Le Amant de Papeterie

I met him on my second day. I was looking for a stapler and seeing one on his desk, approached him. His first reaction to my request was – “I will give it to you, please return it within five minutes, otherwise I will come your desk and treat your things like mine”; assuming that he was joking, I laughed aloud and walked back to my desk, with the stapler.

I was Engrossed in collating the papers and stapling them up together, that I did not realize that someone was standing behind me. Startled by a loud ‘excuse me madam’, I turned around; the gentleman I borrowed the stapler from me was standing there; his hands were on his hips. He was glowering. Before I could respond or react, he rudely asked me how I would like it if he took something of mine and not returned it. “Let me give you a first-hand experience”, he added, before taking my parker pen, and walking back to his desk.
Too shocked to react, I started after his back for a few minutes, before taking the stapler and walking back to his desk. He turned down my offer to return the stapler and said, “You can keep the stapler now. It is of no use to me anymore. I will keep your pen, so that you remember to return stuff on time”!! I shook my head, unable to believe my ears. Something told me that the only way to deal with him was to employ a strong push-back mechanism. I squared my shoulders and said, “Sir, I suggest you take your stapler back, and return my pen unless you want me to complain”. He looked nonplussed for a moment, before sniggering, returning the pen and doing the “I was just joking”, routine.

As I walked back to my desk, the office admin looked at me admiringly and said, “This is the first time, someone got their stuff back from him. He is extremely fond of stationary and office supplies. He literally waits for a fresh bunch and grabs an entire lot of staplers, pens, pencils, notepads etc., the moment the arrive.
I did not have to wait for long to find out of the lady was stating the truth. Three days later, a huge box of new office supplies arrived. Ten minutes later, when I reached the spot, I found that more than three fourths of the notepads, two out of the three staplers, almost all the pens, markers and pencils were gone. As I walked past his desk, I caught the gentleman in a frenzy of shoving stuff into his overflowing draws. His expression was passionate. He was in love with that stuff. That moment I named him ‘Le Amant de Papeterie’ – ‘The Stationary Lover’

This frenzied hoarding of office supplies continued for another two months. As they say, ‘the bigger they are, the harder they fall’; what happened on one rainy weekend made me come up with another saying. ‘The higher they hoard, the harder they cry’. Due to some strange technical malfunction, our office got flooded over the weekend. Monday was declared a holiday for cleaning and repairs. On Tuesday, after the water was cleared out, the security took all the lockers, cupboards, drawers etc., out to a common place and made us open them up in the presence of the whole office and management. The expression on the face of dear Mr. Stationary Lover, when his stuff was opened and loads of sodding wet notebooks, stained blue with the ink that had leaked out of the pens along with mangled up collection of stapler pins and an assortment of other objects were extracted and displayed. For the next four days, he mourned over his stuff as a widower would lament over his loss. On the fifth day, a new lot of office supplies arrived.

About The Author


Sarita Tirumala has held various senior positions in the corporate world. She has been writing from a long time and also authored a book – Maya. In her free time she likes to mentor underprivileged children, besides volunteering for many charitable institutions. You can find more of her work here.