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The Lunch Box Journal

The Lunch Box Journal

Chapter I

It’s more cold this year than it has ever been“, one of the migrant to Bangalore told to a Bangalorean while rubbing his hands over a cup of Green Tea sitting at the cafeteria of an IT organization. It was always cool. That was one thing the Bangaloreans brag about all the time, besides many other things, the other popular being the fast traffic jams. There could be a traffic jam within seconds. Is that fast enough? But it would take hours to clear the same and much more time to travel 10 meters. The cafeteria is surrounded with building on all four sides, the ones with the glass planes, because that’s the default setup of most IT buildings, is it not? This particular IT office harbored a minimal crowd of over 5000 people. Well, there are much bigger and larger IT complexes.

The cafeteria always have the momentum, with people coming and going. But it is never dull. Even the weekends got company, but some people are still single. The fabricated glass kept the office key strokes inside and the outside chatter out. Even if it rained or if a big storm graced them, the people furiously hitting their keys would never have a clue unless they decide to take a break and come out of their boxed colonies.

It was midweek as the atmosphere settled in the office chatter, like a slow rhythmic music in the background. And then there was this group of people just heading out for their usual lunch date.

Neil stood with his blue box. No it wasn’t a covert operation and this blue box didn’t contain great many secrets, except perhaps that secret ingredients in his food that just his mom knows, a very big secret. He stood over an array of empty chairs facing each other. And no, it wasn’t a business meeting. He was just saving seats for his colleagues. Not to brag too much besides the fact that he is a good athlete, that he participates in Marathons and is creative inside out, he also has a very good eye. So, this selection of these seats is strategically done to achieve one purpose – Maximum exposure.

Gautham sat with his half fried rice and was complaining about the music that was playing on the stage behind. He was very much particular about the quality of sound, and was just disappointed at the people behind the sound console pretending to know how to handle music, which he knew they didn’t. Everyone could hear the dismay in his facial expressions and well. And also the uneven blaring music that made people jump in their seats. In lieu of the music, he has been very good with hands, literally. A couple too many times, they did the magic on the singing floor when he provided the music to some of the great melodies every sung, by another equally talented artist in the group. Though sometimes, he lends his voice but is still pissed at not getting the right recognition for the talent he possess at the very office campus. But he will sure make his mark soon, perhaps not inside these glassed walls.

Madhav sat with his smoking hot plate with some Chinese delicacies. He probably is the most decent guy, calm and composed. Perhaps, its the same calm that one keeps hearing about in the phrase, “It’s always calm before the storm”. Perhaps, it would be better if no one gets to meet this so called ‘storm’. But in general, every group has that one guy who is more decent than the rest of the others. Well, this group has one too.

Sameer was profusely sweating while he was having his lunch. Why because of the mistaken capsicum. He wiped his face with the kerchief in his other hand but only after he corrected the grammar saying, “It’s not Why because, since both mean almost the same”. Being the President of the well known Rotary club that involves bettering people at communication, not only at a professional level, but also at personal level, it was kind of his job to correct people, no offence at all. It has been a great achievement for the fresher that he is. Well, that is what he is mistaken for most of the time. Why, because. Because of his charming young looks or may it is just the Ponds Age Miracle.

Akhil opened his ‘healthy – vegetarian’  lunch box freshly heated from the microwave labelled “Non Vegetarian”. A head bath a day keeps anything and everything away anyway. But he had to open his phone to attend a call from another concerned individual who seems to be more concerned about him. No wonder he is the lucky guy and the whole group is proud of him. Actually, the group, plus one more person are proud of him for his singing skills. He is (one of) the artist of the group. The singer and probably the most talkative of the lot, after Aryan ofcourse. He is always on edge. He does his Google research and if at least once he gets hold of something and believes it, he will give anything to prove that said point.

Aryan settled down with his Scrambled Egg Biryani Rice, for like the tenth time in the same week. He does say that he isn’t a fan of egg when asked about it, but he also doesn’t get bored of it since that’s what he has been having for months at a stretch, though there have been certain change in the lunch menu in between but it always ends up with the same thing. Besides being persistent at eating the same thing almost everyday, he is a self proclaimed photographer (bleh!) who keeps posting photos taken ages ago confusing people into thinking that he was there just the weekend that passed by. Basically he is a calm guy, but not as calm as he is pretending to be. He writes sometimes and it’s more devastating than him being calm.

____

5 o’clock”, Neil said and everyone turned their heads, as if it was a dance sequence or as if it was premeditated. If anyone was onlooking at this they would definitely come to know what these guys were upto. That was when it was decided to make a rulebook for “watching” and also the need to change the most common military lingo of direction.

To be continued…

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P.S. This was the much needed character introduction, aimed to better understand the people, erm characters of the “story”,  briefly. The details will follow through in the preceding posts. It is a journal of a guy, accumulating the stories happening around him, at office and outside as well. I can’t promise that it will bean absolute fun, but bear with me, I will try my best to make it more fun.

A new leaf.

A new leaf.

“I am turning a new leaf in my life”.

 

Once more, once more“, chanted the mesmerized crowd who broke into applause and cheers at the song that he had just sung. The otherwise already Mr. Popular singer had always taken the front row seat when it came to singing- his unique talent among many other talents. The talent was not only in being able to pitch the sharps and lows at the right time, but also in the ability to sing songs in languages that were unknown to him. What does it tell about a person who could sing in three different languages. Well, some are just born talented, aren’t they?

It was the season of the advent of monsoon and talent shows, most of them organized at office. It was his chance to take the cue and shine bright like always. There was an official notice about the auditions which ranged from stand up comedy to dance. The auditions have begun and they were at full-fledged at the campus auditorium. But unfortunately, He had already planned his trip to go home that he didn’t realize that the dates of his travel were clashing with that of the song audition date. With a little heavy heart, he let go of his inhibition to sing this time and go ahead with the actual plan of going home.

After his arrival back to office he inquired about the songs selection, whether it was already done or was supposed to be done to which they informed that he could give his audition later that day because the organizers knew what talent this guy had and hence wanted to give him a chance. As happy as he was to be given an opportunity and people having a little faith in him, he decided not to take that offer on account of the prejudiced history he had had. A year or so earlier, since he was good at singing and being a regular at singing, for competition or not, award or no award, just for fun or cultural programs, he was on the panel for judging the contestants. He felt awkward doing what was asked of him, given the few facts that he was the almost the same age and probably younger than the contestants and also on the point that how could he be qualified to judge their singing skills. Keeping those good old memories in mind, he decided not to risk it even if it meant that he won’t be able to perform. Imagine how a performer would feel like when they are devoid of the chance to perform. But that didn’t bother him much. Instead he decided to accompany his friend Ayushi, who was auditioning for dance. That is when he saw her.

The stage was brightly lit, the auditorium slightly dim and the lights focused on the people performing on the stage, auditioning to be selected as top five. But of all the people on the stage, the spotlight was on just one person, his spotlight. As he screened through the people on the stage he recognized one particular girl they all had been discussing about the other day- Neel‘s crush. That was when he saw her friends along with her in synchronized moves as the music blared in the auditorium and the seats vibrated to the bass. He stood there in muted silence as he slowly realized that he was still standing and his friend was staring at him with confused and suspicious eyes. He was excited about spotting Mirza and couldn’t wait to tell the news to Neel, but he was more lost in the moment as they finished their dance routine and took their seats. He showed his friend whom he was accompanying about the girl and the Mirza. He even asked her to get her name and phone number if possible. She smiled at him even thought her teeth were crackling under her breath as she agreed do what was asked of her without saying a word.

Akhil, the guy who never needed an introduction. A singer, musician, multi talented, charming yet hard working guy. A bit talkative, but that’s all for the best and not to mention the ladies man, of course. The singers take away all the good stuff, don’t they? Having had the company of this creature for over two years, I still haven’t learnt how to sing. You can’t blame me for poor vocal chords, you really can’t. No, you can’t judge me, now. Such intolerance, I tell you. Besides singing he is a fitness freak, and will most likely to star in one of the sequel of the epic movie starring Salman Khan. He is getting replaced. As a result, he even turned a new leaf in his life, which which he is just going to drink green tea all day, everyday and also going all green and organic. What’s more? He is the official health SPOC. There’s lot of more stuff. But all in due time.

_______________

Who is Neel? Who is Mirza? Who is Ayushi? Who the unknown lady is? What the hell is happening? Is this some kind of fiction? Or a diary? Or a series of events happening around me? I believe you never had these questions. Thank you and good. Because, I think you could help me out. I am completely confused here.

– #TheLunchBoxJournal
ak, ᴠɪxᴍᴍxᴠɪ
Tied Down.

Tied Down.

Oh, we did have a feeling about it and we were right”
A secret can’t be kept too long. Usually, it can be. But it is not quite the same when it is playing just in front of out eyes. Many had their suspicions, but it wasn’t something one could just walk up and clear the doubts. It started a year ago. When the cupid struck Vikram had take a big step in making a choice for himself, for his life. It was a big leap from the normal routine he usually employed which comprised mostly of work then any other avocations. He proposed to the love of his life, Asha. It wasn’t easy. Because there were a few things that didn’t hit the right chords. There were differences, differences of course are what makes life interesting. Else it would be just the same, constant; a monopoly, in colors or black and white, figuratively speaking. And as friends, we were there to support him, both of them. That was our responsibility, per say. Eventually, after a few ups and downs they were set to follow a single path, thats when two roads met. The differences that people pointed out were out the picture now as they were one and decided to follow the path till the end. 
 
After a few weeks, they came forward and announced in confidence to the selected few, us, whom they considered friends. Now, this was a secret until everything is set right. What else was left to set right, you might ask? It is not just the two people who have to agree, there were the parents who need some convincing to do. A few hiccups, a few agreements, a few disagreements, a few meets still wasn’t enough to consider the wishes of their children. After all they are the parents and they had the best interests of their kids, no matter the consequences. So, there were not compromising on their future and were considering all options to come to a conclusion what might be in best interests for all people. A few months later, it was finally decided. Asha’s parents flew to Vikram’s house to discuss about the dates, a date to unify them, a date of their marriage, a date when they could start their own journey together. 
 
Now that everything was set and the things were falling in place, they felt that it was time to disclose the secret. A secret which was confined to just the small circle of friends. But it wasn’t really the best kept secret. People see things and there begins the assumptions. And Vikram and Asha were too secretive about it either, though they tried their best. It was quite evident to spot the people in love, even if they don’t want to be found they can’t stay hidden. So, a month from now, they will write their own story as one in unison, a path that they both will follow for the rest of their life. Then they will be truly together. As they were making everyone in their vicinity know about the unison, a few have had their eyebrows raised, a few had a we-kind-of-know-but-act-surprised face. But for Vik & Ash, a new journey is going to begin while they are count the days eagerly waiting for that auspicious day.
_____________________________
 
We were a group of seven friends. A little disagreement, or more like a difference of opinion trickled down to six. Gautham got a better project and moved to another building located at different part of the city. One more guy, Venky got married last month. And now Vikram and Asha are also tying the knots. This means everybody is getting married. And that leaves us two guys Karthik and I, who are single (and ready to mingle). And if you are wondering why I dwell away my weekends at the coffee shop (You weren’t wondering? Ouch!) , you have the answer right here – The married guy fancies the time with his wife ( of course) and two other guys are busy in their “world” and Gautham seems very busy with his social life with his new found buddies at his office. Well, I am not up for marriage, for at least few more years, or a decade perhaps. A year more and we might have only one single guy. 
When the two roads met.

When the two roads met.

 
It wasn’t an easy step for Vivek to have taken the high road. He wasn’t sure of the what might have happened otherwise. But it was the risk he was willing to take. He always had a thing for pretty women. Well, who doesn’t? Unless, of course the stereotype is different. And then the pretty thing happened to be the girl from the same office, same friend’s circle. But who would have thought. Love. Love happened. When did all this happen, how did all this happen still linger to be quite a mystery. And who would that lucky lady be? 
 
 
It the middle of January when we heard the news of a friend, Sameera’s sister’s marriage. As a formality she had invited this little group of friends for the marriage. I wasn’t sure about all this since the person in question is an unknown person and we going there might not look good, may be. But anyway as the day neared, we planned a small trip of 3 days. And obviously, someone had to bail out. So, Karthik bailed on us just a few days before the planned trip with the sole purpose to meet his brother who was coming to the city that very weekend. So, that left us with four people with Asha being one of them. If I were in her shoes, I would have given it a pass, but she didn’t. Well, the reason was obvious, but we weren’t sure.
 
The night saw the busiest of the traffic and the darkest of all nights. I am usually the insomniac, a noted one. But journeys aren’t my strong suit in this aspect. So, if I don’t have a laptop or a book, the obvious thing that I do is sleep, of course. Who wouldn’t, right? But for the next 2 days, I was the guy who slept the most. I was seating comfortably in the rear, while Gautham was in the front to guide the driver as he knew the way better than we did and also the fact that we were going to his hometown, his home. That was the plan for the first day. I slept like a coma patient, totally unaware of what was happening around me unless they stopped the car to get something or the destination arrived. And from that onwards, they mock me whenever it comes about journeys and sleep. Believe me, I can go for 3 days in a row without sleeping. You would probably black out after day 1. 
 
The car silently took the curves as I lay indulged in some creepy dream of sorts. Asha and Vivek were sitting beside me, while Gautham was fiddling with the Google Maps in the front seat of the car. The chemistry that was building up beside me was not a bizarre thing. We always had an idea of what was happening, but we couldn’t be so sure. Why because Asha is  elder to us except for Gautham who is the eldest of us all. So, why pinch the sleeping tiger and mess everything all up. And we were quite about all this even though the progress was visibly visible. After two days of long tedious and tiring journey where I enjoyed the company of a curled up sleep and crazy dreams while the chemistry bonded over 500 miles of journey and a lot of talking and talking. If it weren’t for that trip, Vivek wouldn’t have been so forthcoming about this to her and vice versa. And if it weren’t for this trip, we wouldn’t have to see these couple cosying up in the office or any place as a matter of fact. If it weren’t for this trip. If it weren’t for Sameera’s sister’s marriage. If it weren’t for Sameera to persuade us to come. 
 
But what happened in the past month, God could only imagine. Sameera, Asha, Vivek and Karthik are on bad terms. Really bad terms. Sameera thought it was better to withdraw herself from whatever was happening. And the rest of the people kind of agreed to the excommunication. I am stranded in the middle still dipped in a sea of confusion of what had just happened and could that be that great/big of a reason to break. It started off with Sameera and Vivek and Karthik reeled in a second later. And then Venky had to add the fuel. No, he wasn’t the main reason but when it came to pointing fingers, one did momentarily. Truth be told, I have no idea what the freaking hell was happening. And since Vivek is involved and the front runner of all this, Asha took a stand along with him. Of course she had to, or not. It was her choice to make. The result was drastic, one I could never imagine. 
 
I could get glimpses of Asha passing comments on Sameera every once in a while, about what she does, did and was doing. They were good friends before all of us. And now, not quite so. If letting go was one thing, stop complaining or passing comments and most importantly stop referring to people as third person. They have a name, either use it or stfu. Well, whatever. Moving on. Seriously though, I could never move on until this is resolved. Or is it resolved already. Has the differences set everything straight? I chose not the believe this, no matter how true it turned out to be. Once a friend stays a friend, am I wrong? I probably am.  
 
The roads, now merged as one travelling to the destination unknown. Hand in hand, syncing their songs of togetherness they walked down the trodden road, exploring and beheld with questions of what was in store for them. Everybody, Vivek and Asha , simply inseparable !! 
 
____________________________________
 
P.S.: I guess it didn’t turned out the way I wanted it to. I don’t know. I got carried away but the ticking clock, may be. No, not exactly, I am just finding excuses to make me feel better. But anyway, hope I don’t get people running away.
 
#ExtraordinarilyOrdinary
#Fictionalize
#OfficeDiaries 
Falling into place.

Falling into place.

“The trick is to take the risk.”
 
It is not always a trick to make the dominoes to fall into place. Yes, the key factor is dedication and not to mention the precision and or the hard work, if I could also put into this picture. There is no guarantee that the first construction would make the dominoes to fall into place. It takes several tries, and I guess we all can agree to that. But it was as easy as pie for Vivek when it came to placing the dominoes. And boy did they fall into place when he finally met the love of his life. There are complications, sure, but isn’t that love all about. So how did all this happen? And who is this mystery lady?
 
It was long before the dominoes fell into place. The way that he used to talk with her was quite evident and among a group of seven, umm including me, it is not rocket science. When the conversations long laster or when they still continue at the odd hours of the night, which is the the usual time for people to sleep. But we were never sure that this guy would really take the risk of placing the dominoes and expect them to fall into place. Well, I was always kept out of their discussions as of what happened when our guy doesn’t have lunch or seems too upset. I guess he already placed the dominoes and took the chance and by his behavior it didn’t turn out to be good. His supervisor who is another creepy guy also seemed too conscious of his behavior and inquired about the reason for his dullness. We kind of know the reason, but didn’t knew for sure. So, we didn’t had the chance to console or give us our opinion. 
 
It was another dull afternoon in the office when I learned that Vivek had to rush home due to some family emergency. I wondered what it was because I had a cousin’s marriage coming up and I was thinking of a good reason so that I could get leave from office. I could just tell that it was my cousin’s marriage and be good with it, but I already had told the same the last two times, one for the engagement and the other for the other cousin’s marriage. Anyway, I did cook up some good excuse just like this family emergency thing to attend the marriage. So anyway, he was on his way all of a sudden and our fair lady in the group summons me. And to state the obvious, I wasn’t having any work at that time, I mean literally no work at all. But before I go there, there is something else that happened just two days before this. I went for a training to which Asha also came along. And while we were waiting for the session to begin, we were having a casual conversation, when a question pops up. The question being my opinion on the guy Vivek, and how he is, about his character, and whether I would consider him if I had a sister? Again, it is not rocket science to figure out what was happening. But to be fair, I knew about that already. So, as usual I had to play dumb as if I had no idea what was happening. I gave her my piece of mind about him. So, I was dead sure that what I had anticipated was true after all. 
 
So, she calls me to the canteen and tells me the story of the dominoes falling to place and that he,Vivek was on his way to convince his parents for marriage. Whoa, steady there brother! So fast? I was literally shocked at the speed this was going. And the she continued saying that she has to take this matter to her home that weekend. Wow. I was like really WOW! No words came out of me. I don’t know whether they thought about the future or not, or even the present, or the consequences or anything. I don’t know. All I know is that it was pretty fast and the dominoes falling into place, is that the right way? 
 
P.S. : I am hoping to do much better justice to his though my words. May be next time. I had to get the kick start in writing. Though, this didn’t turned out the way I wanted it to turn out, but still. Anyway, I should have stayed as the voice that doesn’t take form of a person. Well, I hope to do that from next post onwards. 
 
#ExtraordinarilyOrdinary
#Fictionalize
#OfficeDiaries
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