A Passage of Redemption

Bringing work to life…

It is MY time. It allows me to do the things that normally slip through the net. Such as a listless browsing of familiar sights. Or witnessing the sea of human aspirations. Sometimes I dial in the trio of ‘other’ women in my life – mom, sister & daughter. Other times I listen to music. These moments are precious. They are my aimless quarter-hour of the day. Cruising at my own pace. Or my car’s pace to be more precise. Seven minutes to the office. Seven minutes back home.

I live only a kilometer away from Cybage. It is by design, a perk of running a business. There are two ways to get to the office from my driveway. Route 1 on the right, Route 2 on the left. Then about two-thirds of the way – both routes converge at a traffic signal.

A passage redemption

I have been following Route 1 for years. Even though it is less predictable. I am habituated. The drive is laden with my frequented milestones. Starting with my buddy Ashish’s apartment complex, mom’s Ganesh temple, my friend Rajan’s Bungalow, our grocery supplier, my in-laws apartment complex, the pharmacy, the optometrist, the whey protein shop, and Adlabs multiplex. Together, they touch varied colors of my life – family, friends, religion, health, food, sports and entertainment. Whoever coined the ‘bringing life to work’ phrase at Cybage must be following a similar route to the office!

The drive comes with its share of bumps. Often in the by-lanes, I get stuck behind a garbage truck. I don’t honk. But the cars queued up behind me do. They are irritated that I am not as irritated as them. Perhaps they don’t realize that the truck has no choice. The lanes are narrow. The insensitivity of the car parkers on the sides of the road doesn’t leave much room for maneuvering.

Route 1 & 2 converge at the Adlabs traffic light. There are little kids begging. Most commuters ignore them. Giving money is not going to get them off the streets. It is advisable to avoid eye contact. But I do. I don’t help them. But they do. By allowing me to peep inside the eyes of naked reality.

The last leg, after the traffic light is relatively smoother. Except for the poorly planned flowerbeds on the divider. The plants grow horizontally. High maintenance. Plus they add to the misery during rush hour.

Finally I arrive at the majestic towers. The entry is contrasting. There is a lot of tea and smoke action coming from the street kiosks. The path is crowded. The security gets into action. They kind of whistle and hustle around when they see my car. It is awkward. It’s a welcome I can do without. I have corrected them multiple times. But the changing guards take time to acclimatize. Perhaps they are just doing their job. I suppose it is one of the highlights of their day.

I park and navigate around the fountain towards Cybage Tower 1, bemused over my daily assault course. A seven-minute drive on our Indian roads is crammed with societal revelations.

Indians proudly flash their zest for life. Family and friends mean the world to us, as do all the entertaining milestones that fill up our lives. Unfortunately, lurking beneath the warmth are our bigotries. Our age-old prejudices of class hierarchies!

The top layer belongs to the big shots above us. When they arrive on the scene, we hush around and bring ourselves to attention, like a watchman.

We compete with our peers. Like the thorny plants spreading horizontally on the divider, most of us host feelings of envy. As long as we grow, it doesn’t matter if it is at the cost of our peers.

There is little patience for the ones below us. We are used to honking and pushing the likes of garbage pickers, not realizing the inherent limitations of our blue collars.

Then there is the bottom of our social strata. The likes of begging kids that we don’t make eye contact with. They are invisible from our vantage point.

It is with these random observations that I occasionally step into the Cybage lobby. Then as I wait alongside Cybagians at the elevators, my trail of thought quickly vanishes. It is a different world inside, compared to the one outside the boundary wall. Technology companies are challenging our prevalent social habits.

Here bosses are more like friends, there is no need to get conscious in their presence. Our peers are collaborators. Their success translates into the organization’s success and our personal growth. Juniors are energetic and ambitious – their identity counts, no knowledge organization can afford to bulldoze them. And then there are the CSR arms, sensitizing and spearheading initiatives for the upliftment of the underprivileged.

Together, we are the torchbearers of a changing India. We have done an excellent job of challenging the status quo at work. Now we need to reverse-engineer our convictions. Just ‘bringing life to work’ is not good enough. It’s time to start bringing learning from ‘work back to life’. Sure, it is not easy. Age-old habits are difficult to break.

About a month ago, the road construction on Route 1 forced me to start taking Route 2. The construction on Route 1 is over now, but I continue on Route 2. I have realized it is more efficient. It gets me from point A to point B faster. I can already see fresh milestones on my new route. My habit has been broken. Unfortunately, it took road-fury for me to sort out my act.

Is it worth waiting for social unrests before we mend our ways? Is it cool to customize our social behavior depending on the clothes someone wears? Or the car she drives? Or the house he lives in? Is the valuation of life for a half-clad kid with dreamless eyes at a traffic signal less than the one who is living his dreams behind the steering wheel of a Mercedes?



Attitude, Dignity, Original, Style

21 Comments

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  1. Superb comparison with our mundane life…

  2. Great stuff! Reaching to office within 10 min is what I dream of every day. Think of commute and what comes before is people honking, being rash and cabbies going by wrong side like zombies and blocking everyone. Many times when I feel low in morning I prefer to take a cab and travel with these jerky cabbies rather than own to avoid stress and frustration.

    Thinking on social disparity I once stumble on the Human Development index (HDI) which reflects human development of countries and my perception is people in countries with higher index, value their country men more equally and have more dignity of work. Unless things are fixed at foundation no matter how hard we preach, disparity with be there naturally.

  3. Surely the age old habits are difficult to break. But, there itself emerge the gems who intuitively walk a different path (different, because common man doesn’t follow it), cross their own limits, as you changed the route, and achieve the goal, as reaching the Cybage Towers :-). A person can be a quick responder to changing social behavior, rather than wait for the larger movement and then be a part of the change. Small changes in self are definitely going to help oneself professionally or in private life. That is what I realized from this blog as well as from my past 🙂

  4. ‘work back to life’ – Excellent said!. It has started new threads from my brain!

  5. Change will not come if you are not intended to achieve solution to some problem. Only problem is we wait for the problem to bring a change. If you really intend to see what the traffic chaos, checkout Shastri chouk to Yerwada square. Chaos is not new to any country but, here we wait for the time for problem to cross our neck and than think of changing sometime !! Be it a fly over or a metro or BRT.

    Nice interpretation !!

  6. Well written Arun! I hope that we can try bringing some improvement to the life of poor kids at Adlabs circle through CSR, if not yet so.

  7. Great thinking and innovative at the same time. But most appreciable is that it is straight from heart. Being Human is the motto we all should engross on hearts and souls and we should stick to Being Humans with open heart and pure thoughts.

  8. Thought provoking article!
    In the eyes of creator each life on earth must be equally valuable but then why these differential treatment in real life? Many philosophers have pondered over this and come up with their own analysis. Without going into theory what could be done to provide the succor is the real question. “Have nots” are off course suffering because of lack of material comforts and surprisingly “haves” are also suffering may be because of extreme self centeredness. Society needs “doers” to alleviate these sufferings. I think answer lies in cultivating spiritual values in society especially compassion.

  9. Wonderful article. Thought provoking.
    Inspires to introspect & try to change.
    The analogy of thorny shrubs really makes us question our own behaviour.

  10. Astute observation and interesting analogy.

    Loved the part, “It’s time to start bringing learning from ‘work back to life’. Sure, it is not easy. Age-old habits are difficult to break.”

    Change is hard but necessary for growth and development of individual and humanity.

  11. “Passage Of Redemption”, indeed. Sir, with your simple and clear words of experience, I would like to call it a Passage of Our Own Actions (Karma)

    Our life is like a theatre play, the costume an actor wears on the stage, have act like it Just Like That :). Similarly, We all play multiple roles in a single day, yet no satisfaction. why? Because we are just working, we aren’t performing an ‘Action’ which will lead us to the result (Prarabdha Karma – The Result).

    We all pass through this passage every day, every hour, every moment of our lives. And here, Your fulfillment is not going to come from becoming another Bill or another Buddha, it is going to come from creating your own home. However welcome you may be in another home, however hospitable your host may be, a while later, you no longer feel at home.
    You only feel at home in your own home. You may have ideals or idols, but it is important to be yourself, to discover yourself, your own truth.

    The choices you made yesterday, voluntary or otherwise, have landed you where you are today, and the choices you are making today will dictate your tomorrow. Hence, it is paramount that you pay attention to your present actions, your present thoughts, the range of choices available in the future is a direct function, a derivative of your present actions, your future, well, your life in fact, depends on it.

    There are no dreamless eyes but a soul full of desires (Vasanas in sanskrit) which holds us back to achieve the higher. We are entangled in this dependent socialized materialistic world, because of which the subtle aspect of our goals of life is dissolving.

    We need to act and to act with MAD attitude (BG:Ch:3):
    M – Motivated by higher ideal
    A – Accepting the results
    D – Dissolving the doership

    Above learning I gained from the greatest manual of life, Would like to conclude by conveying my gratitude towards it.

    Thank You Sir.

  12. Great observation…so well presented

  13. Hey Arun,
    What a brilliant analogy of comparing a small routine of your life with how you look at it behind the wheel which I am sure many of us while passing by you used to wonder or wonder still. Certainly this point of view has come in with maturity of life which we can pray that all of us achieve in time.

  14. Humanity and compassion !! Developing an attitude of gratitude for what we have as there are so many who would love to live the life we have. A small change in routine or attitude can develop fresh perspectives.

    Really a thought provoking blog !

  15. m a fan of reading non-fiction and your blogs touch so deep. Big fan of your thought process.

  16. Couldn’t resist writing this long comment….

    Luv your trail of thoughts. Indeed well explained. The milestones depict how simple you are just like us, could connect easily with temple, grocery shop, and pharmacy. These things actually define the comfort zone for everyone no matter which area or class you belong to.
    Twisting the term ‘Bringing work to life’ provokes us to think the other way round.

    The innocent naked reality touches our heart. Many a times, I offer my son’s rejected stuff like chocolates, cookies lying on the car dashboard to street kids. Honestly, not bcoz of sympathy but bcoz they peep in and demand for it.

    Security guards Highlight of the day ☺ True!!! But they certainly let us all feel equally important. Good Team! I get to witness their morning parade frequently.

    You always connect well with the other side of the coin with a different perspective.

    We have seen you having a wonderful dialog with Cybagians in the lift which actually makes you special.

    I just like the term ‘MY time’. Absolutely the same feeling I have and then, in a way I am more blessed than you … as I travel around 1.5 hrs to 3hrs daily. Based on the peak/off hrs, this time fluctuates. Reason I am amongst the few ‘early birds’ in office around 8am. ☺
    Thanks!

  17. Very well written and great observation.

  18. A great piece of writing it is! The comparisons are mind blowing. Never thought the same way while coming from route one. Its an eye opener , a perception-changer.
    Loved the article and absorbed the message.

  19. The passage is indeed thought provoking, but the eyes of half clad kid at traffic signals might not be dreamless…They definitely have dreams of a better future as do all of us.

  20. Isn’t it comforting to see the same fixtures everyday. They are, in a way, a reassurance of our being. Yet, sometimes when one is forced to take a different route and notice a new setting, it is largely pleasant.
    Your writing is very poetic Arun. The nuances that you deftly pluck from an ordinary scene seem so extraordinary when seen from your prism.
    Beautiful.

  21. Just a correction.. you park your car near CT 2 tower not CT 1 🙂 …. missing Cybage 🙁 🙁

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A Passage of Redemption | Arun Nathani Blog