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The author shares a true account of how a team outing turned awry as a male colleague crossed the line of decency.
It had been three months since I’d joined ABC Corp. an IT major in Chennai. I’d made acquaintances among colleagues (calling them ‘friends’ would be a stretch). I was thrilled when our super-boss in the Bangalore branch, Vasu, announced an “offsite” in Masinagudi. Colleagues from different teams in the Analytics Division, including copy, editing, design, programming, and web support were invited to spend the weekend in a resort in Masinagudi, near Bangalore. I envisioned healthy banter between colleagues, a little gossip, some jungle safaris, sports at the resort and a sense of camaraderie being reinforced at the end of the two-day stay.
What actually happened was slightly different.
About 40 colleagues from the Analytics team boarded a luxury bus to Masinagudi from Chennai, one Friday evening. I was sitting next to Deepa, my colleague from copy, who was only a year older than me and known for her professionalism. As the bus made its way through roads of all terrain, Deepa and I blithely chatted away. Charan and Faiz, the two extroverted guys from the copy department, were seated across the passageway from us. They were indulging in some mild teasing and generally playing the fool, as was their habit.
It was then that the driver suddenly started playing songs on the bus. Deepa and I had to shout to be heard. Soon, a group of boys from the back of the bus, whom I didn’t remember seeing at work ever, came next to Deepa and me and started dancing (in a rather uncouth manner) to a rather crass Tamil number. The leader of the pack, a guy named Satish, egged the driver on to play his own tape, which he fished out of his pocket. He soon started thrusting his pelvis at Deepa and me.
Both of us were rather scandalized and felt extremely uncomfortable. He kept falling on us for about half an hour. It was then that Charan and Faiz noticed that it was getting too much. So they messaged our super-boss in Bangalore and informed him of this.
But, the nightmare didn’t end with that.
Somehow, due to some problem with the bus and the routes, it took us 19 hours to reach Masinagudi. It was only after ages that Satish and his cronies stopped their misbehaviour. However, little did we know that there was more in store for us.
Once we reached Masinagudi, we broke off to occupy our rooms. There were two of us to a room. Deepa and I were to occupy one room in a villa. We were just talking about Satish and his sick behaviour as we took turns to shower and change into evening clothes, getting ready for the bonfire.
As we headed toward the bonfire, we saw our super-boss, who had also reached, getting ready to address the gang. Vasu was a rather cool guy, who was unruffled for the most part and knew how to deal with situations. He gave us a pep talk and then joked that no one should be doing ‘magic mushrooms’.
Deepa and I laughed to ourselves, but suddenly we stopped in shock. Satish was swaying near us with a lot of glasses in his hand. He dropped one glass after another on the field, intentionally, saying ‘Oops’ after each one fell. The whole ground was littered with glass pieces and Deepa and I moved away, for fear of stepping on them and hurting ourselves. We were also wary of Satish who seemed half-crazed, but was probably drunk out of his mind.
I crossed the field and sat on a chair near the food. That’s when Sridhar, a guy from the Bangalore team came up to me and started a conversation on UFOs, world cinema, and Osho. I soon forgot about Satish and had a good time chatting.
Suddenly, I saw a fire spreading on the field. It looked like someone had set fire to a bedsheet and was waving it around. I was really shocked. It was then that our super-boss came up to us and told us to go to our rooms for our own safety.
The next day, Satish was not to be seen. I heard through the grapevine that he had gone to flirt with some of the female colleagues at night into their rooms in a drunken stupor. Satish seemed to have hijacked what was to be our good time at the resort.
The rest of the day, however, we went on to play badminton in the resort court and got set for our midnight safari, which we thoroughly enjoyed. It was after we got back to Chennai that the ‘sh*t hit the fan’ for Satish. He was given a dismissal order along with two other miscreant friends and his female friend who had entertained him in her room.
Deepa and I were shocked that an offsite could take on such a sinister edge. But, we only felt safer at work, now that our super-boss had decided his fate for him.
Author’s Note: This is a true story. Names have been changed to maintain privacy.
Image Source: a still from the movie Ranjhaana
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I've worn several hats over the last 20 years: freelance journalist, copywriter, copyeditor and
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