Friday, January 14, 2011

Life as I Know It...

Given that I am beginning a whole new life of my own, I guess it’s time to bore readers with all the little insignificant details of my not-so-happening daily rituals. So what do I do?

Well, first of all I miss the luxury of 11 a.m. office in Company D, not to mention the luxury of having a roommate who will open the door when you are not at home/ in the bathroom/sleeping/or simply lazy! Yes, these are important details which I never appreciated when I did have them. Now, I have to reach work by nine (doesn’t mean I get to come home at six), which means I need to start getting ready by 8:15 am, which means I need a maid who can come at 7:30 am and unfortunately I haven’t been able to find one willing to come at such a god forsaken time especially since the stakes (read money) ain’t that much! So I synchronize my wake up time with the sunrise (which is pretty late in Mumbai) and keep the blinds of my curtain wide open so that I get up as soon as the first rays of sun stream into my eyes around 6:45 am. Thereafter the next couple of hours just whizz past as I engage myself in backbreaking jhaaru-pocha, making breakfast and doing the dishes. Still, I am yet to lose weight.  I just manage to find enough time to glance through the Bombay Times for the horoscope (face it, it’s no fun reading it at 10 p.m. after work, when your day is already over. Me, I like to know how my day will be like, just similar to one-twelfth of the population, even though I have no clue about where my life is going) and the announcement of any sale, hoping there won’t be any till I get my salary, precisely ten days from now.

Then comes eleven hours of work, out of which I am actually working ten hours (stark contrast to Company D). When your boss says you are working too hard, it must mean you are really getting on his nerves and this is something new for me, because I have always been the kind who comes early so that she can leave early. But somehow the motivation is much higher here. Or may be because this is all that consumes my life now. Plus, the visibility is higher too. A simple monthly report that I used to prepare in Company D (it was an existing format which I edited every month) never received any client feedback. I don’t think anybody even glanced through it. However, on enough occasions my manager criticized it for formatting errors/double spacing/decimal points/transition etc etc all of which seemed ridiculous given that the target audience never bothered about it. However, once I introduced a similar prototype in my new company, the feedback was overwhelming. Nobody criticized me for missing out a comma or using fullstop instead of a semi-colon, but yes, they did come back with suggestions to improve the content, and that made me happy. And I also realize that may be it’s not the work per se which bothers me, but it’s more the spirit and the nature of the feedback of that work.

And oh yes, I had to attend a day-long training yesterday- one of those things HR arranges which adds value only to their KRAs and where people who otherwise don’t get a chance to talk are invited and who insist on making a 100-slide presentation and keep talking in excruciating details, (pretty much like this post), at the fag end of the day. And like most trainings, it insisted on “being interactive” and “encourage active participation”, which meant it refused to let you sleep through it. And like most inane corporate games, it also insisted on dividing the group into sub-teams and making you do inane things like “explain the company values in a skit”. Now, I enjoyed writing screenplays, but acting, no way! The only time I had acted was during a school play when the lead actor in my play dropped out, and since I was the writer and therefore the only one who knew the lines, I had to step into his shoes. So after, thirteen years, I was acting again. I freaked out when I was asked to play the role of a relationship manager in a bank (I hate RMs or any role that requires me to be confident, diplomatic or a blood-sucking leech), and instead settled for a simple, diffident housewife with no idea about financial products, lost in a big bank, hanging on to her lecturer husband (a loud mouth guy who talked too much), asking for elaichi tea and talking about her one year old baby and vacations and jewelry. And as I hesitantly started my act, I realized I was playing it perfectly: my natural shyness and discomfort was exactly what the part demanded and soon I was on a roll, bringing the house down with my improvisations! And then it struck me: what the hell was I doing in a bank (even the back office of a bank)? Just because I had the ‘right’ qualifications, didn’t make me a ‘right’ fit. No wonder I was always lost: a little scared, a little skeptical and a little watchful just like the housewife I played!

And I almost forgot, as luck would have it, during my induction I met the guy who joined Company C recently to head the recruitment division and guess what, he already knew me, thanks to the elaborate ‘network’ I had formed during my elaborate six-month long job hunt. He happened to have been the recruitment head of the company I refused, to join Company C! One of the very few companies which I had the chance of rejecting, and rotten that my luck is, the recruitment head of that same company had to join here! Talk about a small world. Life really finds innovative ways to screw you!

I so didn’t belong in this profession. And I so wanted to be that housewife (but a writer one) with that little kid in the small town and most importantly with the sweet guy she was madly in love with (and not the loud-mouth lecturer)…

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