Sunday, January 07, 2007

Final Night at the office..

My feet were getting numb. My arms were getting tired. But I sat there, looking at the monitor, pretending to work. What if I slept off on the keyboard? What would people around me think? Am I not competitive enough? Would another night at the office hurt. "No it won't." I consoled myself.

"Work a little more." I told myself. Images of links between switches and routers crossed my mind.

"Why?" I asked myself. "Why doesn't my mind wander away to the more beautiful things in life?" "Why does it always have to be WORK!!!?"

That was it. I couldn't take it anymore. I pressed the shutdown button on the PC as if to say, "I hate you". As if in reply, it took me twice to shut it down. I kicked my locker and walked out of my cubicle. The security gaurd at the reception looked into my eyes sympathetically. I pretended like I am solving problems in my head. As if the world depended on my silly program. As if to justify the fact that the gaurd needs to respect me. I hated myself. I walked down the corridor towards the lift. There I was, on the fifth floor. It was 3.30 in the morning. The terrace looked deserted. I loved the feeling. I was all alone. Just me, the clear sky, the stars and the early morning breeze. I looked all around. The world looked much beautiful. Somewhere, far away, I could see lights. I presumed that must have been another workplace where people like me are working away at their PCs. I stood at the edge of the terrace. As I looked at the road that ran in front of our office, I slowly kept my palm on the wall. A chill ran down my spine. Tiny droplets of water had formed on the wall, which I touched. I wanted to feel it again. I touched it again. It was the most wonderful feeling. I wondered why I don't do these things often. I decided to stay there until sunrise. I closed my eyes and waited. Finally, I could see a faint light in the east. Even though we hardly notice, these things do happen. I saw the sun rise slowly as if from a deep slumber.

As he rose, I could see more and more buildings. The breeze had got much stronger. It was like sitting near the window of a bus that was moving through lonely road next to a lush paddy field. I got that taste in the air. I got the feel. It was like heaven meeting the earth. In the cubicle, I congratulate someone when his SELECT statement works. There I was, all alone, on the terrace, when more important things were happening and I had no one to congratulate. I wanted to cry "Thank you God". "Thank you for giving me this beautiful world to live in." But, the words wouldn't come out. I felt guilty. I knew very well that I would go back to the cubicle once my emotions wore off.

"No" I said. "I am NOT going back there again." I ran down the stairs. I wanted the glass that covers our reception to break and let some of that fresh air in. I rushed into my cubicle and packed my backpack. Running out, I did not bother to sign the exit register. Strangely, my bike started at the first kick. I rode my bike quite fast, to feel the early morning breeze on my face. I never knew fresh air ever existed in cities like ours. When I hit the main road, I realized that I was late. Considering the fact that I was in office since yesterday, I was really late. The world had moved on. People had spent another night with their families. Kids had spent another day studying for exams. Old folks had spent another night wondering when to dye their hair. Teenagers had spent another night dreaming about their loved ones.

There I was, like a machine coming out of my office building. I saw people taking their morning walks. Some of them jogging. Some of them standing and talking. Some elderly women jogging, talking along and laughing at the same time. There were newspaper vendors, milk vendors and the streets were buzzing with people I had never seen before. I started feeling out of place. I thought within, "Was I from another planet?". Maybe I was dreaming. Within a split second, a milk vendor on his bicycle nearly hit my bike. "Idiot" I said. Dosen't he know that I am going home after a tough day(night)? Dosen't he know that I am tired, and do not have the energy for such crap? "Wait a minute," I told myself. "Are you doing somebody a favor by staying in the office so long?" "Will this world be a better place if you do that?" "Do you have it in you to buy one meal for that milk vendor's family?"

WE Cannot! And that's the truth. YOU and ME cannot do anything except for writing pieces of code, which we regard as life for reasons known best to us.

I broke into tears thinking about my own plight. I hated the fact that I existed. Why was I going through this entire trauma? What was holding me here? The money?. The passion for technology? The feeling that I would be isolated if I didn't work?. I don't know. I was still searching for the answers.

Then suddenly, out of nowhere, images of my family came into my mind. My dad, who had taken care of the family since I remember him. In fact, since I remember anything at all. My mom, who would not have had peaceful sleep as I had not reached home. And my brother, who doesn't actually show it, but misses me when he doesn't see me around. "I am not alone" I shouted. "I have this beautiful world to live in, with beautiful people in it". And I told myself, that I would not spend another night at the office.

Friends, do go out sometimes. Share your life with the people you love the most. Share your life with the nature. Share it with the wind. Share it with the sun. Share it with the rain. Things much more important than programming are happening out there. But they aint gonna come looking for you, YOU have to go out and find it.