JournalismPakistan.com April 9, 2019
It is one of those days in office when your workload is overloaded, and you are frantically coping when you are told there is a visitor and since you know him you concede and he comes in and plonks himself and says, not too busy, I hope.
And for some reason no one has ever explained everyone lies and says, no, no, no not a bit when you should be saying, go away, please.
Then, horror of horrors, to fill in the silence you hear your voice saying, like a cup of tea or coffee and he nods enthusiastically and now you summon the office assistant as your delayed workload sneers at you. You are stuck with meaningless chitchat as some spinoff from Murphy’s law kicks in where the time taken by the assistant to bring the tea is directly proportionate to the desire to get rid of the guest. It is like the assistant knows, okay, the boss wants this man to go so I shall delay the service.
Finally, the tea appears. The guest takes a sip and says, uh oh, there is sugar in it, I do not have sugar, so the tea is abandoned on the high seas, and by now you are seething as the tray is carted away to be refreshed. Another five minutes wasted which then extends like a rubber band because said guest will now rummage in his pockets and pull out a sugar substitute pouch and drop two tabs into the tea and begin to sip it with agonizing slowness.
You remind yourself to invest in smaller cups, and now he is asking for a glass of water and you could not only hit him over the head with the glass but imagine there must be a kind judge somewhere who would let you off free if you did because can’t you see how much work I have.
Off and on you get a little variation. Someone’s tea is not warm enough, occasionally there are two or three guests and one wants tea with milk with no sugar and the other wants no milk but sugar is fine and a third says black tea, no milk, no sugar, and the service gets all muddled up naturally, and there is much confusion while you break a pencil in frustration, and you want to say, what do you think this is, the Ritz, but all you do is grin and bear it.
This tea act is a favorite stalling tactic for visitors. It gets them to stretch their time with you.
Boss, chai ho jaye.
In my dreams.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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