Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Of untimely phone calls and undesirable etceteras

I was indignant at being summoned from the depths of sleep by the monotonous staccato of our landline phone. Thankfully K attended to it and I was just drifting back into sweet slumber when I heard his voice, out in our living room, where he seemed to be talking to a certain colleague back at his offshore office in Kolkata and enquiring about the reason for the call at such an ungodly hour (somewhere around 6.30 am, I think). My first thought was that of killing K, my second was that of killing the same colleague, my third of blowing up their offices both here and back at home. After such successively violent thoughts, you can hardly be astonished if I tell you that I was wide awake. I did my best to keep my eyes shut and contemplate nothingness. But there. I had been rudely woken up by all those unholy noises and there was no going back to neverland. K says I was so angry that when he tried to wake me up gently after my alarm clock rang (an hour or so later) and I showed no sign of reacting to it, that I actually smacked him on the nose and almost damaged his eye as well by flailing my fist wildly in the air. I vaguely recall hearing him groaning in pain and grumbling at his even trying to be affectionate in the morning. It was so obvious that I preferred sleep to him.

But it wasn't the phone calls alone. An elderly couple had been occupying the apartment below ours for an astonishing 19 years. They had recently left and been replaced by a young fellow who seems to have musical fits occasionally and more perplexingly, very early in the morning, that is, just when I'm clinging on for dear life to my last REM session. Well, he was apparently afflicted by the same sort of symptoms this morning, so that all my attempts at retiring back under the comforters proved to be of no avail. The entire world seemed to be conspiring to wake me up prematurely.

Well, I was in the kitchen preparing breakfast and hurling imprecations at every do-no-gooder around me I could recall at that point when I saw the pretty young musical fellow swaggering down the complex path towards the main road, armed with his usual outdoor musical accoutrements (IPod et al). For one minute I seriously contemplated pushing up the kitchen window and screaming out "Damn You" at him but thankfully, the seed in the plum I was dissecting was determined not to be dislodged and its resistance forced me to concentrate on the job at hand, thus allowing better sense to prevail. I did however notice that the creature crossed the road to board a van with the picture of a janitor painted across it, which seemed to belong to some company named 'Worldwide'. After that, I somehow lost the heart to remain annoyed any longer at him.

Talking of companies, things seem to be going very wrong almost everywhere nowadays in terms of jobs. Employees of K's company have been losing jobs left and right in Kolkata and Chennai. When last heard of, 800 of the projected 1400 had been shown the door in Kolkata. Those unallocated for more than a month or more and those with poor annual appraisals are the unfortunate majority to be handed pink slips at the earliest possible opportunity. One indeed wonders how times have changed when you even have a target of sorts to meet in terms of terminating employee contracts. Yesterday, K shocked me with the news of the mysterious 'resignation' of one of his colleagues who'd returned to India to get his visa renewed, had had his papers processed and formalities over, was supposed to fly to the USA next week. His wife and child are still here. In fact, his wife is working here right at this moment. God knows now how they are all going to handle this catastrophe. My heart goes out to them in sympathy. I hope things work out well for them soon. On two disparate occasions, two of K's colleagues, one based in Minneapolis and the other in Maryland (the latter in a managerial position) were prematurely packed off to India and asked to continue in their respective capacities at their original locations. Work hours have been increased on weekdays by an hour (a total of 9 per day), promotions and increments have been indefinitely stalled and all this means we are ourselves living under constant fear of some obscure sword vaguely hanging over our heads. I think I'll try out more recipes and improve my cooking skills (and bring them up to the high standard set by my indubitably superior half) , since we might have to consider alternative avenues of employment very soon.

On a lighter note, we've been going out on regular walks, now that it's spring by universal consensus and the weather is occasionally warm enough to allow the heaters to be switched off, the window let up and comforters left untouched at night. Just by virtue of sitting on our backs at home (to avoid the unmentionable anatomic technicalities), we've managed to gain what small chapbook size self-help by-the-cash-counter books at Walmart are euphemistically terming 'winter fat'. We've bought jogging attire for our considerable (pun certainly intended) selves last Sunday and intend to start on a sober daily regimen of exercise to shed the excess masses of unshapely fat that our bulky and then what we apparently (and obviously wrongly) considered body-friendly winter garments had helped conceal for so long. Amen to that.

Jogging Outfits :

For me :

For K :

Now if only the thundershowers would hold up...


Lazybirdie said...

Enjoyed my read! Btw, what breakfast were you preparing with the plums?

The jogging outfits are lovely..... I want! :)

Suchismita said...

1. I too hate, absolutely HATE getting up to a phone call. I usually never take them.
2. I know how it feels to have a musically inclined neighbour. Mine in the previous rental used to play himesh reshammiya as early as 7 am and then stopped only around 10 pm, and in between somewhere her extremely unmusical father would join in the singing and go completely off the scale.
3. I also know how terrible the job scene is. A very close family friend who has worked in a firm for 30 years went to office one morning and was told he has been fired. The guy is 60, and there is still 5 years before he gets his state pension in London, which is the most major compensation you get there. Worse, Times of India told me to check back in three months for a vacancy in the desk.

It is not a nice world, perhaps.

Casuarina said...

@ Lazybirdie : I was cutting up the plums just as fruit for K's tiffin. Nothing fancy there, I'm afraid :-)

@ Suchismita : Well, a friend of mine who should soon be completing her MBA course soon says that there was no campus-ing this year (!) and she's keeping in touch with the co. where she did her summer training, just in case.

That's as grim as it could get, don't you think ?


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