The Definitive Guide To Working With A Hangover


The Definitive Guide To Working With A Hangover

Illustration: Sushant Ahire

It takes a certain amount of fortitude and a lot of nariyal paani to go out and get wrecked on a weeknight. Weeknight drinkers are a rare breed of people – 10 per cent brave, 10 per cent depressed, 10 per cent stressed, 20 per cent addicted, and 50 per cent foolish. But since 50 per cent also happens to be the discount during happy hours, the not-so-foolish ones get twice as hammered for half the price. From there on, it’s all a blur of beer, B-52s, Badshah, and barf.

But before you know it, a blear morning has arrived, bringing with it its bastard child… a workday morning. With the morning comes the clickety-clack of keyboards, chatter about timelines and deliverables, and eager colleagues, some as sprightly as springtime jackrabbits. It’s killing you because right now the soundtrack of your world is “Zombie”, but your sober, responsible co-workers are hopping to “Everything Is Awesome!” But worry not, you can survive both their optimism and your hangover. Simply follow this guide to fight the hangover from hell and thank me at the bar later.

1) Before you get to work, buy time and Red Bull. Fight the urge to call in sick; save your sick days for the times when you drink so much that you’re not just hungover but drunk in the morning. After the Red Bull, text your boss (do NOT call) and tell him/her that your microwave exploded, taking the rest of your kitchen with it, because you mistakenly put a spoon in it. Everyone loves some drama.

2) Always, and I say always have a pair of hangover clothes on hand. Nobody wants to think of colour coordination with a headache the size of Tanzania. I prefer loose linen trousers, a half-sleeved shirt, and slip-ons. These take minimal effort to put on, plus the last thing you want when you’re hungover is the vice-like death grip of a tie or cuffs or fitted trousers. Throw on a pair of shades to complete the look and get your ass to work ASAP. Your weeknight drinking habit isn’t going to fund its damn self.

3) As soon as you clock in, keep the meet-and-greet minimal. Instead put your phone on airplane mode, hold it up to your ear, and pretend you’re taking an important call. Do not forget the airplane mode because a real call in the middle of a fake call is quite the opposite of going under the radar. Remember, you’re hungover, not stupid, and if you’re both, we can’t help you.

The post-lunch haze, when almost everyone regrets eating that last spoon of rajma chawal, is the easiest stretch.

4) Swap your usual straight-backed chair for one of those swivel chairs with reclining backrests. The lumbar support will go a long way to help fight the urge to stay horizontal. Slip on your headphones with something soothing like soft jazz or retro. When asked why you’re quieter than usual, chalk it up to dehydration caused by the runs. This is also a cover for you’re multiple runs to the washroom to throw up. Hang in there, keep your peace, and do not, I repeat, do not confess to your best friend how terribly hungover you are. HR is everywhere!

5) Open up your laptop and get to work. Fine, let’s not kid ourselves, working when you’re hungover is like masturbating under anaesthesia. So instead, use the time to leisurely check all the mails in your inbox, and when I say check, I don’t mean proactively reply to emails, but scan the airwaves for any stinkers or emails marked urgent. Replying to email is strictly not advised under these conditions.

6) Before you know it, it’s time for lunch. Take my advice, ring up the nearest Chinese restaurant and get the spicy lime noodles. It’s the same stuff the bearded Catholic God sent the Israelites, when they were lost in the desert. They’re a lifesaver. Also today’s the day you should probably eat at your desk. Avoid getting caught in the crossfire of office gossip. Office gossip is for sober people with nothing better to do; you, on the other hand, have a hangover to nurse.

7) If you’ve made it past lunch without going off the rails or having to be escorted home, you’re in the home stretch. You’ve only got a couple of hours to go. The post-lunch haze, when almost everyone regrets eating that last spoon of rajma chawal, is the easiest stretch. For the next hour or so, your co-workers are going to be just as unproductive. So join the herd, there’s safety in numbers.

8) T-minus two hours to quitting time is when you need to keep it together. You might get pulled into a meeting, where you need to do something more than smile and nod. Here’s what you’re going to do, put on your best pensive, serious face, lean over the table, and have a notepad in front of you. To appear more convincing, just agree with the person on your right and disagree with the one on your left, and whenever someone’s talking numbers, just jot them down, and simply nod with a loud “hmmm”.

9) Thankfully by now, the day is winding down. You’ll know this when the least productive guy in office, who is not you, saunters off. That’s your cue. Hang on for an hour, smoke a cigarette, and then finally, make like Beyoncé’s behind, and bounce. Don’t leave too late because delayed hangovers are like werewolves, really nasty after sunset. So at 6.30 pm, slip out with the slackers.

Now that you’ve survived office, you will make the mistake of running for home. Don’t. The only way to kill one hangover is to begin the next one. The hair of the dog is a formula tried and tested by generations of D’Souza men, so rush straight for the closest bar. After all, the happy hour started half an hour ago.