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Monday, October 27, 2014

We Were Family

It was going to be two years in two months. But the period came unexpectedly, cutting short the sentence tersely. The axe dropped a few days before Diwali. You think to yourself, the timing is lousy. But in business people are always taught to keep feelings at bay. Never let the heart rule your head. It is very easy for everyone who is standing at the bay to say that, not for us who are struggling to swim upstream against the current to reach the safety of the bay.

This was my first company; I was a fresh faced graduate, all rosy cheeked and everything, ready to take on the notorious corporate world. I spent the first year mostly as an intern who was just paid a little better than actual interns. I had lots to learn, especially since this wasn’t my field. When I got to my second year, I started to get a little comfortable. I thought to myself “Hey, I could see myself settling down,” and just when I was about to put my feet up on my table, out came the big, bad wolf in the guise of a merger.   

The news came on a Thursday afternoon, when all of us were busy at our work stations while eagerly waiting for the financial results of the previous quarter. At four pm, came the financial results; our net profit growth stood at 30% q-o-q. We cheered and clapped and patted each other on the back and shook hands, it was a good one indeed. Then at four thirty came the news of the merger. The hugs, claps, and cheering froze; everyone stood still, not daring to move, not even daring to breathe. We didn’t want to believe it, but it was true. The stock market said it was true and the stock market never lies. We had huddled around a desk to celebrate; we slowly dispersed and went back to our own desks. I went back to my computer with a stony, impassive face, trying very hard to keep my emotions at bay and not let the lump in my throat turn into a croak and then an eventual sob. I kept telling myself, “These things are natural and they happen, nothing out of the ordinary. You have been here lesser than two years, think about all those people who have been here for twenty years, think how emotional it is going to be for them?!” But rationality at such times is not always easy to muster. After a while, I locked myself in a bathroom cubicle and sobbed for twenty minutes; they were silent sobs, I didn’t want to attract any attention and I muffled them as best as I could. 

You may wonder why the emotions at all, was I faking it? Well, honestly I don’t know. I always thought of myself as one of those people who did not let the heart get the best out of your head. I don’t like the feeling of getting attached, it somehow makes me feel vulnerable and open, giving people an excuse to hurt me. I hadn’t expected to be hurt by this piece of news, but this just shows how little control we actually have over our feelings. 

We celebrated Diwali the next week; everyone got together and participated in the festivities. Everyone knew this was going to be our last Diwali, together as one big family. After almost 38 years of existence, we will cease to exist come next April. It was a great journey, the last two years and I count myself among the lucky ones to have been a part of this remarkable, helpful, zealous, inspiring family.

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