Friday, December 13, 2013

Shall I call it a short term blessing?

Well, you know the weather in otherwise hot and humid Chennai is really pleasant. It is quite cool and this morning, the breeze that hit me was a bit chiller than what I expected. The sun was just soft and warm – it is rare that the weather in the part of the globe that I live in, Chennai, is so kind to us. Oh! And that’s not the short term blessing that I was going to write about.

Growing up in Chennai, one of the so called Metro’s in India, my home was always in the suburbs ( before and after marriage that is). Living in the suburbs has its own benefits, like for example, I grew up in a community that had a lot of my relatives and cousins of my own age, instead of an apartment we got to live in houses that were individual and had some space for us to play within the compound and ofcourse space for a garden. But it also meant that the schools colleges and our offices were farther away and we had to travel long distances to reach those places.

While in school, I had to travel 2 hours everyday and when I got to college it increased by an hour and to add to my woes, my college would commence at 8.00 am and I had to leave by 6.30 am. And well this is not a complaint at all, as I got used to travel and infact, have ended up really loving these travels. I had a good group of friends in school and while in College, and these travels turned out to be rather a lot of fun. I read a lot and mastered the art of reading in a moving bus and train, mostly novels and during exam times, I got solid time to prepare for the examination too. How cool is that. So, when people tell me you travelled that long? I am like, yeah, but that was fun. There are many who cannot comprehend to this logic.

So when I finished college and had to travel to office, it didn’t seem a trouble at all. After marriage it was a little better with a chauffer to drive me around.  but things started to change when most IT organisations started moving out of the city and soon I was travelling more than 50kms ( both ways together), a few years back and the traffic was getting worser by the day. When life’s priorities were changing., these long travels were no more fun. One day, after a terrible evening of travelling back from Old Mahabalipuram Road after work, J asked me if it is all worth it? When the traffic was bad I had to travel for more than 4 hours in a day. I quit the organisation I was working in, for 13 years, in a week's time. That probably was not the only reason though.

When I chose my current role in the organisation that I am with, my first requirement was that my travel outside Chennai had to be curtailed –Sonny boy was in std X1 in a new school and me being there when he came back home was a much needed comfort. J also travels a lot and it does not help to have both parents travelling all the while. My travel is curtailed so much that I have begun to long for travel – I do travel though on work atleast once in 3 months which is nothing compared to what I used to do in my earlier organisation.

Restricting travel also meant, commuting less  within the city for everyday work and among the options I had, one of the primary reasons to choose my current organisation was that it has 26 offices (covering probably the entire city) in Chennai and I had the permission to work from whichever office I chose to. A Big blessing right? So when I started at my current organisation, we had moved closer to Sonny boy’s school and chose an office close to that house. A 5 km drive everyday looked definitely like a bliss. When Sonny boys’ schooling was done, one of his requests was to get back to our own house and I chose to go to the office near my current home. Can you imagine my happiness, when I figured out, that my office was less than 3 kms? Blessing was an understatement. So from June I was overjoyed, I could reach my office in less than 7 minutes by car ( if J is driving that is ) and I didn’t have to cross a single traffic signal.

In my entire life in Chennai, I have never lived this close to any of the places that I had to go regularly. Be it school, college or office. But I knew this for sure – My current organisation like every other Indian Software company is consolidating and moving to Special Economic Zones (SEZ”s) to enjoy the tax benefits. And they were closing down the Guindy office. Yes. This week my blessing is coming to an end so rather than Crying that its over, I am smiling that it happened.

And well, the next office I am moving is within the city again and is just around 6 kms. So Until that closes down somewhere mid next year, I will keep smiling, that I am able to beat all the traffic and distance woes that most people in software industry complain about. :-)

4 comments:

  1. Yes - the commute in Indian cities is simply crazy. Because India has failed to invest in infrastructure, people are put to insane commuting. Nice that you have your work place close to home. Only somebody who has done the two hour commutes that you speak about can understand what a blessing it is.

    In Bangalore, because it is largely an "immigrant" city, people simply rent a house close to where the work spot is. Anything else is simply madness.

    By the way you are such a good writer that I have never spotted a bloomer thus far. Today was the first. What's that rubbish about "age was also ...... " :):)

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    1. A compliment from you about my writing - Truly humbled and honored. :-) :-)

      And you are not going to beleive this. I finished the post at one go and published it. And there comes your face to my mind saying this very same comment. So, I went back and edited that part. But alas, you were faster. Light of speed I guess :-)

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  2. Hi, I can so identify with the commuting woes, I go through it daily. Throughout my career I have lived far away from my office, now having an office bus picking u up and dropping back is a big blessing that way.. I wish that smile of yours to be always on your lips... take care...

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  3. Thank you Rekha. Hopefully my shot term blessing will be a long term blessing.

    I agree, transportation provided by the organisation is such a blessing, though you can have some very ruining moments in the mornings especially while you plan to catch that bus. atleast for me it was like that for some time. :-)

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