animesh kumar

Running water never grows stale. Keep flowing!

A Party…beyond usual.

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Sometimes, you are taken by surprise, in a sudden impulse of life. It lavishes greenery all around you and you forget what you had been dwelling over since the similar breeze had, a time too long back, intervened your way. Though, it doesn’t change the destination, or even your path in a broader sense, it reveals a parallel way where there is a swimming pool, cans of chilled bear, a frolicking company, live Gazals-crescendo choiring in the background, neat change-cum-bath-cum-etc room, and a fun night time enveloping all this. Out after it, you are not changed, not altered even by an inch; but while inside, you were different, someone who was not known to his family, his wife, and his boss; one who had revilements, part amorous quips that he otherwise had never shared – out of established social etiquettes; witty epigrams about everything that he otherwise didn’t know; and lessons and secrets, junks, known and accessible only to few – the innermost clique.
Last night, something similar happened to me, not only to me but to eight of us. I was about to leave for the day expecting my usual routine – food at Mirch-Masala, then a packet of fags near Chappan, and then back home, then an hour or so on phone, then to my laptop, then few words, few sentences or even few paragraphs, some hiccups, some tension, then some more time on phone, and some more tension, then to some book, to its idea, then contradictions, connections, then to unease, and then eventually to sleep – the last oasis. In short, everything that was cent-percent predictable. Idrees, my boss, showed up in the cubicle hastily with Saurabh. Saurabh was a new character. I perhaps knew him, somewhere he resembled someone whom I had known, or at least, seen. They were going out to party.

My boss asked me to join. I hesitated at first, but later agreed as the party was Dutch-type.

I generally didn’t like social gatherings, especially the ones where there were lots of colleagues, seniors and juniors. I was even reluctant to official get-togethers, where CEO, CTO and other high order men would grab the stage and talk about the company’s progress in the last span and about the plans for the next quarter. About discipline, decorum and all the tinker’s damn. It was same, always; except the slight change in figures, it remained by and large a routine ritual. In the last quarterly meet, they had the most kidding stuffs. For the initial few hours they talked about their recent USA experience. One among them explained at length how he missed his train in the chilling mid-might, and how in one of the mid-stops he got scared of ghosts. After he finished, I looked around; I was at a loss of mirth. But everyone was laughing in a customary tone, practiced and well rehearsed, aware of the impact his reaction would have on his seniors. Another had stories about his missing the cab at the airport and about the sincere generosity of the officials there who helped him. There was yet another who had gone to Canada for a day carrying only his laptop. And he became a matter of suspicion there. Between the gap, the vestibule resonated with applauds and chuckles. Following this, there was a bunch of childish games. People came to stage only to make fools of themselves. Few were even awarded for that. Horrible! I wondered if all IT firms had the same kind of, what they call, refreshing events. Couldn’t they simply serve wine, or beer? It would have made it more graceful, and professional, at least less college-type.
Due to all these, I was drawn apart from the incumbent claque of the company. And people thought, I was introvert. I was even suggested to improve on it during my recent appraisal meet. However, with Idrees I felt more comfortable. He had the macho-ness that people in Software Industry were hardly aware of. He had his thoughts, stances, and ideas. He could stand for a reason that he believed in, rest just followed.

So I agreed. Perhaps this time I could have some butcher fun. After all, with all the wine there, in any case, I wouldn’t be left dry.

We stepped out of the building, gathered at the street corner, and stopped waiting for Gaurav Vyas, the man whose job was to make sure that each byte of information rolled over the network smoothly – in brief, the network administrator. Back in college days, I was quite fascinated by computer networks, its protocols, ideals. I wondered if life was designed like those networks, first as in theory, like the OSI layer, later in practice, like TCP/IP. Theories and practices overlapped at void. Still, to start with, every naïve was taught OSI just like we were put on with social-ideals while we were kids, at home, at school, everywhere. Morality, virtuousness, self integrity. All the so-called important layers of life. As we grew old, experienced with the real world, it proved to be entirely futile.

Meanwhile, the plans were tipping of the tips as everyone suggested another way out, in the best of his knowledge, to avail the revel, frugally yet royally. We were apportioned into two groups: one had drunkards, another rest. Four of us fell onto the category that I belonged to. Gaurav, Rijwan, Vaibhav and me. Rest flocked out mocking the righteousness and pretending a crony belief: wine and women were vile. However, with time making the choice slippery, they had tolerated with the ‘women’ part.
We got into two cars – one chauffeured by Swapnil that had Saurabh, Rijwan and myself as its acquaintance; another by Vaibhav with Idrees and Gaurav on its pillion. Our car drove ahead and moved its way through the puddles, potholes and the dilapidated roads to the farm house sort of a restaurant. Its name was ‘Tassali’. I looked out of the window pane, as they discussed about other alternatives through which we could have come. But I liked it that way. Crossing through those abandoned roads was like chasing out the labyrinth of life. Down here, up there, now steep, suddenly plain. Life was as renounced as those roads. Municipality and God were now in unison, both remote, indifferent, and at the receiving end of the entire vehemence.

It was all black. Dark had fallen here so furiously that people couldn’t muster their courage to light it. It would have gone against the universal will. And no one there dared trespassing out of the boundary. We got off the car as soon as it stopped in the parking lot. Then, we took off the company’s palette dangling by our neck like a poor edifice, and moved sideways by the car, stood in support of it and waited for others to come. They arrived strangely late, later I knew that the headlight of their car was out of service. It was same-to-same with the place. Both drowned in dark; but yet, were in difference. One maneuvered; another surrendered. The place was serene. We hopped this way to that; in one corner a group was idling in a typical drunkard singsong rhyme, “Musafir hoon Yaron, na ghar hai na thikana…”; we moved ahead. Few of us were busy on phone, some talking some messaging, few strolled silently, patiently, and few frowned out their anguish almost fiercely. Meanwhile, the AC generator went up. But probably the wires were not yet set. Light was still missing.

We retuned back to parking. Next to us was a car with its inner lights up, fog had settled outside over its glasses, stealing everything that they did inside. Nature sometimes helps you, but often it remains against. I mulled over it.

“Once, I did the same. I was soon out of battery and had had to call my friends…” Vaibhav marveled, galloping a large gulp of bear, directly from the bottle. “…to get a push”. Nothing mattered then. Everyone was slight tipsy. And Idrees followed up. “Male friends or your special female ones?” Soon everyone was chasing Vaibhav. He had a sophisticated look, typical English flair, with small curly hairs, loose cladding, bear in one hand, cigarette in another. I wondered who he was inside with, behind the misty window. A woman or just a bottle of wine or both. He blushed, tried explicating, but none listened. He gave up. “Sirji, mujhse bhi to puch lo. (Let my consent in.)” Once a female, or stuff even remotely feminine, creeps in to your conversations, you are digressed. Your entire focus shifts to them; sometimes perverted. We talked about the possible she-males, opposite studs, possible affairs, and figures, and amatory junks, and all other female species in the company. Everyone laughed, happy in denigrating someone else, saving their groins behind those crispy belittling words.

Sameer was yet to arrive. We were trying to reach him, with almost three phones working in sync. But he was out of our grab. Suddenly, the topic was changed. It had all about Sameer – how did he misbehave with only two pegs last time; how did he stop the car amid the road and scolded Vaibhav; how did Gaurav carried him home; how did he do this; how did he do that; everything about Sameer. Everyone had a formula. Some suggested leaving him a message, some to leave him altogether. I was beside Gaurav, who was complaining for having boozed over empty stomach. I nodded in accord.

He was our DBA, Data Base Administrator, far more senior to me. I had always wondered if I should call seniors by names or should append the respectful ‘Sir’ at the end. Calling them ‘Sir’ would have created a large distance. And the etiquette of the party said that any distance was forbidden. So I gracefully omitted that part. Moreover, as the wine loosens your tongue you grow up to the others. And I grew faster. Soon the bear bottles were emptied, cigarettes fumed, and Sameer still out of reach. We left for Sayaji. Our car went ahead to show up lights for anther one. After a while, we saw Sameer coming toward us. We nodded. All theories went haywire. Now with his arrival the laws were to be re-written.

Sayaji was an opulent place. As we went inside, I felt as if I had come to a metropolitan city, high thinking, and high living. It had a swimming pool, filled up with the clean water deceiving all the water scarcity in the city, around which many people slugged, and a Gazal troop at its cornered edge played upon electronic instruments. They sang some popular Gazals of Jagjit Singh. At one corner they had put many edible items, ranging from vegetarian ‘butter-paneer’ to non-vegetarian ‘mutton’. At another a bartender modeled like a statue, void of expression, eager for service. Surrounded in wine you could also make go tongue-tight. The smell would be sufficient sometimes.

We sat close to the pool gagging how it would be like to have a bath then. In such a clean water, and so many women looking at you, it certainly wasn’t a very good idea. But who cared for good or bad? Wine had nullified all sense. We were free then. Free to think, to act. Then some more wine was brought. The slickness index went further.

Soon, everyone was out of the official duress and was free with the next, chatting and bantering about the important matters of life. A sporadic leg-pulling now; a witty joke then. Each gulf was patted. Brain-workers, as our CEO had called us once in one of those boring quarterly meet, could also revel in such a way. Like college-goers – autonomous, independent.

It was my first sublime experience. Tipsy, inconsistent, and witty. And it was too good to last. It would fly away. Next day, we all would return to our usual position, under the same compulsion.

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Written by Animesh

September 16, 2005 at 12:20 am

Posted in Diary

Tagged with ,

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