I woke up in the morning with the sun’s beam striking on my face. Those honey-coloured rays with motes of dust floating in air made my eyes twitch. I got up with a heavy head and stared at the plain white wall of my bedroom. I almost screamed in panic as the wall clock happily showed 9:10. The fear of my boss’s anger churned my stomach and I hurried to the bathroom to freshen up.
By splashing the running tap water on my sleep-begging face, I looked into the chuckling mirror. My hair were all messed up like a bird’s nest and those eyes….those red scary eyes reminded me of the previous night’s hangover. I quickly changed into a crisp white shirt and my usual black trousers to get ready for the office.
My house is littered with packets of wafers, empty cigarette boxes, bottles of whiskey and sprite. I look at my wrist watch and panic again. It’s 9.30 already! Ignoring the litter in my ‘home sweet home’, I quickly grab the keys from the drawer.
But wait….by keys I mean the ‘keys used for locking the door of my house’ and not the ‘car’ keys! A common employee, with just an average salary, can only commute by the Metro.
The metro is packed with crowd. I’m sandwiched somewhere between those ugly fat uncles with their annoying pot-bellies. They are happily enjoying their Bollywood dhinchak songs by donning their earphones amidst the chaotic surroundings.
My head is drumming like hell after those 8 pegs of whiskey that I had the previous night with my friends. The Guys’ Night Out is a harmonious way of bitching about your arrogant bosses and ex-girlfriends. Both are responsible for bringing up stress in your healthy and peaceful lives. The only worst part is the HANGOVER.
It’s 9.50 by my watch and my heart is throbbing at a two times faster rate than usual. I’m getting more and more anxious with the passing time.
I enter the office building at exact 10.15. I’m sweating profusely. I run as fast as possible to reach my boss’s cabin.
I finally enter into his room. He lifts his eyes up from his laptop after pausing the video he was viewing. From the reflection of his laptop’s screen on the opposite wall, I can make out he was watching yet another episode of his favourite daily soap Sasural Simar Ka.
With a sarcastic smile on his face, he shoots those lovely words at me – “I’m glad to see you so early Mr. Rawat. Welcome to your Sarkari Daftar!”.
“I’m extremely sorry Sir”, are the only words that manage to come out from my mouth.
“What excuse do you have Mr. Rawat? Don’t tell me the same old outdated excuses like the alarm clock didn’t buzz or something”
“Sir I forgot to pay the electricity bill…”
“Shut up! Don’t lie to me you nincompoop. I’m sure you must be busy with your girlphraand. When I was of your age, I couldun’t even think of it”
The pressure was building up inside me. My boss’s extremely loud voice was hammering on my head. I had this urgency to escape to the washroom but simply couldn’t due to his never-ending lecture. Finally, after 20 minutes of bowel-controlling exercise, the lecture ended. I rushed to the washroom as fast as I could.
It feels so good after defecating in peace. I reach to the wash basin and splash some more water on my face in the hope of terminating the severe headache I’m having.
Unaware of the time, I sat in my cubicle and started working on the project assigned to me. I was busy working on the presentation, without giving a damn about my headache. It was around 5 when my phone vibrated and flashed ‘Sir Calling’.
I pick up the call and the only words that echo in my ear are “Come to my cabin Mr. Rawat”.
I save the presentation on my system and reach to his cabin with running footsteps. I gather some energy to compose myself in the best way possible.
He looks at me and smiles….I know it is the calm before the storm.
“You can leave on time Mr. Rawat”, he said.
I stood perplexed.
“Did you hear me? You can leave the office and reach your place on time”, he said still maintaining his smile.
“Oh…k. Okay Sir”
There was an awkward silence between the two of us.
He finally breaks the ice by saying “I saw you working on your assignment today. You were submerged into your work. While the other employees were busy chit-chatting and roaming around the canteen, you were too busy to notice them. I’m extremely happy with your performance Mr. Rawat. You won my heart today”.
At first I thought my eardrums were hallucinating due to the previous night’s alcohol. But the way my dearest boss was smiling at me made me realise that my eardrums were alright.
I was on cloud 9 now. I wanted to dance like those drunk chachas at the wedding. It felt like….like having a glass of water after hours of walking on the Sahara desert.
Finally, all the tiredness of the entire day flew off with the magical smile and soothing words of my dearest boss. I cleared my desk, hung my bag and walked out of the office premises like those jawans marching on the Republic Day parade with their chests full of pride.
It was then that I realised hangover is a state of mind. It increases with fear and stress and vanishes with the rising levels of Serotonin.