From the sixth floor of his office, Saksham sees people, dragging themselves towards their office. Most of them dawdling, as if reluctant to enter the place. They seem to have forgotten the time when they had laboured to be given a chance to work there — revision of the concepts, shortlisting of the resume, calls from the recruiters, readying their formal attires for their appearances before the interviewer for the first round, followed by the subsequent rounds and then, if their salary expectations were reasonable, a spot in the company; going to which they were now disinclined to. But all that hard work was a long time back, and even if it was not, it’s only humanly of them to forget of the labours, especially, when its fruits were already being devoured.
He thinks of his own job. He never really liked the job any better than most of the people he sees now. The job forced him to leave the house before the sun warmed up the things around, and returned when there was no hint of it in the sky. How wonderful it was when he used to, read page after page of books, as huge as ‘The Count Of Monte Cristo’, and the sun would shine, unpartially, over him and the book, the pages of the book glistening even more. But the job took all of that away. Of course, there were weekends, but where he lived, the sun had been taking all the weekends off lately.
He disliked the Interview process as well. To be interviewed for a job he didn’t even like in the first place only seemed to have aggravated the disinclination. ‘Interviews are like acting auditions and only the better actors get through them’, someone had told him in his senior year of the college. A senior? But how can someone, who was just like him — still jobless and just a year older — preach him like that. This, he has come to realise lately, is one of his foibles, heeding to everyone’s advice, and remembering them later.
A girl talking loudly over the phone breaks this stream of thoughts. He looks at the girl and thinks about the person on the other side of the line Would they have turned the volume down, to make the girl’s sound bearable. She was laughing way too much for the morning hours. Bad days made ways for such thoughts and so he resumed looking outside.
Most of the people he sees are young — sluggish but young –; the old have already minted all the money they’d need, and even if they haven’t, they have just grown too expensive for any company to have them, and ‘curmudgeon to be a team player any more’ if one were to go by the words of his not-so-young manager.
He also sees Cars. Their bodies splashed with the wet mud. Mud from the rain that had poured down a day before. From the distance, it looked as if every car has come from the same place, taken the same route, and was subjected to an equal amount of mud. One after the other, the cars enter the parking zone, making imitation seem like the only real talent left in the world. ‘Papa, I’ll pursue science after my Class 10th boards’ he remembers his conversation with his father, ‘Sumit and Shivam are going for it too’ he had added. To corroborate his own decision to his father.
Has his life always been an act of imitation? As a child, he used to cry for the exact same pencil box or the school bag that one of the classmates’ relatives had gotten for them from a city far off. Later in the high school, he had wanted to be in the merit list, just because some senior had been in it and it’d be, he had thought, good to have his photograph in the local newspaper.
Honking brings him back to the present. Despite the signs prohibiting the honking, there is always some of it. In staccatos. Now and then, one of the pedestrians veers off the footpath and ventures onto the road — as if suddenly being called by some dream. Is this how the world witnesses the birth of entrepreneurs, he thinks.
A red car honked some more.
And then the cars behind it joined it. As if in an orchestra.
Out of habit?
In an imitative act?
‘No’, he shakes his head and smiles. ‘In the same pattern that my own life has had been.’
The picture used along with the write-up has been downloaded from here.