It was raining heavily and we had come out for a much needed fag to break away from the monotonous schedule of the night hours. In fact only he smoked, not me; or rather he did the active smoking and I, the passive.
Being part of the same team and same process and at the same level, we just happened to be together most of the time. It was not too long before we realized that we went along with each other so well, almost always taking the breaks together, so much so that the manager started calling us a couple which defined our friendship.
The rain beat heavily against the glass walls of the eight storied building. Sitting inside in the workstation we would barely know anything happening outside.
That night with just two of us standing outside the building staring into the dashed lines that the relentless rain drew against the decorative lights placed among the minimal landscaping, Sachin catapulted into a different world.
“If I were alone, I would have got into the rain” he told.
“Why not now, or do you mean to say, you want me to go away?” I looked at him questioningly.
“Not now of course.” He did not want me to feel bad I guess. Moreover it was office hours, around an hour after twelve in the midnight, only half way through the working hours and four more hours to push off.
“And do what?” I asked him.
“Just take off my clothes and stand out there, enjoying the cold and placid drop of water that fall on me and scatter into numerous smaller drops” – that is what I expected him to say, thinking of what I was missing, the rain in my village, the times when I used to toil in my backyard, at the outset of monsoon, planting tapioca, wearing a plastic bag for a cap to escape from catching cold next day. But he told something different.
“Thinking about the past.”
“And the painful present”
Though wondering why a rain would trigger such thoughts, I could read his mind.
The future had become seemingly bleak. The life and goals were not turning around as expected. All our efforts for getting into a job that we loved were in vain. The more we got stuck to the current profile, the lesser were the chances to move. As much as we tried to swim in a certain direction, the heavy undercurrent, call it bad luck or misfortune, was drifting us in a different direction where answers to any question we asked was a big NO.
“Are you doing what you want to do?”
“Are you talking to whom you like to talk”
“Are you in the company of people among whom you want to be?” (Except for friendship between us, the only other person with whom we could crib)
“Do you see a better future and career here?”
Are you ….?”
As he spoke to me, I realized that he was in a different world as if all the hopes of a better future was lost.
The rain was accompanied by heavy thunder and lightning as if it exactly knew what was running in our minds.
I was a little surprised. I never expected him to be so upset and so worried about the future. I always thought he had plans and he was much better at it than me. I thought it was only a matter of time and he would always make it big.
I and he were almost in same situation, he with an Engineering degree in Electronics and me with a Master’s in Computers were doing some outsourced financial job, sitting all night, sleepless, for someone so called Clients on the other side of the globe, at cheaper rates.
We waited until the rain subsided. The cigar was burned to its maximum.
Back in the seat, in the chatting software the client wanted two files completed as rush.
The client was a cute female in early twenties, we were told. It was nothing great, all that mattered was, which part of the globe you belonged to.
Both of us settled back to the same old days of being the entry level person working on the files. ‘The rush’ work had to be completed by us, than the junior folks, to avoid multi levels of review and save processing time. They say, team work, pitching in at times of need, and so on for this – bizarre corporate jargon. Nobody cares; they just want their work done.
In half an hour when the work was done she was offline. After an hour she came back saying it could have been left for the following day.
“My foot. Then why the hell..?”