Glass

Saturday morning here. The sun is out –initially almost as if he was hesitating –a dash of blue skies and a riot of grey before he made up his mind. And now, it is a blaze of heat, warmth and all that is glorious in the world.

I got up at 7:15AM because there was a child in the house facing my room who burst into plaintive wailing over something that must have caught her fancy but like most things in life, not granted. I tried to move through the last hazes of a dream but finally gave up the ghosts that roam my mind an hour later. And then realized with a smile that it is really Saturday and I don’t have to rush anywhere – so started reading Khaled Hosseini’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns.” Like his other book, “The Kite Runners” this too is unputdownable.

I wonder too at this complex mystery of time – why are we given so little of it? Is it really only a 24-hour sky for our lives? Or is it perhaps truer that if we are really given more of the sky of time, we would never know what to do with it and wreck its beautiful glassy skies into a thousand shards of powdered glass dust?

It was a strange week at work or rather a strange initiation into it. The office is just behind Brigade Road on a rather quaintly named road called Rest House Road. A glass building. Inside move more people of glass. There are many companies inside this glass house. On the 2nd floor, another glass door opens into Thomas White. On the 3rd floor too lies the same company. And this one company two floors policy has created a strange dichotomy – uneasy lies the head that wanders to each floor.

To be fair, the office is not like typical IT workplaces in Bangalore these days – no rows and rows of cubicles extending perennially into a glassy horizon. Wide open spaces, potted plants, and thick carpeting add an air of luxury. Yet it is glass. The conference room is openly transparent glass. The wooden floors hidden by an even thicker carpet. And the glass envelops silence. From IBM’s noisy floors to China’s raucous classrooms to still silence, it is an abrupt jar to the ears. There are hardly anyone on this floor – and the glass beings are afraid to talk. I have at least JAB to talk to (she sits on the same floor) and already there is whiff of office politics –one colleague openly tells me about being unhappy here at the work given. About small managers being given big responsibilities that result in bigger egos.

Somehow, at the end of the day, I am glad I have a friend there. People laugh at the fact that Birdy is also there – “You both are like twins,” they say, in an undertone that adds in some way that we plotted to get into the same office. I smile at the undertone – somehow in these days of glass, it seems that treasured friendship is the easiest to shatter, and also the easiest to mock. Over the year, I have lost so many good friends, people I thought would stay have left faster than lightning in a thunderstorm – it has led to me changing my lifestyle radically. From having packed weekends, I now have leisurely ones. From having to meet 10 friends on the same weekend, it is now a narrowed closer list of 3 or 4. And my life seems cleaner. I have become harsher in my judgements, less forgiving of my and others’ mistakes – yet I can see clearer through the looking glass – hazy droplets of rain make no difference if we can wipe the slate clean.

Ah, how did I get into such ruminations? Madhavan called me day before yesterday to tell me that he has sent the manuscript to his editors and will get back after 60 to 90 days with what I think will be the final product and the finished answer. I don’t want to think of what lies ahead – let it be what will be.

With that I will return to Afghanistan, and to poor Miriam.

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