Ramblings-Rave & Rant


You have definitely arrived.

It was a Monday morning, yet Sulekha got up with a palpable sense of excitement. She had never been this enthusiastic, especially at the beginning of the week in the last 3 years of her decade long professional life. After all, with the arrival of her twins 4 years back, life was destined to change. If it was her old MBA classroom, such a change would have aptly fitted into what was called paradigm shift. She no longer belonged to herself, everything about her was dictated by the 2 little specks of joy that called her Mama.
Yet today she felt different. She could not wait to pack the kids to school, avoid that simmering fight with hubby Sameer and maid Nirmala, get through her morning breakfast, and rush out of the house. For this was the day she was chosen to have lunch with none less than the CEO itself.
Now in the course of everyday business lunches, and scores of dissatisfied employees she met over such lunches as part of her “feel closer to the employee” HR initiative, she did not for once think she could be on the other side of the lunch table…fidgeting with forks and spoons et al. She was the chosen one today though she did not know WHY. And that was maybe what was causing the butterflies in her stomach.
 She rushed past Mani, the security guard, Munna – the office peon, shankar bhai – the cafeteria manager – for the first time in ten years without returning their namasteys. All for an hour’s worth of lunch with the CEO. With the CEO who led a 30 billion $ company, jet setted the globe, mingled with the mighty, dined with the glamorous. She could not wait to google more. She wanted to learn every bit of information about him that was available. She repeated the courtesies – Good afternoon Sir, how are you? Thank You. My pleasure meeting you – more than a few dozen times in her head. She ignored that call from home from the maid saying all the work is done, and which was her chance to nitpick for the day. She forgot to play the over worked up mother calling the school every half hour to check if her kids were safe. She did not want to dial Sameer to complain about his mom. She even forgot the tailor on her speed dial list. She did not want to be smelling like a pot of stale coffee, and gave up her caffeine fix for the morning and with it the mindless gossip around the coffee machine with her colleagues.
She wished the queer feeling in her stomach would settle down before she left for her luncheon. The clock stuck 12.30, the alarm on her cell phone and the one on the clock at her desk buzzed. The outlook window popped up with a meeting reminder. All at the same time. As if she needed any of these. One quick peek in the rest room, and self mortification later she stepped out to take on the world. She marched up the corridor and took the elevator up to the power suite. 
Holy God. The mirror on the wall just before she turned to the CEO’s lobby would not lie. One black shoe paired with one red shoe. Just as she was about to turn and run, the CEO himself walked out of his cabin to escort her in with a wide grin and a “Welcome Sulekha”. Very soon she was smacking on some delectable lunch with her feet firmly tucked under the mahogany lunch table at a corner of his office.
The conversation veered around general niceties before the CEO came to the point. Considering it was the CEO’s time that was being used, twenty five minutes of random conversation about the culture in the office was palatable. Not to mention the delicious pizzas.
Five more minutes. My mismatched shoes have not been noticed. The toppings that I dropped on the expensive Persian rug have been ignored. The AC re adjusted by the CEO himself to help my chattering teeth…who ever knew about AC vents controlling frayed nerves. Then the CEO said in the utmost casual tone “We (I counted the CFO, the CMO, the COO and that forever looking fresh secretary outside his room) think that you, Sulekha can drive home the importance of dressing right in this organization . As the oldest and lead HR you know the pulse of the employees. It is important for us to look professional to be able to win over more business and clients, and mismatched  attire negates our efforts. Culture within the boundaries of the organization..blah blah blah…blood in our veins…respect, tolerance,..blah blah…power dressing….client tours…Please come up with a plan on how we can drive this point across the organization without hurting sentiments“
Joyce, the secreteray peeped in to guide the CEO’s towards his next important appointment and Sulekha ran out. That is, before anyone noticed the shoes. Back at her desk, she was the toast of the season. After all, eighteen hundred minutes with the CEO got her a spot in the hall of fame.
Such is corporate life at the higher echelons of power in times of recession.
Later, looking back on that day, she thought to herself, You have definitely arrived.

Filed under: fiction

2 Responses

  1. radhe says:

    hey swetha,
    This was a great piece of write-up. nice to see ur blog. i didnt know you have been blogging since ’07. keep up the good work.

    do u really have twins?? cool.

    best regards to u & ur family.

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