Skip to main content

There's a kind of hush

Two things happened today that brought an involuntary wistful smile to my face. One, whilst leaving for work this morning, I realised my trousers & shirt were the exact same ones I'd been wearing on my first day of work (of course they've been washed after that day). Two, as part of my handover, when going through the numerous folders and documents that have accumulated over the year, I chanced upon the very first piece of work I'd been assigned.

It has been just over a year since I started working at this organisation and today is my last day. It was a good first job; not very demanding and convenient in many ways but in the long run, not the most ideal of workplaces. Every employee among you must have collated a list of negatives about your respective office & I am no different. However, I will not be airing the dirty laundry in public except to say that I have learned a fair amount over the last 13 months, though sadly none of it had anything pertaining to my work. Instead, I've got a very good idea of work-culture in India. This was my first proper employment gig and I was laughably naive about office life and group dynamics. Not any more.

I want to say I feel sad or nostalgic about leaving but it would be a lie. The truth is I was tired of working here. Having never worked in a large corporate office, I'm no expert on office politics there. But its also pretty rough working in an office with a small staff and even an even smaller team. Its especially tricky when other people in the team are long established. I realised very gradually that these people may loathe each other and not respect any contribution except their own but are forced into an ambiguously-twisted symbiotic relationship to keep their jobs. Don't even get me started on the sycophancy permeating the team. Suffice to say, I want to salute the tenacity with which things seem to get done in an atmosphere more suited to a shabby murder-mystery. You know... whispered conversations, endless gossip, pointed looks and childish attempts to introduce difficulties into the simplest of processes.

I am going to miss a few people though. They all seem to be the ones with a sense of humour I can relate to and who know how to mind their own business. In their own way, they made the hours tolerable and I am thankful.

Knowing what I know now, I did not forewarn the new employee who's coming in to replace me today. Like mine, this is her first job & she has a right to choose to learn the lessons I did.

Today, the clock will tick calmly towards closing time & I will take a final glance at my desk with the piles of papers & other stationery that prove I existed here professionally till now. Lying around for a better part of the year in that naturally higgledy-piggledy way, they will now be stacked neatly. Too neatly... hinting gently that at least one person won't be back here on Monday morning.

Over the year, on many a frustrating day or stiflingly slow afternoons I have written blog posts sitting at this computer. This is my last post from here & the only thing left to say is "Bonne Chance".

Song for the moment: Long nights - Eddie Vedder

Update: So, I felt a little bad after all.

Comments

bhumika said…
"...people may loathe each other and not respect any contribution except their own but are forced into an ambiguously-twisted symbiotic relationship to keep their jobs. "

well said.
girish said…
:) such is life eh ? And this is a NGO, mind you.

Popular posts from this blog

Night Boat

I usually don't write honest pieces. They're true to facts but I tend to lather my emotions and thoughts with a heavy dose of attempted humour or misdirection. This post deserves some raw emotional honesty, though.

Yesterday, 29th August, a Tuesday (or should I say, another Tuesday) was about me making choices. It was raining quite heavily when I left for office, sheeted down the windows of the train throughout the 1-hour journey to Churchgate and kept going with renewed intensity by the time I made it to the entrance, looking verily like something that had drowned in a gutter and lain there a while before being discovered by a cat and dragged in. I made the choice to go to work as I suspected my boss would be there and not because I wanted to go.

I was right about my boss but that cardiac fizz of being right flattened out rather rapidly once I realised, around 11:30 am, that no one else from my team of 20 had bothered to make a similar effort. And, some of these guys live 5 …

Last of my kind

(This post hasn't come out as well as I wanted. But I'm still pissed off, so.)

Why do we have heroes? What is it about someone that triggers a decision to nail our colours to their mast? I don't have a neat answer so what you read from here on is both an explanation and an exploration. In a post-modern world driven by counter-points, certainty is a luxury.

I missed the boat when it came to India's ODI cricket madness. We moved abroad in the late 80s. When I left, my friends and I wanted to be Kapil, Kris or Sunil. When I returned, god was getting comfortable on his heavenly couch and all was right with a world I did not recognise. I had missed Sachin's opening batsman debut against New Zealand, the hullabaloo of the Hero Cup and other notable moments. So, I was interested in cricket, not any particular sportsman. Not even during the '96 World Cup. When India muffed it against Sri Lanka, I hurt for the team, not for a player.

Then came Dravid. And, personally, …

Let her go

Have you noticed how we throw things out a lot more than before? Of course, city-dwellers like us have more, now that disposable incomes are the norm. Does it also allow us to dispose of things so easily? I was the object of much mirth/ridicule at work today because I wanted to get a golf umbrella repaired. One colleague wondered if it was worth the effort, another asked why I did not just buy a different one while others chuckled when they realised neither of these thoughts had occurred to me. I trudged off, wondering if they were right. What exactly was driving me to take the trouble?

I think back to to the 80s and living in my Thatha's (grandpa) house. Today's 'use-and-throw' culture would have shocked him to the core. The man was the epitome of prudence. Since we weren't exactly floating in doubloons, the family followed suit. Thatha wore the same watch for over 50 years. A small umbrella, bought by my mother with her first salary, was well on its way to becom…