of strangers in the night

So I’m back from the 2N3D offsite, and predictably enough, will now regale you with stories of the weirdness that ensued.

I was picked up from the highway next to my house in a bus with forty people, out of whom I have only ever spoken to six. Two of these six people were newly married men who had brought their wives along, and were pretending to not know me.

(Did I ever tell you that I’m the hottest maal in the office. People have been saying that to my face, which is really awkward coz I don’t know how to react to things like that, mostly coz know it’s true. So feigning modesty becomes really difficult coz I’m not familiar with the concept.)

So anyway they pretended to not know me, just smiled as I dragged my luggage into the bus.

The rest of the people I knew were basically three girls and a cute guy who works in graphics, who kinda smiled at me throughout the offsite, despite the fact that he was traveling with his wife and baby – and oh what a cute baby! Let’s call him Gfx, shall we?

The three other girls waved cheerily and welcomed me on board the bus, and then quickly resumed their laughing and hi-fiving. I put on my earphones and listened to music and clicked pictures.

We stopped for breakfast on the way, and reached the venue, a should-be-five-star-if-it-isn’t-already hotel just before the National Park. Then I met the girls for the unnecessarily lavish lunch and retired again. I skipped the team building activities too and tried to bond with my roommate instead. I asked her, why haven’t I ever seen you in office? Are you new? In response she told me that:

  • She was indeed new to the office, worked with XYZ in ABC department as assistant manager
  • It was her birthday the next day
  • She had lived alone in Indirapuram
  • for ten years
  • Her parents lived in a different city
  • Her biker buddies had planned to kidnap her from her house and bring her to Jim Corbett, but then she ruined it by coming to this offsite, so they changed their plan and were going to pick her up the next day and she was going on a vacation with them on their bikes
  • She owned the same pair of floaters as I did, but couldn’t carry them because she had brought high heels

At this point, I picked up my camera and left the room, because of all the bonding. (I realize that I don’t really make it easy for the other people to get to know me.)

I hid until the evening snacks were served. Later at night, there was an extremely boring dance party planned. The ekdum latest music seemed to be from the nineties, and they played everything from ankhiyon se goli maare to oonchi hai building. The crowd was unruly. One guy got drunk (we were allowed to carry our own alcohol to the offsite) and fell on the floor while people pointed and laughed for a full two minutes before someone ventured to pick him up and walk him to his room.

I decided to sit in a corner, but this guy (from the senior management, someone I’ve never even met) wouldn’t let me. He kept walking up to me and offering me his hand to dance, like a prince from the Victorian age. I’d oblige, stay for three seconds, turn to his wife and dance with her for a bit, and then slyly walk back to where I was sitting, but he kept coming back. No matter where I hid, he found me.

His wife was there on the dance floor all this while, glaring at me like she was going to claw my eyes out, giving me the you’re-stealing-my-husband look. I felt like I should say something to this guy, but then he wasn’t doing anything obviously wrong, and I didn’t really know how to react. I left the party and went back to my room to read and eventually fell asleep.

Thus the night ended. And another day of misery began.

The girls from my bus were in the room adjacent to mine, and in the morning I heard them screaming like they were being murdered. Still in my bathrobe, I ran out towards their room, and I found the door slightly ajar. What I saw next made me wish my eyes had melted in their sockets before I ever laid eyes on it, but you can read about that later.

For now, why don’t we talk about the strange things that you’ve seen drunk people do? Or the things you do when you’re drunk? How do you deal with non-obvious sexual advances from senior management? Would you run away like I did, or give it back to the guy?

of dancing

My heart races when I hear music. My life seems like it has a purpose. My feet begin to move, and then I start to sway, slowly. Slowly. Then my body begins to move and the music consumes me. Soon, I’m dancing as fast as I can.

Other people join in. I love that – being able to inspire other people to get up off their asses and dance – what the fuck else is life for, anyway?

And then it happens. Someone starts to move to my beat. He’s closer than I want him to be. I fight it at first. I turn around, close my eyes and keep dancing, shutting him and the rest of the world out – pretending that the music is for me and me alone. But he insists, and I give in.

We dance.

People stop dancing just to watch us. You guys are perfect.

And then it happens.

My feet stop moving. It feels strange – as though the music is not my own any more. Not my style. When did I learn those moves?

I’m doing it just to keep up with him. I can’t. I shouldn’t.

I turn around again, and close my eyes, trying to shut him out. But it’s too late. He’s there.

WP_20140907_001Arms collide. Soon, we’re stepping on each other’s toes. It begins to hurt. I want him to disappear. I don’t want to stop dancing, but he’s having such a good time it feels like it’d kill him to stop.

But if I stop he stops. So I start to pretend like I’m enjoying it. But it’s not my style. When did I learn that move?

I withdraw, just a little bit. And then a little bit more. And soon I’m standing and watching from the sidelines. I can hear the music but I can’t dance.

Someone else asks me to dance. I’m nervous at first, but I look at other women are wearing dresses and surely-uncomfortable pointy high-heels. They are dancing gracefully, almost gliding across the dance floor while I feel like a klutz.

But of course their feet hurt, coz high heels are not meant for dancing; they don’t let you the freedom you need to truly dance. I, in my tee and shorts and shoes ought to give it another try. I can do better. I deserve better.

We dance.

People stop dancing just to watch us. You guys are perfect.

And then it happens. Again.

He wants me to dance with him. Move with him like we’re one body. But we’re not, and I’m starting to feel cramped and the colliding limbs aren’t helping.

He’s puzzled. It’s like we’re suddenly dancing to different tunes.

I don’t know what to say to him. It’s not really his fault I feel like I should just dance alone.

My life is a fucking nightclub, and I’m starting to feel out of place.


P. S. This post was written in less than ten minutes.