Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Welcome to the Club

Office is a very interesting place. It is like a club, just that they don’t serve snacks while you play cards, but apart from that, the place has all ingredients of a nice, cozy club.

Take for instance the fact that it is air-conditioned. It does not matter who you are and what you do, you get to sit in an air conditioned place. At home you might not even have a half-decent fan, or a properly working cooler (or heater – depending on where you are), but at office, weather can hardly touch you with its vagaries. The temperature is set at 23 degrees, the year round, and you never have to worry how hot or cold it is outside. Like me, you can also grow sensitive exotic plants on your desk, and not worry at all. If you are more like me, you would also tell the office boy to water it everyday. That way, even when you are gone on holidays, you don’t have to worry about them dying. And you know the best part? You don’t have to pay the electricity bills or maid charges. How nice is that?

While you don’t get served snacks, all is not lost though. Till recently, we had copious quantities cola at our disposal – drink as much as you can (Like one of those ‘eat your heart out, and pay only X’ but without the payment clause). With this recession, the first axe by the wise old men has been to stop that supply, but that is not the point here. We have green tea, earl grey, English, and mint tea (if you are lucky) to lay our hands on. Mineral water is a standard, and there used to be biscuits as well (gone in cost cutting for the time being). But I know of offices, where you have selection of juices, milk, colas, fruits, and snacks. Now that comes close to a club, doesn’t it? I mean, in day time if you happen to be in a club, you would order something from among this selection, isn’t it? (Yes I can hear ‘beer’, but let us not get too greedy right now). Again, who you are, what you do, does not matter. All the things are at your disposal.

Let me ask you a question – do you have your personal laptop? How many of us have that? At home, most of us make do with an off-white sack of machinery called a desktop, and that too assembled one. But in office, they provide you with a sleek laptop, replete with mouse and connected to an ‘always on’ internet connection. How nice is that? So you have the world on your fingertips. Access as much as you can, and if you are a little smarter than mongoose, you can also download as much as you can. Write emails, surf the net, read news, movie reviews, follow cricket, and yes, write your blog! And let me remind you, the best thing about it all – it’s free.

Offices resemble clubs in another very important way. You can invite your guests here and entertain them. Let me give you example of one of my colleagues – he is not called the ‘plastic man’ for nothing. He has almost all the credit, debit, airlines, shopping, valet, and loyalty cards that have ever seen the light of the day. I cannot say for sure because I have never peeked inside his bag, but I suspect he carries visiting card diaries stuffed with all the cards as they won’t fit in his wallet by any chance. Where did you think he calls all the sales people to get such cards? I have never been able to get our corner meeting room, because he is perpetually sitting there, filling up forms while some random sales person feasts on tea and biscuits. And because our office is wood-paneled and all, he always gets gold or platinum cards without paying for them. Ambience helps.

And now let me come to best bit in town – the telephone. I don’t think you could get through to any of us in the day time in less than five tries. Not since the time Mr. Edison invented the stuff, has it been used with so much passion. Our fingers have no fingerprints left on them – they are nice, smooth, and are now shiny round on the tips – it happens when you are dialing a lot and doing that incessantly. The constant murmur in office gives it a kind of spiritual aura – like universe being created by the sound of Aum that constantly reverberates in the cosmic creation. The buzz is almost like a soothing hum, that engulfs you as soon as you are inside the office. I must appreciate all my colleagues who seem to be connected to each other by a universal telephonic consciousness – never shouting, or never letting go of the receiver. What a nice place – a place with the ‘buzz’!

And when it is free, it is all the better. The place looks nice with all the suited booted people, it sounds nice with all the buzz everywhere, and it smells nice, with all the smell of different kind of beverages.

It is a club I tell you, it is a club.

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