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Archive for April, 2009

Another last day…

Last day as a school going kid. Last day as a teenager. Last day as a nonchalant unaffected come-what-may college girl. Last day being single. And now last day as a working IT professional. These last days are really something aren’t they?? Some last days are inevitable. You are bound to face your last day as a teenager someday. You are bound to ‘live’ your last day in the world someday. But certain other last days are forced on us. Like my last day at college when they literally had to drag me out of the hostel and throw me out. I even regretted back then that I didn’t have an arrear or two so that I could prolong college life for some more time. And then there are these last days that you make by choice. You think when you decide to let go of something out of your own will and choice, you will never regret it. You think it wouldn’t hurt at all. No, not one bit. But then, as I just found out, it does hurt. It does pain. You may just brush aside the nostalgia and memories that rush up like fizz on a cold drink, to a corner of the heart like rubbish being swept away, but leaving back a routine that you are so used to for two years at a stretch does seem to be daunting.

I key in my username and password to unlock the PC only to be reminded that this might be one of the last few times I’m typing in that password. This PC which I’ve cursed a zillion times for being the slowest stupidest thing on Earth doesn’t seem to be as slow or stupid any more. Now, it only seems to be one of my most faithful and loyal companions for over a year and a half. This PC on which I typed most of my blogs, snatching away chunks of time between work. This PC which has all my mail threads, some of which had me doubling up and going under the cubicle laughing, some of which had me reduced to tears. This PC which has seen me slogging away at bug fixes and bad code, muttering under my breath. Something heavy tugs at my heart when i realise that this will the last post i’m typing on this PC. This PC, the most important part of my work life for so long, will be formatted and wiped clean of all my memories tomorrow. Fresh for someone else to start a love-hate relationship with it. Sigh! If only the human memory was so editable and uncomplicated!!!

I run my eyes around my cubicle. My official work environment. A coffee mug, a few porcelain show pieces that came as birthday gifts, headphones, the PC with a stick-on magnet on the CPU that says ‘Of al the things I’ve lost, I missed my mind the most’, a voip phone. And me. My battleground where I’ve fought a thousand battles hour after hour, with bugs, issues, managers, back ache, stress, hunger, sleep, boredom, what not? I look up and see my name plate pinned to a corner of the cubicle. I make a mental note to somehow flick it when I leave home today. As a souvenir from my cubicle.

I wander aimlessly around the office building. I pass the library where I spent all my time during the bench period reading The Week and Outlook. Walked through the cafeteria whose walls resonate with the sound of endless cups of coffee, gossips, cricket matches and friendly table tennis games. Paused for a few seconds at the no-smoking zone from where I’ve had verbal shout fights over the phone with mom. Looked wistfully at the parking lot where I’ve argued countless number of times with the security over scratches on my bike. Then I thought of the few but precious friends I had made at work. All the fun, laughter, banter, chat conversations, eat-outs, birthday celebrations, treats, weddings… Only when I’m leaving I realize that I haven’t really had a miserable time here. Yes, I hated the work, but had grown to love the place and people over the years. Amidst all the professional back stabbing, mind numbing work and a thousand other negatives I could come up with, I had settled into a comfortable and comforting routine with the work and the workplace that I was getting reluctant to let go of it now. But all things, good or bad, do come to an end. And so does the Software Engineer chapter in my life.

Another last day has come.

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Split!!!

I think I have a split personality. No, wait, I think I AM a split personality. Not really. I think I have a multiple personality disorder. But whoever said having a multiple personality is a disorder? There! Four of my many personalities are already out in the four lines I’ve managed to write till now. It worries me that I’m not the same person with everyone I meet. With best friends and family, I’m a chatterbox who can’t stop talking or giggling at any cost. With strangers I’m the Ice Princess. With acquaintances I’m tongue tied and reserved to the extent of being called snobbish or arrogant. With people whom I don’t get along with, I’m just plain indifferent. I’m amazed at people who can start a conversation with anybody and everybody, even with people they’ve just met, and hold the fort talking and talking until the other person gets tired of the conversation. I can hardly get past the ‘hi’ stage if I’m talking to someone for the first time, even if the person happens to be genuinely nice to me. And if there are people around who I know can talk non stop, I’d rather stay quiet and choose to put a couple of words here and there when absolutely necessary. But another diametrically opposite alter ego seems to surface when I’m with people close to me. With them, it’s always a talk-laugh-giggle-fest.

Sample what happens when a close friend calls me up suddenly.

She : Hey!!! What’s up dog? What have you been doing?

Me : *giggle* *giggle* Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!

She : *giggle* So how’s the work going? How’s the studying going? And how’s the project going???

Me : *giggling for 5 minutes* Going on maaaannnn… I hardly have time for anything but work. (This part is not fictitious. It is TRUE. All of you, stop smirking 😐 ) Remember all those days from college when we never had weekdays and each day was an extended weekend?? It’s just the opposite now. I hardly have a proper weekend.

Now I kept talking and pouring out my woeful busy schedule till she couldn’t take my sob story anymore and interrupted to say that her neighbour’s dog has given birth to a litter.

Me : *giggling starts again* oooohhhhh!! How many?? What colour are they??? Must be cute na… You know when Tommy….. (I talk about how Tommy once broke the curfew to ummmm… befriend a mongrel and got pregnant and made a litter of babies and how we got her neutered and… )

She : Hey I’ve to get down here. My stop’s come. Will call you later.

Me : Oh! It’s already an hour. But we hardly ever spoke…

She : I hardly ever spoke. Not you.

Me : *giggle* Right! Byeeeee!!!

With friends I can laugh like a nut for the worst of the worst PJ’s, talk with gay abandon for hours together and find new topics to talk about every minute. But with acquaintances it’s a totally different story altogether. Now my definition of an acquaintance is someone with whom I can’t talk nonsense. And I can’t talk if I can’t talk nonsense. Now these are people with whom I’m supposed to be prim and proper, to whom I’m supposed to say all the right and politically correct things, the only problem being I don’t know what is right and politically correct most of the time. So I end up either saying all the wrong things or not talking at all.

For example, I was caught with a relative, an old lady who was related to me in some unknown distant ways. We were seated next to each other in a family function and the conversation was something like this:

Unknown Aunty : Aren’t you ABC’s chithappa’s elder sister’s brother’s daughter??

I had no clue who ABC, chithappa, his sister and her brother were.

Me : Ummm… I’m XYZ’s daughter.

UA : That’s what I also told. You’ve grown up so much. What are you doing now?

Me : Working Aunty.

She : Where?

I gave her the name in a mono sylaable.

She : Oh! my maternal grandmother’s brother’s son’s son is working there. The same company. Do you know him? His name is Arun.

I could’ve giggled at this point and told her there are hundreds of Aruns working in my company. Maybe I could have said something to break the ice. I could have enquired more about Arun. But “No” was the only word that came out of my mouth. After an awkward silence she began again.

UA : So how is everyone at home? Amma, Appa… Long time since I saw them… Should ask them to come home one day…

Now as usual I wanted to end it with a ‘Fine’ but it sounded too blunt. Wasn’t it polite and correct to enquire back about her family??

Me : Fine Aunty. What about you? How’s Uncle doing?

She looked frozen for a moment and after giving me a steely stare turned the other side to talk to the silk sari clad lady on the other side. Only later did I get to know that the ‘Uncle’ I had enquired so fondly about, had passed away almost two years back. 😦

So there! My ultimate dilemma is that I can’t socialize for the sake of socializing. I’d rather be alone than be in uncomfortable company. I come out as anti-social with all the people who expect me to be amiable and I come out as extremely amiable with all those people who know me inside out and don’t care whether I’m sociable or not. Most of my relatives know me as a tongue tied, reserved, shy girl, whereas most of my friends know me as a talkative, bold, extroverted person. Now all I’m left with, is an identity crisis. Who is the real Me?? Huh!!

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