Untitled story

She was there again. Every now and then she will come up to this manager sitting next to me and talk about senseless things. She was about middle age 35 or something. The manager was a bit younger, I don’t know what exactly was his job but most of the time he would be free to entertain this regular guest of his. She was talking about some problem in her newly bought i-phone. I was trying to concentrate on reading the project document but her voice was a distraction. Since I have got into IT industry I have developed this strange ability to read without understanding a word. I wonder how this happens in the brain, but I was doing the same thing. I had read the same page three times but not even understood a single sentence. I felt like getting up and slapping her, she talked about the silliest and the most senseless things. It was very frustrating. I finally decided to give up. I locked my desktop and got up to go to the cafeteria to get a cup of coffee or tea or whatever. I was standing in the lift lobby, I was on 8th floor. In the IT industry the architecture and the scale of the building presented the reputation of your company, ours was a 13 floor building. It had a capacity of 8,000 employees; this was what we were told. Nobody would bother to verify the correctness of the figure. In the industry you are told one thing from the management, the other from your boss and what you experience is completely different. Sometimes I thought even the number of floors can differ from what we are being told because no body actually goes from one floor to another using stairs. We all work a part of a large machine. We have our fixed coordinates of time and space; we fit in at the correct coordinates to keep the machine working properly. The only places we go apart from our workstation are restrooms and cafeteria. Waiting for the lift is an irritating experience and it aggravates when one after the other lifts pass in front of you without a place to squeeze in, and even if there is space the ones inside would never accommodate. Finally giving up on lift I took the stairs to the 13th floor. Thankfully the floors I had to climb were 5, which verified the number of floors, at least between 8 and 13. It was rush hour; 5 o’clock was the time that saw the peek crowd at the beverages counter. There was a queue. I hate queues, but either you take it or you don’t. It took me 10 minutes to just take a cup of the hot beverage. I didn’t know whether it was tea or coffee. I didn’t care; I took the first cup handed to me by the vendor. As I took the first sip in I felt that sugar was less in the drink, but I would have to go back to the crowded counter to put sugar in so I drank it like that only. Wind was blowing hard and I could see stretches of the industrial area of Bangalore. As far as I could see there were offices. Lakhs of professionals daily went to these offices and get absorbed. They get absorbed like they don’t exist only thing that exist is the building, what works inside it, you may never know. The ones which were under construction exposed what exactly were these structures. They were just a set of pillars, a floor that serves as a ceiling for floors below and a ceiling that serves as floors for floors above. This structure concealed in a cage of reflective glasses made an office, some companies need a departure from this so they change the shape in which the floors are made but the basic floor, pillar and ceiling pattern is always there. Most of the building sported a set of antennas of different shape. They connect the things that are inside to the outer world. The outer world comprised of clients and their networks, company portals, mailboxes, online forums, teleconferencing and what not, not forgetting the quintessential Google. These buildings were like teleporting terminals. The time you get in you will be teleported to a different world, a world which is not present exactly as you perceive it. Its all like a big illusion and nobody questions its existence. My drink was over sooner than I had expected. I wanted to spend more time here but work was calling. I went back to my workstation, to my right coordinate – 8th floor 6th ODC 55th cubicle 9 AM to 6 PM. Thankfully she was gone. It was already 5:32. Soon I will leave to get back to my temporary abode. It was a painful job to travel from point A to point B in a city like Bangalore. The problem here was intensified by the complete dependency on the road transport system. There was no other option. Although the city authorities are coming up with metro rail, but it addresses the needs of the areas which are central to the city, not these areas which are situated on the outskirts. Here daily a mob of software professionals raged the streets in their daily quest to get back to their dwelling places. I was no exception. But I had to sit at my office till 6 o’clock. I sat there without any real work to do. Last week the traceability matrix was sent to review to the customer and I am waiting for the approval. My manager (not the one who sits besides me) is demanding some kind of productive work from my side till the matrix is approved. “You can’t sit like that for whole day” he said. I sat on my chair watching at the coconut trees. My cubicle was just next to the large cavity in which glasses were fitted. This glass window marked the periphery of the floor. Glass is such an amazing substance. You can see everything on the other side, but can’t hear or say. Sometimes I wonder why they have put glass in building. As I was watching at the trees, without thinking anything just then an eagle flew in front of me. The eagle was a regular visitor; it came daily in search of its prey in the coconut grooves. Sometimes it would come early in the morning but mostly mid noon was the hunting time. It would keep flying till the last ray of sun shined. It would soar high then suddenly dive down as it has spotted a prey but came back empty-handed. I had never seen it with a prey. I was watching it flying there from the other side of glass. I think it was making some kind of noise but glass prevented any transmission of sound waves between the sides. But I could imagine the sound made by the eagle. I had heard it before, when I was young there used to be an eagle that came near our house to hunt. I still remember the shrill sound it made. The coconut groves were swinging, it was clear indication that wind was blowing out side but inside nobody could feel it. The air conditioning cleverly eliminated any disturbances produced due to change in the weather. The people working inside were least bothered about the outside weather. The things that mattered the most were client, deadlines, man hours and billability. As long as they were inside, hell may break on the outside they don’t care. They were departed for the time being. But as soon as they came out of the offices, they would start getting affected by the outside world. Some would comment about the traffic, some would get irritated by the weather and some by the distances they have to travel. The roads at rush hour looked like a marching line of ants. It’s like the ants are vacating their one colony and migrating to the other. A long never ending trail of vehicles was formed on the roads; Busses, cars, cabs, bikes and what not. This time was soon approaching. As I looked around I noticed that most of the people had left the office and there was only this HR guy sitting in the far corner of the ODC. I collected my things and started putting them into the bag. I was in no hurry, I my motions were sedated. I knew even if I hurried through this the traffic would get the better of me. It was a long walk till the gate of the IT Park. It consisted of 5 humongous structures which hosted several company offices. There were lots of ways to go out but the management had defined a specific path which was to be followed while exiting the IT Park. As I got out the park I saw a swarm of professionals waiting for busses. Most of the people took city busses for coming to and going back from the park. I waited there for a suitable bus to come. An air conditioned bus stopped in front of me and the automated doors opened, a breeze of cool air brushed my face. I got into it; here in Bangalore there were categories of busses available. Majorly two categories existed. First ones were the simple busses with ordinary fare used by the common people. Second ones were the air conditioned busses targeted to the professional gentry. The fares of these could be as high as three times the ordinary ones. But at that cost they provided more comfort, better travel, air conditioning which would seal you off from the traffic, chaos and hostile weather of the outside. I had no reservations about any of the two. I just get into the one which comes first to me. It has been like this since a long time. The company which I am working for was the first to recruit me, I never tried for another job, and presently I was in no position of doing so. I had a legal bond of 2 years with this company before which if I left I will have to pay a huge sum of money. Out of the 2 years more than one year had passed away and I wasn’t bothered about the rest of the time. It would also pass as it had; the best thing about time is nothing can stop it. Good or bad it will pass. As I was settling inside the bus the weather started changing vigorously. The wind that was blowing had stopped and the evening sky was engulfed by the thick cover of clouds. It was going to rain. Sun still registered some of its presence through the horizon, from where the dying rays of light were coming out. I felt bit lucky as I boarded the bus well before it started to rain. It made me feel good for sometime. The bus was now going in a wild fashion with breaking, stopping and then accelerating every now and then. The traffic was mounting and it was not too far that the bus went before encountering the first of the jams. There would be many more, bigger and nastier than this one. Fridays and Mondays saw a larger number of jams and it was a Monday. I could see the other vehicles through the large glass windows of the bus. The seats were at a higher position which helped in a clear view. Some of the drivers would’ve turned the engines of their vehicles off but I was not able to make out as the no sounds from the outside reached me. I was thinking about what I will do when I get back to my flat. Lots of pending work was there to be done. Loads of clothes remained as this weekend I spent most of my time sleeping and watching movie. I had to finish the book which I had borrowed form the library its due date was nearing. I had lots of messages from friends on various social networking sites. The rain had already started. It was a heavy shower. The water trickled down the window glasses and the lights of the vehicles outside came sieved through the flowing water making abstract patterns inside the bus. In a cab, standing just next to the bus, there were three girls. They were also going back from work as I was. But they were happy, they were chatting about something and having fun. One of them turned towards me and saw me looking at them. I was too involved in thought to notice that and I kept looking at them. Perhaps I noticed it but I was too lazy to let my mind comprehend that. As she saw me looking at her, she told her mates and one of them smiled looking at me. This time I able to react and turned around. The person sitting next to me was listening to some songs. He had the earphones inserted and his i-pod in his hand. One characteristic of software professional is that you will always find them equipped with gadgets. May it be the latest phone or the latest music player Most of the people travelling in the bus were listening to music, all of them had earphones inserted in their ears. As I turned around to face the person sitting next to me he gave an annoyed look. He didn’t like me encroaching his personal space. It was better I looked out side the window. The girls were again busy talking. The driver driving their cab was dressed in white attire and was least worried about their talks, maybe be because he didn’t understood the language. In Bangalore there were enough numbers of people speaking almost all the languages spoken in India. Kannada, Hindi, English, Telegu, Malyalam, Tamil, Marathi, Bengali, Orriya were to name some of them. It was not necessary that you knew all of them so there was a healthy probability that the driver didn’t understand the language the girls were talking in. Perhaps he was not interested in it; he looked too annoyed from the traffic jam. The traffic jam was clearing up and vehicles started moving. My stop was nearing I had to get off the bus. The rain had stopped. Finally I got back after getting stuck up in more than 4 or 5 traffic jams. After getting home the biggest question is about the food. What do you eat? I had a cook previously but discontinued him. Off late I have developed this ability to go without having dinner. And now I was frequently practicing this. I had some of the bread slices left from last night’s meal. I also found a little butter so it was enough to satisfy my appetite. After I finished my meal I made a mental list of the works which were pending. I first soaked the 2 shirts and then took out the book which I had to finish before Saturday. It was a collection of short stories of Rabindranath Tagore. His stories are so simple, yet so intriguing. They are mostly set in old Bengal but are true even today. As I started reading the book I lost the sense of time, it was just before 11 o’clock that I realized that I have to wash the shirts and go to bed. My day started at 7:30 in the morning. Unwillingly I closed the book and got up to wash the shirts. The clothes were done. I brushed my teeth and lied down on the mattress. I tried to sleep but the pictures of the girls sitting in the cab kept coming back to me. They were friends, and they were together. I was a bit jealous. When I was in college I too, like them, used to have fun with my friends. But all that is an old story now. I was here in Bangalore with almost no friends. Initially when I came to Bangalore the loneliness haunted me. I was in a mental shock. I thought of running away from all this. I was in a breakdown. No friends, new place and first job all these things together took the better of me. But slowly I got used to all this. Now I was acclimatized with the things. But a slight desire to get back along with my friends and family still remained. I was trying hard to get over it and was largely successful as now I hardly had any friends here and caught up with my old friends very rarely. I didn’t visit my home since last 5 months and was not even feeling like going. I was completely molded into the person this city wanted me to be. But when I saw the girls having fun amongst them it brought back the feelings that I was trying to win over. I didn’t want to be overcome by them. I didn’t want to loose. But the memories of those times flooded my mind. I can remember the fun we had back in college and even in school. The happy life I had back home was enticing me to go back, the same feeling that I had when I came here was coming back to me. With this maelstrom going in my mind I didn’t realize when I feel asleep

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About Rohan Kanungo

Suffering from a disorder that leads to a constant mental escape to other universes and create stories, images and what-not in my mind. I love making friends and catching up with them. Travelling is something which I like a lot but am not able to do much, so I do the next best thing - Reading. I love looking through the window in the nothingness. :) I love my parents, probably the coolest set of individual to get together on the face of the planet.

Posted on November 21, 2009, in कल्‍पित. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. The Awesome is back 🙂 Although there are a few English errors (sorry my sight just fell on them) but as I told you before when I read this one back in Bangalore: great. This actually has a beginning for a proper storyline as we discussed on that drizzly evening.

    Waiting for the next installment on this.

  2. Commendable Effort…tried to engross the reader ..

  3. Dude,it’s good but getting a bit long without a pause.

  4. It made me realise my position also………..the same way it ended happens daily with me.I miss friends and my place alot……….
    Its really HEART-TOUCHING end for me.

  5. Hi…

    A true and honest account, something that any software professional can relate to…specially the ones in Bangalore!!

    But taking in point that this is a story…it seems(and perhaps is) a series of aimless rants…without any breaks or paragraphs…you lost me a couple of time in the story!

    If would be great if the details come out not so much detailed, more in a witty way.. I know you would want to convey how boring, lifeless and pointless everything around is but though that is coming through, it wont make me stick till the end. Could never make out throughout the story, where actually you are heading to, what your point is!

    God attempt…polish it and make it more crisp i would suggest!

  6. My Favorites:

    “Since I have got into IT industry I have developed this strange ability to read without understanding a word.”

    “They were just a set of pillars, a floor that serves as a ceiling for floors below and a ceiling that serves as floors for floors above.”

    Well must say it is extremely relatable and engrossing. Though you really need to let the reader know where are you leading him to. Or atleast give them a hint or point to a very tiny but bright source of light so that they are curious to get closer.

    Interesting read. In the next post/chapter/portion, do try to leave it on a higher note.

    Waiting to read more.
    Cheers!

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