The elevator is an important part of an office. Apart from its contribution to ruining many a new year resolution of using stairs, its importance also lies in the fact that it is symbolic of the rise and rapid descent of the aspirations and positions of the people who ride in it. It is perhaps because of this reason that people leave their facades at their desks and are unabashedly themselves while they are in the elevator.
Consequently, the elevator becomes an amazing place to observe some queer actions and their owners.
I was not particularly sleepy, and was, in fact, met with a sudden work load I was absolutely not prepared for, when I decided to saunter in to the mini-kitchen and grap a cup. My brain longed for some lemon tea to rouse itself, so that I could ask it to focus on drab Excel sheets for the next three hours.
No sooner had I picked the cup up and pressed my lips to its rim, no sooner had my eyes closed and taste buds become alert in anticipation of the tangy taste to come, than my manager called out to me and asked me to attend a meeting a few floors above. Not one to waste a cup of tea, I left, with the tea.
I went up the elevator. I was on the 7th floor, and my destination lay on the 15th. I reached there right in time to be told the meeting had been cancelled for the day. Cursing softly to myself I walked back to the elevator.
When I got in, I found three other people standing there. All of them seemed very relaxed, leaning against the shiny walls. I found one semi-bald specimen particularly happy. He was standing with his back and head against the wall, near the floor-number panel.
At 14th, the elevator stopped, and a new man walked in. Within seconds, the happy fellow and the newbie had establshed their familarity, and also their intimacy. This new man was standing at the back of the lift. One thing to be noted, both the men had slightly bulging bellies.
About to stop at the 13th floor, happy man smiled and asked new man something. In response, new man reached out and pinched the belly of happy man, answering the question as he did it. Happy man could hardly contain his glee and proceeded to pinch back new man on the belly with another question.
For some reason at once strange and inexplicable, the elevator stopped at every floor until 7th. These curious and cringeworthy exchanges of belly poking and pinching continued throughout. Towards the end of my journey down that somehow seemed to take an incredibly long time, happy and new man had come close. Shuffling their feet, swaying, blushing and poking, they were quite a sight. If I did not have the propensity to be surprised by such things like most people here – no doubt out of practice- I would have followed them down.
I later rued having got out of the elevator a little too quickly. However, I was not disapointed for long. While coming up after some work at the ground floor, I had with me another queer companion. Soon one gentleman got up. His belly apart, he was quite thin. Now the queer one present on the elevator expressed a cry of delight on seeing him, and began-I kid you not- rubbing the odd belly of the new entrant. The entrant was embarrssed, but that in no way deterred the perpatrator of the action. The rubbed man got off just before I was about to, and while I was getting down, I heard the belly-rub-ber say that he was very fond of the other man.
My delusions that I was immune to such strange ways of greeting were dispelled the very next day. I was waiting downstairs, after a horrible ride in the metro, when I espied a man who had earlier convinced me to donate blood. He gave me a cheerful smile, and evidently feeling there needed to be more cheer between us, came towards me and hit me on my belly with the back of his hand.
Needless to say, I did not return the gesture.
I spotted a new coffee machine downstairs, one that had hot chocolate as well. A dedicated fan of hot chocolate, I picked up the cup, placed it beneath the spout and pressed the button. Some water came out, and then a few drops of milk. I waited there for 5 minutes waiting for the rest of it to come out, but nothing did. I threw it away and returned to my floor, to the familiar coffee machine, which discharged a cup of tea dutifully. I picked it up, and sipping it, went back to my desk.