[This is a work of fiction. The names and any resemblance to any individual or incidence are purely coincidental]
The temple bells were a rude awakening that another day has dawned. The soothing sound of chimes failed to stir up my tired mind and body, and groggily, I stopped the alarm.
Involuntarily, as if it is a diehard habit, instead of falling into a relaxing place, my hand prompted my index finger to open up the Outlook.
What? Isn’t it the first action of any workaholic?
Am I on the verge of insanity then?
Not even fully awake, I started scanning through the emails.
The usual News briefs, corporate mailers, calendar invites …. duh, duh, duh…. Whoah … what is this?
Another email from Pete? Wasn’t my explanation the day before, my last act of penmanship, enough for him that he must write a longwinded response? Oh no, there are more … more escalations! A mail on some urgent work which needs to be done ASAP (yeah, that is the tag line for everything now), few more emails on giving a heads-up on something big and important coming our way, and more such types have invaded my spacious inbox.
Calendar looks such a solid blue and is merging with the next day!! Will I really be able to end my day today, I agonized and inhaled deeply! Oh and I am triple booked between 2:30-3:00 pm and 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm …. Which call do I prioritize?
But at least the first meeting of the day does not start until noon, so I have few hours for myself … well good!
Tossing over and catching a few more winks is now out of question. The mails, especially Pete’s, has sent my mind into an overdrive, and I get up to do my ablutions and prepare for my daily yoga session.
Today’s practice is strength building for joints, and a pleasant voice greeted me to get ready for my session, assuring me that by the end of it, I will be relaxed, at peace and be ready for the beautiful day.
Oh ok let us see!
I do need peace and relaxation. I have not been able to get Pete’s mail out of my system. I had a comeback for all his points yesterday, and now not only does he posts inline response on each of the points which I had written in response to his earlier points, he has added a few more. So, this is now a full-fledged battle of who can keep up with each other’s verses.
Anyway, the lady tells me to breathe in through the nose and breathe out through the nose, and I wilfully give in, not that I was planning to breathe from anywhere else, … but Pete really?
As I move from mountain pose (Tadasana) to downward dog pose (Adho mukha svanasana), I try to frame answers to each of Pete’s points. Alternating between downward dog pose and upward facing dog pose (Urdha mukha svanasana), I manage to tackle his points.
I really begin to relax a bit, and I do take in a deep breath, you got it, in through the nose and out through the nose.
But wait, there is Jeremy’s mail and his fiery questions on why certain tasks were not completed by Sudhir yesterday. Oh Sudhir and your manager, why didn’t you do what you were supposed to do? Don’t you see it creates havoc on my yoga session which is supposed to relax and calm me? I think I will just forward Jeremy’s mail to Sudhir’s manager and let him come up with the response. I can then change a few words here and there and send it out to Jeremy. Done!
But there are more. As I balance myself in a tree pose (Vrikshasana), I mentally distribute the workload to my team members. What was that Disha said, I start to wonder, but changing from left foot to right foot, is not a good time to take a peek on the phone again. In any case, it has been taken over by the voice of the unknown lady who is now telling me to fix my gaze at a point to maintain my balance. Disha was our go getter who has been sent on an onsite stint to liaise between the client and the global unit. But somewhere there is a misunderstanding and she has started to believe that she is now the client!
Shifting my position between left and right triangle (Trikonasana), I have managed to tackle a few more of the emails.
As I move into a low lunge position, the voice tells me to be gentle with my wrist, and as if in cue, I twist my left one and fall on my face. Nothing happened though. Neither did I break my jaw nor was my wrist strained. So no taking off, I have to respond to all the emails, attend all the meetings on my calendar, not only do the pile of work before me but handle all that is thrown at me today.
The lady assured me, as I lay in corpse pose (Shavasana) that all is good with the world and the day is going to be great. I believe her and get up to go for my morning walk. I vow not to look at my phone anymore and not to think of any of the other emails.
I manage to keep my promise as I do the rounds around my condo, nodding my head to the other morning walkers, who nod back, seemingly absentmindedly, and I felt they are also tackling their mails.
I covertly look at my phone, and oh no! There is a meeting invite which has invaded my forenoon primetime. One on one with one of my team members. There goes my free time which I was looking forward to dedicate to doing my own work, and you know, respond to all the emails which have piled up. It is too much for me now, not to open the invite. There is no agenda, not even an indication of what she wants to discuss. I am pretty sure it is not to shower praises on me or the work we do, although I do need a few such calls as a mood enhancer. What could it possibly be? Is it because she is unhappy? While we do care for all our team members but did we really take ownership of making everyone happy? We always pledge to make the world a happy place but not really our team members!!
Worry clouds over my brisk morning walk and I end it after 4 rounds rather than my promise of doing 6 rounds every day.
As I sit with my family through breakfast and listen to all the chit chats going on, I try hard to concentrate on what they are telling me. There is no way for them to know that my mind is not there. I have a beatific smile on my face, and I nod and shake my head at the right places.
Finishing my breakfast, I almost run out of my dining room and rush towards my office, which is 2 steps away, and shake my slumbering laptop to wake up. It greets me with a Good Morning, steaming coffee cup and a smiley emoji, wishing me a happy start of the day!
Start of the day is it? But haven’t I already answered all the emails, planned out my strategy, delegated the workload, put my house in order and done all the work for the day… at least in my mind!!!