One morning in cold cold Delhi I woke up and felt like I'd just hit a massiveblock in my life.Bangla ma’am had a great way of expressing that feeling. Only, she used it to describe her frustration with my pathetic spellings – she called it “hotasha”. Complete and overwhelming despair! And she spent hours painstakingly going over the difference between all the random bangla “sho”s. And I spent hours painstakingly researching organizations which would take as far away from
Yes, yes, I work in
Goa. Yes, yes, the Goa. Yes, yes and yes - land of sun sand and sea. And clear skies. And navy nights. And stars carelessly scattered around. And the fireflies with their lit up bums, flitting around and lighting my way when I’m gingerly stepping over the broken stairway to my office at night. And that oh-so-fat moon and bathes the backyard with a strange silver glow. There’s Baga the bitch who quivers with pleasure when she sees me, because she knows she’s gonna get a treat and a scratch. And I have a pet frog. It lives in the crack between the door and the ceiling and eats up all the mosquitoes. And it even gets hiccups sometimes. And Janna and I talk to it. We say goodnight. And we believe it bulges its eyes out a little extra in response. And there are some beautiful grass snakes which live in the garden. When they glide by my boss gets completely distracted from our oh-so-important staff meeting and does a tip-toe-hop-run towards the snake all the while whispering excitedly “look, look, can you see that cute snake!” There are langurs who visit the bamboo grove shake the branches when I walk close. And there’s a cobra near the water tank. Apparently. I haven’t yet seen it or the python, but am pretty careful when I tread in those areas! And of course…there’s Jahaan. Who’s NOT an animal. But equally fascinating. With his blond hair, tiny hands and spouting broken Hinglish, Jahaan loves the sound of his own laughter and knows exactly how to twist the silly adults who coo whenever he smiles.
I’d been a little apprehensive about moving to a whole new location all over again, no friends, no family, no one I really knew there…and then, I went to the office. My impression of my new office was – “I’ve come to the wrong place!” I mean I came here to WORK right? And here was this bright old style yellow and red bungalow with lots of smiling people watching videos and chatting with each other. This can’t be the place. But there was Jess, my new boss, introducing me to everyone, and people smiling back at me…!!
I stared at all, shocked, how could they be so happy at work?! And I found out…the first night I went out with three colleagues whom I now consider friends. And thus began my love affair with “office”. Like I said before it’s a beautiful old bungalow nestled half way up a hill. So in the morning I sit with coffee and watch the bald eagles chase off crows, and Baga scratch her fleas off and butterflies flit around me. Then I walk down to ‘Nani’s and Rani’s’ for breakfast and watch the sea and get my daily dose of Bengali while chatting with the waiters. Then I walk back to office, sneak up on the dog from Divine Guest House and surprise him with a few tummy rubs, then sing ‘good morning’ to my work mates and start work. “Work” means chilling on the verandah with my tiny computer and calling people in Jharkhand. These calls mean that they are desperately trying to understand my pathetic genderless Hindi and I am struggling with their Santhali laced Hindi. But we are all friends now, and when I call to scold them for not sending me their applications they greet me with cheerful ‘Hi’s and placate me with questions about how I’m enjoying work. I love their curiosity, their cheerful attitudes despite that most of them earn less than what you or I would spend in a bar and I love how happy to help most of them are. They are eager to learn and so keen to change not just their lives but the lives of others as well. These are people who often travel three hours by bus to access internet or walk to the next village to call me. Then sometimes I have to deal with Mukesh. Mukesh is one young fella who is the epitome of curiosity who calls VV everyday mostly because he just wants to know what’s up with everyone at office. He is a Community Correspondents who has the knack of taking an issue head on and bulldozing his way into the camera shy villager’s hearts, getting them to open up about causes and concerns they have about failing governance with a special focus on education. Lunch usually means a shady shack somewhere that Joel and Sid somehow dig out in the gullies of
Goa. Usually the food is amazing and I return to office with a doggie bag for Baga for a mere seventy bucks. Once I got a fried fly. Joel ate it up. *God said never to waste food*
There’s Arun bhaiyya who sings “chai” when he walks in with the huge kettle, bringing smiles and sighs from everyone who just want an excuse to lounge in the garden. And the dratted internet is our beloved saviour, conking out at crucial moments, bringing mixed emotions in to VV coz we all know that means an impromptu half day -- little grins on people’s faces laced with frustration that I didn’t manage to save the changes on my Google Doc. Sometimes, at night, I talk to my pet frog or curse the mosquitoes while lying around on the veranda dozily staring at the stars peppering the sky.
In this last but one post of 2011 I’m gonna do a typical thing and count my blessings to be healthy and happy. And give my love and gratitude to so many people who have accepted me as their own and have been so kind. The one’s who adopted me in
. The one’s who threw open their homes. The one’s who drove me around coz I was “feeling lazy”. The one’s who fed me, looked after me, and generally put up with my childish whims and fancies. There were people (and dogs) who just overwhelmed me with love. And in Delhi Goa of course, there has been so much kindness.
I’ve learnt to love life again.