After resigning from Hutch, I utilized my spare time in making handi- crafts. I was branded as Kiddish. One such day when I was upstairs; I heard a knock on my door. Aunty P had stood there holding out a few Basil leaves. A solar eclipse was to occur and those leaves had to be put in all eatables. I had none upstairs, except for tea leaves, sugar and milk powder. She had further asked me to lay straight at night, since indulging in s*x and conceiving thereof that night was ominous. She had blatantly wanted to know when I had bled for the month. I just couldn’t believe that she had asked me that. I mean- was I to place my Period Dates on the Calender for everyone to look at? She had grumbled a few things and left. Even though that I had assured her of that I wasn’t expecting, and that I knew that; she had again brought that up at the Dinner time in the Living Room. Her alibi- since I was a maverick and didn’t take things seriously, it was her duty to have informed that to her son. Had my parents been around and alive, she would have then talked to them. Well madam, then this alliance won’t have happened to begin with.
Often the query of my Period Dates would pop up from no- where. She as if looked for any available opportunity- to talk about the mentioned subject, on some or the other pretext. That’s all that the lady P would talk about- Periods and Pregnancy. She would often tell me about how her mother-in-law had washed her soiled clothes. ArRRRGGhhhh. So what about it? I could handle my Bloody Affairs on my own-PLEASE. I just didn’t feel comfortable talking about that with her. There ought to be a level of relationship before one talks about such personal things- and anyways, do we discuss breathing, or even peeing? Hemant had suggested that I hand her over my soiled clothes for cleaning. Like mother; like son. Complementary Partners.
Lady P had pushed me out of her 1st floor flat, when the other day, I had wanted to take Hemant’s towel to 3rd floor. She didn’t as much as care that I could have tumbled down the stairs. She had not wanted her family to disintegrate. What the hell..!! My husband stayed with me at 3rd floor, and all his belongings at the 1st. Could I please understand- why? Hemant’s clothes and outfits all lay at the 1st floor. Imagine; my husband getting up everyday and going down straight at the 1st floor. His Towel, tooth- brush and everything else that you can think of stayed at the 1st floor. It had been that way for a period of 1-1/2 years. Both the brothers had shared the same underpants too. I know this revelation must be giving jitters in your stomach. I had never known of this when I had been seeing him before my marriage. It was a 4 years long relationship and yet, I had not known of such pathetic habitual details. His mother had briefed me that that’s how even her mother-in-law had arranged for her sons. I had then contracted a severe infection and one that was so embarrassing. Uncle had demanded to see the prescriptions since they had thought I was expecting and hiding.
How different was that from my stay at MN? At the least I had the entire floor to myself, instead of a room of 10’ x 12’; without any intrusion. If even after marriage, my husband was to carry on with his basic chores at a different floor; might as well not had gotten married. My wearing Long skirts were absolutely a debarred sin; and I had committed that repeatedly. The only things I was allowed to wear were suits, saris and gowns (how suggestive). Wasn’t wearing outfits a personal choice? The day I had worn that long- skirt to Work, she had suffered a Migraine attack. For all of those 4 years of my dating Hemant, she had seen me wearing those moronious, strange and un-fit clothing; what was the newest now? I could wear cut- sleeves though but not when Uncle was around. And no- I am not talking about spaghettis, halters or minis. She would have suffered a cardiac arrest if she had known that I was most comfortable and used to wearing knee- length skirts. I wish I had worn that in courting period, and resolved that once for all 😉 😛
It had only been 4 months; wasn’t it too soon? No, it wasn’t. Lady P had one day sat me and had asked me my period dates (again). She had then wanted me to go to some Doctor- who would then check upon me for any complications- since I was yet not pregnant till then!! She had been feeling so ashamed since all the neighbors had wanted to hear the “Good News”. If only I could have told them to make one and more- on and of their own. Hemant had advised me that I tell her to talk to him. I did that. As a result, the woman had gotton pissed saying that I was an ardent follower of my husband. After a few days of constant nagging by lady P, Hemant had branded me that I had only cared about him, and that as if no one else existed for me. Say, what again? Hemant had very well known of my apprehension of conceiving and bearing a child. Even then, by which standards, 4 months qualified for me to get pregnant? I had beginning to feel and understand that “Difference of Class” between me and his family.
Don’t forget their 1 veggie in the morning and only dal for dinners. My eating raw onion was salad- that they didn’t eat; spices meant turmeric and red chili powder. I had tried to buy veggies when I was condemned to do so. That way I was taking Uncle’s only job away. Moreover, since I had been single till then; I didn’t know what and how to be bought. Maybe I had lived in a war victim camp before getting married to her son. Broccolis were mocked at saying that they were painted artificially, so were red and yellow bells. Baby corns were genetically modified, and Red Cabbage was unhealthy. Lady fingers always had worms in them and she had to throw them away. Then how come a veggie was still cooked up? Beans always were stringy..
I was beginning to regret my decision of marrying Hemant. I just had wanted to lose sight of such miserable day to day bickerings. Lady P had successfully miserabled my Life. Hats off to her incorrigibility: to needle me, every time that she saw me. I had just wanted a break; a big and a permanent one at that. I was getting tired of hearing that if only my parents been around.. Hemant had by far stopped communicating with me. I had understood his avoidance to even bump into me very well; my shift timings didn’t allow much of that later anyways.
As I write this here today, I happen to take note of yet another strange fact. Till the time I was married, I had never been able to stay home at nights; excepting till 23rd June, 2003.
Convergys had advertised for Tech Support Consultants. The Froggie-of-the-Well, that I had been till then; I had taken that for TSE- a backend switch level activation department as was in Hutch. I had asked Ruby if that was a good thing to start working again. She had, as a matter of factly replied- that that was to be thought upon once I had obtained an Offer Letter. Quite Right. I had packed up my bag and baggage and headed home. I had declared end of my vacation. I had been at Ruby’s place for a couple of days’ stay.
While traveling back from Rohini, I had felt as if I had contracted cold- a good sign, I had thought. I had gulped Cetrizyne and dozed off for a couple of hours after reaching home. Had reached Lajpat Nagar for the 1st round of Interview, the convention hall of Hotel Vikram was booked. 6- 7 girls were seated at a distance from each other and huge crowds had hovered around them. Each of the HR representative called upon 5- 6 of out of that surrounding crowd. They had then spoken about themselves in 1 line. The name, last job- ex (work experience) and a little more; I figured out that Night- shifts were now about to become my Regular shifts.
Prior to this, I could not join AIR Infotech and then later GE. I stayed in a rented accommodation with common entrance then. Making my landlord getup at “weird” hours was not the option I could exercise. I had sat thought of that. At my turn to intruduce myself, I had said something like this- “Hi, I am Olivia. I have worked as a Sr. CCE with Hutch and now wish to try my luck in International Call centre; I am perfectly comfortable doing Night- shifts”. OMG: that was the thing. Hemant’s family would faint upon hearing that, I had mused! I had then sat though the other rounds of selection process. The ones not screened in, had looked at me enviously; I had already felt nice. At the end of the evening, I was asked to go to Convergys, Gurgaon the next day and appear for my HR round.
I had not discussed about the night shifts part at home- yet. His parents had looked pretty sulking upon my trying to look for a Work opportunity. Everyone had tried helping me with how to have reached Gurgaon. The next day I did. I was made to write a couple of papers and then sent back. The next day, a Pooja had called up at my place- she had worked as Chahat with me in Hutch. I wasn’t so close and rather had maintained distance. She was fine; the circle she was in- I had wanted to keep myself a little away. Oh no, I am not saying that they were bad or something; just that I did not follow (understand) the buttering policy, and hence, did not follow (do) that- and so that intentional space. She had recognized me even though that she had left Hutch before I had. She had even greeted me and had wanted to know that if I was married- CHURA!!
I had hushed her saying that I wasn’t so keen to talk about that marriage. Anyways, I had told the 1st caller at my place that I wasn’t anymore “interested” and that’s when Pooja had called up. She had like a parrot, insisted me that I show up again and had briefed me that TSE was not the TSE. But, I could still be taken as CSR. Oh, what an arrangement- I had thought and had disconnected. She had called me up again and made me appear the next day.
I had gone home with that Offer Letter and a proud (and a nervous) smile on my face. I had patiently waited Hemant to come in and advocate my case. I was to join from 23rd June, 2003 in Citibank process. What and how had Hemant convinced his parents to let their daughter-in-law be away at nights, is still not known to me.
Sangram Singh was the best trainer I could have get for the Voice and Accent Training- as was then known as- now CCT (Culture and Communication Training). He had not kept well and so the 1st day was a no training day. He suffered of cold!
I at the age of 25 going to be (+1) soon, were sat in the class of all fresh graduates. I figured out- that in order to learn the new chapters, I needed to erase the previous contents. I used to go home and study (well). The Navy Call list was different from the “A for Apple, B for Boy”, that we were taught. That’s the best training I could have asked for. I must have mugged up the Ann Cook. 3 weeks of learning English again in 2- 10 shift had floated by like a dream. I had felt equipped and knowledgeable. I had learnt all about American Culture and the 50 capitals of their 50 states. I had hung onto that training with all my Life.
I had beginning to enjoy Life again.
Uncle was to be operated for his Prostrate then. The Lady had again wanted her son and her daughter-in-law to come down to the 1st floor and sleep there. I had plainly denied. Tears, taunts and tacts were all sent my way. I was given no credit that it was I who had forced them to go through that yet another operation too- once for all. Nevermind. The lady was baffled as why I had stopped having food. She wouldn’t understand that I ate @ office.
That was a critical operation since he was operated only a month back for his Gall Bladder stones. I had not hesitated and moved around the hospital giving him my support to walk. He had refused to do that with the Ward boys. Any delay would have crippled him for the remainder of his life. Big deal- yes, it was. Theirs’ was supposedly a conservative family; touching the daughter-in-law was only to happen if one was dead. Consider the fact that I had roamed about wiholding his urine bag without any reservations.
6 months had passed of my marriage. I and Hemant were just about to go out for an outing. He had asked me to go at the 1st floor (at his parents house) and wait for him. The Lady had started swearing upon seeing me. I had worn a peddle pusher and a T-shirt with my Sports shoes. I had mutely come upstairs. The Gate was closed on me with a Loud Bang. What a celebration..!! Yeah, that then proceeded to a huge argument amongst the 3 of us and no outing- Thanks.
Earl Ravi Mohan was my Process Trainer. Once again, I felt that I was lucky to be in the best trainer’s class. The amount of knowledge he had possessed was incomparable.
Once, it so happened that the class planned to play Truth and Dare. The class had wanted me to tell them all about my marriage. Funny- they hadn’t yet grown up or maybe I was a little over grown. The batch had decided to give me a spin. They had wanted to know if I would ever get into an extra- marital affair. This was because I had made Sangram Singh to guess the word while playing Coffee Pot. I had answered a detached- Yes. The hell had broken loose. Wasn’t that supposed to be my prerogative without having to answer anyone else? Atleast appreciate my Honesty for having replied correctly. The Trainer had sat enjoying that re-creation time. I didn’t care a wink.
I had joined Convergys to move on, and to not sit back and web around. I had not cared about who had branded me as what. 6 weeks of Process Training had taken me to Girish Arora’s team on the floor. The night shifts had begun.
No sooner I hit the floor, I had fallen sick. The biological clock or whatever, was stuck and had denied to adjust to the new timings. Even then, my NSR (Net Sales Rate- a jargon that was the 1st Commandment of the Sales Bible), shot up high enough for all to have take note of my performance.
I had completely involved myself in that Job; as if nothing else had existed for me.