There was not a single cloud in the sky. Is October really in the fall season? The odd leaf did flutter down even as job oriented migrations continued to take place. The salad days of dot com boom were slowly fading away.

EZCOM was the odd company that found something to celebrate in these tedious times. The decision makers at EZCOM planned a cruise around the bay with food, drinks and dance on the deck of a small rental ship/boat followed by dinner in San Francisco.

Heady with the recent success, everyone was cheerful beyond comprehension. Elle, the HR lady’s enthusiasm though seemed a tad staged. This was not lost on the sales group headed by Casey. The HR team was seen as the fifth-column of the company aiding and abetting the whims and fancies of the management. Making use of the informality of the occasion quite a few of the early morning jabs were aimed at the suddenly pitiful Elle. The rest of the party though was agog with excitement.

The “Navigator III” was awaiting them. Morgan, the receptionist was from Berkeley or so she kept telling everyone. She talked on the phone everyday and was used to not having an audience.

Casey’s group was on the deck. Their racket was drowning even the noise made by the gulls. Traffic on the bay bridge seemed to be light as they passed under it.

Elle announced that lunch was ready. She also informed Sri, the resident Indian, that his gazpacho and orange juice were set separately.

“Hey Morgan, you’ve been here all your life, was Al Capone executed in Alcatraz?” Eric, the French marketing executive wanted to know.

“Never been to Alcatraz, Eric. Know nothing about it. Isn’t that amazing?” Morgan disappointed.

“No. I wonder if you ever lived in Berkeley.” Eric replied rather sharply.

Morgan was unshakeable. “Ooh! You are rather touchy today, Eric, what’s up? Are you hungry?”

“No. He’s French.” opined Julie, who never let go of a chance to chide Eric. As part of the continuous tussle between the sales team and the marketing team, Julie had scored a point for her sales team.

The sun showered them with the right amount of warmth. It was now the turn for having their pictures taken on the open deck. Nicholas, fresh from their French office, was already gelling nicely with his brand of brash humor. He was making innuendos aplenty.

Allan, British to the lip, had thawed recently to the extent of comparing the Berkeley Rose Garden to the British Kew Gardens.

The bartender slash disc jockey started playing a few records calling each new record his opus. The light headed ones also proved to be light footed. Julie dragged Sri to the dance floor and his simian dance evoked squeals of laughter. As they docked back, EZCOM filed out clumsily.

They strolled to the nearest sports bar. Amidst the drunken binge, Sri was a teetotaler no more.

They waddled noisily across the street to a restaurant. Their reserved table was ready. Once seated, Christie insisted on calling their waiter L’Amor. Liquor still held center stage, this time in the form of wine. She proceeded to ask each person a truly embarrassing question.

“Sri, what do you like in women?”

Flustered through every pore on his skin, Sri first went red, then crimson and finally purple trying to abscond to the rest room even as his colleagues started chanting “Sri likes girls!”

And so it went on for a full hour before they swayed out of the restaurant leaving behind a rather fug atmosphere that they had helped create. There, on the pavement, Julie decided to show off her tap dancing prowess. They clapped hard, egging her on. Some of them threw quarters and dimes at her feet. Even in San Francisco, people stopped to watch this spectacle in awe. The flowing crowd took a wide path around the EZCOM mob. The bus rolled in. Jack, the CEO, picked up the coins from the street and without thinking tossed them to a homeless person who was sitting against the wall.

“Keep your filthy money to yourself!” shouted the lady in rags and threw back the loose change at the group. A Mexican wave of horripilation passed through them.

It was a very quiet ride back to the office. The sudden thunderstorm outside was deafening. The Californian weather is very fickle.


  1. BV,
    A 'mexican' wave of...
    Why the reference to 'mexican'? Does it signify something?

  2. Trying to make a comparison to the mexican wave we see in sporting events where everyone stands up and sits down like a wave.
    Could the 'mexican' reference have more meanings than one? Hmmm... need to think about it :)