I, belonging to the cult with the motto "Do nothing if it affects sleep even remotely", find it surprisingly weird that I'm attending the work-conference calls at 6.30 in the morning for the past 2 weeks consistently. Very much unlike me. And I have this habit of doing 99% of activities involuntarily in the first 20 minutes after I wake up in the morning. I call it the ’20-min-zone’. Most of the times I would wonder if I brushed that day, but I'd console myself with the assumption that I should have done that in the '20-min-zone'. At times when I brush in the nights, I'd say to myself 'Oh this is how brushing might feel like in the mornings too!' Aamir khan stole the idea and used it in TZP when Ishanth does a sleep-walk to the bathroom and brush. But that’s not the point. The point is the conference call. And most of the days, I attend the meeting in the cozy confines of the comforter. Half-asleep.
Having found that talking impedes sleep, I try to remain as silent a spectator as possible in the call, but folks offshore are smart bums. In the midst of conversations that might put one to sleep even after a strong filter kaapi (let alone half-asleep guy inside the comforter), one of the smarty-pants would suddenly say "Let's hear what Arun has to say!" The dude would make it seem a casual sentence, as if he didn’t sense that I'm dozing off. Me, being the sleepy head would wait for a second or two and see if somebody repeats the question. If not, I'd slightly recompose, clear the throat and ask slowly "What??" If no luck there, I pause and then continue "The phone line is a little noisy. Can somebody repeat the question please?!" The warriors there would feel triumphant that they succeeded in their mission. This has become a daily happening. Almost.
One dull morning, I was woken up earlier than usual by such an offshore call and the '20-min' zone prolonged longer than anticipated. I reach work at 8am and somehow I have this doubt whether the '20-min' is accompanying me at work that day. Or maybe it changed to '200-min' zone. I resort to a large kaapi, for it’s the only fight I can give against these zones. I go to the cafeteria, grab a large kaapi and walk back to my desk. With random thoughts, I open my draw and before I could realize what I did, I saw hot kaapi flowing like a river all over my desk. I actually should appreciate my dumb presence of mind. I kept looking at the flow and wondering at how it started dripping to the floor from the edges. The iPhone, which I had kept at the desk minutes ago, looked at me glowingly. "Shit!" I cursed. The iPhone swiftly went into my trouser pocket. Then I see the Kaapi River moving north. One more "shit" and I lift the laptop and carry it to the other end of the table.
I look back and I saw beautiful kaapi dot patterns. I admire them for a second and I suddenly realize the dots were formed by the kaapi droplets from the laptop. I lift the laptop and see liquid smudges of kaapi. A third loud "Shit!" followed and I ran to the pantry for paper towels. For the first time, the laptop must have wished it had diapers. In less than 15 seconds, I switched the power off, cleaned the laptop and heaved a sigh. Before I could complete the sigh, the landline phone inundated with kaapi caught my attention. Looking at the sight, I truly wished all the electronics of mine had diapers. It took over 10 minutes and 4 trips to the pantry to clean the mess in my desk. The large cup with no kaapi still stood in my desk like an achiever, conveying its power.
Did not need caffeine that day. I was automatically thrown out of sleep zone. And anything in my desk had this sweet aroma of kaapi. The phone, cables, pen, mug - it all smelled caffeine. After a while, I got used to it, but I was able to hear people sniffing their nose hard while passing my cube. In the evening, I waited till the cleaning lady came and I told her the kaapi episode. She assured it'll all be clean the next day. Day 2, I stepped in and I almost turned into a sniffer. After all, it wasn't that bad. I bend down the desk to plug my laptop cable to the power outlet. There you go. A stinker of 2-day old stale kaapi hit me hard. Real hard. I jerked from under the desk blowing my nose like a rocket. Decided I would never bend under the desk for some days now.
And today, I surpass one week after this kaapi episode. I tell my mom and she smilingly says "You always do that!! When you were a kid, you never missed to trip and pour the chutney or the water-glass in restaurants. And no wonder it continues !!"
From the collective experience, though I initially thought to blame it all on the sleep, I understand it is an inherent quality one is born with.
And by the way, did anyone know that kaapi is like wine? It actually gets stronger with time. If any of you have doubts in that, I'd invite you for a quick tour of "Journey under the desk" here at my workplace. Introductory offer. First 10 lucky customers get a ride absolutely free!