Feb 14, 2008. To say it was a Valentine’s day is being redundant. It was when many of my colleagues and I were in our early and mid-20s, which made that V-day all the more special. We worked for an organization that believed fun in workplace. So someone proposed the idea of celebrating Valentine’s day. I was part of fun committee, and to give you a heads up, the members in the fun committee were extremists and eccentrics.
After a lot of brainstorming, we decided to organize a competition. The office had three floors. The contest would see which floor was decorated best for the V-day. The CEO would be among the jury.
Our floor housed copy editors and project managers. On the D-day, the excitement was visible. The desktops sported a romantic look, instead of the custom official desktop picture – there was a big heart with the words “Happy valentine’s day” written over it. The screensaver was the picture of a bunch of roses, again with a heart, beating. The color theme was apparent. Fruit bowls were placed at strategic locations. There were apples and grapes. The room freshener was strawberry. (Or was it jasmine?) The floor was to be half-lit when the jury arrived. Around their wrists, men wore jasmine flower bands. (Recall the “minor kunjus”of 1980s Tamil films, to visualize.) Women wore red roses. If my memory is strong, there was some romantic music too in the background. Overall, a perfect setting for romance.
All set and done. We looked at each other. There was big grin on every face. The moment arrived. There was knock at the door. The floor was half-lit and the door opened. The jury along with onlookers from the other two floors entered and they were completely floored. The CEO cried, “I’m missing my wife.” And then it happened – the moment of utter awkwardness, the moment that bowled over everyone, the moment I want to rewrite if can be. I shouted back, “Me too!” There was silence. Silence that was deafening. The CEO said, “What, you are missing my wife?” kept a straight face for a moment, then burst into a guffaw. Everyone joined him in a thunderous laughter, with me embarrassingly.
That was the last time I could remember I made an antecedent error.