Tuesday, August 02, 2011


One of my colleagues asked me the trite question “why’re we here in this world?”
She’s been depressed about her boyfriend suffering from a terminal pancreatic cancer. For some reason I don’t buy his story, I think that he’s just trying to lose her the easy way i.e. tell her that he doesn’t have a choice and he loves her but for her the sake of her life, he’s giving up on the relation. However given any chance of that concoction being true, I’m truly sad for the both of them. She’s now contemplating becoming a brahma-kumari (nun) and this question seemed to me like her initial footsteps in the same direction. I was in the middle of work and therefore it was the worst time for someone to initiate a conversation with me. A strange habit has developed in our lab that I observed only last year. If someone wishes to talk to you, they will talk to you irrespective of your unwillingness to respond to their…’advances’ if you will. Every once in a while someone in the lab is marching around like a bull drenched in testosterone, ready to shove the phallus of logorrhea into your ears. Life of a scientific staff can be as bad as that of someone in another profession, only that at our workplace the friendship between colleagues are a tad bit deeper and therefore people tend to step over your shoes at times.
I looked at her morose face, controlled my temper, took three deep breaths—which unfortunately made her feel that I was empathizing—looked at her and said “I think that question has remained unanswered for millennia and the day it is answered, it’ll be the headline of every daily so don’t worry about it. Now that you are here in this world without a personal choice, think of what you can do with this life while you’re alive because everyone of us will die one day.”
“I have nothing to do.” She said
“Then die” I quipped
“Get me some poison” she said
“Take it, the lab of full of all forms of them and you have a choice of a slow painful death and a quick one, don’t get my hands dirty, pick them yourself” I replied smiling. She realized that I wasn’t game to play daddy. I feel sorry for her but of late she’s been acting weird, she’s doing all that she can to gain sympathy and also the opposite, which makes me wonder if she’s gone mad.
Then another colleague of mine, who is experiencing attraction and love for the first time in her life and hovers around me for advices. Owing to work stress, I’ve not been in the best of moods lately and am a bit volatile. The million questions about what to do and whether what she’s doing is right or what other way can it be done to mitigate a possible damage only sap my already waning energy. At times I feel like I’m being raped.
  • Unlike messaging, he dislikes talking much on the phone which is quite unlike me. You know we don’t have much to talk on the phone, we keep saying the phrase ‘and what else…’ and don’t have anything to say. I think it’s ok to mail and message, you know I am so impressed with his tech-blog and he’s such an expert in his field. He’s been in this field for the past 10 years and has also worked with a scientist in IISc Bangalore on micro-electronics. So I asked him if he wished to pursue further education and he said he wished to do a PhD…my my..I was so impressed. You know he’s done MTech from BITS Pilani. Then I asked him what field he wanted to do his PhD in, he said Management! I was surprised that being such a tech freak he wished to get into business administration but what the heck, the monetary benefits might be interesting. You know he says he doesn’t believe in caste or religion he just wants someone down to earth the he can settle down with. He doesn’t live with his parents and when I asked him why he said that he doesn’t get along with them because they’re very orthodox. I think he’s sweet but he looks so skinny, I dunno if I’m being nasty here. But what the heck, I think he’s nice. I think I should get to know him and just be friends.” She said all that and much more while I had my back towards her face and was concentrating on pipetting out 33.3 microliters of APS solution and adding it to the PAGE solution, convinced that all the noise emanating from the back would definitely screw up something in my work.

“You talking to me?” I inquired as I turned my head around
“Well of course I am” she said, visibly offended “Who else do you think I’d be talking to you standing this close to you and looking at you?”
“Ah! This is not the best time…” I said sounding very tired…I was.
“Well then you really need to take time and hear me out today. A cup of tea when you’re free?” She asked.
“Yeah yeah sure.” I continued doing my work and avoided her for the rest of the day.
I went out of the lab and bumped into my worst nightmare, a guy from another lab who’s totally depressed these days owing to his girl ditching him after going to the US. I’ve counseled him months and have lately realized that it’s taking a toll on my mind.
“Howdy bro? You know she still didn’t reply to my email but she’s been checking them all regularly” he said almost blocking my way.
“What can you do bro!! Just wait” I replied, praying the earth would swallow him from in front of my eyes.
“Na what do you say, shall I send her one more email?” he asked
“If you feel like.” I replied smiling
“Or shall I wait?” he asked
“I think that’d be better.” I said
“What do you suggest?”
“I just did; wait”
“How long do I wait?”
I wanted to say this “till she finds a suitable NRI to live her life with and then you can move on.” But that would’ve made him cry so I said “I dunno, maybe a week, month…till however long you can wait comfortably.”
“Shall I wait till my B’day?” He asked
“Yeah sure. See if she wishes you. If she doesn’t, you have your answer” I said having no clue about when his b’day falls.
“ok man, you know I’m just writhing in this pain of separation and look at that woman, she’s unaffected.”
“Man had you gone to the US, you might have done the same to her…and then you would’ve known. But if what you both have is true, she will come around, give her time.” I said
“How long?” he asked
Now I really wanted to cry and howl our “Go fuck yourself you loser, get a blue movie and shag…get a whore if you’re desperate for god’s sake but let me go my way.”…But I took three deep breaths and said “Wait till your b’day man.” And I walked on.
“You’re right bro” he said smiling, giving me a thumbs up.
By evening, I was dead tired after an intense argument with my boss, my mind was confused and I was irritable. So I sat on a chair in a corner of a corridor where they’ve kept a table and a few chairs next to a glass door for people to ease out if they wish to. The constant hum of the incubators motor sounded like a sweet lullaby and I dozed off.
I sprang up, scared out of my wits, only to find my junior laughing after she saw my reaction to her screaming into my ear while I was sleeping. I seriously wanted to give her a piece of my mind but saw the happiness that she’d derived out of this antic and just let her be.
“So even you’re scared of something Jesse sir” She said
“I’m scared of a lot of things” I said directing the pun at ‘unwanted conversations’
“Oh! So you just look big but really have a mouse’s heart.” She retorted and pissed me off further.
“yeah, you’re right. You should’ve been an x-ray machine, what are you doing in a human form?” I said with a dry laugh as I got up to walk back to my lab.
“good luck” I said
“What for?” She asked
“For your survival when I take my revenge” I said walking away with heavy sleepy footsteps
I’m back in my four walls, I’m still dizzy and frizzy but I’m safe now.

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