Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black, White and shades of grey

Murali : Coffee ???

Manasa : mmm… not now

Murali : OK … maybe by 4.30

Manasa : OK … 

Murali @ 4.30 : Coffee

Manasa : mmm…coming

Murali : Hey...take the stairs … OK

Manasa : No way … I will take the elevator.

Murali and Manasa worked on the same team and shared the same cab everyday to work. Long hours of commute and a sedentary desk job was taking a toll on their health like scores of so many other young people. As a part of new year resolution Murali and Manasa incorporated a few fitness goals. To keep a friendly check on each other’s exercise regimes and calorie  intake was a part of their agreement.  
As young fresh graduates who migrated to the big city for a job, Murali and Manasa  lived carefree lives as singletons, working hard and then partying hard along with their co-workers.  
While Manasa shared an apartment with three other girls, Murali lived in another apartment two floors up with three other work mates.  They threw parties for birthdays and over weekends and whenever they were not at work.   For Manasa’s birthday, Murali had gifted her, her favorite perfumeWhen it was Murali’s birthday, Manasa gifted him a pack of CDs of his favourite albums.  

Their social lives involved around their workmates.  They worked hard over the week and partied hard over the weekend.  

In December of that year Murali and Mansa were expecting their appraisals and their promotions. When they exchanged notes about their discussion with the Boss on their promotions, it looked like Murali made it and Manasa did not.

Sexual harassament.  Screamed Manasa.

That is when this chat transcript and the CD covering the CCTV footage across the staircase was  called upon for investigation.  

 For someone who listened to Manasa’s point of view, when the complaint of sexual harassment was lodged, along with the Chat transcript  this was indeed a straight case.

A proposal to ask a lady co-worker to take the stairs ( 5 floors down) of a 11 floor office complex, that  was hardly frequented by anyone could amount to ‘hatching plans to making an indecent advance’… especially when the lady employee had said a categorical ‘No’.
The CCTV footage, however revealed  nothing untoward.

This is what Murali had to tell to the committee.

We were just friends.   
There is more to this and all this is circumstantial evidence.

And Yes … we liked each other.   It was mutual. Atleast that is what I thought.
We were friends, co-workers, batch mates and there was a healthy competition between us at work.
Like most co-workers we bitched about our boss, cursed the long working hours and cribbed about the peanuts that we were getting paid.  We went to movies, went shopping and on outings along with other co-workers. Yes, we were close friends and eventually I may have taken this relationship to the next level,  but now I know I won’t, or rather cannot.

That, this was said in a different context  and quoted at a time when professional jealousy was at its peak is something that the investigation did not take cognisance of.

How would the committee looking into the case know about what undercurrents ran ?

That, Murali was probably advancing ahead in career with a promotion compared to Manasa may have triggered the complaint.

That, Murali may have been generally exaggerating his discussion with the boss to Manasa may have triggered the complaint.

But to the investigators all that transpired in their resepctive Performance appraisals with their boss was irrelevant to this case.

Because somethings are more complicated and run deeper that what meets the surface.
To friends and co-workers  watching this entire episode unfold, the verdict was clear .
Murali was an idiot and he may have walked into a honey trap.  

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

1 comment:

  1. Helooo. Thank u soo mcuh for dropping in! That msg really made my day!! BTW ur posts on unusual occupations are a gread read..... On the drive from kolhapur to mumbai we met a young chap whose profeesion was to clean ears!


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