The lady in the corner, has become a Monday Morning Mystery.
Today to work, she wore a black purdah, without a headscarf and became the talk of the office.
Unable to resist, I walk over to her cubicle
Aargh : "Are you feeling cold?"
Corner Lady (henceforth CL),with a smile : "No" and gets back to work.
Aargh : "You are err wearing a purdah"
CL : Nods without looking at me.
Aargh : "Well I remember reading some years back that a woman in Kashmir was beheaded because she was not wearing a purdah, I think."
Again nods without looking at me,
Aargh : "Errr its yours?"
CL : "Neighbour"
Aargh persistently : "But isnt headscarf also important?"
CL : "Its not religious"
But without smile and before I could come up another question on cross examination, she says, "If you dont mind, I am busy".
And so slowly I go to my cubicle. And by a silent signal, everyone in the office, step out slowly to the conference room. Work can wait, mysteries cant.
And I grab a notebook and pen (no my Boss has not provided me with a laptop yet) and hurry with my own cup of coffee. Thankfully she is busy with her work and doesnt join us.
And I decide to just take notes, and since the theories were flying around, cant say who said what. But a male voice is MV and a female voice FV.
MV1 : "She might be getting married and her fiancee could be fundamentalist"
FV1 : "She is already married. And I know her husband, he is nothing of that sort"
MV1 : "Well maybe he is getting married again and got converted you now. And she might not want divorce so might have decided to convert."
FV1 : "Well if thats the case one wouldnt want people to know that, why do something attention grabbing like this"
FV2 : "Well this is probably to get attention from everyone in office."
MV2 : "Wear miniskirt to wear attention, why this"
Aargh : "Maybe because she doesnt want attention "
All roll eyes
"to what she is wearing I mean" I bravely finish.
All Men shake their head, while the Females seem to think its a good idea.
FV1 : "Well yeah what if she couldnt get the matching blouse"
FV2 : "Or maybe the dry cleaner left a stain and she saw it at the last moment"
FV3 : "Or she didnt get time to iron"
FV1 : "Or maybe she didnt get the right accessories"
FV3 : "Or maybe she wore a skirt and realised she had to wax"
FV1 frownin at FV3 : "It could be scar or rashes too."
MV4 : "Hope its not AIDs or anything contagious"
A collective shudder.
MV1 : "Or perhaps she just got up late and thought its more important to be punctual than dress to work"
FV2 : "Or perhaps she went jogging and didnt have time to dress"
MV2 : "Maybe she is going to a party directly after work and she is wearing something too hot beneath it"
A moment of silence as the males imagine her in something hot.
FV3 with sarcasm "Perhaps she thought some men will finally look at her face while talking"
Some men who had been examining FV3's neckline, look away.
MV2 : "She could be just lazy and didnt want to take time to dress"
FV2 : "Or she could be tired of being trendy. Its not that easy, just when you think you have worked out the season, another magazine says something else."
FV3 : "Maybe her husband got her something horrible and she wore it please him and borrowed a purdah so that we wont laugh at it"
FV1 : "Or maybe there was a tear and she thought its more important to be punctual"
FV2 : "Or maybe she travels by bus and gets molested, you know whatever we wear, its never easy"
FV1 : "But then why wear it at office"
A pause as FV1 and FV2 exchange significant looks and look at MV2.
MV2 (with a guilty look, looks away and then to correct his image) "Probably someone from her family is forcing her. This is gross, we must offer her help"
MV1 : "Well, it could be domestic violence and she could be covering that up"
MV4 : "Whoa why should we blame the husband, when we dont have a clue. And it could be love bites too"
FV1 : "Or Maybe she is pregnant and there is a promotion next month. Who will give her a promotion, if she would go on maternity leave for 4 months in future"
MV3 : "Well perhaps her weight increased over the weekend with something she ate, her regular wear perhaps didnt fit, and she doesnt want everyone to know"
MV3 : "But is there a dress code which would apply for her? "
MV2 : "Well I think there is something on dressing decently ..."
FV1 interuppts : "And who defines whats decent"
MV2 : "Well but I dont think we can apply that rule here. But why not wear a kimono, the silk thing Japanese wear, why this. This, this is so against the culture."
FV1 to MV2 : "Yeah and the suit you are wearing had been part of our culture"
Hostile looks between FV1 and Mv2
M3 : "Hey perhaps its something from Lakme India Fashion Week"
F2 : "No way. I would know and can you imagine someone designing this?"
M2 laughs : "Maybe she is wearing some designer stuff, but realised it was not practical and is concealing it."
MV4 : "Or perhaps she is planning to steal something from the office"
Now thats interesting and unable to resist, I decide to add filmi touch to it.
Aargh : "Well she could have been raped on her way to work, now how many women who get raped, file a complaint? Perhaps she wants to pretend its normal and so wearing a purdah to hide the torn dress and scratch marks."
Irritated looks from all.
"Or perhaps she has become possessed by some spirit"
More irritated looks from all.
To get back at them, I add : "Perhaps she has decided to become a suicide bomber"
Horrified looks from all.
Then realising its pointless to terrify them "Well it could be just a dare"
We would have brainstormed more but Boss arrives on time (i.e exactly one hour 10 minutes late). And we hurry back to our cubicles.
Curious, I go back to her cubicle and hand her, the notes of the coffee break meeting.
"Just tell me if your reason is written here."
She reads it. Smiles and even laughs.
Then beckons me to come near her, so that she could whisper it in my ear.
But instead of her scent and a soft secret, I hear a shout or is it a scream?
And startled and in shock, open my eyes to see my Boss frothing in rage, at having caught me sleeping at work.
Ignoring the firing, I turn around to catch the corner lady in her cubicle, demurely at work.
I am Halfdazed,
And can see only her face
What did she wear to work today
I wondered, and heard my Boss say
"I suspend you for a month from today"
No Monday Morning mystery,
I got suspended, thats the story.