That First Day

She was mildly nervous. That’s expected. In fact, it was surprising that she was only mildly nervous. She was supposed to report at 9 am. The cab would come to pick her up at 8:30. The guest house she was staying at was comfortable, posh even. A/C room with an attached bath, a tiny room that had only cupboards (a sort of walk in wardrobe), a TV, wireless internet, the works. The caretaker of the guest house would later tell her that she had the red room and would show her around the other rooms. One wall of the room was painted red and all furniture, upholstery, everything, were shades of red. It was a nicely done up room. Warm and inviting. She’d woken up that morning and taken a moment to orient herself. She slowly made her way about the room, doing her things, getting ready, choosing her dress for the day carefully. It was going to be a maroon salwar with an off-white kurta (with maroon border), high collared, understated (yet smart she thought to herself, because it fits me well) the dupatta had the same pattern as the kurta and would be worn ironed and neatly folded. Discreet black slippers. Everyone had told her that the atmosphere was going to be very casual, but somehow, she thought it best to go with salwars for the first few days, just till she got comfortable with the place. That’s what she’d done at her previous work place, and it had worked for her there too. She got out of her shower and put on the salwar-kurta  she had laid out on the bed. Went to the mirror to put on her contacts and dress her eyes. She always thought they were the most vulnerable feature of her face, always expressing exactly what they shouldn’t. So she’d mask it (flamboyantly, if she was feeling particularly emotional). Today she’d have to be careful to not to overdo it. So just kajal on the lower lid and liquid black liner on her upper lid – Lines thick enough to just make her look at ease. Just plain gloss for her lips. Finally, she combed her hair and she was done. By 8, she was ready for breakfast. She opened the door and walked out of her room to see if she could find herself some breakfast. The table was all laid out. After she finished, she walked out to the lobby to see if the car had come. The caretaker told her it hadn’t, and that he would call her so she went back to her room. The cab came at 8:25. One more person was to go in the cab with her; he came at 8:35 and then the cab started. The next 25 minutes went by fast with excitement of traffic, being taken to the wrong office first, almost running late and eventually reaching the right office at exactly 9 am. She got off the elevator and was greeted with the familiar voice of someone from her past talking to someone else. The owner of that voice was also reporting in the same day. She said a ‘Hi’ and settled into an empty chair. She looked around herself – there were a few others who had come to join that day. A minute later, someone came into the lobby and announced ‘J*pur, 8th floor.’ She walked behind some of the others, taking in whatever she could of the office. Rows of mostly colourless cubicles; young people –  looking intently into their screens. Some of them looked up, but most were studiously bent into their screens. J*pur turned out to be a biggish conference room. Since it was nearly the top floor of the building, you got a fairly nice view from the conference room. Occasionally, you could also hear the wind against the glass, a strange haunting sound. She was a little uncomfortable; the office was very big compared to the one she’d been used to. The people looked serious, and unfriendly and unlike their age. She was asked to fill a few forms and submit copies of a couple of documents. The copier was right outside the room. She walked out, found that the cubicle opposite the door that had been empty in the morning was now bursting with a bright green and yellow Brazil football jersey clad giant wearing headphones. He looked up when the door opened with a look that screamed “YOU’RE INTRUDING!” that startled her half out of her skin. She meekly lowered her eyes and went about minding her own business. Is that what she was going to do in this place? Walk around with lowered eyes, trying to be invisible? So much for building up all that self confidence over the last year or so. By around 4, she was done with all the formalities and free to roam around. She got herself acquainted with the others that joined that day. There were 6 others besides her. Most of them were friendly and empathetic. Later, she would be told, much to her relief, that three of them would be in the same team as her. At least she would have people to go have lunch with. Big halls full of strangers are no comfort at all. But she wouldn’t have to worry about that. From day 2 on, there would be lots to do. Hectic training programs and after that working live. In the cab on her way back to her temporary home that evening, she thought about the day and realized that she was going to be alright. This was what she had wanted. She was finally going to live for herself. She smiled to herself. She’d have good things to report later that night.


2 thoughts on “That First Day

  1. The Giant often thinks of you, and misses you in his own quaint way. The look was not supposed to scare you. I guess he was just intrigued to see a new face, and yes, he still wears the Yellow-Green Brazil jersey.

  2. i remember that red room. not quite as jane-eyreingly spooky either. of beginnings. and livings. life truly is ironic. i don't know how i reached here after all this time today. today, just when you were going to hear from me in another way. i'll save the rest for another space.

    except of course,

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