Simon slammed his Mac book shut. Turning the key to lock his desk drawer, his gaze drifted to the wall clock. It was only 6.15 pm. He could barely hear any sound of movement outside his cabin. Ridiculous! They had all left so early, even with their boss sitting in his cabin slogging his ass off for the next project on agenda. He walked out of the cabin turning the lights off behind him. Not a single subordinate was in sight. He really should take them all to task tomorrow. Each of them had been given adequate number of responsibilities which needed to be brought to fruition within stipulated timelines. Not that any of them were slack in performing their duties, but it was just their lack of seriousness towards work that he detested and it led to him dealing with all of them with an invisible iron rod.
This past one week had been particularly annoying with none of them concentrating on their jobs. He would catch them gossiping among themselves. They would suddenly turn silent when they noticed him around. Ha! So they had been bitching about him as usual. It appalled him to see even men indulging in this kind of back-biting. Was it not best left for the fairer sex to indulge in? Had it not been for him, none of them would have been able to achieve their annual targets. They would have ended up losing out on their performance linked benefits otherwise. At times he would find them laughing and giggling among themselves. What was so funny? Couldn't they maintain office decorum?
The most irritating quality among each of them was their obsession with their family lives which he could never understand. They would bunk office and go on leave for flimsy reasons. Either it was their child who was unwell, a holiday they wished to go on with their spouse or a wedding they had to attend. And worst still, they would leave the office dot on time in the evening, to apparently spend 'quality time' with their families. Not that they were not punctual. They did come on time to work every morning and also stayed back late if required on certain days. But he really did not understand their giving more priority to their personal lives than to work. Some day he would have to give them a lecture on setting their priorities right.
He himself was a loner. He did not have much of a family to speak of. He remained a bachelor throughout his youth, nursing his ill parents and never thought of getting married. He feared that no woman would be interested in marrying a man whose parents who were terminally ill. After all, which young woman would wish to flounder her youth in nursing her husband’s ailing parents? His sisters and sister-in-laws were live examples to prove this fact. None of them wished to be tied down with the duty of taking care of the oldies. His siblings had all moved abroad to escape this responsibility, which Simon fulfilled with great devotion and care till the end of his parents lives. But after his parents passed away, he realized how much he had lost out on life. He wasn't young anymore to easily consider marriage. He did not have many friends to have a social life. His siblings had all got busy with their own family lives, hardly remaining in touch with him, leave alone, asking after him.
He accepted the bitter pill of loneliness that life had bestowed on him by adapting a stern and rigid demeanor. The soft side of him only came up in presence of his two lovely cats who gave him company when he got home. He parked his car in the basement parking area of the apartment he lived in and walked into the elevator looking forward to yet another lonely evening in his cold apartment in the company of his cats over a boring meal. He turned the key and opened the door to his apartment, called out for the cats as he usually did. But as he switched on the lights, he noticed faint candle lights flickering in the room. Nothing prepared him for the sight that he was met with when he was greeted by his bunch of so-called useless subordinates, who yelled together in a merry chorus:
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIMON!”
Confetti flew from either sides of the room. A peppy song playing ‘Happy birthday’ boomed in his otherwise drab living room which was beautifully decorated with colorful balloons and streamers tonight. His eyes turned moist as he blew the candles on the cake they had got him. He shared the cake with his new-found family who had apparently bribed his house-help in planning this entire surprise for him since the whole of past week.
It was a ‘Happy'
Birthday for him after so many years.
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