MANJUNATHA SPENT MOST of the day in south Bangalore’s BTM Layout neighbourhood searching for an office he could not find. At the address where he expected to call at a business consultancy, there was a private house. The people living in it told him no company had ever existed there, and neighbours whom he interviewed said the same thing. Late in the afternoon, on one of his repeated attempts to reach the consultancy on its listed phone number, he finally got through to a man who asked him to visit their offices the following day. “But there is nothing there,” Manjunatha complained. “You must have gone somewhere else,” said the man on the other side. “Just come tomorrow.”
Early the next day, Manjunatha returned to the exact same spot, expecting once again to be disappointed—but the house had been magically transformed. A fresh signboard decorated the entrance and, on the ground floor, a long sofa and two tables had been haphazardly arranged to look like an office. A few men sat working, seemingly absorbed in their laptop screens, office stationery laid out next to them on the tables. Soon, a self-described HR manager materialised to welcome Manjunatha and, at that precise moment, a courier came in to hand over the day’s consignments. Manjunatha stood perplexed. In the course of the previous night, a quiet family home had metamorphosed into what looked like a fully functional office. The residents were nowhere to be seen.