Deserted room. Dusty tables. Wires running all over the place as if hijacked by thin black snakes, like in that movie ” Snakes in the Plane”. A lady, wearing hand-woven cream coloured sweater and bright, and I mean slide the photo-editor-slider-to-extreme-right-level of bright red shawl, just entered. The scarcely populated hall nods a little, tells me she must be a senior in ranks here. 15 desktop pc’s, and only 4 have been booted up. 1 out of these 4 machines have Flipkart, Amazon and SnapDeal opened up. All tabs with different brands of wrist watches opened up. Thin straps. Colours red, pink and all shades of these two colours. I guess the surd guy’s daughter’s birthday is coming up. The discussion is about where to find the express delivery option. Forgot to buy a gift, and now looking for a way out, this guy.
E-com has changed the entire structure of shopping and gifting in India within the last few years. An age when shopping online had hesitance to an age when shopping from a local mart raises more hesitation. Blame the easy, zero argument, return of goods facility these sites provide.
10:50 am. 5th pc boots up. But attendance in the room hasn’t changed. An attitude that reflects the attitude of all Govt. Departments. Morning gossip is an essential start of the day. The old machine apparently takes some more time, time worth some last night alcohol party gossip sharing, to rise up to the Green Meadow wallpaper of Windows XP. The red shawled woman calls out to the lady who has been swirling the spoon in a large mug for the last 15 mins. What we call, “beating the coffee”, for a creamier coffee. So this red woman hands over a bunch of papers to her. She walks straight to the worn out photocopier cum scanner. God! This copier needs to be admitted to the ICU ward of Hewlett Packard service station urgently. Such loud screeches.
11 am. Still no sign of any increase in the attendance of the room. Punjabi songs are flowing through the air molecules around; sharing of songs is underway now. The guy I am supposed to meet is nowhere to be seen.
Steel racks being used to the best. Heavy Index files all around, with wide plain sheets pasted on their spines, marking what the file is all about.
Meanwhile, coffee is ready. The butter bite biscuits are being garnished on flat, embossed with flowery designs, steel dishes.
“No thanks.”, I promptly reply, to the lifting of eyebrows by the helping staff, presuming I was being offered a cup!
11:30 am. So the guy arrives finally. Heavy corduroy coat. French beard. Santa belly.
11:35 am. Documents signed. Letters picked up. I am on my way back. So all I needed to do was a 1 and a half hour travel, over one hour of patience for a 5-minute job. Day well wasted.