Friday, January 22, 2016

THE DESK JOB – AN EDITED ROMCOM


J Swamy is supposedly glued to another stale document on his screen when his ears sense a knock that sounds quite different from its usual counterparts. This is a soft feminine thud. Anything different invariably excites Swamy with erotic alacrity.

For someone fighting a string of self-engineered complexities, that knock is a welcome reprieve, as if granted by providence in the form of a cosmic afterthought.

Swamy hates routine and yet clings to it like fish to water. He’s sure he has little clue of the machinations of his own mind but the lure of pretense is just too overpowering to make any kind of confession. Stuck in a routine job for donkey’s years, he has developed a strange affinity with his humdrum schedule that can’t be attributed to the passage of time alone. There’s little about the job that genuinely excites him. He’s stuck with a trade magazine dealing with all the dry stuff. Swamy simply doesn’t belong to this universe nor can he write for his life but to most others, it appears as if he takes his job to bed each night, such is the charade that has continued unabated over the years with amazing regularity. You know, Swamy is blessed in a different sort of way and he has little competition here.

No wonder he has moved up the ranks by sheer default. And while he always plays the self deprecating ‘sir’ before peers and subordinates, he never loses any opportunity to tell the world he’s a director. And luckily for him the organizational motto of ‘design by default’ has proved a god sent cushion for him to rest his back and pretend to be super busy while suppressing one yawn after another.

The knock makes him genuinely curious for a change. The moment he says “yes” in a cultivated tone of authority, he sees a shapely damsel in her 20-somethings, almost adequately covered in flowery top and tight jeans, and yet with enough cues that tantalizingly come close to unraveling the mystic charm of her curvaceous anatomy. Now Swamy is used to pretty sedentary interactions with the opposite gender, not because he prefers them so but only guided by the lukewarm response from the other side in most cases. But here stands one genteel specimen of the tribe with an infectious smile that seems to convey a hint of playful verve. Swamy is thrilled beyond words. He quickly ushers her in with a smile he had reserved for this moment god knows for how many years.

He's recognized her all right… She had been recruited by him just weeks back out of a crowd of umpteen hopefuls. As is his wont, he has discarded all who showed even a semblance of threat to his chair, consciously sparing the decanted remains - of half-aspirants inflicted with either poor academics or poor ambition or both.

She’s one of them but her physical appearance has won her a few brownie points over the rest. She’s in no way exceptional in the looks department; but Swamy doesn’t have any great expectations on that front in any case. What he probably didn’t expect was this proactive reception from her. Now that’s the turning point he always believed existed in fairy tales of the silver screen. But not anymore!

He’s not the one to let the opportunity go, to make his life a little more colorful than the typical Bollywood romedy filled with sizzling passion and ravishing romance.

Each passing day brings them closer. For her it’s a simple check mate act to sterilize a man of circumstantial influence. For him, it’s a masterly predatory move to win over the muse of his dreams. She’s the copybook femme fatale, he’s a happy casualty. The sweet nothings they exchange throughout the day have redefined his life causing unmentionable corporal reactions that defy his mounting age and falling reflexes.

He brings her chocolates and cakes, she almost cuddles him with her seductive look, he cracks a silly joke, and she bursts into an orchestrated laughter, she has sought insulation from routine office worries, he has offered her lifetime support although he’s half aware this extension of lease is truly unwarranted as she would seek greener pastures at an opportune time. Never mind, Swamy is happy for her and himself in the same breath.

Relishing the cozy confines of his Eastman color world, he has no time to grieve over the occasional turbulence that disturbs the rhythm of his everyday serenity …like this pest of a consultant guy who’s been appointed for some bullshit business process reengineering of his department.

When his nexus with advertising agencies, a job he’s naturally cut out for, is thoroughly exposed, his heart does skip a beat. When his closely guarded mediocrity is painfully brought to the fore, he does funny things in retort. But all that pain of trials and tribulations pales into insignificance before the triumph on his face when he has his muse by his side. And he’s been smart enough to bail her out of the needless drudgery that the pest has introduced in the name of envisioning change.

Every time the seductress bumps into the pest, she smiles victoriously as if to say “Keep your recommendations in your pocket, I have the editor in mine” We are sure Swamy has not sensed this unsaid interaction only because he has no time for trivial introspections. His gaze and attention is reserved only for her. Who has the time to look at the pest?

Swamy is thoroughly enjoying his cinematic sojourn. For her, it’s only an offbeat documentary that she must bear with till better things land ashore, but for him it’s an enduring motion picture for posterity. He’s vowed to immerse himself in the nectar of her charms while the story lasts and his dreams have become distinctly ‘Karan Johar’ lately for obvious reasons. Dawn or dusk, this is the only desk job he craves for and looks forward to. The pest can fuck off with his BPR recommendations.




Dear Pradyuman

We know you now keep vigil from up above. We know you have had to take matters in your own hands, going by the sorry state of affairs down ...