Monday, October 12, 2009

And it rained...

My workplace here at my client's facilities is significantly different from my office back home. There are no glistening steel and glass towers with central Air Conditioning and row upon row of sleek computers catering to the widest variety of information technology projects possible. Here it seems that the office and its Dilbert grey cubicles are built around whatever space there remained after the primary purpose of manufacturing medical implants had been served. The Air Conditioning has a mind of its own and if you are seated under a vent, you'd better have an extra layer of warm clothing to ward off the sniffles. The stretches of cubicles are often rudely interrupted by big generator rooms and testing labs, reminders that the real stuff was being built right below us; not just in a factory far far away. And it is also an isolated environment where it is impossible to tell what kind of a day it is outside. In India, one peek through the glass that made up 100% of our outer walls would tell us the story of rain or shine outside. Even within the controlled environment of the office, you were free to imagine how you would feel outside. Here the only meteorological activity you can ever detect within its insulated environment is the rain. The water clattering down on the roof overhead and the occasional rumble of thunder is the only din that gives a clue to the events going on on the other side of shelter.

It's been a rainy summer and fall this year in New England. The trend was maintained this Thursday too as the rain started making good on its promises of the dark gloomy morning just after I entered office. With it were washed away any nobly feeble intentions of focusing on the tasks I had at hand. Rain puts me in that mood all too frequently. Occasions for great learning and detailed career plans have been regularly dissolved in the soft pitter-patter of raindrops or soaked beyond recovery in the rage of a tropical storm.

The tear drops from heaven sometimes gloom inducing, mostly glee spawning represent the coming together of some of the most vivid of memories for me. Tracing back to kindergarten and primary school, the rains would be excuses for floating paper boats down make-shift streams that the downpour had created and the funny squelching noises shoes would make once subjected to underwater testing in the deepest splashable puddles around. By middle school, expectations were upped a little bit as heartfelt prayers were uttered to make the approaching thunder storm severe enough for the school to be called off. A day off would naturally imply community video gaming and that glorious combination of all of God's gifts called roof-top cricket in the rain with all friends who lived within shouting distance.

High school meant that classes were too important to be put aside no matter what. Yet as teenagers condemned to listen to the teachers' instructions with the windows closed and the tube-lights on, when nature's intoxicating play of beauty and power was on display past the shutters there were two storms. One that raged outside and the other that churned inside our hormone fuelled rebellious hearts. Engineering college added a sheen of patience to this rebellion of youth as the walk from class to the hotel necessitated a thorough drenching in the pouring rain to be offset by the pleasures of a shared smoke and a cup of tea under the fast food shanties that were our primary place of congregation. As a working guy, a cloudy day and a faint drizzle in Calcutta made my daily motorcycle commute to and from work an exquisite pleasure, an uncertainty fraught adventure on Calcutta's treacherous roads.

All those thoughts bubbling up through to my consciousness and folks expect me to work? For the sake of propriety, work I did last Thursday even as I could hear the rain beating down overhead, but am I to blame if a significant part of me was out there where the rest of me also wanted to be.

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