it from her and hand it over to whomsoever you arrange to collect Christy. I have even asked her for a nameplate. Do collect that from her too. I wanted your suggestions on whom to send Swami. Can you suggest someone from the junior management or executives who are pleasant and can handle this?”

There was only one name that was doing rounds in my brain. Christy!! From the States!! Young thing. And brainy. Wow. That was exactly the kind of stuff that my dreams were made of. The kinds that could make any man go week in his knees. I was already starting to reel under the effect of this heady concoction named Christy. An American….Yippeee…it has been my childhood dream to romance a blonde. The kind fantasies are made of. The kind you see only in films. The kind whose touch you yearn for every time you see a Hollywood hero making out with her. Silently wishing had you been born on the other end of the world, you would have at least stood a chance to enjoy these pleasures. An opportunity was knocking right at my doors. It’s not everyday you get to personally receive a blonde and greet her with kisses on both sides of her cheeks. In complete American style. Hmmm…I have to make sure to dab my cheeks with a lot of Old Spice after shave lotion today. Let me keep it in the office bag right now. It should leave her craving for me. I couldn’t believe my luck. It’s not everyday that you get to gift a blonde with an expensive bouquet, and that too on company expense. It’s not everyday that you get to drop her personally to the suite in the hotel. And then bid goodbye again by kissing on both sides of her cheeks. And it’s not everyday that you stand a chance to be invited to stay over the night in that suite with her, if she starts getting pangs of loneliness all of a sudden. Wait. I have to pick up that stuff as well from the medical shop. I have heard that Americans are very particular about that. I don’t want to lose a chance of making love with a blonde for not carrying one. I have to set my reminder to pick up a packet from the medical shop. I couldn’t stop smiling at my sheer luck. Christy had walked into my life unexpected. Just like that. I felt sorry for cursing the morning. This was the best morning of my life. And I had a chance to make it the most memorable day of my life as well.

“Hello….hello…Swami…….God! What’s wrong with you Swami? Hello….hello…Are you there? I asked whether you could suggest someone from the junior management or executives who are pleasant and can handle this.” Mr. Bajpayee demanded.

“Hello..Yes Sir. I am here. Sorry Sir. Daily rituals Sir. I am extremely sorry Sir. Don’t you worry boss. Why should you look for someone in the junior management when you have someone as capable as me? I won’t mind doing something which is not a part of my job if it’s of such strategic importance to the company Sir. Despite being neck deep with work, I will definitely take time out and be there at the airport. I will make sure to lick her up…eh…..pick her up Sir. It would be my pleasure. Please allow me to.” I hoped he hadn’t noticed the desperation in my voice.

“Ok then. Please collect the nameplate, details of the flight, hotel and the cab from Sheela. Thanks a lot Swami.” Mr. Bajpayee hung up.

To Be Continued....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Blonde - Part 1

I woke up from my slumber with a start. The phone ring startled me. I checked the time. It was only 6 in the morning. A glance at my mobile screen took away whatever little remained of the state called sleep in my eyes. Not that it was unusual to receive calls at 6 in the morning, but it gets scary when the person at the other end of the line in none other than your big boss. By the time I was back to my senses and could get a hang of the situation, I had already missed his call. I wanted to call him back but a strong urge to attend nature’s call had me rushing to the bathroom. I think the shock I had got had put pressure at the wrong end. It took another call of his to wake me up from the comfort I had got used to sitting there having a tête-à-tête with nature. I completed the customary formalities of this unplanned meeting with nature and rushed towards the washbasin with the phone blaring away to glory. I washed up my face at a superhuman speed in a desperate attempt to be attentive during the duration of the call. I couldn’t have afforded to come across as an inattentive jerk while talking to the big boss. I missed the second call too. Gosh. I would already be on his breakfast menu by now. I fiddled with the phone trying hard to recall any untoward incident in the past few days which had resulted in this call. I silently prayed to god to keep his temper at bay. I was sure of getting a sound scolding for missing his call twice. Nervously, I dialed up his number.

He sounded visibly excited at the other end. “Good morning Swami. I knew you would be awake at this hour given the fitness freak that you are. And see…that pant in your voice suggests you have been exercising. Doing your yoga sessions eh? Well, a healthy mind resides in a healthy body Mr. Swami.”

I just nodded in agreement. I dared not differ. “Uh…Hello Sir. A very good morning. Yaa…was in the midst of Sheershasan, Sir. I have been at it since the past fifteen minutes. It’s said that while doing it you should not do anything else. I couldn’t pick up your call because of that very reason boss. Another hour of my usual set of exercises and I will be done with my quota for today, Sir. How can I be of help to you Sir?”

“We don’t see health conscious young people like you anymore Swami. It’s really commendable for someone who belongs to the fast food generation. I knew you would be among the few awake at this hour. And I couldn’t wait to brief you till the office starts. I have a board meeting scheduled today from 9 in the morning to evening. I would be completely occupied with that the whole day and wanted to hand this over to someone capable enough. And I could not think of a better person who could handle this small thing well.”

My chest swelled with pride. There is something about compliments. It simply whisks away all your miseries. Compliments are like a performance enhancing drugs. You feel possessed and back yourself to do seemingly out worldly tasks after digesting one of them served on a platter. This drug labeled “Compliment” mixes so easily with blood that the effect stays for long. And bosses are greatest exponents of this art. One clean stroke and you have your subordinate raring to have a go.

To be continued...