a working lunch

The other day, a couple of us were coerced into paying for lunch for a bunch of people who are in the same team, just by virtue of reporting to the same Manager. Not to be one to be left out of celebrations, no matter how irrelevant, I skipped joyfully over to the venue and was faced with 3 tables full of hungry stomachs and a buffet of steaming yummies. Ever the ray of sunshine, I glanced around to find someone to make sweet PC with. Across me sat this dude who was less responsive than the poor bird whose tikkas I was relishing. Undaunted I plunged ahead to involve him in an active debate on whether he was vegetarian or non vegetarian. He claimed to be a non vegetarian and ate some chicken tikka to convince me. Suitably mollified, I opened my mouth to continue the captivating talk when I was silenced by a pitiful stare which I assumed meant that I he had overshot his ‘talk time’ of the day.


Turning my energies to this dude sitting next to him, I was faced with yet another daunting task. This sample wasn’t one I can say I am particularly fond of, but oh well…desperate times call for desperate measures eh?  Scrambling around in my head for a neutral topic, I was yet again beaten at my attempt to make decent conversation when he beat me over the head with details of how he managed to get the manger to exchange the potato-something soup on the menu with hot-n-sour soup. (Gasp!My hero…)


After looking suitably grateful, my attention was drawn towards a loud conversation (mercifully) at the other end of the table. One of the ‘boys’, US returned and mommy’s baby was elaborating on how you can get to eat more when you’re attending a wedding (where you may be the twenty third cousin) or on a train that does about 18 hours end-to-end. Both achievements involved bribing the bearer to pay full attention to you instead of the groom’s mom or maybe the engine driver. The funny part was, whilst I was busy unhooking my jaw to express disbelief, he had a rapt audience, all nodding in complete support of this blatant creation of a situation where you’re forced to ask “Dude haven’t you seen good food recently?”


Right beside this was someone else hanging onto the back of a chair and bellowing for butter at the top of his lungs. In all fairness, I think service there was delayed just because he demanded butter for his rotis the way Gandhi demanded swaraj and the waiters were afraid to get involved in something painful. When the butter finally arrived, the rotis had gone cold and so the vicious circle rotated yet again. Oh and I did happen to notice his wife (who works in the same team) giving him sloppy looks full of adoration and hero worship. Enough to make someone lose their appetite. With a heartfelt sigh I pushed my plate away only to be jarred by an announcement that beer had been ordered at the other table. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my manager sleekly drifting to the said table to suitably lubricate himself (in a completely non sexual way of course).


Wondering if my wallet and me had after all gotten involved in something neither of us wanted any part of, I looked at my friend sitting next to me. He had the same painful and bruised look on his face. After a muted nod, we both tucked our tails between our weakened knees and slunk away to the safety of our workstations.

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