Thursday, May 27, 2010


I can bet you anything it was Kenny G. I grew up listening to his saxophone sigh. Besides, they didn’t have more than about 5 or 6 tracks and were playing those over and over again. Never thought I could memorise melody like that. Music without lyrics is like tea without sugar and sex without love.

I met her right there, that day, at the reception. We had both been called for the same interview. She seemed distracted, somewhere far away, like she’s memorising something as well. What they might ask her. And what she shouldn’t talk about.

She said I could go through the school magazine if I wanted to. She could wait. She was so neat and blue. Her clothes, I mean.

“So were you also at that other school? So was I!”
“Oh okay. Yeah I thought it’s a walk-in so might as well go ahead and try.”
“You know they were quite strange. They asked me if I can hypnotise.”
“Can you?”
“Yeah. But of course I didn’t have the tools there so I told them that.”

I was about to laugh. She continued.

“You know I saw something when I went in just now for the first round of interviews. A list of some kind. I saw her name. That girl in pink. And there was one other name. I couldn’t make out. And there was another list with more names. I don’t know which list is for what, though.”

The receptionist came out just then and called out her name. It was a bit like identifying a target. Walking around with a label that one is trying to avoid. “We’ll call you back. Thank you.”

I tried not to look at her eyes. She snatched up her handbag and walked to the door in a few hurried strides and was gone, turning her back to us.

How do you say it? How do you let go? I used to laugh at jokes about firing people on SMS. And then tell myself that I made up for it by listening to them as they let go. And winning accolades for designing brochures which standardised the process of rejection.

Is it really like when you pull off a band-aid? One sharp, piercing shriek and then everything falls silent. You don’t hear the shatter because it chokes you. You age within a nanosecond.

How do you get that surgical precision in your relationships? Firing an employee. Shortlisting candidates. Breaking up with a long time partner. Some call it closure. Some just call it different place, different time. How do you tell someone, “I won’t need you. Ever.”?

And is it really worse to end it all with a “Take Care”?

What happens when you mean it?

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