This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.
Monday, 16 February 2015
Swami reaches office as usual at 8.50 AM after completing his morning routine and dropping Rosie off at the day care centre listening to music. He walks towards his work station – gripped by a feeling of anxiety. He checks his privilege leave balance – He has 50 leaves carried forward from previous two calendar years and additional 25 which will accrue to him by the year end. He hasn’t taken any privilege leaves in last two years, only a couple of sick leaves last year when Rosie had to be taken to the vet or he was down with fever. He is known for his discipline and persistent hard work.
He knows he can exercise his privilege leaves, but worries if that will affect his reputation in the organisation. Worried, he calls up Abhinav. Its 3 PM in Berlin. Abhinav listens to Govind patiently, without judging, trying to understand what he is afraid of. ‘How can going on leave affect your reputation – unless you’ve built one around being a robot! If that’s the case, let it break. They’ll stop taking you for granted and appreciate you more.’ Thanking Abhinav for the encouraging words, he logs into H.R.M.S., the company portal to apply and track employee leaves and submits an application for a 21 day leave. An automated message goes to his boss – Jim’s inbox for approval.
Everyone starts arriving in the office, exchanging morning pleasantries. Jim is going to come in the second half after meeting a client.
Swami is not able to focus on work, he is anxious about how Jim will react. He watches him enter the floor and walks right towards his work station at 1 PM- something he does rarely. Swami gets goosebumps as he tries to look busy – staring at the laptop, toggling between various open screens. He conflates Jim’s confidence with certainty of leave disapproval. Why else would he be walking right down towards him rather than first going to his cabin. He should have disapproved it online, saying this in person will be embarrassing.
His boss speaks up in astonishment, ‘Govind, I’m surprised you’re asking for leave – where are you headed to?’ Swami had sweat running down his brow. ‘I’m going on a trek in India with my college buddies, we are having a reunion, Jim. Post that I plan to visit my parents in Chennai too.’ ‘That’s great Govind. I’ll grant you leave provided you fulfil one condition – you bring along that area’s speciality – I love Indian food and its delicacies!’ Swami was taken aback by the answer – He replied back animatedly, ‘Done Jim! I’ll get Sevaiyaas from Kashmir for everyone, it is a famous sweet dish.’ ‘Great. I’m happy you’re taking some time off to catch up with friends, its a good thing to do. And you’ll come back a fresh mind filled with ideas and creativity as you meet and interact with different people. Go for it; don’t forget the sweets.’
Still trying to absorb what had just happened, Swami messaged hurriedly to the gang – The plan is on! My leave is approved!
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