The Office lies in a quiet corner of Jodhpur Park, overlooking the Lake. You get off your rickshaw and holler for either Kneo or J from the streets, and if they're done making out and can be bothered to open the rusted gate with an oddly patterned grill before the popcornwallah looks nastily at you for having spoiled his sleep, then it's your lucky day. You walk up a dark staircase, quietly, so as not to catch Bimba Da the caretaker's disapproving eye, and when you're in through the door, let the debauchery begin.
It's a maze, The Office - numerous cubicles, couches and chairs bumping into you, tiny bathrooms springing out from where you least expected, and a kitchen catching you by surprise. On Sunday evenings it transforms itself into an orange Pandora's box. Catch it emerging out of a marijuana haze.
We have fond memories of the Office, all of us. This was where we were, the night before our B.A. Final Year Paper VIII exam., smoking pot and listening to Dylan and The Who. Occasionally wondering whether we would ever learn. Resolving Never to.
This was where the Sundance Kid told us his exploits with a Nepali prostitute, over a crate of bad Kalyani beer. Where Shoe expressed his political convictions and goggled his eyes at us so we would listen. Murder has been planned at the Office. Revolutions chalked out. Cinema has been argued over, home videos shot. Of, for instance, Tapu taking a self-absorbed drag from a joint, then suddenly leaping into the air, giving the camera a menacing look and screaming,"pNowd maaarbooow!" in his typical Kehsto Mukherjee voice. Al in the same shot looking disinterested and muttering,"Dhar bNara". Gossip has been exchanged at the Office, love affairs disclosed, news of marriages gasped over. My second [and last] unsuccessful attempt at peeing in a men's urinal happened at the Office. Christmas Eve has been celebrated and tests fretted over. Vacuous looks and long silences have been settled comfortably into. Mountains of shingara, kochuri and vegetable chops devoured at the Office after mad pangs of dope-induced hunger.
So it feels awkward to have to go there today and see the place dismantled. The Office is to be no more. Goodbyes are so confusing.
On a pleasanter note, listen to the John Pizzarelli Trio song "I Like Jersey Best". It's hilarious - they do the whole song imitating the styles of, from Dylan to the Beach Boys and Lou Reed.
Terrifyingly enough I have an Augustan Core test in less than 12 hours. None of the texts OR class notes have been read. No reference work done. I feel strangely at peace with knowledge of certain doom.
Woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown.