Worklife by Puzhudi

Blaring noise. Apocalypse? Alarm clock. Switch it off. Get yourself up. Stumble down to the fancy-tiled bathroom. Nurdle of toothpaste. Brush your teeth. Take a shit, half asleep. Time for a bath.


Sigh. Butter toast. Ten minutes late. Eat it quick. Car keys – check, appliances off – check, briefcase – check. Time to go.


Traffic lights. Curse. Sigh. Retrospect. Introspect. Regret the job. Regret life. Honking. Too loud. Irritation. Control it. Close windows.


Traffic lights green. Start the car. Switch to third and hit the road.


Thank god for reserved parking spaces. Quick time check. Five minutes late. Swear about the traffic. Again.


Elevator full. Stoic face. Internal curse. Tap shoes. Show outward patience. Smile at nearby employee. Squeeze elevator button half a dozen times.


In elevator. Thank god for deodorants. Tap the ground. Look at shoes. Polished and shiny. Nice. Smile at others. Elevator ding. Welcome to a new workday.


Pile of files – bigger. Curse the boss, curse the world, curse yourself. Set briefcase down and sit. Crick neck and crack knuckles. Time to earn for the Friday night beer and burgers.


Young secretary. Ogle. New skirt. Tight fit. Looking good. Oops. Look away. Look at files. Back to work.


Monitor the big clock at end of the hallway. Two more minutes to freedom. Sigh. Scowl. Plan for the evening. Feel hopeful. A little bit happy.


Time to go. Latch the briefcase. Car keys – check.


Get stopped by the boss. More work. Control the urge to staple his mouth to his bottom. Sit back down. Open briefcase. Smile. Two more hours.


Traffic. Too tired to curse. Smile wearily. Quiet inside the car. Dark outside. Headlights everywhere. Muffled horns. Lullaby. Try not to fall asleep.


Home at last. Sigh. Lift – out of order. Nervous breakdown – imminent.


Footsteps too loud. Too tired to care. Too angry to think. Too many steps to climb.


Tap pockets for home keys. Hope to god it's not on the worktable.


Find keys. Thank god. Open door. Control urge to go flat and doze off on the sofa.


Peel off clothes. Throw them into the washer. Get into the shower. Sigh. Water too cold. Brr. Fidget with the shower control. Too hot. Curse.


Ten o'clock. Try not to sit in front of the fifty-inch flat screen tv, bought from the previous appraisal. Not today. Too tired for tv. Too tired for anything. Too tired for life.


Sigh. Try not to cry.


Switch off lights. Get into the king-sized bed. Feel the warmth of the blankets. Sigh.


Feel good about the money you make. Feel bad about the job. Tell yourself you'll quit. Soon. One more appraisal. Sigh.


Head on pillow. Faint lights from streets. Chill air. Nice.


Tell yourself there's time. To go skydiving. To see the sharks. To date a Frenchie.


Tell yourself you can stick it to the man. Soon. Sigh. Drift to sleep.


Blaring noise. Apocalypse? Alarm clock...



Puzhudhi's work has or is set to appear in StrongVerse poetry and efiction India. Puzhudhi tweets as @puzhudhi.