Manini Brar
Manini Brar

The Obiter Truth: Party vibes


The Obiter Truth is a catalogue of everyday experiences in the life of a young lawyer hoping to find humour in the bizarre and sense in the chaos. A hat tip to the comical struggles of young lawyers everywhere.

Friday night. The DJ has been instructed that a law firm has booked the place. Just play whatever they want and don’t be too much of an artist. Corporate clients are hard to come by these days. He understands perfectly. Stiff neckties, high heels and cocktails. Soft background music to start with, a few old-school Bollywood numbers as the evening progresses. He queues up 20 songs and arranges to steal breaks with his waiter friends every half hour.

They were expected at 8:00 pm but the hour goes by without a soul. At 9:30 pm, four youngsters enter the cocktail bar in dishevelled office clothes. This is going better than expected, the DJ congratulates himself. A couple more hours till pack up and he’ll have earned a good day’s pay for doing nothing.

One breaks away from the four and takes the centre of the floor. She gives him a lasting look, then bolts into action. She thumps to an inaudible beat at lightning speed, electricity coursing through her body. He blinks in shock and fumbles to find something to keep up.

As the music comes alive and rises to the ceiling, the door opens once again. Almost on cue, the troops pour in. The bar metamorphoses into a living thing. Animated embraces, loud laughter, waterfalls into glasses. The DJ can hardly register it.

She dances like one possessed, unaffected by the chaos around her. Her annual bonus came through this morning. It was the highest in her team. She feels like this party has been thrown for her. She can see amused faces in the shadows but she doesn’t care what they are thinking. Whatever it is, it can be dealt with tomorrow. Because tomorrow, she will still be the highest paid associate in her team. Without a thought in her head, she drags them all to the floor.

They shake their heads dismissively, put on reluctant smiles, but allow themselves to be led on. Each one of them has been foot-tapping secretly. Relieved at finally being asked to dance, they portray restraint only for the onlookers. It must be known that they would never, ever, dance at an office party of their own volition. That would be wild and completely unhinged. As they step beneath the canopy of bright lights, however, their limbs betray them. Wild and unhinged, the gyrations are uncontrollable.

The DJ can barely believe his eyes. The floor is overcome with robots, snake-charmers, chickens. He strains to keep up - song after song, loop after loop - with this moving monster of energy which will not be satiated. It is the strangest sight he has ever seen. And the toughest crowd he has ever played for. Everyone has a song request and nobody can wait. They must all be placated, all at once, because (they will have him know) they are all lawyers.

Two lone exceptions observe this scene from a distance alongside the baffled DJ, but with far more detachment, perhaps even disinterest.

One of them is a first-year associate whose sobriety returned to him rather abruptly the moment he realised he had made a spectacle of himself. This young man had a little too much too quickly in the part-nervousness part-excitement of attending his first office party ever. Shortly afterwards, he succumbed to the urge of earnestly confessing that he hero-worshipped his boss, to his boss, in the presence of all and sundry. His boss on her part tried many a courteous deflection to steer the conversation away. In vain. Eventually, she gave him short shrift and disappeared in peals of laughter along with the other partners.

The other, is the master of ceremonies. The man who built the 200-strong army currently wreaking havoc in the bar. He is convinced he still has some great dance moves, and can outstrip each one of them at the bottle. But he’d rather not get into it. He wants to get home at a reasonable hour and catch his Saturday morning golf-game with the guys at the club. But he lingers on, because such nights have a special place in his heart. They are, after all, a celebration of how far they have come. From a self-conscious team of five with nothing but big dreams to intoxicate their spirits to this successful multitude without a care in the world.

Maybe just one drink then, and he’ll make a quick exit. That golf game is not to be missed for the world.

The night jingles on. Mr DJ is cajoled, begged, bribed, and eventually threatened into playing for a while after 12:00 am. Then a while longer. Just a little while. At 2:00 am, he finally manages to slip out inconspicuously, leaving the console in auto-mode. Once outside, he races down the road towards the parking lot without looking back, arms flailing like a madman in the dead of the night.

The pub shuts an hour later under pressure from the local cops, leaving the troops restless like bees without a honeycomb. The party is carried over to the residence of a Partner who lives nearby.

Noon comes too soon the following day. Ms. Well-paid opens her eyes in a strange house on a strange couch, jumps up like a singed cat and disappears after repeated apologies to her hosts: the hospitable Partner and his scowling wife. The first-year opens his eyes in his own bed but shuts them tightly the moment he does, hoping to somehow erase the reality of the previous night by staying asleep forever. His boss at that very moment is happily narrating the confessions of her secret admirer to an amused family table over lunch. And the master of ceremonies is sulking behind a newspaper, having missed his morning game of golf.

A thousand calls are made, a thousand stories exchanged, a thousand times, with a thousand different endings. An entire weekend is spent recovering from the office party.

On Monday, the law firm opens at 10:00 am as usual, as if nothing ever happened.

The views expressed above are entirely personal to the author, and a work of fiction.

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