June 2016 was my final month in the IIT Delhi campus, consumed in completing the M.Tech project and thesis. I get this right and I am outta here. That’s what kept running in my head. The project supervisor had scandalised me for the entire eighteen months and the end was near. I was elated. When a friend asked if I was going to miss college, I confidently told him not as much, na. Rather that I was dying to start my job. A new phase of life, after all! Packed all my stuffs from the room that I shared with Prachi, my roommate for five years, and bade campus a goodbye. Felt many feelings. Mostly positive, hopeful for everything new that awaits. I went straight to Rangiya, in Assam, after all these years. My paternal family resides in a village and I had been longing to see them. It was a refreshing break from the city. Things are so simple and quiet. Air is clean and the land is green. I would sit by the pond in the afternoons and read a book in the company of family ducks and cattle. And I must admit, being surrounded by family is a beautiful feeling. I felt safe, assured that everything will be okay, I am okay. Doing just fine! However, towards the end of my short vacation, I was mighty nervous.
18th July. That’s the date I joined the first real job of my life. Excited that I am going to earn some money, will no longer be dependent on my father financially. Scared that this corporate set-up is completely alien to me and I am legit running in the rat race now. By mid-August I moved into a flat (finding one was a gigantic task) and started to settle into my role as Assistant Analytics Manager at the firm. Both flat and office are right in the heart of the jungle, named DLF Cyber City. Here I would like to mention that I now live in Gurgaon (or Gurugram, yew!). So, I kind of changed cities. Delhi to Gurgaon. They call it the Millennium City. This is where MNCs and corporate giants have offices. Above we have glass skyscrapers and below, the ground is dusty and poor. Plenty of housing societies and apartments with names, as cool as Princeton, Wellington, Beverly Park. Damn right, we have our very own Beverly Park. Gurgaon is a wannabe. It wants to be LA, Manhattan, Hong Kong. Possible? Maybe. Anytime soon? Nope.
Most important question: who lives in this jungle? Well, thousands of people like me: salaried employees, grinding themselves round the clock to get that bonus, that promotion. Young bachelors, trying to save enough for a grand wedding or the euro tour that always got postponed. During smoke breaks outside the office complex, I see them. Everyday as I walk home after work, I see them.
In hindsight, the transition from college to job has been rather smooth. I mean, what’s life without few bumps here and there. Monday to Friday, I go to work and by evening, I just wanna get back to the flat, cook dinner and sleep. I must tell you, I have a stellar view from my room (refer to pics) on the eleventh floor. I sometimes watch the metro trains and cars like fireflies, until I fall asleep. Weekends just pass by, they are used for “resting”. I prefer to stay home, enjoy waking up late, read, experiment in the kitchen. Often, boyfriend comes to see me and we drink our time away. Colleagues who started with me are nice, I have found good friends in them. We hang out a lot in Cyber Hub. That’s like the mecca for the working-class heroes in Gurgaon. However, all of these can be daunting. Whenever I am smoking in the balcony, the idea of me, coming from a dingy small town and now standing there, fills up my chest with pride. Two years in Kota, five years in college and finally, I am independent; can pay my own bills and can take care of myself. But along with it, comes this feeling, unknown. I see a tall building in front of me and people burning the midnight oil inside. And then it seeps in, they are trapped. And so am I. Remember, the rat race? I have arrived in the jungle. Let’s see how my stint goes.
Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. Keep running, everybody!
(This article was originally for my personal blog page)