Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Have a Good Night, Sir!

Just as his security manager had directed him he bowed his head ever so slightly without his security cap falling off, to be on a subservient note, as he held that glass door open with his mouth whispering the same repetitive tone “Have a Good Night, Sir”. The bending of head is supposed to prove the submission before the exquisite knowledge and talent of the kids who just walked out of college to the ever-so-fascinating stream of IT. Bending the head is very much a part of being a security, he was told. And like his foot he cared! He wanted to catch that idiot who had this heavenly light in his head about bending the head down to prove you to be meek. It’s just another gesture for earning his salary of which each tiny bit builds the food for his family, and there’s absolutely no more meaning attached to that. You bend your head down, and you earn your money. He often wondered what made the software engineers so hot, to let them earn so much money. Damn…He works much more than they do, that too on a 12-hour shift, to keep the floor secure, to jump up and open the door whenever someone decides to leave, (oh yeah! With the head bend down!), to carry all those gizmo computer stuff that arrives at the doorstep to the network store rooms of the company, to bring coffee to the managers, to save electricity when employees leave, and…. Well, it’s difficult to list everything down. Anyway, who cares?

It’s always interesting to watch the IT whiz kids work. A walk through the lobby and you realize that software is the best job in the block. You see most of the people working on some programs named orket or rocket or something. It seems this is the latest technology and the kids are really enthusiastic about learning it completely. Then there are chat specialists, who have around 10 chat windows open in the monitor and move their fingers with the mastery of Yehudi Menuhin to maneuver between these windows. They say that these chat windows provide a world of ‘opportunities’. It’s pretty amazing how they can think about opportunities, when they are working on a job that remotely requires you to do anything at all. Man is a greedy animal, indeed! Now we walk into the gossip zone. You see so many heads sealed close together as a huddle, and you wonder if it’s the cricket team. Then you understand that guys/girls are secretly devising the strategy to spy on the new beauty/hunk that’s joined in the block. He felt like saying “Ladies, if you looking for a hunk…. me the man, baby!”, but holding on to his security cap seemed to be the right priority at that moment. The manager was pretty busy as usual, as he was in the phone talking to his wife about the EMI rate comparisons and location of the flats. Manager had asked him not to forward any official calls to his extension, since his wife had this nice habit of cleaning the broom on his face if she’s stopped in between her conversation. Amidst this chaos, he used to see a few people who work like no end and he didn’t know how they could adjust to this crowd. The most interesting part about all these IT people is that when he bends his head down in the morning and evening, they pretend to be so full of work that they don’t even smile. Aaah…They had forgotten to smile. The only expression in their face is ‘frown’ and some extremely privileged people keep their face ‘plain sad’. He always wondered how they could earn astronomical salaries and still be unhappy, when people like him are struggling to make both ends meet and still manage to smile all the while. The key to good life might be less money, as someone great told. But he acknowledged that he too didn’t mind being a bit sad for some more money…. And then he cursed himself “Hey…I need to stand by my principles…but…ahem ahem”. But he had no doubt in his mind that the most hyped up career was that of an IT person’s. They don’t do anything that’s so worthy of the bloated up salary that they get, and they just make the life of common man so difficult by reducing the value of money. He always believed that those military personnel or a doctor or even a casual laborer deserved much more than these whiz kids.

Next day, he woke up in his hopes. He kept getting these visions about future in his sleep. He saw years flying past him, as he closed his eyes to a generation groomed with only the words ‘IT’ in mind. Nature and Greenery became an alien in this world. The world gradually fell into a dark glassy concrete alley where it finds no food but lots of computer programs. It kept growing till that black day came, which decided the paradigm shift. The Gates and Balmers just realized that they couldn’t eat windows and their attention rightly shifted to food. The world had completed that vicious circle of technology evolution and was heading right back to those ages of farming. He saw himself sitting in front of an infinitesimal paddy field, which was secured by huge walls. He opened those glass doors to the farmers who swiped in, to earn 6 figure salaries. These farmers work hard for their money the whole day and did a worthy job in that too. There were no complaints, no gossips and every face was gracious for this new world of light after a long stretch of darkness. More than anything he accepted the smiles that they gave him when they left for the day. It’s with a look of contempt that he tore off the resume of that useless IT manager who wanted to apply for the job of farmer. And he smiled at that beautiful sight of sun setting into the orange horizon as the green fields and shining silver streams danced together to that old song of nature. Now, he did not mind extended shifts too, when he stood right at the edge of that serene greenery, enjoying the waft, knowing that the world has become just that tad fairer as it ought to be. The night was as beautiful as it can get. The cool breeze rehearsing the paddy foliage to dance in the music of nature, an occasional shooting star sketching designs on a sky painted with blinking stars, the soft yellow candle lights wobbling at the distant houses, the slow rhythmic giggling of the flowing water…His world had become beautiful and his heart was never as full as it was. He slipped into a serene slumber, with a light heart. To peaceful days…to his dreams.

The knocking on his desk by the security officer disturbed his sleep. He heard the familiar sound say “I’ve to stick with the regulations. Another day’s salary gone…gone with your sleep. How can you be so irresponsible?”. He realized that he was still sitting in that old chair in front of that IT company. Nothing had changed, and his beautiful world seemed to be a dream. As his officer further despised his laziness, he smiled coldly. He could not have cared lesser about a day’s salary being lost. He knew what was holding for the future. He knew that the darkness will soon shed and the days of luminous moments will resume. Those expectations will fuse through, soon. And he could hardly wait, as he stood with his head high and said "Have a Good Night, Sir!".