The 3 Most Peculiar Things From 2021
If you ever want to experience absurdities frequently, I’d recommend you start a business. Of course, I’m greeted by new problems every day at work, but I’ve more or less come to terms with the uncertainty and lack of right answers on the table. I’ve learnt to deal with the volatility and not be too shocked by the bad stuff and stay balanced from the good stuff.
But today, I talk about funny things, spooky things and weird things that left me completely baffled in 2021. With nobody to turn to about how to react – I turn to you, the reader, as I type out the most peculiar experiences I’ve had in the last year. If you don’t have the patience to read the 1500 words I’ve written – feel free to scroll right to the bottom, that is my favourite out of the three – and the funniest!
Absurdity #1: The Vanishing Act
The month was March 2021, one of the team members that I genuinely trusted had disappeared. And by disappeared, I literally mean vanished in thin air. One day, she left early saying she had to go to the bank for a few hours and never returned to work. Not that day, not the next day, not ever.
My first reaction was to be concerned about her safety. What if something happened on the way to the bank or back? Why wasn’t she answering calls? I realized that she had changed her house and we hadn’t updated her address in our database either – so we couldn’t send anybody to check. A few days later, I remembered I had her friend’s number because he had been our customer. So I reached out and he said he had met her recently and she’s fine.
My concern turned to anger. How could she just walk out on us with no communication? The rest of the team started assuming things, maybe I had fought with her? Maybe something was wrong from my side. Everyday someone would ask, “Hey Megna, have you heard from her? What happened?”
The truth was that the last one on one conversation I had with her was about her role, she seemed fairly happy and was equally excited about the growth opportunities over the next few months. Then why?
She had come through a reference and it seemed unbelievable to me that someone you trust can disappear without a single message or call.
And then more than a month later, came the message, “Hey Megna, can you send that 8k?”
I replied saying, “What 8k?”
So she said, “The one I paid to that vendor.” I had no idea what she was talking about, I had never asked her to make any vendor payments. On top of that, she replied after disappearing with no explanation and the first thing she says is I owe her money.
She went on to send a screenshot from a mail that was signed off with my name that said, “I’m stepping into an urgent meeting, I need you to execute a task for me.”
The following mail thread was her response saying, “Yes, tell me what you’d like me to do.”
The mail that seemed to have been signed off in my name was from a spam email id with jumbled digits @net.in – whereas she had been working with us for 6 months and was fully aware of my legitimate email ID. Also, in the mail there was no mention of money, so the whole thing didn’t add up.
I replied saying I didn’t know what this is, so she said, “Oh! Looks like I got scammed 8k.”
It took a while for me to get over the whole thing, it felt like I didn’t know why what happened, happened the way it did and I’ve come to believe I will never know. Was she trying to set me up? Was somebody trying to set her up? I will not try to find out either, some things are better left incomplete.
Absurdity #2: The Ghost
Another incident that was just weird was when somebody wrote to me applying for the position of a pastry chef. Now this was a perfectly normal resume, I looked her up online and she had an Instagram profile with her work, so I fixed a call with her. For the sake of anonymity – we will call her Aditi. Now, when Aditi called – my phone already had the number saved, by the name of “Priyanka Customer.” I asked her if she had ordered from us before and she said no, so I thought maybe the number got recycled and it’s just a coincidence I had it saved earlier.
The conversation went well, so I wrote to her to fix another meeting. I got no reply, so I texted her. Again, no reply. A few days later – I called her and someone called “Priyanka” picked up. I rechecked the number against the resume and it was correct. I asked Priyanka if she had a sister or roommate called Aditi who may have used her phone. She profusely refused. How else could this have happened?
My mind started racing to all the possibilities from Bollywood - Did I speak to a ghost who picked up this other girl’s phone? Did she have two identities? Was it all a figment of my imagination? Haha, who knows. Another one of those inexplicable things that are better left incomplete.
Absurdity #3: Silly Soles
A few weeks ago, one early Tuesday morning – I ran to the elevator and then back home again as I realized I was wearing the wrong shoes. We had an important client meeting but I remembered the last time I went to the same office, we weren’t allowed inside with shoes where our toes were exposed. They had to be covered and I grabbed the first (and only) matching pair of “toe-covering” shoes I saw.
I quickly drove to work to pick up my colleagues who were working on creating a sample box for the meeting. I stormed inside and yelled, “We’re getting late! Meghana, if we don’t leave now I’ll leave you here.” The poor thing scrambled to get all the boxes she could get her hands on and the 3 of us sat in the car nervously. Meghana, I must admit here, was the reason we got this meeting in the first place. She’s fresh out of college and has an infectious enthusiasm about her work and Dream a Dozen.
We walked inside the building with marble flooring and high ceilings. Meghana AAAH-ed and OOOHH-ed at the luxury that we weren’t used to (as a start-up we have just as much as we need and nothing more). All of us were conscious that we had to be more “proper” than we usually were to impress this client.
And then, the most improper thing happened. As we walked to get our guest ID cards at the reception – my chappal broke! The sole started flapping out of the shoe and making a noise. I stared at my foot in disbelief. Now? Out of all the times. I looked at the others in dismay, our Head of Operations, Kritika is quick to think on her feet – so she was already near the housekeeping staff asking for glue. Everyone looked at us in the most bewildered manner trying to figure out why we may need the glue and then laughed with sympathy when they were told what happened. I dragged my foot to the nearest sofa and decided that if I can’t glue it together, I’m going to rip the sole off completely. So I pulled hard at it with all my might, only to realize the damn thing just won’t come off!
By then, our escort had arrived to take us upstairs. We decided it’s better to drag my foot than to delay the meeting further – so we walked. The combination of high ceilings, marble flooring and silent hallways weren’t the most conducive environment for the “tak, tak, tak” from my chappals. He led us through some carpeted flooring and I let out a sigh of relief, at least the embarrassment is limited here. As though to join my fleeting thought of positivity, the sole of the shoe broke into half and the noise stopped! “Ah thank goodness” I thought to myself as I whispered the good news to my colleagues
I had spoken too soon. The sole of the second chappal broke! As the girls turned around to see why I was left behind again, I laughed pointing at my sole again. They giggled too. We were walking through another block and the noise was back. This time I was laughing so hard that there were tears in my eyes.
This whole experience was not more than 15 minutes long but it was a “chappal breaking roller coaster” to say the least. To conclude, the second sole broke off right before we met the main person and I mentioned it to him before any of his colleagues could. He smiled and said I can’t tell at all, we had a good meeting and now they’re our client. All’s well that ends well :)
I hadn’t written for many months and I had forgotten how much joy it gives me to share small bits of my life. I hope this brought a smile on your face to start 2022 as it did on mine while writing it. Wishing you luck, love and cupcakes to start the year :)