My brief association with a microwave oven

This here, is another story from the time I worked at a resort up in the mountains in Kerala. Munnar was beautiful but cold and very very VERY damp. One month into our new jobs, we had a house to live in, but apart from a couple of beds and the odd side table, there were still no appliances or furniture. We wanted a stove or a hotplate or something, and finally decided that a microwave would be best.

Now we had plenty of microwaves at the resort. Every room had one, and I know that the staff who lived on-site also had access to some. Instead of buying one, we decided to borrow one from the resort. I wrote out a nicely worded letter to the Executive Housekeeper and the HR Manager and patiently waited for my request to be approved. A week later, I was told that our request would not be granted because “bachelors could not be trusted with hotel property”.

I was disappointed, but pretty damn insulted too. I met the Housekeeper and the HR Manager in person and kicked up a royal shindig. First talked about how this was insulting to bachelors the world over, and then made up some bullshit about how my family had been in the microwave business for years and that I was probably the most qualified person to ever operate a microwave in all of South India. They probably didn’t expect this much of a push-back and decided to comply with our request on the conditions that:
1. we would look after the appliance and use it responsibly
2. if the hotel needed the microwave urgently we would give it back.

I agreed, and the microwave came home with me that evening. We were all pretty happy. We made some Maggi and had it with our rum and cokes that night. The microwave found it’s spot on a rickety old table and we began to use it to heat a variety of things. Times were good. But like all good things, this too came to an end.

One day, the hotel blew a fuse in one wing and lost some appliances to a power surge. Someone from the hotel rang our doorbell that evening, and as suddenly as it had entered our lives, our little microwave had to go back. We were a little sad, but hotel guests came first, and we totally understood that. With a heavy heart, I loaded the machine I’d so fiercely fought for, into a jeep and sent it back to the Housekeeping Department. The jeep rattled off into the night, and I went back to bed.

The next morning, I went to work as usual but was asked to report to the Executive Housekeeper just as I punched in. Slightly puzzled, I had a cup of tea and went straight to his office. Management trainees were routinely moved around departments like pieces on a Chess board, so I wondered if he wanted some help with his department or something. I knew that he knew that I was decent with computers, so I’d already started picturing him asking me to figure out some mundane task that he’d been slaving over for the last twenty years. He would offer me his chair while I sat down at his computer, and showed him to how to freeze the top row in Excel. He would then collapse in a slobbering mess of gratitude at my feet and proceed to offer me the keys to his personal minibar. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

I walked into the cabin with a big toothy smile on my face and Mr. Bappa promptly lost his shit. “I knew I shouldn’t have given you that microwave!! I knew it! But stillllll I did it!”, he bellowed.. like an injured water buffalo. I was so startled, I awkwardly took a step back and knocked over a flower vase. This made him even angrier and he screamed – “Do you want me to get fired? Is that what you want? Do you want Club Mahindra to be sued?? You want this hotel to be shut down? Is that what you are wanting??” Shit man.. I had clearly fucked up. But didn’t have the faintest clue how! It took him a few minutes to finish ranting, but once he was done I requested him to elaborate.

Apparently the previous night, our microwave had had quite the adventure. It went straight from our rickety side table, to the shiny granite kitchen counter in one of our most premium mountain cottages in the resort. The guests staying in that cottage had been partying super hard all evening and had decided to take the party back to their room once the bar closed. At some point in the night, they decided to cook some instant noodles. And that’s when they found a pair of underpants in their microwave.

Freshly Microwaved Undies
Note: Not my undies. Not my microwave. This is the crime scene, helpfully reconstructed by my good friend M. Brighty Kumar

Apparently, one of the guests had lost his temper, yanked the plug out of the wall and thrown the microwave out of his balcony. The microwave had eventually been traced back to the management trainee house, and the trail ended with.. well.. me. The guest had gone on to order room service, yell at the order taker, party a little more and finally and go to bed, but the problem needed to be dealt with once they surfaced. My role was now clear. I had been summoned to clean up the mess. The housekeeper made it clear that I was to visit the room personally and speak to the guest to calm them down and talk them out of making a written complaint.

It was 8 am. I still had a few hours before they woke up, but to be honest it was beginning to look like I was going get fired or at least get a stern reprimand from HR. I kept an eye on the room all morning, and when the guests – a group of four showed up for breakfast at the restaurant – I knew I had to approach them. Despite my toothy smile having let me down so very badly that morning, it was the only one I had, and I decided to use it again.

I walked up to the table and introduced myself. “Good morning! My name is Dhruv, and I’m from the management. I wanted to have a word about the inconvenience you folks faced las..” One of the guests – a tall dude in his late twenties – suddenly stood up and reached out to shake my hand. Before I could say anything more, all four guests started profusely apologising for their bad behaviour the previous night. I was taken aback to say the least. The big guy who shook my hand seemed to be the one who had thrown the microwave out, and he just kept saying how he’d had too much to drink and had gotten freaked out by “something” he saw inside the microwave. The other three didn’t seem to have actually seen ANYTHING in the microwave, let alone a fucking undie. They were just embarrassed by their friend’s behaviour and were worried that he might have injured someone. I was so surprised, I just mumbled a few apologies for the microwave being “out of order” and wished them a comfortable stay. I went back to Mr. Bappa and told him that the situation had been handled.

The entire hotel kept an eye on that group for their duration of their stay, but they were a fun lot who had a great stay and even left us some nice feedback when they were checking out. Nobody talked about microwaves or underpants or anything.

I still got pretty badly chewed out for “mishandling hotel property” but no letter from HR or any such shit. Mr. Bappa eventually forgave me but he never let me have a microwave again.

To this day, I have no idea how the hell I got out of that scrape. It’s clear that one of my flatmates had been using the microwave to dry his damp undies. I wasn’t grossed out, or mad or anything. Only slightly betrayed because the bastard never owned up. If you’re reading this today, you know who you are, you fucking asshole. Relax. I forgive you.

Over and out. 🙂

One Comment Add yours

  1. Mandar Dadegaonkar says:

    Lol!!! Between the flying rooftops, runaway printers and microwaves littered with underwear, I am surprised you managed to hang on to a job in the hospitality industry for as long as you did. Good thing you changed careers, mate! 🙂

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