Posted by: Kiran Vaidya | March 29, 2007

The Mysterious Coffee

My Project Manager wished me good night after reminding me once again that my module needs to be completed by tonight. I looked at my Fast Track wrist watch. It was almost midnight. Vishal, who sits next to me and generally my only companion for working late, had also left. I took a small walk on my floor which made me realize that I was the lone person left. “The module will be perfectly done”: I consoled myself. I made a few calls from the office-provided phone on my desk but had to resist the temptation of talking for long hours since work figured in my priority list.

Being a fresher I was not able to estimate the time required to complete the task and had committed to my Module Lead that it will be done. But now on one account my estimate was definitely right. I had to work the entire night. It reminded me of my University exam days.

After about an hour some error occurred in the code. I was trying hard to debug the error but I understood that in a bid to remove the error I had made too many changes in the source code. Generally when I am stuck at one problem, instead of solving it, I start the entire thing from scratch.

Oh my God!!! No backup of the last working code. I had to solve the error in this dirty source code now. I was extremely frustrated. I decided to take a short coffee break. I went in our Pantry section. Cockroaches were enjoying their nocturnal life near the coffee machine. I smiled as I knew the Corporate Services Staff cleaned the machine only externally just to impress our client. I took the coffee in the 50ml thermocol glass and went at my desk. I could feel the pain in my shoulder and back and the stress in my mind. I kept the glass on the coaster which also had our Company’s logo.

After 5 minutes the vapor over the coffee cup reminded me I had not taken a single sip. However, the vapor was forming some sort of shape. Was it an illusion caused by my stress or was it a reality. I kept on observing the vapor. It formed a distinct shape, the shape of a disfigured face. I chickened out a bit. But then laughed on myself. Guys are not afraid of such illusionary events. My eyes went on my thermos. I had entirely forgotten that about 2 hours back I had filled the entire thermos with coffee. I opened the lid of the thermos as no one was present on the floor to observe me. I had a foxy smile since I knew that no one will ever come to know that I was not drinking coffee from the cup for fear of some unnatural force.

Water droplets were formed on the inner side of the lid as I had not opened the thermos for a long time. I kept the lid carefully upside down. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The water droplets starting moving towards each other as if they were attracted by some sacrilegious force. The water droplets formed the same satanic shape of the unholy disfigured face.

A chill went through my spine. An eerie feeling gripped me. I ran towards the door in fear. In this panicked state I had forgotten my Identity card on my desk hence I didn’t had access for the door. The security guy who is always dozing on the other side of the transparent door was also missing from his chair. I tried calling Hitesh, whom I knew was also slogging on the 3rd floor. But my mobile displayed zero range. I looked upwards at the recently fitted antennas of Airtel in the false ceiling. The floor was being controlled by the evil force.

I was left with the only option of returning back to my haunted desk. But I didn’t have the guts to do so. I decided to run towards the washroom. I locked the door and sat on the toilet seat. The very next moment the Supernatural Force lowered the flush lever. I ran towards my desk for the identity card. A small cloud of the blemish face stood still near the thermos. I was sweating profusely in my Air conditioned cubicle and a few drops from my face cut the cloud in two pieces. I gathered all my guts to pick my Identity Card from the drawer. Suddenly Vishal’s PC booted. The cloud became invisible in the dark background. The watery figure slowly dismantled into individual droplets. Watching the diminishing cloud should have made me feel better, but I was more horror-struck. Booting of the PC and diminishing of the cloud and the drops cannot be a coincidence.

Vishal’s machine logged in without any authentication. Never seen before windows started opening in his operating system one after the other. Strange text editors also accompanied the bizarre applications running on his system. Not an inch of the desktop wallpaper which boasted of my organization’s Security policy was now visible.

All of a sudden all the applications closed down leaving only the text editors open. Mystical sounds could be heard from the computer which sounded like the DOS Games of early 90’s. I was aware of the fact that soundcard of our computers are disabled and was almost dead on the happenings. Thousands of lines of codes appeared on the weird text editors. It was the code discarded over the years by sadist bosses and frustrated resources of the Testing department. The chucked out useless chunks of code was the hard work of hundreds of programmers. I was extremely aghast and terrified. I was in a state in which coordination between my brain, mind and body had gone for a toss. I smacked the thermos throwing it on the floor. Just then all the lights on the floor went off and the only sources of light were the 2 monitors which were still running. And then I think I felt unconscious.

“Get up! Mr. Workaholic. It’s almost 9am.”: my Project manager patted on my back. I was in one of those rare states where one is unsure as to what reality is from a dream and trying to figure out whether the scary experience was indeed a dream! The first few seconds I couldn’t understand anything. My neck was paining because of my odd head position on the desk. Only a few employees had come on time. Monika, our HR was talking with our Client.

My Project Manager introduced me to the Client as the most dedicated resource in the project. I was happy as my Project Manager did something which I was trying for months and that was to impress our HR. Monika smiled at me and gestured to stand firm and look fresh in front of the Client. I just shook hands with our Client and didn’t wish him as I had not even brushed.

My Project Manager gave me an elderly advice of ill-effects of working late and not sleeping on time. He advised me to take rest and allowed me to go home. Then he made an expression as if he is making some deep calculations and asked me to come back late in the afternoon. My impression of an empathic Project Manager lasted just for a few seconds.

I went back to my desk to collect my bag. I was about to leave when I saw my thermos lying in a pool of coffee and Vishal’s machine still running…



  1. abe dhakkan!!!
    saale itnaa time coffee machines aur computers ke ird-gird rahegaa toh aisa hi hogaa!!!
    hey, but good work!!! We benchers await for such stories!!!
    and man u have time to write blogs and dont even call us or even reply to a ping!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Really great to hear, your efforts r calculated!!!

  3. Arrey kelya,

    How many times will you change your theme?

  4. Kiran its just u r first project n u r already cribbing????

    STOP :)))
    i m getting paid well by u r PM to say that :))))

  5. Ylia

    Ich nicht ferschtein this articklees

  6. aber, ich bin auslander und spreche nicht gut Deutsch 🙂

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