The Deadpan Pangs!

I thought had I punched him hard on his firmly set jaws I might have had some emotional reaction from him. Of course, to that extreme extent I could never have proceeded thanks to my perseveringly peaceful nature, office decorum and possible police involvement. I had to think of that violent possibility, because it showed my pent-up frustration that I could vent only through my wordy violence, as much as I was capable of doing so.

I was pulling up my technical associate for not settling an important file concerning corporate clients despite my repeated reminders from time to time—gentle in the beginning and slowly growing sharper as the interminable delay continued. I could not ignore it any longer and first thing I did on that day was to summon  him. Immediately I started firing him all barrels and guns. And there he sat in front of me, staring up at me without a word as if wishing to be through with the ordeal or if at all as soon as possible. His firmly shut mouth showed no fear or sorrow or anger or regret. There was not the slightest trace of any emotion in his eyes. His stoic body language too never betrayed any discomfort.

Failing to elicit any kind of reaction or emotion, forget an admission of guilt or an apology, my fury and frustration grew. When you think you are justified in firing up someone you expect some emotion or reaction from him/her that somewhat soothes you and assures you of some positive results. But not for this deadpan guy. Earlier anecdotes started coming to my mind now. On numerous occasions whenever I asked him to do a job he would never affirm it or refuse it. He would not say yes or no. His deadpan expression would never convey to me of any forthcoming action or no action. Eventually some of the assignments he would complete and some would keep on pending indefinitely. I had to adopt myself to a formula of compromise, patience and anger-management apart from most of the jobs that I could do on my own, entirely. However, I hoped the ultimate showdown that I thought I had to unleash some day would at least have had some impact on him without being successful in changing his stoic attitude.

I was getting desperate. How long could I go on firing my salvos without having anything to show as an effect? He continued to sit immobile and stare at me, expressionless. As I was fast getting unsure what to do next, fortunately, the associate’s mobile phone rang. Nonchalantly, he took it and stared at the screen. To my surprise he got up immediately and moved away from me answering the call. Now it was my turn to offer a deadpan face not knowing what to expect or what to expect not as I continued to sit at my desk.

From the passage I heard him speaking on his phone. A series of incomprehensible words, rather noise. His voice seemed to have covered all the notes in all the three octaves. Sometimes shrill beyond recognition, sometimes subdued and sometimes plain-sounding angry. It was a staccato of non-stop syllables delivered at immense speed. He was speaking in his own language and, even otherwise I could not have followed him. But I was sure that he was showing all kinds of emotions a human being was capable of displaying. I was at my wit’s end.

Afterwards, as I took a post-lunch stroll in the passage I called the peon, a smart and lively boy.
“Who was my associate speaking to so heatedly? You know his language, no?”, I asked him.

Apt came in the reply, “Sir, his wife!”


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