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.
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?