Sunday, 26 October 2008

Uncle, aap office kyun jate ho?

Sam woke up on time and got ready to leave for his office. “Goodbye Tejas, bye-bye Arnav… ghar mein badmashi mut karma…good boy hokar rehna… Theek hai?” Both the kids waved goodbye and out of curiosity, that is so much associated with them, asked Sam, “Uncle aap office kyun jate ho?” Sam waved them goodbye and walked away as if nothing had happened out of the unusual, as if this question had been asked a million times and he knew what the answer was but the kids were too na├»ve to understand. Or was it the other way around? Even if it had been the case, Sam didn’t let it show on his face. The obvious answer to the kids would have been- Beta, humko company paise deta hai office jane ke liye. Throughout the way to the office, Sam was silent and I could figure out what was going on in his mind.

Sam does not have a poster-boy charisma. He was not in the who’s-who of his school. He was not the best in sports or in studies. Net net, he was a mirror image of you or me. He comes from a small town and carries the values and believes that are so quickly diminishing in our fast paced world.

Sam comes from the era when dad came home by five o’ clock in the evening from the factory or the office. Dad would bring samosa or jalebi while coming back home. Mom would have prepared tea by then and it would be a small family spending its time together, talking about how the day was. Sometimes Dutta-uncle or Raj Uncle would also come home with dad. The friends would have garam “chai” while they spoke about work or anything else. Their lives were so good, they were in control, and they were free. We kids envied their lives and vowed that one day we would also have a life like theirs. Sam’s dad earned less than 10% what he earns now, but I guess he had other ways of making up for the remaining 90%.

Sam works for an IT firm as a consultant. He’s earning good money, but he does not find samosas and jalebis to buy.

Sam takes the best food in the restaurant but the risotto or the burgers are nothing when it comes to simple sabjee with roti.

He stays in one of the best places to say, but still misses a place called home.

He works, works diligently but does not know whether the work is really making a difference, atleast not to him. Does he get a sense of fulfillment? Of personal satisfaction? Let’s not talk about it.

He’s not working on some cutting edge technology but plain vanilla process improvement consultancy. The work might be good, but is it challenging enough...:)

He stays in a place where his neighbors are from around the world, but he still misses his family.

Even if Sam returns home by five o’clock in the evening, even if he comes home with a few friends and has the garam “chai” he would still envy his dad’s life. The five o’ clock office won’t be for long. The friends won’t come everyday and the garam “chai” would not be garam for long.

Dads… we just missed your lives…