Onam @ Express

In days of yore, 23 is the age of consent ;). Which means at 23 you can start working, start earning, and start spending at your wallets consent. A lot of things would have happened in your life by this age, you would have crawled over your teen years, and stumbled upon your youth but still sometimes trying to figure out what’s in store. When you start searching for a job, you look for a lot of things. Coming out from B Schools that provided a 5 star ambiance my expectations were skyrocketed.

I started working for Indian Express when I turned 23. (Well I am still 23, I am talking only bt 8 months). My colleagues (though some keep coming and going) are waaaay seniors (talk about being in midst of a 20-25 years older generation). From the first day I had this feeling of not able to fit in like the rest. For starters I would get these stares and smiles when I choose to wear a sleeve less dress or even a salwar sans its dupatta (I don even think of wearing pants or skirts, forget it I am in ape land) or the number of times I have to explain to concerned aunties and uncles why I had to be late or after lunch. There was this tendency to make me feel like a small girl who was just out from school, which really annoyed. I felt they weren’t competitive enough. That most of them were past their prime time and had to leave. And the amount of work people do in this office…There was no spare time left for anything, every minute, every second people just worked, there was always the noise of phones ringing, faxes coming, printers churning out papers, of draws being closed, box files being kept back…. It’s a huge office, like any other newspaper offices, it hasn’t left behind the past like the people who adorn it…. there are old beaures, ancient fans that are yellowing with age just like the walls, old computers (which are yellowing with age too), age old chairs n tables, mosaic floors, and an antique collection of newspapers I guess right from the inception of the branch huddled up in a corner stand for display.

But now after 8 months (seems like an eternity), my views have changed about the place. No I havent yet resigned or nothing bad has happened in my life for me to realize something worthwhile. Just 2 days back, we had our Onam Celebration. I have never celebrated Onam in a more elaborate manner in my life. The preparations for it had started 2 months back. We had formed a committee and various duties were assigned to members. Everything from inauguration to choosing the guests, to selecting the saris to onasadya to even the design of the pookalam were assigned. I was awe stuck, why such a fuss over a small thing like this? But later I realized it was one way of ensuring everyone’s involvement and thus creating a sense of belonging. (Its not easy to make people happy in an organization with over 300 employees). We were so much excited for our “thiruvathirakali” were we took one hour of working hour for practice everyday. Oh the fun we had!!(And I broke a toe too in ween!) Our Onam celebration was one of the best times I had so far. A lot of things happened that day. We saw another side of people, a more fun loving, a more lively, a more happenening side;)..After various activities like vadamvali, uriyadi, thiruvathirakali, onasadya, onapattu, games etc etc, the day was over. We laughed so much that heads started aching in the end. I saw the elder aunties full of pride after our dance as if their daughters have performed, and it was cute the way department heads make noise when they won a game. And it was probable the only time we got to make fun of our gm’s bald head and the hr managers beer belly without getting fired in public;).It reminded me a lot of our school days. Who knows what it ll be like next Onam and where il be?

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