The post-lunch environment at the office was lethargic. Amidst the chorus of chattering keyboards and mouse clicks, the printer beeped to notify that its job was done, but no one attended to it. The Internet Messenger occasionally made its ‘ding’ sound aloud as if knocking on a virtual
door to find out if the other side of the wire was still awake. There was a sedating silence all around.
I yawned like an uncivilised brute. The Manchurian, Hyderabadi biryani and mirchi-ka-salan1 I had for lunch was casting its spell of drowsiness on me. Two more minutes of and I would be snoring. In a desperate effort to keep sleep at bay, I got off my cosy ergonomic chair and walked lazily towards the washroom. A few splashes of cold water on my face made me feel better but I could not garner enough energy to walk back to my cubicle. I stood motionless gazing at myself in the mirror.
I saw a face that I have been living with for the past thirty years. It had transformed over time for good, but it has changed much faster in the past few months—or should I say, since our workplace had shifted to this out-of-civilisation, ‘cost-effective’ facility. The tiredness on my face, the lack of lustre in my hair and redness in my eyes was certainly not because of the high-cholesterol lunch, but something else. It was evident that the daily travel was taking a toll on me and I had no means of escaping from it. The human mind is brilliant. It finds out effective ways to protect itself from
getting burdened further, as it does in my case. When it gets bored of public transport, it prompts me to take a ride to office on my motorbike and when that gets tiring, it suggests me names of Sushant or Mohan who can give me a lift. In the worst case, it makes me feel so weak that I call my boss and ask for a day off. This has been the pattern with me for the past few months. Alas! The body sometimes runs out of sync and starts to show up its pain just like it was doing then.
I was still gazing at myself in the mirror and a sudden hypnotic spell sucked me in for some contemplation.
I don’t know why, but of late I was starting to feel that I have in me, two different beings. One of them is emotional. It is grounded to its values, it stops me from reacting to situations, it makes me observe the little wonders in everyday life, encourages me to see the brighter side, and sometimes, it commands me to just stand peacefully and enjoy singing aloud life’s beautiful song. The other is, as I wish to call it, judgemental. Notorious for furious outbursts, it quickly jumps into conclusions. It is strong-headed, it asks me to be selfish, pessimistic and often teases me with phrases like ‘grow up!’. Am I like this ‘by default’ or have I been transforming lately? Am I what I think about myself or am I yet to discover my true being?
Just then a colleague gave me a friendly nudge and the spell broke. I splashed a little more water on my face and walked out of the washroom, acting to be fully energised and wide awake.
While walking past the colonies of cubicles, someone called my name aloud. “Jatin!” A lean person waived his hands to grab my attention. Standing at his workstation, he announced almost like giving me an order, “I have sent a mail regarding the cab service . . . check quickly. Let’s meet at 3 o’clock.”
I rushed to my workstation to check my mail, gathering words of admiration for Chandrahas a.k.a. Chandu, in my mind. That man deceptively hid his real personality under a thin physique. ‘Help ever, hurt never’ was his undying motto that he flaunted as his status on the social media. He liked to be ‘overindulged’ in finding solutions to problems, be it professional or personal. He was a man of intense self determination with a never-give-up spirit. People like him are like tigers; not easily spotted nowadays on the face of earth.
The mail sent by Chandu read thus:
Let’s meet for a few minutes today to discuss the transportation facility for our route.
• Pick/Drop Points (i.e., nearest main road from home).
• Amount per month per person.
Request you all to attend the meeting and sorry for the short notice.