Welcome back to work. Hopefully your long Diwali weekend went off splendidly. Since we believe in the virtues of discretion and privacy, we will not ask what acts of festive debauchery—drinking, shopping, gifting, eating, gambling, travelling, and then drinking some more—you indulged in or if you just chilled out at home. But we want to help you deal firmly with with the festival hangover as you re-enter your cubicles today.
Here are some simple suggestions that can make your post-Diwali transition to office life happier, and somewhat painless.
Pre- and post-Diwali era
You must divide time into Before-Diwali (BD) and After-Diwali (AD) periods. Announce to your colleagues and bosses that you have developed complete BD amnesia, an entirely natural development since the holidays were so long and full of many unexpected events. This will prevent all of them from asking you about tasks which were left incomplete before you headed for the festival break. We know our offices are littered with many of these half-done jobs before the start of any holiday, and they are of course best forgotten once you return from a break. Insist on starting on a clean slate.
Get down to work: Start planning for your next Diwali. (Jayachandran/Mint)
Launch an AD office diet
Your office must help you deal firmly with the ungainly kilograms of fat that Diwali has unilaterally and cruelly thrust upon your otherwise sexy, lanky, handsome frame. The underlying thought is simple—if our companies want us to toil hard, they have prime responsibility for ensuring that we are physically fit. From badam halwa, kaju burfi, rosogollas, gulab jamuns, mysorepak and sandesh, to assorted chocolates, single malts, wine, cognac, vodka and excess cigars, the unfortunate festive feasts some of us have indulged in, now you need to apply stringent restrictions. The recommended AD diet, which you should insist that your office canteen provides regularly for the next one month, should include a daily dose of steamed vegetables seasoned with salt and pepper; greens in all forms; thin slices of radish, carrot and cucumber; half a chapati or quarter-bowl of boiled rice with plain dal; black tea, green tea and herbal tea with no sugar.
Bring out the sweets
And while you follow a strict diet, extend the festive mood by sharing boxes of sweets and other snacks in the office. This will distract others from immediately getting down to serious work at hand, since it is impolite (and difficult) to talk shop and eat at the same time. The office pantry can help by serving hot cups of tea and coffee, which will help wash down the food superbly. We are sure this will lighten post-Diwali office blues, and may even encourage other co-workers to bring in their mithais on subsequent days, thereby taking forward the celebrations for several days. We must hasten to add that this is also a practical and quick method of disposing of the festive leftovers at home, thereby making sure your AD diet stays on track.
Don’t forget to give your boss’ secretary an extra sweet or two. Simple acts of generosity towards them almost always pay off in the long run.
Organize a contest
Take the lead to organize a “Memories of Diwali” contest for everyone in your office. Send out an email today, requesting your colleagues to send in entries, which can be as simple as photographs of their Diwali celebrations or as complex as them churning out a 1,000-word essay on what they hate most about the festival. Set up a jury to evaluate these, and get your boss to agree on giving out the prizes. Jury meetings can be convened at regular and convenient intervals for the entire week following Diwali and this is really the ideal way for you to extend your period of festivity. The contest will keep you busy in a pleasant sort of way, and will give you a valid alibi to skip unnecessary or late-evening meetings—a huge irritant when you are still recovering from many nights of celebration—as well as not force you to jump into a punishing work schedule. Besides, it will give you brownie points with the human resources team, who will think you are helping them do their job.
Plan for next Diwali
This is an essential exercise, because, despite your best intentions, there are surely many things we did not quite achieve during this year’s festive season. Take a few hours off from work this week to meticulously list down everything you wished you had done this Diwali, but could not actually accomplish. Then, think hard and prioritize the stuff you must necessarily do next year. If some of these matters are urgent and important, pin them up big and bold on the softboard of your cubicle, and determine to complete them as early as the forthcoming Christmas break —which, thankfully, is only a few weeks away. In the midst of business plans and marketing strategies, it is important that we never forget to finalize our personal strategies for future celebrations.
Cook up a very tall story
Many of us have forgotten the wonderful art of storytelling. Revive this art in your office by narrating fantastic tales of your Diwali holiday. Don’t bother about being too boringly truthful; just give free rein to your imagination. I intend to tell my colleagues about my accidental but very interesting meeting with Hollywood actor Nicole Kidman, who (as some of you may know) made a quick stopover in Bangalore last week to experience the bright lights of our country’s festival. I taught her to light sparklers and decorate flowerpots with diyas, and we then had great Australian wine together. For the rest of this exciting story, well you are welcome to drop in at my office.
So, what’s your Diwali story today?
Harish Bhat is chief operating officer—watches and accessories, Titan Industries Ltd. He thinks the week after the festival of light should be light on work, lighter on the stomach, and lightest of all on the wallet.
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