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Just a day away

And so she bunked office. A lot of people think their boss or peers don’t understand when they bunk a day at work. Surprise surprise peeps! Everyone knows it. Some do it guilt free while some don’t. Of course not everyone would miss a fun day at work, would they?

Thinking about it, why would someone want to bunk office? They know it costs a day’s pay. You always have the fear of getting caught. Most of the organizations have work from home as an option as well.

I am writing about someone who did exceptionally well at work, had a wonderful life. Was extremely strong and independent and yet she would keep looking for reasons to bunk office. We all have hectic, crazy, double the work for one kinda days but why leave and keep it for another day? Don’t we realize it’s eventually our work. Whatever and whenever it may be, we have to complete it.

So going back to the girl with a perfect life. She once called in sick out of nowhere and her boss had no option but to let me take the day off. She was perfectly fine. Not sick at all and just tired of the routine. She decided to travel to the other side of the city just to wander and shop casual, not so useful stuff girls love to buy. I am a girl and I know the feeling when we buy the stuff you think is not useful. So… She took her car and started off on a new route just to avoid any colleagues going or leaving from work.

On the way she saw a tiny hill. It looked pretty so she thought of a pitstop just cause she had enough time to loiter around. She parked her car and climbed up the hill. She got to see the never seen before kind of a view of the city. She was awestruck! She took her phone and clicked a few pics. Very aware of the fact that they shouldn’t be posted till the weekend. She decided to stay there for a while before she left. Little did she know, she was going to witness a life changing event.

She started humming her favorite Hindi song – “choti si kahaani se.. badalo ke pani se..” when she felt there was someone looking right at her from a distance. She looked around in all directions but couldn’t see anyone. She felt a little uncomfortable and decided to leave.

She raced back to her car. Quickly turned on the engine and drove off in a hurry. A little later, she turned on the radio. Luckily the RJ was interviewing her favorite actor Ranbir Kapoor! She completely forgot about the hill and drove away.

The girl was back to her normal self when she reached the market. She quickly parked her car and started walking through the busy streets searching for something she doesn’t know she wants unless she lays her eyes on it.

Little wooden parrots, tiny cups and saucers, footwear, shipping bags and all sorts of stuff she picked up unplanned. She bought those cause all the items were calling out to her to buy (was her standard answer). She decided to head back home and decorate the place with the new stuff.

It was an odd hour of anyone from work to be outside office. She decided to take the city route back home. She spent the rest of the afternoon moving things in her house to make some space for the new members. Later on she was reading a book while the TV played on the background.

For some reason she kept going back to the hill in her mind. She was reading with no concentration on the words but more on the palpitation she was experiencing just thinking about the hill. She decided to do something else instead. So she started cooking. She cooked tadke wali dal, jeera chawal, kulcha and vegetable makhanwala. She cooked enough food for a 5 member family. But she dint eat at all. She then decided to sleep. To digress, she kept thinking about work and her colleagues. Soon she fell asleep.

Next morning she woke up before her alarm went off. Got ready as soon as possible and headed of to work. She was in the office by 7 am. She spent the day working constantly with not much breaks. She did not interact much with her colleagues as well. She was tired and agitated of the hill in her thoughts.

She left late in the eve and went to a bar for a few drinks. Trying to cool her off, the beer gave up pretty quick. She was angry not knowing why the hill was haunting her. She decided to leave and started walking towards her car. When she reached the door, she saw a note on the windshield. She took it and sat in the car. she locked the doors first and then opened the note with shaky hands.

She read through and started crying while reading. She did not know how but this was happening. The note said;

To my dearest daughter,

I cannot believe I saw you yesterday. We met after several years. You have become a beautiful woman! And the song you were humming… Our favorite.

You must think this is a joke. It isn’t. I was there when you came and sat on the hill over my dead body. when you were clicking the beautiful view your father saw last before he was murdered.

You know you were just 4 years old when it all happened. I was coming back from work when a bunch of drunkard hooligans had abducted a girl and raped her. I was right there and I had to stop them. I did not bother about anything and went there. There brutal men thrashed me. I was hit in the head and my torso was cut through.

They burued me there. Took the girl and went off. The route was not my usual so your mother would have never thought of having the cops check there. Sorry beta I couldn’t make it to your birthday celebration. I hope you forgive me now.

As a favor, can you get your mother to the hill? I haven’t seen the love of my life for so long. If I were alive, we could have celebrated our 35th anniversary.

And the last thing, please have my body cremated as per our rituals and take my ashes to ganga. I used to keep wondering, have I missed a lot in life by dying so soon. Seeing you yesterday, I felt all those years I was right there with you.

I am very sorry to making you and mother go through all the hardships throughout to survive this ruthless world. I hope you forgive me.

Please put my soul to rest in peace!

Your loving Papa!

In a drunken state she drove all the way to her mother’s bouse. She showed her the note and they both sobbed like babies. The mother couldn’t wait for long. As soon as it was sunny outside, the ladies left for the hill. They intimated the cops and had the neighbors also come along to help dig through.

After hours of digging and panting away, they found the body. The cops took it away for mortem and confirmed. It was indeed her father.

The girl with the perfect life who believed in oneself and not others, who took her decisions on her own had to bow down and thank the power within to have given her the strength to recover from this situation.

As per her father’s wish, she immersed his ashes in ganga. Later that night while she was about to fall asleep she thought, skipping work for a day paid off much more than any day.

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A day with escalations

How does it feel to come to work on a Friday with a hundred unread emails in your inbox of which all demand answers? My Friday started a lot like this. There were client escalations, internal escalations and multiple requests which had come through waiting for me to respond.

My mornings usually do start with a bunch of unread emails but this particular day, I was not feeling myself. I did not feel like waking up. My husband was awake, ready and all set to leave for work on time while I wanted to sleep all over again for a minimum of nine hours. Such a boring start. When I was getting ready for work, for the first time I tried 7 different dresses just to urge myself to go to work and finish the work week for a super weekend.

And so even after waking up 15 minutes late I got ready in time to leave. Ready to enter the empty office for another day of 12-14 hours of work. Not that I don’t enjoy working for so long, but I would enjoy it even more if it were a usual day with work and getting things done than writing and calling people around to answer their pending (according to them impending) queries.

So after all the hoo-ha for 12 hours, I decided to leave for the day. I was craving for a nice hot water bath with some fried food maybe and a chilled beer – that’s what I call mixing up. Instead, I took an hour more to reach home.
I was so exhausted that I started crying the minute I reached home. My husband was scared to see this look for the first time and I don’t blame him. From the poised corporate being, I had become a 5 year old kid who was crying cause she was not fed but had to eat on her own and go to school when she wanted to play with her dolls back home.

And then finally, after I cried my heart out, added a bit more to the sullen feeling, I looked at my husband who was busy finishing the ice cream bucket waiting for me to start talking on why did I go down this road. When I calmed down, I saw a bowl of fried food on the table with a can of chilled beer waiting for me….. thats how happiness surfaces again!! 🙂

Rhythm

As a human, we tend to like songs. We may have a certain set of likes and dislikes but we all like songs. Some like to sing, some like to play a musical instrument while  some just love to dance all the way. Its who we are. What you think, feel and do is your rhythm.  Ever wondered who controls it? This particular rhythm of your life if you may call it? Some think it’s the almighty, some think its yourself and some think it is created through the actions of others.

 

Keeping in mind the difference each combination would bring in with itself, we like it or not but every ‘human’ is different. Either of the contributors to the rhythm dominates your interests and the way you think. This rule applies to all humans despite their gender.

 

The people who excel at maintaining the rhythm are said to be the successful ones. This may include a few celebs but surprisingly it is mostly the population which go through all the phases of life because they still make it towards the end of it. They don’t stop midway or suppress themselves to the negative environment around you.

 

Simon Sinek in one of his talks states that there are 2 types of environment, finite and infinite. We all are a part of both environments in our own way. Our rhythm is built around these environments. If I had to draw this out, I would  make a ‘finite’ shapes covered entirely in an ‘infinite’ bubble. We end up having a finite environment around us first which is nothing but the competitive side of us which makes us want to excel with everything we ever hope to do.  This in return makes us feel insecure which brings in the feeling of being intimidated by the environment around us. How should this be a problem? For competition which is nothing but the finite environment, intimidation can end up making you the best at the task. But since it is not only the finite environment which contributes to your rhythm, intimidation ends up making us feel weak and helpless.

 

Most of the people who think their life is probably stagnant in its way or there isn’t much that is left to do now with their ‘life’ or are not comfortable where they stand, end up becoming weak when intimidated. The larger population around the world falls in this category. What are the things you think you can do to not go down that road? How do you ‘use your weakness and your strength’?

 

Personally, I don’t like to use the words weakness and strength while defining myself if I may. I think these are your own attributes which you know and there are many more that you don’t. since you have a background ( the known attributes) you should strive to know the rest of them. And thankfully the human body and the mind is designed in such a way that you can never run out of attributes to know yourself. This further leads to introspection and thus increasing your infinite bubble and developing it further. One must always introspect. When I say introspect, what comes to your mind? Is it writing down what you have done till now and what next? Or is it your priority list? As per my experience, it can be anything. It can mean anything to you.

 

Have you seen the notes that the singers, musicians follow? They have ‘nodes’ and they have ‘notes’. Each node and note is different. These are the gates where in YOUR rhythm you introspect and change the tune. Sometimes it brings a change that probably makes you want to react or at times it can bring a change that will make you give attention to the node but not react the way you would have otherwise. These nodes and notes are important to let the rhythm going.

 

When I try to sing the tune of my life, I end up singing it alongside other’s rhythm as well. This can be in a form of fusion which I would call a relationship or an accompaniment which I may call an acquaintance. Every tune is made with a combination of rhythms. So even if you think you are alone, you like it or not your song will be never be complete without the rhythm of the other.

 

A musical instrument is designed to sound in a particular way. It will only sound in the particular way once the musician plays it in the certain way. Every note must sound like itself. Some may use a different way to hold the instrument or some may use a different way to play it. Its their route to build the rhythm and merge it with the other’s to create their tune.

 

My rhythm of life revolves around my people, work, acquaintances and the unavoidable circumstances that I go through with during the day whether good or bad. I am working on my tune and i hope you do too……..

 

From Kempegowda to Changi

Before I joined the new office I already knew that I will be travelling to Singapore pretty soon. So as soon as i joined i got on to the visa process and the ticket booking etc. I was to visit Singapore for work and this was my first business trip ever. I was excited for sure but at the same time I kept rethinking if I will be able to present myself well in front of the team and if i could be one of my own team.

 

I was working with a large team prior to this and had come across numerous people from various professional backgrounds and various cultures but since we all worked in a typical 9-5 MNC in India, we knew we all had something in common apart from just the schedule. We usually used to talk about doing something different and crib about the same people everyday. Like they had become a huge part of our lives. When I opted for this new role, I wanted to break the monotony and move ahead. Get out of the ‘silo’. It did feel stupid at first – the thought but then it is always a gamble.

 

We had several calls with the team in Singapore and the others who were also flying to Singapore with us the week before we left. On every call I was welcomed whole heartedly and I did feel the warmth of it all. Finally the day arrived when we left Bengaluru for Changi. Day 1 went in resting and trying to cope up to the speed that Singapore runs with. Day 2 in Singapore was my Day 1 in the new office. All new faces and all new names.

 

I entered the office and there were people all around me calling out to me to welcome me to ‘the new world’. It felt so pleasant and the lazy sleepy always tired me was full of life in no time. It is amazing that how someone else’s expressions or feelings or even words affect us to such an extend that for a minute I had completely forgotten that i was in a foreign land with complete strangers and far away from my own family.

 

We all spoke a bunch and then proceeded with the schedule. It was so good to see how the work culture is in a different country. They are also people (obvious) and they also have the same kind of responsibilities that we do. Then why is it that in India people don’t mind taking meaningless long breaks and then end up extending their shifts to finish the daily tasks. I was in Singapore for a week and throughout the week we had a set schedule, and at the same time we had enough of team outings planned for us to get to know each other well. We were working from 8 am till about 8 pm everyday and still, no complaints from anyone. The team is so strong that its amazing to see it actually happen. They start with work and other things like politics etc comes after they are done with work and if they have any energy left to play the blame game and pin point at others. Which in the 8 days i dint see even once. *amazed*

 

One of the days we had a good 6 hours given to us just to work on team dynamics. If i were in my old organization or in any other office in India, the first thing that the team would have asked for is a structure to the discussion and time given to each topic cause then the teams will nominate and have only a few people talk on behalf of the entire team. During our session of course we had a structure to the discussion but the importance given to each team member was such that unless everyone is done talking or expressing their thoughts on the particular topic, the discussion will not move ahead. That boosted our confidence and we were very open about our views. I’m sure the rest of the team was used to it but this was something very new to me.

 

I used to always wonder when people used to tell stories about how someone said something and how it affected that individual to such an extent that they decided to change for good or bad to respond to the words. It was only during this trip that I felt something similar. I have always felt inferior to the rest of the world. To such an extent that i would always want to hide from them or be around and be invisible to them. It all meant the same to me. Now i feel good about myself that i want people to notice me.

 

The joy of being alone and doing everything on your own in a different country has its own charm. Some of the things, pretty basic which you might not know cause it is not followed in your country are always something new to learn. As I mentioned earlier, I am a lazy sleepy always tired soul. But during this trip i dint say no to anything that came my way – say it be walking or posing for a pic (not very me) or even eating bizarre food. It was totally amazing to push myself off the limits and make the most of it. When in my hometown, i would not leave the house without a vehicle. I would always look out for ways to not work out. I would always want something else for dinner than what was cooked… Needless to say i do sound like a spoiled brat. But this brat did change with only these 8 days.

 

I have had multiple international trips before. All were vacations and all were with family. But this time it was very different. I was in charge of everything. I had to do it right the first time. Say it be a silly form at the airport till travelling by myself around midnight back to the hotel after a very hectic day. I never thought I would ever get to do it. And i did! And i will always cherish this change. 🙂

My Blore Exprience

I came to Bangalore or ‘ Bengaluru’ as they call it now, as a newbie who has never stayed alone ever. I was greeted at the airport by a bunch of women with white flowers tugged to their braids. The fragrance was the first ‘Bengaluru’ feeling. The next was the cab driver who spoke Kannada and Tamil only. Thanks to my Dad’s Vocation I got to stay in south India for a while and I could understand Tamil to sustain the drive till the hotel.

 

At the hotel I get to know that it’s the wedding season as they are double booked so they might shift me to another hotel 3 days from my arrival. The hotel was beautiful with a wonderful lawn and well-lit rooms with French windows. I felt so good at that moment that I felt like tweeting with #Bengaluruthebestplacetostay #Bengaluruyouarebeautiful and so on…. But I controlled myself and did not do something like that 2 hours after reaching this city.

 

I was supposed to go house hunting the same day since I had enough time to kill and do something useful than watching tv and sleeping all day long on the Huge bed with the softest comforter ever possible. I left the hotel with the address locked on Google maps and since as per Google it wasn’t even 2 kms from the hotel I decided to walk till the house. On the way I had X-ray eyes all over me which made it pretty clear that I wasn’t on the right route. I quickly boarded an Auto or Tuk-tuk and went looking for the house. The Auto driver dint understand a word that I was saying. He chose not to understand the sign language I was trying out. So I went round and round and finally decided to get off and walk again. 2kms turned out to be 15kms thanks to the auto driver and of course Google Maps.

 

I kept walking and the lady spoke – ‘Your destination is on the left’ for a minute I felt relieved but when I saw the building and the surrounding, my heart sunk. It was a narrow lane leading to a bunch of other narrow lanes with houses sticking to each other. For a minute I thought I was on PuranI DillI with the terraces close enough for kids to jump from one house to the other instead of taking the tar roads. I dared to move towards the gate and asked for the watchman. Thankfully I had his number and I knew his name. He came running till the gate to welcome me. Huge smile that kid had. He was talking all wonderful things about this area and I kept listening and responding sarcastically in my mind.

 

I finally asked him.. Can you show me the house now? He said yes madam.. I was waiting for you.. Come we will go upstairs and you can see the house. It was 3 floors which felt like 20 with the series of steps that I had to take to reach the house. I came in and the homely feeling I got as soon as I entered the door. Small yet not too tiny 2 bedroom apartment it was. And the bonus was that there were no houses surrounding this floor. Phew! The 3 floors were totally worth it.

 

I asked him all the questions I had in mind before II could say yes to rent this place. Since it was my first time it was prudent that I will ask some very stupid questions like – are you sure there won’t be any mosquitoes in the evening when II come back? Are you sure there will be no power cuts in this area? Etc…. Apparently the watchman did not find them stupid at all but he was laughing at my innocence (which he mentioned while I was leaving). I called one of my friends who is a local and asked him if he could come and see the house as well. Poor chap came all the way on his bike with the crazy Sunday traffic. He came in and he and the watchman started off talking in Kannada which I dint understand at all! He went ahead and checked the house. He also liked it for the open surroundings and then his series of questions started off with the watchman.

 

Finally we left the house and I had made my mind that this is the house I want and I will make it as my Home. It was a wonderful feeling. We went to Ibaco and had numerous scoops of various flavours of ice cream. That cooled my temper a bit which was on a high since I had boarded the auto. We spent some time and I got back to the hotel. That moment was the first when I felt lonely. A day spent well and the evening spent even better with delicious ice cream and wonderful company. I felt sad for a moment. And I questioned myself – why did I want to move out of the house?

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