Chai pe Charcha

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It was 2 A. M., when I finally fell asleep and was it was obvious that I could not wake up on time, to go to the office. It was a Wednesday. Decided to take a day off and informed the manager accordingly. I am usually very hungry in the morning and was done with my breakfast in no time. I had got this free time after a long time. Looked around my room only to realize, how badly it needed some cleaning. So I started with the cleaning stuff.

The clock read 11 A. M. and I thought of grabbing my second cup of tea for the day. I am a tea addict. Now, there is this place called ‘Heritage Cafe’ in Jayanagar, which is a must visit for people staying around. I am a slow tea-drinker. When I mention slow, it means ‘slowww’. I enjoy every single sip of my tea.

This café is usually crowded in the evening. Hence, morning is a good time to be there with less crowd or no crowd on weekdays. That day, I had all the time to “enjoy” my tea. I have been visiting this place for a long time and the vendor is more like a friend now. Just as we were discussing normal stuff, I got a call. It was my manager! Yes, doesn’t matter if you are on leave, you cannot escape. Receiving your manager’s call while on leave, is even more terrifying. You get worried if you have to login or have you missed out on some deliverable. Luckily, it was just an enquiry about my health and some timesheet thing.

As I dropped the call, the cafe bro asked me- “Manager?”.

“Yes”, I replied.

 “It happens. I too faced this. These managers are so creepy. They don’t give you any private space”.

Looking at him surprisingly with a clear question mark on my face I asked- “Hold on. Where have you experienced this?”.

“In my previous companies”, he promptly replied.

“What? Previous companies??  Are you an engineer?? Which all companies did you work for?” I started shooting my questions with all excitement.

“Four of them. Siemens was my last”, he said.

“Siemens??”, I asked. I was shocked with every answer of his. I mean here is a guy who is just offering hot beverages everyday from last 6 months, and I had no clue that he too had a corporate past. Typical Bangalorean, I smiled to myself. So you see, anyone can be an engineer in Bangalore. Anyone.

“Yes. I worked in 4 different companies in the last 7 years. I was fed up with that life of slavery, couldn’t handle anymore. Hence, I quit and started this café”.

“Wow”. I said. “Your life seems much more interesting than mine”, I continued. He laughed.

“So, how is life post your corporate jobs?”

 “Satisfying”, he expressed with no element of regret in his eyes. He indeed looked satisfied. He continued, “Though I am not enjoying all the corporate comforts like AC office and fat package, I am just so happy that I am doing something on my own and this gives me a good night sleep. What else does one need?”, he explained.

I had no option but to nod my head in agreement, because it sounded so true.

“So, tell me for how long have you been working in this company?”.

“Two months”, I said.

“Oh, this is all too new to you. Get used to these manager calls”, he said, tapping my shoulder with a smiling face.

I started walking back towards home and the conversation kept ringing in my head for rest of the day.

4 months later….

“Hey bro, a cup of tea please”. It was again a Wednesday morning. “Hey, took a day off?”, he asked. I went close to him and whispered – “I quit!!”. There was an awkward silence for the next ten seconds. Suddenly, we both burst into laughter!!!