Tuesday, 21 May 2013

How I love to tell-tale about my getting late!

“What?!???” it was 08.30 and I just woke up. Quickly jumping into pants and my neck and right arm halfway through a topper, I was combing my hair and the tooth paste fell on the ground as I tried to squeeze it out on a toothbrush. Ouch! Hundreds of pieces of hair got entangled in the brush. And the tap water was chilly. I switched on the geyser and couldn't wait for the water to warm up, and was splashing my face with ponds green facewash and that chilly water. A dab of perfume and the quick moisturiser, I quickly put on my watch (it was 08.37), and one last look into the mirror, I tried my best to not see the rumpled hair.

As I head to the road in search of an auto, my mind sets off to come up with a good excuse. I had already given him some eight stories, and some five of them have worked real well. They should, with me working for a creative writing column for the top magazine of Delhi, if I cannot come up with a good, doable excuse that can save me from shame as I reach the office, shame on me. My boss hates late-comers. But who doesn’t get late? I have been working at this place for two and a half year now, and have seen dozens of people being berated and shouted at, and two employees have been chucked out of their jobs for not coming up with a nice excuse. Everybody in the office hates me, is jealous of me. The boss hardly ever looks at me sceptically. He has thought that I actually had a cousin over one night, and we spent the night watching a movie and eating pizza. I realised he doesn’t try too hard on my stories because like that time, I add something for his benefit. Knowing how much he loves pizza, I stopped at a dominoes outlet, even knowing that I was getting late, just to get a pizza for him. But the pizza got eaten almost three-fourths by the hungry colleagues before it could reach his office (who needs to know what a big appetite I have!)

You have to keep a track of all the stories. Some people can fill the gaps and speak about it to the boss. Though I am sure the boss who hates late-comers never really would catch me by a mistake in the facts of my tales. Because I really am careful. Like one day, a witty person said that it was his sister’s birthday and a few months ago told that he has a brother whom he had to drop to college, and added to give the story a wholesome look, that he is the only sibling he has, ah!

Also, the boss likes to be praised and reminded that he is ‘lovable’ to all of us. A word he likes to listen in every excuse. How can he even believe it, being our boss, I mean! Doesn’t he know how the relationship goes? So, when I told him it was my father’s fiftieth birthday, and the flower shop doesn’t open before nine, and who greets their parents on their half century on phone, he relaxed. Knowing he was about to be celebrating his fiftieth in the next month, I added, I mean people don’t wish their lovable bosses (oxymoron!) on phone for  the special day let alone their dads’! He seemed delighted to hear that. The hard part didn’t get over. Then I had to add one more thing in the things-to-do-with/for-my-boss (please don’t read too much into the title. I spend lots of my creative outlet in important stuff like these, that I have no energy left to come up with sensible names for silly lists that keeps adding on due to my own desire to never leave a loophole in any story and then bribe my colleagues to keep their mouth shut). On the top of the list is and was ‘kill him’, the latest was ‘present him a bouquet on his fiftieth.’ With that, I had to check the date and add it to my calendars. And that was one day when I actually speared myself on my own feet when I had to wake up quite early. Ugh.

I weighed my options. Two stories were taking place in my head. The auto took a left. It was 8.52am. I would reach by 8.56. From where could I be coming? The spa was ten minutes from there. The time to reach the office that would please the boss is 8.30am. That left six minutes work at spa. What kind of work? I no where near looked to being in even a parlour. I hadn’t bathed today. Hm. The auto stopped. I walked the corridor of my office like a person guilty of murder. The colleagues looked at me with a raised brow, a demonous laugh, a wicked smile, a let-see-what-you’ll-come-up-with-today look, a sympathetic smile, and a thumbs-up sign. I passed the glass door of the boss to reach the desk to sign in the register. I skipped a glance into his office. He was on phone. Looked furious. He did not look at me. I heaved a sigh of relief but somewhere a lost excuse weighed me down. Now I can use this some other time only when I reach at 8.56. Generally I get even more late. A tilted my head and signed in the register. Just before me a colleague signed and timed it 8.54. And this was the person who’ll come up with sad stories, stories like a break up (which doesn’t really work well with the boss or bosses, in general), but he can’t help it. Those never really are excuses. They are actually the real reasons for his late-coming.  Once he said he had been in traffic, which tops the list of lamest excuses, and was on number two in excuses for kindergarten kids-don’t ever use it at your job book. Yes, I have to keep myself updated. I am not ashamed of flicking through such articles at a magazine stand, or buying books titled late? You boss would love you if your excuse is: from flipkart. We have a kind of competition going around at the office. And I am winning. And taking an advantage of your unnoticiability by the boss for excusing from making an excuse is not my cup of tea.

I heard him stomp down the receiver. I went into his office. ‘Good morning, sir!’ And a smile. He hates people having a good time when he is sad. And I use this weakness. ‘Yes? Why are you so happy? You are late for about half an hour. Why?’ Hm. ‘Sir, I reached here at 8.30. Then I remembered about the client form China and the big merger with their magazine today. I realised I need to look presentable for that, and knowing the scorching summers, without a trip to the parlour, one cannot. So I took a ride towards the nearest spa, where I have chatted up with your wife a couple of times earlier, and when I was there, I thought I’ll ask your daughter to accompany me. She has her prom night tomorrow, isn’t  it? So after waiting for five minutes there, I came back, since I could not reach her cellphone and I know you don’t like to be disturbed for such stuff on call. So, can you call her for me and ask if she would like to be pampered with oils and beauty products and stuff?’ The competitor, one of my colleagues, whom we have nicknamed ‘SistaEmul’ for her emulous nature, heard with wide eyes my story through the opened door and looked baffled. I really would have fallen from my chair, had I been sitting on one, by looking at her expression. The boss considered it. The daughter and I did get together and had come to know her due to one of my other excuses a year ago. Later about that. The daughter being younger to me, obviously I would pay for the facial and stuff, and I was sure she must have been tugging on his sleeves for some extra bucks for the prom night. So the boss quickly agreed and called her up and told her to come to office in an hour.

As I walked back to my seat, I gave a raised eyebrow, a mocking tongue, and a cheerful smile to whoever I passed. I am not stupid, like you would think. Or like most of the people here think. I got to work for an hour there, as I waited for the young girl, and then I got almost a day off (you know how much time does the waiting at spa take? And the facial, bleach, manicure, pedicure, waxing and stuff that one needs to get done if you are passing out from your school? Looking beautiful that day is like telling all the bitches you hated and the guys you stalked that look! I rock! And plus, the amount of beautiful I need to look for the big thing for the company would require some time as well, isn’t it?) I let my colleagues believe I am a douche, but see, and be privileged that I am disclosing how these stories work to you. I got to go to the parlour (a thumbs up), I had to pay for the little girl( a thumbs down), I got some three to four hours off(a thumbs up), without any loss in pay (a thumbs up), the pay of three hours totally compensate the payment of the spa for the young lady, and half of mine (yeah, I am well off), and at the end of the day, I was  looking good, and got a step higher in the competition with  my colleagues! The pleasure of the last in the list surpasses all, I tell you. Also, I had to go to the spa anyway, anybody could tell. Now I could use my weekend watching a movie with my boyfriend instead of being in a spa all day. Also, I get to chat up with the boss’s daughter, who is petty sweet; unlike a stereotypical urban school-going girl, she is not very bitchy, if I take a light-hearted view of her father. We do not discuss her father. Never. That’s the only way we can be on friendly terms.

That’s how I survived and enjoyed that day being late! And got an off for three hours for being late for half an hour! There is no downside of it, believe me. And unlike the guy who gave an excuse of witnessing an accident, and had to take the injured guy to the hospital, he raised himself in the social service context, but in the end, his story is a sad one. I make happy excuses, which do not make me feel sad anyhow! Just that I am lying might hurt my conscience a little, but when I saw myself in mirror that day at 5 pm, just before the bid deal, the conscience pushed itself back. Also, I would rather lie than lose my job that pay me well enough to support my spa-appointments! ;)

I used a writing prompt for this piece. 
7. You’re late for work because you overslept, but your boss hates over-sleepers. He does love entertaining stories, so create the most outlandish excuse as to why you were late.

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