It’s already six months that I have been working in this company, wringing my soul for the sole purpose to make it grow at rates unimagined even by the leaders of the company. And this was the day, when an official token of appreciation was awarded to me in the form of dinner invitation by the commander himself, The Boss. The work had constantly kept me driven to meet the targets. But this time I not only met them but successfully surpassed them to make a place in the elites of the company. Happiness and proudness earned brought the unwanted feathers on the cap, resulting in showing off to others. I too, like the Punjabis, became a showoff in no time. No matter what conversation, I will somehow mend ways to mention the privilege earned. Then came the light to blow the egoistic me shouting, “Calm down boy!! There were before and there will be more in future. So chill!!” I got to know that a couple of few have already been there, done that. And to my surprise they all, unanimously, gave a wicked smile and wished me best of luck.
Anyways the moment arrived and I, like a prepared employee, took care of the minutest details possible. I dressed properly, I pre-informed my live-in partner Anaida about the scheduled dinner party, planned my ride taking into account the traffic at those hours, took a couple of business figures in mind to discuss, and as a token of reverence, took a bottle of Dom Perignon. I also decided to take a power nap and go fresh, to compensate the last night’s late work.
I slept, got up, put on my best and left.
I reached the venue, exactly 15 min before time and pressed the doorbell. The door opened with an over smiling face of my Boss, Mr. Srinivasan, a Tamilian in his late fifties. He welcomed me with extreme politeness. I like an employee turned friend , greeted him and followed him, appreciating almost everything which could be appreciated in his house on the way, using appreciation as fillers for the lack of small talks. He, very warmly took me directly to the garden area in his house backyards, where a fully prepared well-set table was waiting for us to get wasted. And along with the table, to my surprise, there was a lady in her late twenties, sitting facing away from us busy sipping her drink, captivated completely by the sea view in front. Her silent body language and age alerted me that it’s not a usual boy’s night out, rather a family affair. I did a slight mood shift in my head and made my move towards the table. Reaching the table to my surprise…or shock precisely, heightened up when my boss introduced me to that lady as his wife. To which she looked and gave a polite smile.
Office flattery and its formalities are to be maintained no matter how unprofessional and informal the setting is. I with extreme politeness offered my regards to the couple and passed down the bottle to the Boss.
“Why the trouble” he gestured with an obvious face. Then he took the bottle and placed it into the silver Champagne bucket nearby. “Leave your office formal shoes out my boy. Be at ease a little. Come I’ll make a drink for you, what do you want Rum, Whiskey, Gin, Brandy or the one you got?”
“The Dom,” the lady chuckled with the corner of her eye, “The boy has a taste. Make a champagne toast first Shri, The Pioneer for the Pioneer.” To which the boss smiled and said, “The words have expressed” “You got THE bottle for the lady.” he said winking at me.
We all raised the toast and had our first sip. Unlike me, the other two glasses were gulped in the first go. I ticked within myself for the first successful marked impression. But before I could keep the glass back on the table, she beckoned me to finish it only to fill in for the next round. A polite request from the boss’s wife is a command. Hence, I followed and finished. As soon as I kept the glass, she picked and made another quick one for us all. “And before you both go back to your official numbers, this one’s bottoms up too ” We both adhered to the command and did the same. With the second bottoms up the liquid has kicked in.
My boss raising the eyebrows said, “Cheers to you young man. I don’t think so sweetheart that the numbers will get their chance so easily. Not before we finish our holding the drink. The drink on the ROCKS!!” I just nodded humbly, bearing a BIG NO on the face. He, being the boss, stood up and made a big full 90ml for all three of us, leaving me to wonder on whether his age is suited for this much alcohol.
“So Abhishek, tell me how did your delegation with those Chinese vendors go?” He started after not holding the drink much. “Did they really understand you or you had dumb charades sessions there? I heard you got a lady boss to woo there, you lady charmer?” But before I could wear the shy expressions, her wife threw two rolled tissue balls at him and said, “What is this? You promised no monkey business so soon. Why do you do this? Why you alwayzzzzzz do this to me, promising and never fulfilling,” banging her clenched fist on the table, portraying the buzz more than I thought. She then sweepingly turned to me and said, “Abhishek you work with him. Is he such boring with you also?” Then with a witty smile on face she said, “Do you also, like all the employees of the world, hate your boss?”
This clearly established the relationship status between the couple on the table, leaving me to respond embarrassingly, “No….no… Absolutely not.” She ignoring the remark said, “Ya Ya I know. I know we all are from the same planet, I know. Pass me your glass; I’ll make the truth serum do its work.” I offered her to make the drink myself, to which she shouted, “How dare you?”
I got a bit shocked. “You are the guest, how dare I let you do the work.” The employee within immediately told that it’s a sharp line from now, beware, be cautious and mark the steps. I looked at the boss, who was busy enjoying his whiskey, smiled and said, “It’s OK, she sometimes behaves like this after drinking.” I nodded it’s O.k. in response.
She refilled the glass and ordered, “Bottoms up”. And before the words could reach us, she finished it in one go. I knew I didn’t want the glass to finish in a hurry.
I shouldn’t more than I didn’t.
Hence I very smoothly offered my glass to the boss sitting aside me to cover the avoidance under humility. But my boss himself was heading for the ice bucket for his freshly made one.
“Abhi, what is this.” And then very cutely, almost like a toddler, she said lispingly, “This is not fair. Finish your drink, look I did mine.” She even raised her glass to assure me. Then suddenly she becoming attentively concerned, said, “Are you being like this coz of him, your old boss.” she said emphasizing dramatically on the old. “You listen, boy, THIS……..is my house and I am the one whom you should follow, now finish the fucking drink and pass me the glass,” she said commandingly with confidence.
I confused by the instructions, and taking a bet on the booze, very smartly diverted everyone on the fake call I received, giving time for anyone else to provide a pass for the moment. Then breaking the ice, my boss signaled me to pick up that glass. He even refilled his own glass from the whiskey bottle nearby and offered to raise the toast, waiting for her wife to get back with us with a fresh one for herself.
Was the noise followed by the bottoms up? And before we could hide the glass she again started. I in my mind thought, what is this lady up to? What’s with the relay? I highly doubted her capacity to hold back now. But the gorgeousness has its own company.
We all poured our share and started sipping. “So Abhishek, what’s with this “Being The Lady Charmer” thing?” I just smiled and tossed off. “No, I understand you are young. Handsomeness too has its own perks. I feel you might be the youngest lad of his old brigade. Shri told me about your achievements. Achievements graced with looks, you’ll certainly be the heartthrob of the company, aren’t you?”
To which I again smiled in modesty, noticing my boss’s reactions on the remark.
“So what’s your score, yet?” She winked slightly on the question. The ambiance, the company, and the appetizers now shook the fox in me bringing out the new spell cast clearly.
“Still on a duck,” I responded wittily.
“Ahhhh!! The sales guy and a snail’s pace, if that’s the only duck you meant.”
While I still was contemplating on how to acknowledge, the beauty spoke again, this time bearing the most adorable smile on her face, “I know you need some more of the truth serum, No?”
Nobody on this planet could have refused the offer made. We quickly made a fresh one and finished, like a pro. My boss was invisible now and the lady was on a cloud, whose level I still was counting.
“9, yes she was on the 9th one.”
This recent glass had done what it was supposed to do. I was not high, I was launched. The wife, No, the lady now threw her stilettos and stood on the chair “Ohhh boy, ohhh boy, you drink like a camel; you belong to our league of celebrating.” She said wiping the stars from the sky, every time she swayed to either side. Then suddenly bringing me down from the infinity she said, “Do you know how to dance?”
I tried looking at the invisible boss for the permission. I somehow caught him zooming in and out with his drink in front. I thought he is a sport, he’ll definitely not mind. Hence leaving him to oscillate and dissolve eventually, I allowed the party to kick in.
As of now there only was this lady in front whom I could register, in her long altering purple greenish gown, standing on the rising sand, waiting like a Yama [lord of death] in front of two doors of destinies for me.
I don’t know why but she requested unnecessarily to a ready player like me. And while she still was blabbering, someone grabbed my hand and headed me to the hall, choosing the other door of destiny for me tonight.
Before I could start appreciating the small talk with the hall, No, hall with the small talk, the lights went down making way for the ecstatic blue ambience to fill the dark. Magically some drums started to roll, with a shadow grooving on the beat. Suddenly, I notice my Boss’s stern expressionless face, exactly in front of my nose, staring me into my eyes. I flummoxed and went two………No no ten…….oooo maybe even hundred steps back only to get pulled by a hand to left oscillating with a slippery sight. I also somehow manage to identify a random man dressed as a slave moving in the hall. I tried informing the rest about him. But even before, the slave magically produced my disappeared boss and towed the yelling him to the other world from the hall.
Before I could register what’s happening, two freshly made pegs emerged from the air. The ambience made it a goblet of blood to drink, with a constantly laughing ice snow vampire lady as a company. The baffling immediately implemented the orders.
And then came a long silence of drowning into the waters. The numbness of those blue lights encapsulated me completely. I looked, sank, swam back only to sink back in again. I could feel the atmospheric pressure on me. I could feel the flickering of the blue, and the blinking of the air conditioner. I could sense the pollutants moving in and out through my nostrils, entering my body and polluting my soul, yes my soul. And once the soul is polluted, what’s now in my hand. Let the devil play its course now.
The sloshed me, took few careful steps on the rail tracks, heading towards the face imprinted on the glittery space in front.
“Let me tell you a story to chill the bones, About a thing that I saw
I was rambling, enjoying the bright moonlight
Gazing up at the stars
Not aware of a presence so near to me
Watching my every move
Then they summoned me over to join in with them
To the dance of the dead
To this day I guess I’ll never know
Just why they let me go
But I’ll never go dancing no more
Till I dance with the dead”
Iron Maiden…..The Dance of Death……OK, the morning alarm, my phone alarm, woke me up after my butterfly effect. In fact the next to me shuffling to get up and switch off the alarm woke me up.
The skipped heart beat’s impact made a bullet pass through me. My shaken perceptions only wished the person next to me to be Anaida. Please lord, please help me. I, with a pounding heart and a sweaty forehead, turned and