Sunday, 1 December 2013

Work cultures…

The world is growing at a very fast pace. The multi-national companies have brought about, in their wake of global expansion, a culture which has come to stay. This trend is more a melting pot of corporate cultures from across the globe. Here is a witty account of the impact of this culture across homes of the globe…

Let me introduce the characters that make up this drama:-

The hero of the story, Rishi, is a vice-president in a multi-national bank. His wife, Rachna, is a school teacher struggling with revolting students and a demanding management. They have two children, or rather, teenagers, who add to the woes of their not-so-modern mother.  Neha, their daughter, hates the pranks her brother plays on her and her friends and stays away from him. Nikhil, the ultra-modern son, prefers the name Nik to Nikhil.

On that particular day, Rishi came home earlier than usual, only to realise that home was not what it used to be!

Rachna was both relieved and surprised on seeing her husband home so early. Her first question to him was, “Are you ok?” This surprised Rishi and he understood her concerns and simply nodded. 

Once she knew that he was doing well, she decided to step out of home and finish some of her household chores. She brewed a quick cup of coffee for him. She then told him that since he was at home to open the door, she could go out to buy some essentials. Initially, though, Rishi did not understand what she meant.

He was too disoriented to think and simply nodded his head. As Rachna stepped out, she heard Rishi murmur, “Both of us staying in the house is no value addition!” 

She dismissed his mumbles and walked out closing the door behind. In just a couple of minutes, the doorbell rang. Rishi thought that Rachna must have forgotten something. He opened the door, only to face a young lad, about his son’s age. The boy just went on, “Aunty…er… sorry, Uncle, is Nik home?”

“Nik!” Rishi exclaimed.

“I meant Nikhil” explained the boy. Before the conversation could proceed Nik was there and the twosome vanished in a jiffy. Rishi was beginning to get rattled.

Rishi put on the T.V. to catch up with some global news. The doorbell rang. This time Neha was wanted by her friend. Neha’s friend smiled cordially at Rishi. So he did not mind the trip to the door from the comforts of his couch.

Rishi had a ten minute tête-a-tete with his global news, before the doorbell rang again. Increasing the volume on the T.V. set, Rishi got up, expecting Rachna on the other side of the door. But this time too he ran out of luck. It was Soumit, another friend of his son. This time he was sent on an errand by Nike to fetch some spare part which sounded most important to the 13 year old, more important than the news on the television. After fetching what he needed, the boy left and yes, you guessed it right. He left the door ajar giving Uncle Rishi his day’s dose of workout.

After about 10 minutes, his 16 year old daughter rang the doorbell. As the battered Rishi opened the door, he saw his daughter waving goodbye to her friend. She lingered at the door to get some last minute update about the latest hair-do that her favourite actress had sported in a recent movie. 

She turned around to her father and asked him to ‘chill’ as she would close the door and come in when she was done. “Oh, that’s really kind of you” said Rishi without applying too much thought to his comment.

A few minutes later, Rishi’s interest in the stock market graph seemed to fade and he found himself readying to get up and open the door. Though opening the door did not form a part of his SLA at home it now seemed to be the key task area that required maximum manpower allocation! On a previous occasion when he had come home early from office, his job profile had included accompanying his children to their friends’ houses! He felt like he had re-joined after a long sabbatical and was trying to acclimatise himself with the massive restructuring!

At this point, he even thought that he heard the doorbell ring but waited to hear it again before wasting a trip to the door needlessly.

The bell did not ring. 

Instead he heard the opening of the door from outside and saw Rachna entering the house. “Why don’t you open the door? Should I ring the bell twice?” she demanded.
She was juggling with the shopping covers in one hand and the door key in the other. As she spoke she was removing the sandals from one leg using the other leg. She skilfully opened the shoe rack with her leg and picked up her sandals with her legs and placed them inside the shelf and closed the door.  She placed the shopping covers on the table, replaced her keys inside her purse, before the doorbell rang again. She went swiftly to open the door. As her son walked in, throwing his shoes, one very close to the door and the other near the shoe rack, Rishi suddenly realised something. 

He realised that his early presence at home was a wasted resource. Juggling between jobs that needed different skills, being able to listen and talk at the same time and optimum use of available resources were glorified in his corporate world, but rarely noticed at home. 

“Why are you looking lost?” Rachna demanded. She was calling out to Nik and Neha as it was dinner time.

“If you had told me you would be in early, I would have made something you liked. Make sure you inform me the next time” she said, smiling for the first time at her husband since the time he was back from office.