Saga Of Working In The Office On A Harthal Day

Prologue: I set my alarm for 3 am on my BlackBerry Curve and settled back to watch a movie that I had recently downloaded.

  • Went to sleep at around midnight with about 25 minutes of the movie left to watch as my eyes were playing peek-a-boo-i-see-you on their own with no commands being given by myself.
  • The alarm woke me up at the unholy hour of 3 am but I could barely lift my head up and so I hit the snooze button (which is set for 5 minute intervals).
  • At 3:05 am the alarm wakes me up from my 5 minute slumber and I angrily hit snooze again. By now I am regretting my decision to work on a harthal day.
  • At 3:10 am I hit the snooze button for another 5 more minutes of shut eye and this is it. It’s 3:15 am and I just have to get up and out of my bed…which has never been so inviting in it’s existence.
  • I wash my face with somewhat cold water. Next I brush my teeth.
  • I go to the kitchen and make myself a big cup of strong black coffee and hope that the first sip will wake up all my sense. The coffee is extra strong and bitter and it does the trick.
  • I watch the end of the movie as I enjoy my coffee and then attend the call of nature. As I come out of the loo, I notice that it is 4 am and I have a missed call. It’s from the office, informing me that a company cab will reach me within 30-45 mins.
  • I take a long shower and a shave, iron my shirt and then proceed to get ready for work. I get two calls from colleagues, who are in the same cab,  informing me where they were at that moment and that they were headed towards me.
  • By 5 am I am in the cab and we’re headed to pick up one of my trainers, Wasim, and then we’re off to the office. We reach by 5:20 am – still unholy and it’s still quite dark.
  • I switch on my system and check my mails and then settled back with a novel that I had brought along with me – no use trying to work until 9 am atleast. After a while, I push the back rest of the chair as far as it will go and relax. I remove my glasses and close my eyes and take a nap.
  • My nap is intermittent and it’s annoying as I can not sleep properly while in a chair. I wait till 8 am and then go wash my face and look for Wasim so we can go and grab some breakfast and coffee. We go and call Amritha from HR & get poori and potato masala, that is so thick & filling, for breakfast.
  • 30 minutes later I’m back at my system and working at a very luxurious pace. The potato masala does not seem to agree with me and I learn that several others have met the same fate. Luckily for me the work is pretty light.
  • At 1pm, we learn that lunch might be delayed so me and 3 members from my team – Wasim, Ajeeba & Rajeesh – volunteer to go last for lunch. We sit in a conference room and chat about stuff and munch on a handful of jackfruit chips and banana chips. By 2:30 pm we go to the cafeteria for lunch but have to wait for 15 more minutes.
  • Lunch is served and it seems to be ok. But they also serve us these huge bananas – in hindsight, we should not have eaten them.
  • Back to work till 6pm. We actually get some real work done and I’m happy with the report I was working on. I check for the cab timings and learn that I can go on the 6pm cab. Yippee, only 12.5 hours in the office!
  • I & Wasim wait for the 5 other executives to board the tempo traveler. Ajeeba’s husband has come to pick her up and Rajeesh lives 2 minutes away, so he chooses to stay back in the office and walk home later.
  • By 6:20 pm we are on our way in the traveler and after 4 people are dropped off, including Wasim, I reach home, as the clock strikes 7 am. I change my clothes and get some coffee, happy to be home.

Epilogue: working on a harthal is not worth it, unless you live quite near the office and/or have your own vehicle. Otherwise, it’s a pure waste of time. You waste a lot of time just  getting to the office and end up having to wait a lot. If you have the opportunity, you can also try to arrange a fun day at the office with your team or else arrange an impromptu workshop that they need. But harthals need to killed off as it has no place in the modern world.

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