Monday, December 26, 2011

Shinier than thou

Raj (name changed) is my boss. He looks like this

Daniel (name changed) is Raj’s boss – that means my boss’s boss. He looks like this.

well almost…except for the eyes to some degree and maybe the mouth and the rest of the face…but  I think the head is fine.

You can see from the pictures above that Daniel is slightly bigger than Raj…I think that’s why he is Raj’s boss.  If you are observant, you will notice that there is no picture of me J

It so happened that Daniel, who lives in Israel, was in India to have a series of meetings.

As with all meetings, there is more said than done…but that’s the idea.

If you happen or happened to work for any large but self respecting multinational corporation, you would have noticed how people in such companies have this compulsive need to gather together other people and tell them things.

Moreover, if you did have a chance to think while you were serving such an organization, you would have appreciated the fact that this need (of gathering together people and telling them things) increases as you go higher up the hierarchy…because for some unknown reason – those people high up there - they always have a lot of things to tell. Actually, that could explain the lower oxygen content in the air at higher levels…just too much gas going around.

 And…that also explains why people up there don’t do much.  Some say it is because there just isn’t much to do up there. Well…while that is mostly true, it is compounded by the fact that low oxygen levels can cause disorientation and can slow down one’s mental abilities and make it really difficult to do the easiest of things, such as thinking. So if you wondered why they appear kinda slow on the uptake – this is it.

Now, if you are among those that happen to be at higher levels, then gas dissipation would be your primary and only concern in order to survive. No, not easy…because the only way to dissipate the gas is to gather people around you…and give them the gas. Make no mistake about it - this is a zero sum game. The real killer is that you have got to be careful who you choose to give gas to. The people that you gather have got to be from the lower, gas deficit levels, for, if you chose people from your own level or even higher levels, it would be akin to suicide by gassing. But then everyone knows that people at lower levels can be very difficult to gather around because they are mostly governed by Brownian and Heisenberg’s priniciples.

Anyways, we had these, uh…series of meetings.

The effect of gas is quite interesting. At first it can be invigorating causing one to take in more and more of it. But as one takes in more and more of the gas, the ominous side effects start to show up. These typically start with a general slowing down of thinking processes and numbing of senses followed either by deep but revivable coma or by hallucinations that could sometimes take a dangerous turn causing some people to mutilate themselves. But by and large, these hallucinations are benign and one can snap out of them as soon as the gas levels come down.

Anyways, we had these, uh…series of meetings.

And I found myself gradually slipping into a gas infused semi-conscious state where it was becoming difficult for me to distinguish between reality and imagination.  Let me see if I can recall what was going on in my head.

I can vaguely remember seeing two shining orbs in front of me and a debate of some sort raging in my head. Yeah…it’s a little clearer now…I think the topic of the debate was something to do with one of the orbs being brighter than the other.

Yes, why was one orb brighter than the other?!  And what in the hell were these orbs??

Aaah… now I recollect  - I was in this gas chamber…errr…a meeting room. Raj and Daniel were sitting next to each other on the opposite side of the table under some particularly bright lights…and then there was the sweet smell of gas and then there was this question… the question that wouldn’t go away, that bothered me no end – it clung to my brain in a rather painful manner and wouldn’t let go - like the zipper that’s been pulled up in a hurry.

Why was Daniel’s head shinier than Raj’s head? Why? Why? No, I was not mistaken – I could actually feel my pupil contract each time I looked from Raj to Daniel – there definitely was an extra sheen to his bald pate.  

So what was it? Did one head have more hair than the other?  Nope - I checked this. I took a close look when I went to get a glass of water (and no - I wasn’t thirsty). They were both equally hairless. Was it the shape of the head? No – they were both round – quite round. Confirmed visually by leaning from side to side and watching how the reflection moved from side to side on the bald heads. Not much difference there- no odd bumps – surprisingly smooth – both of them.

The only explanation could be that Daniel used some sort of high-end wax polish.  And Raj? Well I am sure he used our desi amla tel (oil) – nothing spectacular.

But how could one confirm this?

Wax polish has this distinct petroleum smell – if only I could get close enough to smell Daniel’s pate! But how close? Well…I would think my nose would need to be no more than an inch away from his head to know for sure. But an inch is quite close. Daniel may not take too kindly to it…especially if my nose made unintended contact with his bald pate and sullied the shine. Not only that, it also had the potential to shake the rest of the people in the room out of their gas induced stupors and they would make a quick exit. And that would make Daniel and Raj furious! So I quickly abandoned the idea of smelling Daniel’s head. I had to find another way…

As my brain groped in the dark, I spotted a faint ray of hope that seemed to hesitate at the doorway. 
Knowing that this was my only chance, I slowly coaxed the thought in. I am sure you would have noticed how a drop of water that falls on a waxed surface never sticks to it. It just slides down the surface really quick. Well…if only I could get a drop of water on Daniel’s head…

The easiest way to achieve this would be to drop a bit of water on his head as I passed him by and then watch the water slide down his head. For that I would need to walk past him with my glass of water and maybe trip on his laptop’s power cable splashing some of the water on to his head. But there was a hitch to this plan – when the water splashed on his head, he would definitely  feel it.  And that meant he would wipe it clean…the plan wouldn’t work.  The door shut – darkness!

As I sank into despair, I think I had the first real Eureka moment of my life. My god! – did that feel good. All my earlier Eureka moments were to do with this girl called Rekha who I used to know…but this was really good! I had finally hit upon a completely fool proof way of achieving what to my gas-drugged fogged-up mind, seemed to be my only objective in life. It didn’t matter anymore that I couldn’t drop water on his head – Daniel himself would help me do it!! All I needed to do was to first talk to the office boy to get the AC in the room turned off and then order extra spicy pizzas for Daniel’s lunch and then sit back and watch the oh-so-elusive answer to my life’s question, jump straight out of Daniel’s head!

My plan swiftly went into action – the AC went off, the pizza (with the 5 chilly mark) arrived.  The room was starting to get stuffy. I settled back into the chair eyes fixed on Daniel’s bald pate. Ten pregnant minutes went by. Now, what was that – was that something glittering on Daniel’s head? Yes it was! 
My plan was starting to work! It was only a matter of time before the answer would reveal itself. It was time for lunch and Daniel reached out for the Pizza. I could barely contain my excitement as I watched with bated breath. He bit into it, chewed and swallowed, and then another bite… The color on his face started to change – it went from white to pink fairly quick. Open sesame!!! A drop of sweat had formed on the bald head and was making its way down to his brow….however, very slowly…too slowly. I finally had the answer to my question – Daniel did not use wax-polish.

However, my happiness was short-lived because the answer to that question left my life's larger question unanswered -  why did Daniels head shine more than that of Raj’s??

I spent the rest of the meetings deep in thought, analyzing and exploring various conjectures but none provided a satisfactory explanation. And so the answer remains elusive till date – waiting for the right moment to reveal itself. Till then I will go pull my hair off one by one while I continue to search – at least having a bald pate may improve my chances of becoming boss and maybe also hitting upon the answer!