How to get a 5-minute job done in 2 hours?

10:30 am.
Deserted room. Dusty tables. Wires running all over the place as if hijacked by thin black snakes, like in that movie ” Snakes in the Plane”. A lady, wearing hand-woven cream coloured sweater and bright, and I mean slide the photo-editor-slider-to-extreme-right-level of bright red shawl, just entered. The scarcely populated hall nods a little, tells me she must be a senior in ranks here. 15 desktop pc’s, and only 4 have been booted up. 1 out of these 4 machines have Flipkart, Amazon and SnapDeal opened up. All tabs with different brands of wrist watches opened up. Thin straps. Colours red, pink and all shades of these two colours. I guess the surd guy’s daughter’s birthday is coming up. The discussion is about where to find the express delivery option. Forgot to buy a gift, and now looking for a way out, this guy.
E-com has changed the entire structure of shopping and gifting in India within the last few years. An age when shopping online had hesitance to an age when shopping from a local mart raises more hesitation. Blame the easy, zero argument, return of goods facility these sites provide.

10:50 am. 5th pc boots up. But attendance in the room hasn’t changed. An attitude that reflects the attitude of all Govt. Departments. Morning gossip is an essential start of the day. The old machine apparently takes some more time, time worth some last night alcohol party gossip sharing, to rise up to the Green Meadow wallpaper of Windows XP. The red shawled woman calls out to the lady who has been swirling the spoon in a large mug for the last 15 mins. What we call, “beating the coffee”, for a creamier coffee. So this red woman hands over a bunch of papers to her. She walks straight to the worn out photocopier cum scanner. God! This copier needs to be admitted to the ICU ward of Hewlett Packard service station urgently. Such loud screeches.

11 am. Still no sign of any increase in the attendance of the room. Punjabi songs are flowing through the air molecules around; sharing of songs is underway now. The guy I am supposed to meet is nowhere to be seen.

government offices in India

The scarcely populated Government Offices!

Steel racks being used to the best. Heavy Index files all around, with wide plain sheets pasted on their spines, marking what the file is all about.
Meanwhile, coffee is ready. The butter bite biscuits are being garnished on flat, embossed with flowery designs, steel dishes.

“No thanks.”, I promptly reply, to the lifting of eyebrows by the helping staff, presuming I was being offered a cup!

11:30 am. So the guy arrives finally. Heavy corduroy coat. French beard. Santa belly.

11:35 am. Documents signed. Letters picked up. I am on my way back. So all I needed to do was a 1 and a half hour travel, over one hour of patience for a 5-minute job. Day well wasted.


Week #1 : Females, Politics, and Life around Cafe #officediaries

After completing my bachelors, and entering a professional environment, there are couple of revelations I have had, within the first week. I thought humans, around the same habitat, spoke same language. In my case, I thought Hindi and English, and maybe a little Punjabi, would be the languages of choice, where I work.
But I was wrong. Surprisingly, the office habitat is not the same as the realm outside the glass windows. The working professionals have their own thing going on. And I shit you not, it is a crazy world in here!

Now, I shouldn’t have been that surprised. I mean, the small little evidences were always around me, in the University. I had my suspicions, but then I suppressed them, calling it a fragment of my imagination. But now here is the real deal. Women at work, a WHOLE DIFFERENT LANGUAGE. I mean, it might sound as English or Hindi or any other language. But I kid you not, it is incomprehensible! Most of it, you will never understand!

They might sound as something that is usual to your ears, but your soul will be lost, like the little kids in Jurassic Park! On one of the days, I remember this happening.

Some lady dropped by the HR Department, and apparently had some issues regarding Leave Policy. Now, she sat down with her “friend”, the HR Executive. By the sound of it, the executive amicably told her that she will not be able to help her, as according to some policy, her leave would not be counted. Everything seemed fine so far! It sounded like simple English. No problems.
Now the HR Executive needed some help from the fellow lady. She needed to use her mobile phone. What she says next, will blow your mind! (thanks to in making things sound overly-drastic).

“Sorry ya! I wont be able to help you, because my SIM card is not working, so now it won’t unlock at all! ”
Whoa! What was that? SIM card not working, so the keypad wont unlock??

While this still might sound like something spoken in normal English. But now let’s reverse the tape and try to understand this in Female language.

Scene 1

Woman walks in, hoping her friend, who works in HR dept, to oversee her negligence, and miscommunication, and grant her the leave that she had requested.
HR Executive refuses to help partially because she is self righteous, and partially because, “When was the last time she ever helped her.

Scene 2

Now the HR executive needs help from the same lady in front. The lady in front, “this is why I don’t help you! Just now i needed a favour, to which you refused. Let the game begin!”

LANGUAGE DECODED!! Boom. Chapter Females closed.

Politics begin.

Office politics is something that I do not find the works of over-smart geniuses trying to grip on to the game of thrones in the office environment. I think it is the game of fools, who prefer wasting their time to pull down others, rather than climbing up the ladder themselves.

“Would you be able to handle the work?”

“You are a fresher. How will you face the transition from college to work?”

“So you are the IT guy. What exactly would you do to help the organization?”

Totally felt like ragging days in college! I was selected into the organization through a selection process that had couple of interview rounds. But the secret is, those interviews were only so that you can wear the company’s leash around your neck. There are next set of interviews awaiting once you enter the premises. Now those interviews are there to feed the egos of the ones who are going to be sitting around your table for the rest of your life, while at the same office, if you survive it.

There are moments when you feel you are not being questioned to know you better, but to question your talent. To question your right to work in the same office.

Thankfully I had one weapon, that shut all these questions. One reply to starve people off their hunger of ego.

“Yes, of course, I mean I am a fresher. But I was interviewed by the CEO of the company, which means he saw something in me. So any question about my existence here, actually means questioning the authority, intellect and the decision of the CEO”
*OUCH* That burns! 

Coming on to Life Around Cafe

Now office is not as bad as it looks. There are those 15 minute breaks when workers become persons. They share their stories and jokes during the coffee breaks and lunch times.

It is fun hearing how someone is living in a family where the in laws turn up every time when the husband-wife try to get cozy at some run-away spot! How they always accompany, when it was supposed to be a romantic dinner. There are young people with young problems. How there never are enough clothes before a party! The foodies are there to talk about the fancy place they visited over the weekend! Every Monday begins with “how was your Sunday?”

Moments like these evade the rest of the negativity around work, and office timings become pleasurable. And as long as there is healthy competition, it is all fine and merry!

Day 1 : July 1 2015 #officediaries

Every time I pounce onto something new, some achievement, or if I meet someone new, I feel tremors deep into my skin till the bones. I am not really comfortable to new. New surroundings. However, it does not mean i am unwelcoming to new. It is like when you are a guest, and nachos with Mayo is served, you don’t jump into the servings at one go. Rather you take time, select single nacho, shyly refuse when asked to take more.

It just takes a little longer than most people to adjust to new.

1st of July was my first day at work, straight out of college. First job, an experience that is first of its kind. And God knows I was nervous to the core. I suddenly felt like a GIANT. A GIANT with giant feet, giant body. Huge. So huge that I needed to make my movements as noiseless as possible. And be as careful as possible, so that I didn’t break anything around me. Heck, I was minding every little footstep, as I suddenly felt so heavy that I might break the floors down, and bring the entire office building down to debris. It was my fourth glass of water within first 30 minutes of entering the building. And it wasn’t even hot, specially when I was sitting inside a centrally air conditioned premises. Each sip of a size of 200 ml, to ease down my breathing cycle.

And as if I was not nervous enough, the formal wear, and those leather shoes made it a point that there is no scope left for my embarrassment. The shoes! Oh god the shoes, they creaked, and made loud squishy noise while I was following my Human Resource executive through the entire building.

It was introduction time for the new duckling in the squad. I was walking around all the floors meeting new faces, new names and designations that you would only hear on the televisions! Who knows how long it took for the lady who was taking me around, to learn all those names!

All these feelings were wrapping and choking my throat, despite the fact that just across my room sat someone, more like an elder sister, who had known me since my childhood! I wonder how many mini strokes I would have already had, if she was not there to pass those casual smiles and small talks to keep me talking and ease off the nervousness.

I am pretty sure my soul was gasping for air, like when your swimming trainer forcefully puts your head down into the water, when you are new to waters.

While I was going through all these feelings, the time came, for the official professional uber pro tasks. Office ID that had an RF-ID chip to mark attendances, a mobile phone with a new mobile number for office business, a corner of the room which is now going to be my work space.

There is something I should tell you about this mobile phone. It is a Nokia, some primitive model. I can imagine the devilish laughter of the management when they would have picked these tiny little blue creatures, that have no SD card, no camera, no data connectivity, forget about the Bluetooth and an MP3 player. All it has is a FM Radio player, and just for some extra fun, no ear-phones!

Suddenly I feel my shirt pocket heavier. I took a look. It had 4 ball point pens, a handkerchief, the tiny mobile phone, and the ID card crying for help for some space of its own. What the hell was I doing with 4 pens!! I guess, being over precautions was what it was. For not looking like a klutz that I am.

The moment the clock struck 6 pm, that’s when I took my first full breath of the day! Phew! Day 1 over!

New Document.

Whenever I sit down on my laptop, usually there are many files open out in front of me. The unfinished business from previous night. The document files open, and the cursor still blinking in front of that last sentence.

I woke up on 1st July 2015, at an hour of the day I never thought I would be able to wake up at, 6 am. I rubbed my eyes, and blinked them for a couple of times, metaphorically, like the cursor at the end of the line. I wanted to hold on to that moment, for very soon, I would be starting on with a New Document in life.

Many times, there is a thick yet invisible line that parts you from your past and future. The present. The reason why this line is drawn thick, is because it is here, upon this line, that we take decisions, that shall leave marks, and blots that shall be visible in the future.

I was about to begin with my new document. But unlike every other day, when I chose to not go through the previously opened files, today I planned on visiting those words, one last time, before I started with the new beginning.

It is funny how when someone once meant the world to you, is now a stranger, in some other part of the world, and the face is no longer what you remember, only the moments shared is what lies behind. And then when you least expect it, when you are at an all time low, miracles happen and lift you up, and you find people who know your worth, and value your words. My studies of engineering were not just a 4 year course at a University, it was a journey, an experience, and more like a workshop on how to live life.

And now, just when I started getting comfortable with a lifestyle that gave me a new perspective and a feeling of joy in life, I need to move ahead with a new chapter. A career, job, and professionalism, they were waiting to pounce on to me like an excited pet.
Here I stood, on that line, on the fence that differentiated the green path that lied behind, and the unknown land, covered in mist, that I would need to walk on to ahead.

A start of the day, full of unsurety.