"Declare Wednesday as a national holiday". Post after post on Facebook reads the same. "Why can't they reschedule the match to a weekend? Or any day after the 31st?" asks Somrita Paul, a disgruntled Gurgaon banker. She cannot take leave until after the closing of the financial year, and is disappointed at having to work through the India-Pakistan semifinal on Wednesday.
Like her, those not lucky enough to get the day off will try to rush home before the match begins. In Bengaluru, company heads know most of their employees will either be absent or take half the day off. Most have organised television sets to help employees watch the match while getting on with their work.
"Most employees have applied for leave. It's okay, we understand the importance of Indo-Pak matches," smiles Smitha, HR manager with Juniper Networks, Bengaluru. "There are two huge television screens in our office, and we are all cricket buffs. There is no way anyone is going to work on that day. We will sit in office and watch the match," grins Puneet Kedia, an employee with Green Infra, an equity firm based in New Delhi.
But anyone going out on urgent work, beware. Even autorickshawwalas are going to be conspicuous by their absence. "Ye maan lo, hamare liye yeh final hai. Match ko chhodke, kaun gadi chalayega? (It is like a final for us. Who is going to skip that and drive the auto?)," says an upbeat Ratan Sharma, who drives his auto in and around south Delhi.
For Chef Manu Chandra, Executive Chef, Olive Beach, Bangalore and Olive Bar and Kitchen in Mumbai, Wednesday is an unofficial holiday. "Juggling work and the match? No way, I will be glued to the television. All my work will be taken care of beforehand," says Chandra.
Rudresh, a cab driver from Go Cabs also has similar plans. "There is no question of going out that day. If India wins, I will drive around the city with India's flag flying atop my cab. And my family will be treated to dinner at a restaurant of their choice."
HR managers, of course, aren't too pleased. "We know what we are up against. Even if there are no TVs and cricket-related websites are blocked, we can't stop access to Google. Moreover, there is always the phone if you want to figure the score," says an HR manager of a Delhi-based real estate firm.
If only all companies had dedicated employees like Harish Bijoor, CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. "I will be in a meeting in Bhopal from 8 am to 7 pm. I believe in giving my 100 per cent to everything, so I will not check the score even though I have a live TV subscription on my iPad. I will of course, watch the match if the meeting is cancelled."
"Some of my staff has already asked for leave. Others are likely to fall sick that day. I don't know how I will concentrate on work myself," admits Ashutosh Shrivastav, who works for a placement agency. Looks like Wednesday is going to be Sick Leave Day across India's offices.
With inputs from Prachi Sibal