Secrets of Samantha

You could be a student/nonstop-talking RJ/party-attending millionaire/busy homemaker/bored techie/Chetan Bhagat/Rajnikanth/Rajnath Singh/doctor at a mental asylum. You could be anybody. But you are different from several crores of others.

When the rest of the public are totally taking it easy on a festival-spirited three-day weekend,  you have chosen to read this. What does this show? That you are a committed  reader of this column? Or perhaps the programmes on the TV are so unbearable that any  trash in comparison is acceptable? Well, I know the real reason for you straying into this piece. I will come to that later.

But if you had not come along, it could have been a lot easier for me. Let me explain: When it is a long weekend, with a huge festival thrown in, our regular schedule goes for a toss. On a holiday, time just seems to expand to fill the laziness that we are so consumed by. While on a working day, we only have to act busy. Take for example, my own daily routine. I get up around the time that you wouldn’t approve if you were a doctor. After the morning ablutions, I sit down to decipher the morning crossword, which, I have figured out, is a lot easier than making sense out of news reports, considering the way many journalists like me write their stories with adjectives-filled sentences that usually end five kms away from their start.

After this, I earnestly get ready for office, which involves the difficult task of standing before the mirror at different angles in the fervent belief that at least in one pose something passable may emerge. I am still trying. Once in the office, we (reader alert: note the not so subtle shift from ‘I’ to ‘we’ as what is to follow is very incriminating with details of professional secrets, and so I don’t be the fall guy) are all professionals to a T — that is, we all wait professionally for the arrival of the tea man, who, needless to say, is the most important person in the office hierarchy.

Once this vital part is gone through, the hard grind begins, which is to look terribly busy and involved when in actuality we are forwarding a picture of Lord Ganesha or any other godly image that had been sent  by a colleague in the same office with the warning that if we failed to circulate it to twenty other persons in the next two hours eternal doom will visit us immediately in the form of one more Salman Khan film hitting the screens shortly. So naturally, we pick out twenty names, if not more, from the address list, and this obviously involves the one who had forwarded the picture to us in the first place.

In the next few hours, the entire office is neck deep in the tough job of pushing back and forth the same picture of Lord Ganesha. One quick glance at the forwards, with all the names that they had been circulated to, will confirm that there are lakhs and lakhs out there doing this vital economic activity of sustaining Whatsapp. The toughest part of this schedule is to look convincing enough for the boss to believe that you are at some office work. This is a tricky task, as some anxious novices have blown their cover with their overzealousness, which is to unwittingly forward the Lord Ganesha image to the boss, too.

Then there is the time spent before the TVs, which the administrations have thoughtfully provided with the brainwave that workers productivity will increase when they watch cricket live. Quite simply,  if anyone can convince me of the compelling need for a TV in  office space (okay, other than in media houses), then I am ready to be his slave for the rest of my life.

The afternoon sessions pose a different kind of challenge for all of us as it calls for a lot of creativity in thinking up various excuses and ruses in a bid to leave early. This is a daunting and desperate proposition as it may involve convincing others that a friend had met with an accident (the seriousness of which depends on your seriousness to be out of the office) or a cousin, who never existed in the first place, is getting engaged. The whole idea of this exercise is to ensure that your absence will be kindly excused. But then again, extreme care has to be taken that you don’t end up going to a movie or a restaurant to which your boss has also come. It is to avoid the possibility of not running into the boss at a social occasion that many workers generally forward pictures of Gods in the mornings.

This is roughly a day in the life of all harried and frazzled professionals who shore up the nation’s industry and its economy. No doubt, the economy is in the doldrums.Anyway back to holiday,  when you don’t have to feign anything, you can put your feet up and watch TV all day and then crib the next day at office that the TV culture is spoiling the entire society.

But you have chosen to break this sacred code by deciding to read this column. And I know why. It’s because Samantha figures in the headline. But having lured you into this column with Samantha’s name in the headline, I have nothing to offer this week, except to greet the two persons without whom this column becomes a monumental irrelevance.

So here it goes: Happy Vinayaka Chathurthi to you and Samantha!