In the mid ‘90s I was employed with a global courier company, and it was my first job. Within the accounts department was one lady, Sylvia, perhaps a little older than I, and quite senior in her role. Sylvia was the one who provided the approval for our salaries to be paid out each month, and with that kind of clout, no one messed with her.
She loved to dress up in bright colours; it wasn’t uncommon to see Sylvia prance in each morning in high heels, garish outfits and lipstick plastered across her wide, ample mouth.
The building that I worked in was rather old – normally summers are moderate in Bangalore, South India, but here, with frequent power shut-downs and terrible back-up generators for the ACs, we suffered in the heat.
One evening I was working late with another colleague and the power had shut off. All the light that we had was from our computer screens and a small emergency lamp nearby. So, I stood up, went to the window and pulled up the blinds for a little of the outside light and air to penetrate in.
I turned and my heart almost stopped beating. Sylvia suddenly appeared out of the darkness, jingling across the floor in a saffron coloured dress, silver dangling and clinking earrings and ridiculously thick, orange lipstick.
“Hi” she crooned and smiled; her white teeth contrasted with the bright orange lips and I collapsed into a chair. “Working late you two? Just need some stuff.”
She rummaged around her table, found what she wanted and took off. From the neighbouring desk my colleague popped his head up from behind his screen and piped:
“If looks could kill.”
“They nearly did,” I replied, still stunned and trying to catch my breath. “They very nearly did!”
(c) Cindy Pereria