Monday, July 1, 2013

The Funny Incident

When I told my wife about the funny incident that happened during the annual office party, she did not find it funny at all. We are going through that phase now. There was a time not too far back when she would have found it funny. Now, her life, work and colleagues are interesting while my stuff rarely enters and always exits. As I said, it is just a phase. Soon, I might stop pretending. Or, we might both pretend. Nothing serious, a phase, that’s all. Anyway, I am digressing.
Every year, before the rains, we have that annual party. My boss Rangarajan presides over the function as if he is footing the bill, and not the company. I go for the free beer and the tolerable food. My wife refused to come this year. Last year, Rangarajan pinched her bottoms during the party. She is still miffed with me for not bashing him up. I have been searching for another job and I have promised her that I would handle him suitably when I hand in my resignation letter. She chooses to remain unconvinced.
This year’s party was going along like last year’s. Leela, the boss’s lieutenant and chief sycophant, was her busy self, making a big show of managing the affair and checking if everything was in order. It did not matter to her that everyone there knew that all the hard work was being done by Shailaja, the boss’s secretary. Shailaja looked as if she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, but then she always looks like that. Somehow she is able to endure Leela’s interference and Rangarajan’s bossy advances, and still put in an efficient show. Her husband Raman and their daughter were there too. According to office rumors, theirs was a love affair and still is. And they dote on their cute daughter who is supposed to be quite good in studies. Raman is a blue-collar worker, and if I am not mistaken, he is always between jobs. That or the daughter’s education must be the reason why he allows Rangarajan to treat her like some feudal keep.
I was bored and starting on the second bottle of beer when I saw Rangarajan’s wife, a timid mousy character, approach her husband. She whispered to him, her hands jerky and uncontrollable. His perpetual sneer turned into a menacing frown. He summoned Shailaja with a click of his fingers and barked something at her. Soon after, she, nearly in tears and looking faint, raced to Raman. Then, the two couples left the hall, closely followed by Leela, of course. I moved from my distant corner and approached my gossiping colleagues closer to the action. The near-comatose party was resuscitated by that jolly incident.
It seems Rangarajan’s son, a decent boy quite unlike his father, and Shailaja’s daughter were not to be found in or near the party hall. Or, as my colleagues put it salaciously, they were ‘missing and in action’. Some of us filed out of that hall, to observe the frantic search of the two sets of parents. It took them fifteen minutes to find their young ones. One of the peons who had assisted that posse informed us with a lot of nudge-nudge-wink- wink that the kids had been found on the terrace, admiring the moon and what-not.
The party continued more vigorously with that breath of life. Our informer, the peon, also told us that the boss had castigated Shailaja and Raman for not reining in their daughter. Rangarajan went around, looking terribly smug and quite possibly rather pleased with the work of his genes. His wife and son remained aloof at their corner table, looking forlorn. Raman and his daughter stood silently, banished to another corner. I could not read his thoughts but his dark sad eyes rested on his daughter’s stooped form or followed Shailaja who still had to mind the catering and attend to her boss’s frequent barks. Junta tucked into the food with great gusto, sharing tidbits of information, well-tickled by that expanding narrative about the lost and found case.
I nursed my third bottle of beer, pleasantly distracted by a passing thought. What if there was a power cut just then and after that, what if we found the delightful sight of a murdered Rangarajan, with a knife in his back or poisoned by a drink laced with cyanide? With a room full of suspects, and with Raman sticking out like a sore thumb, it would have been a perfect murder, I thought. Maybe, my wife would have appreciated the funny incident then.


  1. Hi Arjun,

    A funny incident! A good read!

    Actually the last para... I kept thinking a lot about it... The characters in office were all selfish thinking about no one else alle!! The boSs and Leela!! We see them in the eyes of the writer and assume that he is like shilaja! But in the end he too proved to be one among them a real opportunist!!! And that I found funny!!! Was that intentional???? Was that the real fun??? or was it the relation between the writer and his wife!!???


    1. Thanks a lot, Kp...

      He, like most of the male characters in my stories, are supposed to be funny or at least dark and goofy...:-)

      Best wishes