Archive for May, 2014

Part 4 – Cheeku Maharaj

Posted: May 25, 2014 in Humour

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“B******”

Pehalwan and Baba looked at each other for a second and then burst out laughing. Baccha seldom uttered curses and he never cursed in Hindi. Not until now at least.

It was 9pm and Baccha was still annoyed after his 40 minute end of the day one-on-one meeting with Cheeku Maharaj back at the Empty Men office.

Earlier that day, when Baccha walked into the office of the ‘Big Daddy’ of the 5th Floor, he first closed the door. He knew he was going to get yelled at. After all Cheeku followed a round-robin-schedule policy for selecting and abusing people on the floor and it had been a few months since Baccha had his turn.

Cheeku started off asking questions on the work Baccha was doing. There were no complaints from the customers but there were delays (as usual) and Cheeku needed a reason to show Baccha his rightful place and so he screamed for the last 20 minutes.

Cheeku screamed that Baccha was too ‘buddy-buddy’ with Guddu and his Bermuda team.

“You go drink or dance and be ‘buddy-buddy’ with them. I don’t care. But keep your personal and professional relations apart”

“You should have sent 2 warning letters after they didn’t meet their committed date and should have sent 10 escalations to their CEO”

“You are to blame for these delays. You have done this intentionally to cover them”

“They are using you”

And so it went on for the rest of the session. Baccha just nodded on.

He was fantasising about the various ways by which murder could be committed without getting caught. Strangling wasn’t easy, paying a truck driver for a fatal accident might raise suspicions, guns were too noisy and trying to procure and use poison was risky. Maybe tripping a guy from the rooftop would be less suspicious and of relatively less risk.

When Baccha walked out of that office, his ears were still ringing from the piercing agony it was subject to for forty minutes. There has to be some way of getting even.

Cheeku was not liked much on the 5th floor.

Ok, let’s be honest, Cheeku was the least loved man on the 5th floor.  He terrorised partners, ridiculed subordinates, disrespected everybody in sight and made the Grinch (Yes, that green monster who was played by Jim Carrey in the movie of that same name) look like Santa Claus in comparison.

Cheeku also had the unique distinction of being the only known human specimen in existence who was an exception to the universal rule of ‘the enemy of an enemy being a friend’. The enemies of Cheeku’s enemies were his enemies too! For example, Cheeku was hated by Bakwasbola, Bakwasbola was hated by Baba and yet Cheeku was hated by Baba too!  And this week the unhappy family on the 5th floor had all the more reason to hate Cheeku.

It was appraisal time for the team (headed by our anti-hero).  They were being appraised by the various internal teams to whom they provide service and given that the previous year they scored a not so encouraging 5/10, the heat was on them to have a better score this time around.

Cheeku had decided to make a change this year to get better numbers.

“Guys, we need to improve on our score this year” he said to the 10 participants he had selected to create the internal task force for the feedback survey.

“But before we start I want you to know that participation in this task force is completely voluntary and you can walk out if you don’t want to be part of it and there will be no hard feelings”

Everybody looked at each other. The unfortunate participants who were selected included Guddu (‘the one guy who has the spark’, as per Cheeku), Baba Om, Baccha, Motesepatla (Another partner manager on the 5th floor), Lucky (the soft spoken local man who spent 12 years of his life at Empty Men) and some others.

Nobody dared to get up from their seat.

Cheeku was not giving an option, this was a threat. What he actually meant was “Let’s see who dares to get up and walk from this room”

Guddu thought of his poor Bermuda men. If he walked out, they’d have to work 26 hours each weekend. He passed the opportunity.

Baccha thought of the projects delayed. If he walked he’d be first be skinned by Cheeku (for everything he did wrong in the past 7 months) and then skinned by Bakwasbola and PPTwala for not having client focus. He too passed the opportunity.

One after the other, everybody thought of the consequences of walking out, swallowed their pride and stayed in their seats, putting up fake smiles and falsified looks of determination.

Baba Om said he was willing to be part of the task force as long as he was around (his plan was to leave Empty Men forever within a week).

At the end of the meeting that was scheduled for 30 minutes ( but lasted half a day), there was a charter made with 80 actions to be carried out in the next three weeks with everybody getting a slice of the cake.

Guddu, ‘the man with the spark’ (as Cheeku once described), got the biggest slice of the cake (as he had the ‘spark’ of course). He went to his boss and cried a bucketful (Why me?). Guddu’s boss protested (How dare Cheeku do this without asking me?) but didn’t have the nerve to go question Cheeku. This was one cat who wasn’t going to be belled soon.

All wasn’t well and the days didn’t end well as the men on the 5th floor survived to fight another day.

Part 3 – A Peaceful Weekend

Posted: May 19, 2014 in Humour

man with flowers

 

“Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest

Yo ho ho, a bottle of rum.

Drink and the devil’s done for the rest,

Yo ho ho a bottle of rum”

Baccha remembered the song he knew from his childhood days. It was a song sung by the pirate Long John Silver in Treasure Island. He then pictured his moustachioed fellow dweller singing it. It was a funny thought. Baccha grinned.

Bakwasbola’s addiction to his daily dose of rum was only secondary to his legen-(wait for it)-dary ability to ramble on incessantly, the moment he found an audience.  On Saturday evening, his victim was the hapless Baccha. The rare grin by Baccha was misinterpreted as an acknowledgement of the speaker’s great oratory ability and Bakwasbola spoke an extra 10 minutes.

Finally at about 8pm, Bakwasbola, went back to his room, got dressed and prepared to go out for the birthday party of a friend (he made quite a few ‘local’ friends  – expats who he came across in the country and who spoke his native south Indian tongue).

Just as he was about to leave the door with a bouquet of flowers, he noticed the quizzical look on Baccha’s face. Baccha was still sitting and reading some lame book he had been reading for months.

“Oh yeah, it is the same bouquet I received for my birthday two days ago”, Bakwasbola said gleefully.

“Why spend more money when it is still fresh? See, it looks fresh. Doesn’t it?”

Baccha bit his lips. He had been wondering where the man was leaving with the fading flowers.

“Yes of course it looks fresh. Why don’t you sprinkle some water over the flowers? That will ensure that it stays fresh”, Baccha retorted

“Good Idea” said Bakwasbola heartily. He then went to the kitchen sink, held the bouquet under a running tap, shook the flowers and walked out.

Baccha laughed for a second, walked out to his balcony and looked out.

He saw Guddu and his Bermuda gang marching for the second part of the migration activity to the Empty Men office. It was an overnight activity but the guys were not taking chances this time, most of them had taken a bag with an extra change of clothes, toothpaste and toothbrushes, towels and some rolls of toilet paper. They were fully armed to stay two nights to do the proposed 6 hour activity if required.  Guddu was a determined man this time. He was not going to stay long enough to see his beard sprout again in office. He touched h is pocket and was reassured by the presence of his new Gillette Mach-3.

Weekends followed a pattern when it came to the various people working for Empty Men.

Six months earlier, before Backwasbola was in charge of the MechTee team (contractors for Empty Men), the big boss, ‘PPTwala’, was then in the country. He called day long meetings in this room on Saturdays. In that meeting attended by about 15 of the team members, a power point report and an excel spreadsheet would be projected on a large flat screen TV and read line by line from top to bottom for 4 hours. Then it would be read from bottom to top for 4 hours and after which it would be followed by a list of actions assigned to everybody in that meeting which they would have to complete in the next 24 hours. Sundays usually were reserved for one-on-one reviews with all. PPTwala was amply supported in follow ups by ‘Biwi No. 1’ and ‘Chacha Chamcha’.

Those days were now past.

Fast forward into the future, the African Gods took pity on the poor MechTee men and PPTwala returned to his home station for lack of a visa and the other two sidekicks disappeared much to the relief of the rest. A queer turn of events meant that they were left with just Bakwasbola, who was originally brought in to keep Cheeku Maharaj, the big daddy of the 5th floor, in check.

Nowadays, the men from Mechtee were far more relaxed. Pehalwan, Baba Om and Baccha managed to make time for a dip in the swimming pool, Sharaabi would time to wander aimlessly in the hotel premises with a drink in hand, Pujari his roommate would sit in his room singing Bhajans and reading the Bhagwad Gita and Chaatu Sharma was, err well, he still went to office on Saturdays irrespective of not having any work to do there.  The rest didn’t care anyway.

The weekends have been quiet in the recent past, unlike the one in which Baba Om and Sharabi saw a man drown in the pool and the ‘lifeguard’ far from resuscitating the drowning man, he almost fainted himself in shock. Or the one in which Sharabi got mugged in the most happening place in town.

Weekends are too quiet these days.

Could be the lull before the storm.

Part 2 – Sweets and Birthdays.

Posted: May 17, 2014 in Humour

empty men Bakwasbola woke up at 4 am.

It was not that he couldn’t’ have slept a couple of hours extra. After all, even with his regular wake-up time at 6 am, he still managed to be the first person to enter the 5th Floor on every working day.

Today was special. It was his 51st Birthday.

For a second, he felt old. Then he remembered what his daughter told him the previous year for this birthday.

“Daddy, Tom Cruise is your age. Look at him. Does he look old?”

He then pulled out a picture of Tom Cruise he had kept in his drawer for motivational purposes and had a look at it. Tom looked good for a 51 year old. Rather good. Bakwasbola smiled.

“I can’t be that bad either he thought. He then remembered Tom Cruise was only 5’ 7”. Bakwasbola was 6’ 1”. He smiled wider.  He felt very good about himself in fact. Never felt better. Tom Cruise was his age and half a foot shorter. He was pretty sure that Tom never had to manage the floor of a company as big as Empty Men Telecom either. Oh, he was definitely better and intellectually smarter than Tom Cruise..

Bakwasbola then took a shower, oiled his oh-so-masculine, ‘Tony Stark’ moustache and then went to the kitchen counter

It was time to do some special cooking for his ‘strategic’ friend Chaatu Sharma who lived two floors above him.

Bakwasbola then made the sweetest ever ‘pongal’ possible and took to Chaatu Sharma’s apartment before he left for office. Bakwasbola wanted Chaatu to believe that he liked him though every time he had a drink, after the 5th peg, Bakwasbola would open his heart and call Chaatu a scoundrel and a work-shirker – an act he would blame on the drink the next day.

Chaatu was smart enough never to retaliate on such instances because he wanted to be in Bakwasbola’s good books (the same way he wanted to be in the good books of every floor manager before him).

Therefore Chaatu would keep Bakwasbola happy by being the ‘yes man’ and by sending the latter home cooked dinner every night. Bakwasbola also made sure that any portion of the food he made went up to Chaatu’s home too.

Meanwhile, Baccha first woke up at 6.40 am on the day of Bakwasbola’s birthday not realising the significance of the day. He switched off the alarm on his old Nokia phone and then went to sleep again. He then woke up again at 7.00 to switch off the second alarm on his Samsung phone. He could afford another 15 minutes of sleep surely.

30 minutes later Baccha was running to the bathroom shedding the clothes he wore on the way. He had overslept despite the two alarms and was forced to multi-task in the bathroom to save time. The brushing of one’s teeth could be done while sitting on the toilet too.

After his shower, Baccha got dressed, slung his bag over his shoulder and went to the kitchen to grab a quick bite when he saw a note on the kitchen. Bakwasbola had left him a ‘Good morning’ note with a smiley and an instruction to enjoy the sweet pongal. There was a bowl of sweet pongal next to the note.

Baccha looked at the sweet pongal and groaned..

Such was the situation that whenever Chaatu Sharma sent across dinner to Bakwasbola, he sent across a little extra portion for Baccha so that Baccha didn’t feel bad. Likewise, Bakwasbola also left that ‘little extra’ portion for Baccha when he prepared food and sent it across to Chaatu. These ‘little portions’ were however, not enough to satiate Baccha’s hunger, so Baccha had to cook an extra meal for himself despite these treats from his two benefactors,  both of whom he couldn’t decline for fear of offending them. Bakwasbola was Baccha’s boss and Chatu was his boss’ friend.

The result – in 3 months’ Baccha’s waistline had gone up by three inches, his weight by 7 kilos and two of his pants had split by the seams, which included  one that gave away in office – Baccha had to go the bathroom and staple his pants seams to hold it together till the end of the day.

Today, Baccha decided to not give in to temptation. So he ate half the portion and left the remaining half in the fridge and then rushed to the Empty Men office.

On the corner of the 5th floor, employees were standing a queue to go and greet Bakwasbola who was grinning from ear to ear. Chaatu had spread the word about the birthday and Bakwasbola was surprised to see how popular he was on his birthday. He thought there were at least a few people who disliked him but today everybody seemed nice and eager to greet him – everybody except Baba Om who was not to be seen around (Baba was still pissed that after having waved his magic wand and having turned back time to give a presentation in time, he did not get due appreciation).

Bakwasbola had forgotten that he was only 4 days away from completing the mid-term appraisals for all those people who had come and greeted him earlier.

Baccha went and greeted his roommate, wished him a happy birthday and also complimented him on the fine sweet pongal. Bakwasbola was delighted as it was the first ever time he had made sweet pongal and this was the first feedback he received on his culinary skills on that particular dish.

Later in the afternoon Baba Om, Pehalwan and Baccha were having lunch together when Baccha mentioned about the sweet pongal.

Baba Om chided Baccha for being the official guinea pig for Bakwasbola which Baccha vehemently denied.

“So do you remember the last time you ate regular pongal for breakfast cooked by Bakwasbola”, asked Baba

“That was just a week ago” replied Baccha.

“And there was nothing wrong with it. I suppose?”

“Well it was just a little salty”

“Was that it?”

“Ok, the cooking wasn’t that perfect”

“So are you saying that it was good?”

“It was edible of course”

“Come to the point” said Pehalwan as he cut the conversation short. “What was wrong?”

“The guinea pig here ate half cooked pongal last Sunday and spent half the day in the toilet after that” said Baba Om laughing.

“But how did you know it was half cooked” asked Pehalwan in suprise

“I met Sharaabi on Sunday who was offered the same pongal by Bakwasbola. Sharabi ate two spoons and ran away saying he was full but after that came and told me the real reason he ran away was that the pongal was only half cooked”

They both then looked at Baccha for his response.

Baccha got defensive: “What the hell guys? I don’t eat that stuff every day. It tasted good and I was hungry. Besides he’s my boss. I can’t toss away the food he offers me. Besides he didn’t under cook on purpose and my stomach is oversensitive anyway”

“Just pass us the salad dude”

Baccha shut up and ate. Life wasn’t pretty these days anyway.

Part 1 – Just Another day at the Empty Men Office!
Untitled It was another ‘eventful’ day at Empty Men Telecom. Tecnoplant (Empty Men Telecom’s largest strategic partner organisation) had an ambitious plan of migrating one of their systems into Empty Men Telecom’s new premises on Sunday night and it had gone awfully wrong.

On Sunday night, a dozen Lungi and Bermuda clad men with laptop bags flung over their back walked in with an air of determination to the 2nd Floor of the towering Empty Men’s IT headquarters after three rounds of security checks to sit down and start on their stuff; some of them took a break for only the occasional puff.

On Monday afternoon, the Lungi and Bermuda clad ‘IT specialists’ from the land of curry were still sitting at their desks on the 2nd floor sweating it out. Lungis next to Louis Philippe, they were all working on what had gone wrong.

Baccha was worried that morning.

He huffed and puffed his way between the 5th Floor and the 2nd   thrice (using the staircase of course: in Empty Men, elevators work only on Tuesdays and Thursdays).He came across his pal, Tecnoplant’s project manager Guddu, who was busy toggling between various emails answering to every manager, Snr. Manager, General Manager and what-not-manager on why the migration had not completed successfully.  Guddu then sent a special email to Baccha who sent it across to another set of managers who were incessantly calling him to know why the ‘crucial’ testing activity scheduled for Monday morning could not be conducted.

As per documented Empty Men policies, if a planned crucial system change doesn’t happen on time, all the people involved will be locked up in a room called the ‘Battle room’. Nobody is allowed to leave the room and a specially appointed jailer from the crisis management department makes sure that people only take toilet breaks when their bladders are filled to capacity and on the verge of bursting. The Lungi men and the Bermuda boys with their leader Guddu slogged on. The resolution never came.

By Tuesday afternoon, Guddu who had come with a clean shaven face on Sunday night had a foot long beard, some of the Lungi men had to be taken out in stretchers due to exhaustion and yet the resolution never came.The Battle room shifted 3 floors, and the jailer was joined by a General  Manager who was sweating bucket-loads and the resolution never came.

Guddu’s workforce was down to half and he now sported shiny new pimples on his face just above his beard. Baccha meanwhile was avoiding eye contact with his boss, Cheekhu Maharaj. The last time he told Cheekhu Maharaj that the testing activity got delayed, Baccha almost lost his eardrums. The thought of being one more ‘mute’ person on the floor didn’t appeal to Baccha. So Baccha kept shooting out email after email to show he was too busy to even look up from his computer throughout the day.  He kept his fingers crossed. If Guddu and his lungi team came up with a Eureka moment within Wednesday, he could probably still retain his eardrums at the end of the week.

Baccha’s next door neighbour, the high flying consultant – Baba Om, meanwhile, was having his own problems. The floor manager BakwasBola had earlier come and questioned him why he had not finished the weekly presentation. The details of the presentation were given to him at 4 pm for a meeting at 3.30pm. Baba protested. BakwasBola (who had been taking vocal lessons from Cheekhu Maharaj recently) screamed and the ground shook on the 5th Floor! Baba relented for the time being. He uttered some magic words and waved his magic wand.The clock turned back to 8.45 and the presentation was ready. BakwasBola was still not completely happy. He didn’t get time to review the presentation and had hoped Baba Om would have turned the clock back 30 minutes instead.

The day never gets over at Empty Men Telecom but Baccha left at 6.30 pm. He returned to his apartment just in time to see Baba Om entering his own apartment. Baba was his next door neighbour who shared his apartment with Pehalwan K while Baccha was lived in an apartment  he shared with BakwasBola.

At 9 pm, Baccha, Baba Om and Pehalwan get together to have the rice and ‘bhegan bhartha’ cooked by Pehalwan . And they happily bitched about the day’s events. Bakwasbola was still reading and re-reading the presentation on the 5th Floor.  Guddu and his Bermuda boys were about to get a temporary parole from the battle room for dinner. It was just another day in the life the ones working in the Empty Men office.    

To Be continued.