The African sunset seemed a little more red to the hapless project manager. Sweating buckets, he blinked his eyes to drive away that thought of both clients and offshore baying for his blood. He cursed his stars,gods, himself and the unholy hour when he handpicked the 3 resources for onsite. He gritted his teeth and stopped short of chewing his tongue. Adjusting his belt and pulling his pant up, he took a deep breath and exhaled forcefully, wishing he could drive away his problems the same way. Wearing a fake distant look, he returned to the guest house which was eerily silent. Not that it was empty.Under normal circumstances, evenings in the company guest house would be bustling with activity. People frantically working on their laptops, making urgent calls to offshore, preparing for the next days presentation....in short, everybody on their toes. But these..these guys whom he hired.... he stopped thinking...afraid he might burst a vein.
Meanwhile, the objects of his affections were completely unaware of his anguish. Not that they cared. The business analyst was dangerously and delicately positioned above the water tank. A slight change in position might send him to the bone setting section of an obscure African hospital.Sprawling as if he was on a bed of roses, he was talking to his fiancee in a hushed voice. Who would think this was the same guy who while talking to offshore sounded like Hari Sadu incarnate? Wearing an orange t shirt and green shorts, unmindful of the mosquitoes, he continued chatting as his body took an unnatural shape as it sagged under his weight. With his back on the tank and now a foot on an adjoining wall , he was half dangling like a potato sack.
The techie as usual was under a snake of cables. Headphones, laptop, webcam ...everything was overworked as he voice chatted with his girlfriend. Not even bothering to check if someone was nearby, he was blowing kisses upon kisses. The manager shook his head in disgust .Suddenly a delicious idea came to him. Will throwing a mug of water at the guy electrocute him? Most certainly it will, he thought savagely. Afraid he might actually do it, the manager shuffled away.
The team lead, once his trusted henchman, was the one most affected. Newly married, he had to leave his bride as she would get her visa only after a month. He came back a changed man after his marriage and adopted the role of resident vegetable. If he was not talking over the phone, he would either watch TV or mourn himself till his bodily functions forced him to come out of his stupor. Wearing the vague look of a dope addict, he hardly noticed the manager.
The situation was worse at client site. People were afraid to approach the trio for any doubt least they went into seizure. For some inexplicable reason , the lovelorn souls had stopped shaving. The manager reminded himself to talk to them about corporate dress code. Training sessions, which earlier were raucous with clients shouting their approval or disapproval with gusto(remember this is Africa), were now attended silently like a sermon. Hope before they kick us away, I can earn some dough, thought the manager gloomily.
Moving around the guest house like a lone ghost, he finally reached the kitchen when the African cook was cooking up some reasonable Indian food. He was a young man who doubled up as their driver. A recently married guy, he seemed nice enough. Africa was notorious for the power cuts. And if it weren't for the cook cum driver who ensured they always have a stock of diesel for the generator, he would end up eating candle night dinners with 3 deranged love lorn men.Suddenly the manager went white. The business analyst, having finished his love quota for the day and suddenly feeling the pangs of hunger, came down from his abode and in haste,took the diesel container and poured it on the pan.
The cook was nowhere to be seen.He fled as soon as the first flames leapt up, but not before grabbing the precious dressed chicken.People commented how 1 of the 4 men, whose house got burnt ,was almost smiling. Feeling sorry that he had gone mad with grief, they looked at him sympathetically. Suddenly the manager, with blackened face and singed hair and eyebrows, began to laugh hysterically. When he calmed down, the 3 concerned guys asked him what was the matter. He told - "Pata tha project ghush jayega, teen teen lover boys jo aa gaye!"