My wife turning off the rotating fan is the only alarm that can wake me up. While my login hours begin at nine in the morning, my punctual half performs her stunt at sharp 08:45, which pushes me out of the bed and I continue with my strive to survive through the day.
On one such ‘exciting’ day (pun intended!), I logged into my laptop to read the most unforeseen email.
The management and the stakeholders extend their heartfelt gratitude for your outstanding contribution in maintaining the business continuity, during the last couple of unpredictable years.
To commemorate your unparalleled efforts and mark the second anniversary of ‘working from home’ set-up, we are thrilled to announce the commencement of ‘work from office’ week. Each department has been allocated a week to meet and greet their amazing team, at their even more amazing worksite.…….”
And before I could even reveal this news to my ‘ignore-me-if-you-can’ half, Meera, I encountered her standing right behind me. She always reads my emails even before I read them myself. She was carrying a bundle of fenugreek leaves that I was supposed to pluck and chop while attending my morning ‘Zoom’ meeting. She handed me the bundle and instructed- “Finish this fast and I will bring you a few bundles of coriander that needs to be plucked and cleaned as well.”
The mention of the ‘second-anniversary celebrations’ by my company, painfully reminds me about the second anniversary of my marriage (which was two years ago). On that life altering day, the world had knelt down in front of a tiny virus and destiny had bestowed upon us, the heavenly opportunity of working from home, limitlessly (read tirelessly). Initially, we’d mistakenly considered it to be a much-needed break. But, we indeed realized our mistake soon.
While the initial years of our marriage had been an absolute ‘lovey-dovey’ phase (credits to the work from office set-up that both of us used to see each other for less than twelve hours of the day and that had made the co-existing pretty much easy and bearable). However, our recent years together in this work from home set-up only evokes me of how many times I’d ran to find the ‘Dovie’ soap (because my queen is allergic to less expensive brands). And the love has completely disappeared. Staying together under a single roof for twenty-four hours a day and thirty days a month throughout the year; has opened our eyes that were blindfolded during the inceptive year of our marriage.
I suddenly felt an intense urge to visit my office as I’d started finding my manager more reasonable. At the least, he’d his expectations well specified.
On the much-awaited day, I left home earlier to reach the office in time. After driving for almost an hour, I found myself being landed at a place that I’d no clue about. I recalled having my office somewhere in this expanse. But where was it? After making circular rounds of the same place nearly four times, I decided to Google my office on ‘maps’. The results, had me questioning the authenticity of Google as the location that it indicated was the building right in front of me. Alas, I had no familiarity with it. After all; two years, it had been.
I reached the security entrance of the premises only to realize that I wasn’t carrying the electronic security permit that would allow me the access to enter. But wait! When did I last see it? Perhaps, two years back. And, I’d no idea where on the Earth it had been lying since then. Shamelessly, I requested the security to issue me a day pass and he pitilessly informed me of issuing the fiftieth day-card for today.
“How many people have come today?”, I asked him.
“Fifty.” His reply reinstated dignity in me.
While I was happy to meet all my colleagues after a long time, the office chair somehow became the reason for my suffering. After all, I’d mastered the herculean art of working while lying on the bed. Moreover, working at a stretch for more than thirty minutes, was also a distress in itself. And these formal trousers! Either they’ve been too uncomfortable (I don’t remember when I’d wore them last) or perhaps Meera is correct about the change of my waistline size from 34 to 36 in these two years.
Unbelievably, after spending an entire day at the office, I couldn’t wait to go back home. And, throw my trousers away.
Upon reaching home, I realized that Meera was happier after my release back to the office as she’d gotten relief from picking up the same coffee cup from my bed ten times a day. And, refilling it twenty times.
Besides, I was also enjoying my share of happiness as I could now once again play the trump card of excusing myself from household duties reasoning that I’d work pressure.
While working from home, whenever I tried using this secret weapon, Meera always caught me unwary. For she knew, what my manager said over the call and how much work I actually had. (Sobs!!)
Nevertheless, I’ve cleared it to Meera (who is a lifestyle- coach and influencer, by profession), umpteenth times that I am not her follower and she can never influence my ‘not so active’ lifestyle.
We both were letting our suddenly found, profound happiness sink in. Tomorrow, being our fourth wedding anniversary; I was planning to buy Meera some exclusive presents when the breaking news running on the TV brought my senses to the present.
“Another latest variant of COVID-19 found. The variant is immune to the existing course of treatment. Authorities plan to extend the work from home set-up for another year.”
Before I could react to my dreams being shattered, Meera brought in two bundles of spinach and one kg of green peas as my anniversary gift and wished me – “Happy Anniversary darling!”