Monday morning being a period of transition from zombie to corporate zombie leaves my brain susceptible to any random thought willing to register itself. It was one such Monday morning, when I was ceremonially dragging myself from my bedroom to workplace at around 10:45 AM. As I entered the office, familiar beeps of RF-ID kissing the access points, reminded me of a lot of ass kissing I was about to witness for the rest of the day. The Friday evening excitement had translated into Monday morning gloom, and Sunday evening realization that the yet another weekend had vanished in a jiffy, without disturbing peace in my otherwise restless life was back for a moment.
The feeling of being late accompanied by my usual lack of eagerness reminded me of forcefully dancing, when sober at a stranger’s wedding. Sobriety is the biggest hindrance in dancing and alcohol can even make the dinosaurs do the Zumba or Bhangra or Salsa, whatever they preferred back then. As I walked towards the slightly dark corridors near my cubicle, my zombie state was disturbed by a girl dressed in orange kurti and blue jeans. Her left hand was holding her mobile phone’s hands free cord like a ‘Japa Mala’ – a string of sacred beads, but her mind was definitely not at peace, as I could hear her yelling at a voice louder than the average Bengali (believe me that is really loud). Her evil chants of “No I do not want this product. I do not want that pen drive anymore. It’s been 15 days and you have not delivered. Flipkart sucks…blah blah blah”, assured me that somewhere someone had a miserable start to the week.
As I took my seat and said hello to the ‘Dokra Owl’ seated majestically on an otherwise empty desktop, I got reminded of that afternoon in Indore. Me and my father rode on a black Kinetic Honda to city’s crowded market area. It was the age of digital diary and I wanted to buy one for my father with his hard earned money. I remember how we bargained with different shopkeepers and managed to save a couple of hundred Indian Rupees. With time, as we progressed from Digital Diaries to iPads, landlines to smartphones and Vicco Turmeric to Vicco Turmeric, a lot has changed, but not our willingness to strike a better deal. Put in simple terms, we want to pay less and get more; in fact we want much more, as our greed has taken over.
Still, it is not wrong to want things for less. There is nothing wrong in demanding products on time and being furious at delays. What bothers is the treatment handed over to the people on phone, the customer representatives. The yelling girl is not the only one. Treating customer reps like shit is something we do often, just like smashing the innocent harmless insects crawling on the road under our boot. It does not feel wrong, but do they really deserve it? Is a delay in delivering a pen drive good enough excuse to make life miserable for someone who is working hard to make ends meet? We don’t stop at this. Bashing these helpless souls has become a matter of pride for us, as we boast around, “Bhar bhar ke gaali diya saalo ko” or “I blasted those motherfuckers”. As we progress, we are becoming busier but less productive, smarter but lazier, more demanding and less passionate. Our selfish demands have eclipsed our compassion and consideration for others.
Bashing someone might be a matter of pride for many of us, but it can bring pain and misery to those at the receiving end. Most of us don’t remember the names of even the most helpful customer reps we have dealt with. We shrug off the good service by saying, “That’s their job”. As humans, we usually don’t remember the good apples we eat, but the rotten ones go straight in to the dustbin and squat in our memory like the chicken from day before. These days, a strange mist of selfishness surrounds us and we forget that people on other side are humans too, part of the same 99% who share the 1% wealth with us. Just like us, they might not remember the god sent angels, but they will definitely remember the jackassess, who make their Mondays miserable.