The Canteen Buzz

ABDUL WAJID
Corporate Satire

It was just another day at office — Exhausting. To rejuvenate myself, I headed for the office
canteen that looked packed. Smalltalk, badmouthing, laughter and gossiping filled the air.
There were few people standing to grab the complimentary snacks and in no time a queue
was into making. I joined in too, populating the queue further. Soon the few people standing
swelled into a life-sized crowd of frantic savages nearly tantamount to animals waiting for
their prey.
“People are always in a rush when it comes to waiting in a queue,” whispered my wandering
thoughts to me. “The behavior of such people defines a cutthroat rat-race wherein they trim
down their civic senses as the waiting period increases. In a little while, the adrenaline rushes
fast, blood pressure increases, heartbeat amplifies, frowns appear on the forehead, little
puffing starts and anger cranks up.”
The queue started swelling further and not many people standing could keep their patience.
They made it to look like an overwhelming queue of restless angry people. Others were busy
chatting with their comrades or playing with their android toys that diverted their attention.
Each face was wearing an exhaustive look while waiting keenly for their turn. There were
around 14 people in front of me and some 14 more behind, plus others who were queuejumping from left and right with the help of their associates already in the queue. Traitors!
While waiting for my turn I could feel the different levels of disgust on each face. Starting
from the level zero at the front, up to the extreme level of disgust at last position, the
expressions were contrasting. Mesmerized (the first person), relaxed (the second person),
happy (the third person) and so on the expressions kept varying as anxious, eager, little more
anxious, excited (that was me), paranoid (my neighbor on watching me), sulky, sad, little
angry, huffy, very angry, frustrated, and the last one as foiled and hopeless.
Few more eager minutes passed as such without much progress. Meanwhile I was lost in my
thoughts of my previous company. I recollected the splendid service of the former canteen
and the appetizing quality food it offered. I could not relate it to the present one that seems
repugnant, at least as of now. I recollected the heydays of partying with my friends at the
former office canteen that sufficed all our edible and recreational needs, all compatible with
the pocket. Birthdays, farewells, promotions, bets, the canteen was the hub for all events, be
it of any kind, no matter how significant or trivial.
On the contrary, “This new canteen is really under development. In other words, it sucks!!”
my wandering thoughts whispered to me again. There are not enough spoons to feed the
crowd in the canteen let alone talk about the other necessities. At times it happens that
people jump over each other to fetch a spoon; grabbing, snatching and almost scuffling with
their spoon-grabbing competitors. It sounds silly and looks even more stupid watching their
“professionalism”. Ha-ha! — use your weaPEN — Few minutes later I rolled back to my present position standing in the queue, as my neighbor
throbbed at me with his unfriendly looks prompting me to move on. “This is not cool,” I
uttered to myself while reciprocating him with a phony smile. To add more to my annoyance,
my neighbor started an unprofessional talk on his phone; gabbing, almost abusing, fighting
and then barking without bothering about the surrounding ears. “Silly brains!” whispered my
thoughts as a response.
Meanwhile my eyes wandered east and west to observe something cherishing. I could see
many gangs, groups, packs and bands of people- Managers debating policies, security
personals relaxing, ladies making their G-talk, guys making their B-Talk and geeks romancing
with their gadgets.
As the queue was progressing, I could see some unhappy people dispatching their plates
unfinished. I assumed the food tasted bad. “See! Gallons of food is wasted if it tastes bad,”
whispered another random thought to me. “What if this tastes worst?”
Ho! Finally after long irate wait I could touch the holy counter and feel privileged while
looking back at the last person in the queue. “How cool is that, poor guy… Ha-ha,” my eyes
exchanged the message with his keen looks.
As a courtesy I asked the catering guy for some extra bread. Phew! I received a satirically
negative look instead. Without a second thought, I naively took my plate, thanked the
unthankful catering guy, and scanned the entire canteen for two almost minutes before I
could find an unreserved corner for myself.
Being new to this place I didn’t know enough people to make a good company. I sat nearby a
gang of new joinees with their ID-card tags shinning bright yellowish like an artificial flashy
sunflower. You can always identify the newbies following their shinny ID tags. Bollywood
gossip, badmouthing, whispering, and other trivial talks are another means of recognizing
them. No offence.
While consuming the nearly-eatable canteen food, I paused in the interim trying to digest the
eatables. I felt sorry. “I should have gone for the elite queue instead that was less crowded,”
my wandering thoughts whispered to me one more time. This queue was more like a scrum,
snuggling the poor catering guy as if he was distributing free beer. This defined the people
who prefer buying their own snacks instead waiting for peanuts. They are the smart rich
people.
Later as I finished the food that couldn’t really fill up my enormous appetite; I wondered if
the food offered was really worth the patience I maintained while waiting for my share.
“Does that make me tantamount to a jailed convict waiting desperately for food and finally
polishing peanuts?” another wandering thought whispered to my idle brain.
Lastly, before signing off my day, it was the ever-sincere, money-eating gizmo, the food
vending machine that came into handy and satiated my appetite.

P.S. This is a fictional work of author’s imaginations. Any kind of resemblance will totally
be the work of reader’s imaginations. No feelings attached- good or bad, Thank you.

— use your weaPEN —

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