Monday, June 11, 2007


In a white-washed room, the air is thick with the smell of food. A loud, ceaseless murmur thrums as groups of people huddle around wooden or plastic tables. The murmur is punctuated with metallic clinks as steel spoons and forks meet steel plates and bowls. An occasional burst of laughter, the sound of chairs scraping the ground as people push away from their's your typical lunch-room scene...

On one table an interesting bunch of people share their lunch-hour (sometimes it's more like 'lunch-hour-and-a-half'). The well-informed observer would spot the following individuals in that group: an interaction designer who 'moonlights' as a classic rock musician, a Dutch-woman who apart from being a competent Industrial designer is also besotted with Indian daal preparations, a quiet, mysterious multimedia specialist who is clearly unhappy with the food and a psychologist who has found his way into the software industry (yes, you read that correctly) and is enjoying his first job very much (not so much the lunch menu, though)...

Welcome to my favourite lunch table! You've just read a description of a group (myself included), that regularly shares meals during lunch-time in the office. Let me introduce you to each person in turn...


S is the kind of person it is difficult not to notice even though he doesn't really do anything deliberate to attract attention. Tall (make that very tall), lean (make that very lean!), pleasant faced and with a perpetually relaxed disposition, he's the quintessential nice guy. Not many people in the office would have had long conversations with him because he mostly keeps to himself. I noticed him for the first time when he played some smashing guitar pieces in an office party. Good music and a good musicians draw me like a magnet, so I had no choice, but to keep pestering him, until I started getting responses that were way beyond laconic! :)

When you're talking to S you have to be ready for anything from pointed euphemisms to blatantly frank remarks to mild facial expressions that speak volumes just because of their timing. A Wodehouse fan (like myself) cannot but appreciate these nuances, especially when delivered in S's trademark style - an unmistakable directness in even the most indirect remarks. Thanks to his detailed anecdotes, I am now magnificently educated on a variety of topics, ranging from the terminology of music bands to the bathing habits of hostelites in some premier technical institutes!


When I saw her for the first time, I thought C would have inspired Tolkien's image of the Elves, had they been contemporaries. Tall, calm and dignified, C has a gentle smile matched by an equally gentle nature. It couldn't have been easy for someone from the Netherlands to adapt to Mumbai's ways and conditions, but I always appreciate the way in which she conducts herself and remains composed in the face of situations that would have other expats doing a double-take! :) She apparently has a great interest in knowing about other cultures, but she obviously has an unlimited supply of patience too! There have been times when C has left me deeply impressed with her insights on life, people, religion and a host of other topics...her remarks are always laden with an intelligence that suggests that she observes a lot more than she lets on...

If you meet her at lunch-time you will be able to identify her quite easily by means of the large plastic four-lock air-tight container filled with daal that sits in front of her at the table. Somehow, the Indian pulses have captured her interest and she has probably prepared every kind of Indian lentil available. Well...the results have not always been as expected, but one must certainly appreciate the effort...or the imagination required to mix rosemary, celery or olive oil in moong daal! :) We tease her endlessly about the Netherlands, but she always takes everything good-naturedly with a characteristic smile and laugh.


You know, I've often noticed that someone is called a 'man-of-few-words' to cover up for the fact that in truth, he doesn't know very many words! My friend, A, is an outstanding exception to that rule. You would have read about him in the previous post, 'Vroom!'...he is the same person who gave me the bike ride that I was so delighted with. :)

I think the first time I spoke to him was when he came across to my cubicle to enquire about some work related thing. That conversation lasted for all of 90 seconds because I didn't have a clue about what he wanted! The next time I noticed him was in an office party where he burst into a spontaneous imitation of radio advertisements, between two musical performances. I was simply amazed, not only by his utterly professional performance, but also because I'd never once heard him speak so much!

A striking no-nonsense attitude, an endless supply of witticisms and a signature chuckle which is somehow both knowing and innocent are some of the facets of this character, whom most observers would probably find rather inscrutable. He recently introduced me to the joys of ordering food from a local restaurant, in order to recuperate from any lunches that wreak havoc on the palate. The result of this charming practice is that apart from meeting at lunch-time, we now regularly share an early evening snack. Some time in the future, when the little restaurant is a three-star hotel, it's owners will grow misty-eyed as they remember how our continued patronage led them to their elevated status.


Well, I'm hardly about to write a detailed description of myself! If you read this blog once in a while, you will get a fair idea about it's author. I'll tell you what...if someone ever writes a third-person account of me (that I like), I will put it up in this section, with due references!Until then...Bon Appetit!