There comes a time in every writer’s life when the words just don’t flow like they used to, choosing instead, to indulge in constipation of the mind. At times like these, the writer must retire and move to Tajikistan, where he must eke out a living by sculpting celebrity statues out of yak droppings.
Unfortunately for you, this is not one of those times. So you’ll just have to sit your ass down and read the following (mostly) true story.
Our story takes place in a land far far away, where baby boys with names like Edson Arantes Do Nascimento Pele grow up to challenge Sri Lankan cricketers in an ‘Oh Baby Say My Name!’ contest (Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas tilts the balance in favour of the Lankans). The place I’m talking about of course, is Brazil, also known as the land of topless women, although for the sake of finishing this article on time, we shall not think about that now. And by ‘we’, I mean ‘I’.
So, back to our Brazilian story. A man here has done what most guys around the world can only dream of achieving. For legal reasons, the man cannot be named, so let’s call him Mr.X.
X has got to be the coolest letter you can put in a name. In fact, I think ‘Xerxes’ is one of the most kickass names around. Just look at it! It should be the name of one of the X-Men. He’d be a lean, mean killing machine who’d kick Wolverine’s ass without batting an eyelid.
Although in reality, most boys named Xerxes are rosy-cheeked, soft-spoken Bawas who’re capable of killing only one thing – the Hindi language.
Mr.X was a beer taster at a brewery called Ambev. His job involved drinking an average of 1.5 litres of beer everyday. He used his refined senses to come up with important feedback for the brewers, such as ‘Burrrp!’ and ‘Mmm..beeeer.’ He also received a bottle of beer at the end of each shift (their version of homework, I’m guessing).
Now comes the twist in the tale. After ten years of faithful beer drinking, Mr.X did what some term as ‘unimaginable’. As a popular Hindi saying about backstabbing goes, “Jis bottle se piya, usi mein moot diya”. He filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming that the job had turned him into an alcoholic. Mr.X said that the company had taken no measures to ensure that he wouldn’t turn into an alcoholic. The news reports say:
“…the employee’s alcohol dependency had worsened in recent years and that even on vacation, the employee felt like drinking the same amount of beer he drank at work.”
– Source: Associated Press
The company defended itself by claiming that Mr.X was an alcoholic even before they took him on. Solid strategy, I say. It’s kinda like employing an impotent man to clean up after a drinking game in the nuclear plant control room goes horribly wrong. I mean it’s not like his reactor core is firing. So the job gets done, and nobody gets hurt. Sounds logical, no?
Apparently not, for the judge ordered Ambev to pay Mr.X a compensation of 100,000 reals (US $49,400). Let me sum it up for those of you with short attention spans.
Man gets paid to drink beer. Man quits. Man says beer made him alcoholic. Man gets paid some more.
Now I know what you’re thinking. ” Why am I struggling here with all these stupid books, professors and exams, when I could just go to Brazil and become a beer taster? My parents can even tell the neighbours ‘Mera beta foreign gaya hai, kuch chemical research ke liye'”.
I don’t blame you of course. But think of it this way – India is shining right now. There are jobs opening up in every sector, and companies are loosening up their purse strings. Money is pouring in, and employees are empowered like never before. So instead of using deceit and taking advantage of a flawed judiciary in Brazil, why not do the same in India? As it is, Babubhai Katara won’t be able to fly you out anymore, so make the most of what your country has to offer.
The software guys could set the ball rolling. The headlines would read:
” Young software engineer sues employer; says coding killed his sex life.”
The scenes in the courtroom would play out like this:
Engineer:(sobbing) “…and then, milaad, she threw the martini in my face and said ‘Your pen drive ain’t big enough for my ports, loser!'”
Company Lawyer: “I object! This is not my client’s fault. It’s a well documented fact that an engineer’s sex life is comparable to that of coral. In some cases, even coral gets more action.”
Judge: “Overruled. The company is hereby ordered to pay the engineer Rs.5 crores, and set up an office for him in Amsterdam.”
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and make up your own lawsuit today. And when you do strike gold, don’t forget the writer who made it all possible. Cash is preferred, but payments in the form of beer will also be accepted.
Toon: Vivek Thakkar
This article was published in JAM Magazine, dated 15 – 29 May 2007.