Between 8 and 10 P.M. they all are back from office, all four of them. They work at this consulting firm, analysts for one of the big four, had to attend office from 9 A.M. till, till whatever it takes to get the work done. Every day being suited up in formals, full sleeve shirts, clean shave, shining leather shoes. After months aditya is again wondering over the same question….Why??
“Because the impression on client is very important. they shouldn’t get a notion of distaste in work on part of our employees. Plus studies have proved that you feel more responsible and productive wearing formals.” That’s what Reddy then lead and now Associate manager had told aditya when he joined the company as a fresher 4 years ago, and Aditya, well he’s still an analyst.
Manoj, the timid shy fellow from U.P, aditya’s batch-mate… once again after months of hard work and passion he’s been placed in that under performer bucket, meaning – no appraisal, no promotion… again. He’s the one who came back early today… early 7 P.M. 10 hours at job, yes its early for him, not for him but for all of them. He was among the toppers of his batch, good at writing but hesitant owing to his childhood spent in his village. 4 years in that engineering college he worked his heart out to cover up for the communication skills, people had asked him not to go for this company during placements, but as usual he was insecure, not willing to take chances, plus the suit clad consultants had got him fascinated with the work culture videos of guitar playing CEOs and giggling people in cafeteria of the company.
By 9, both manish and arjun are back too. Like a typical day they are silent, looking over in kitchen what surprises their cook had got for them. Well nothing… hadn’t he told them yesterday that he won’t be coming ?? “Lets order some pizza” said arjun, aged 26 spectacled, the sleeves of his t-shirt hugging tightly over those biceps shows glimpses of a fundamentally strong physique, but a look at the growing tummy, and one can bet that the glory is all gone. One simple look is enough to tell his profession or at least the nature of his profession… a 4×4 cube with a computer monitor… that’s it, that’s the life for now on…
It was manish who brought out vodka from the fridge, they are all sitting in the hall of their rented 3 BHK apartment in mumbai… from the standard of 4 bachelors, the place is way too clean and well maintained, kudos to Manish. In the course of silence they switch on their TV, just remembered there is that cricket match b/w India and SA. They don’t even read newspaper now-a-days… what’s the point they’ve already got enough data to analyze on their monitors, who cares for the political disbalance in Andhra or for the Duckworth Lewis Method. Pizza arrived, the chatter begin, with couple of drinks down they were “warm and human” again. “Any news about Kavita??” Manish asked arjun… Arjun just smiled… “Lots of, but nothing interesting” Kavita was Arjun”s college time girlfriend they broke up few months back, technically she dumped him, but still male ego… they take it as Breakup. They started talking, everything from bitching their managers to cutest girls in office, but still there was this tiredness like they were fooling somene… time was passing slowly and so does the contents of the vodka bottle.
“Main ye job chod dunga” Aditya spoke out of context. No response from others, they all have heard and said it before.
“Kya karega fir”
“Kuch bhi, apna passion follow karunga, Music… Singing”
Silence follows for some time.
“Manish chal hum bhi MBA kar lete hain”
“usse kya hoga, karega to tu fir bhi job hi”
“toh kya karun… mera to dream hi hai vo startup hai, par funding kahan se laun, IIM ke naam pe koi to invest kar hi dega”
Aditya gets out his guitar and starts singing something, others are listening. “Aditya tu sachme apni life bekar kar raha hai, nikal ja yahan se, kuch aur try kar, accha khasa talent hai tujhme” Manoj says refilling their glasses. “I had always that thing for books, I had always wanted to became a writer, I screwed it up, its time I want to change it all”
Manish: “Arjun chal GMAT likh dete hain, 4 mahine me nikal lenge yahan se”
Arjun: “Haan dost, bahut ho gaya kab tak baithe rahenge, acche college me entry marenge to startup ke liye bhi funding mil jayegi”
Manish: “Haan yaar chal kalse padhai start karte hain”
Aditya: “main bhi kalse practise start karta hun, bahut ho gaya ab kab tak 5-10 % ke appraisal me uljhe rahenge, there’s more to life”
And all of a sudden there was this hysterical laughter, they were laughing, laughing like mad man, they laughed and choked till their stomach hurt. They all knew this talk… they had the same conversation when Sumit left, they had the same conversation when Roshni was promoted to an associate level, they had the same conversation when Murthi was appointed the Management lead in despite the recession, they even had the same conversation on last Saturday…
Five minutes of silence, all four are looking at each other, no one had the courage to say the next thig, to make the next promise, the drinks are over, the clock is ticking 3.13 in morning, the half eaten pizza is lying there unattended, their eyes are heavy, sleep is taking over them, their soul is mourning and grieving, something is dying slowly and they don’t know what, It was when one of them said – Chlao yaar so jaate hain, subah office bhi jana hai, Silicona wale client ki file complete karke deni hai…