Work/Life – Where is the Balance?

Rubbing my eyes, cursing the alarm tone coming out of my mobile phone, counting the hours of sleep I got today, and thinking why did I set my alarm for 8 O’clock, I decide to drag myself out of the bed. I open my French language book to revise and learn more about this beautiful language. Then I hear the doorbell ringing, and I realize that I have been sleeping on my book since the time I picked it out of the bookshelf. I open the door to find my laborious maid standing there. After getting her inside and engaging in a quick pleasantries, I check the wall clock to find it’s already 9:15 am. Now, the hell has broken loose. Knowing that my office cab would reach at my pickup point at 10:30, I rush to get ready. My husband is in deep sleep, and I can’t blame him for sleeping while I am running around the house. Poor guy comes home after 1 AM. He is the most sincere employee one can ever meet. He would cover for other, take more tasks than he can complete, stays late to finish it all and leaves early from home to cover as much ground as he can. I can’t say that I am okay with his working ritual. Whenever I get a chance, I give him a piece of my mind and shout at current work culture. To my dismay, he doesn’t curse much. Oh, well! I am enough for that. Anyway, by the time I am out of the shower, aunty (I call my maid by this title) has served tea. I applaud this lady. In fact, I applaud all the hard-working maids everywhere. They work so much and mostly remain unappreciated. As soon as I see that tea has been served, I begin waking Arun (my husband). This is the only time when we can talk to each other. We talk about here & there, this & that, and in the middle of our conversation, I receive a missed call from my cab mate. Knowing that this is my cue to reach the pickup point, I grab my lunch box and rush to get into the cab.

I am inside the cab at 10:40 AM. I pull my Kindle out of my handbag and immerse myself into a story. This is, mostly, a book which I am supposed to review on my blog, readersfavorite.com or onlinebookclub.org. Therefore, I need to pay full attention. However, my cab mate has a different idea. She has found this to be the best time to call the people that matter to her. Do I blame her? Absolutely not! Probably, she does not get enough time to call them during rest of her day. I hate hearing other people’s private conversations, so I plug my earphones, play my favorite playlist and turn up the volume as loud as it takes to tune her conversation out of my ears. Thanks to the fact that I work well with music, I am able to put my full concentration on the book. It’s almost 11:55 AM and we have reached the office. I remember that it has been two days since I called my mom. I make a mental note to call her today, no matter what. “Oh, shit! Did I not pay my mobile bill?” One more mental note coming up! “Aunty informed this morning that we are out of vegetables and milk.” I decide to delegate this task to Arun since I would not reach home sooner than 10:15 PM (without traffic). Suddenly, I think of the clothes that have been in the washing machine since last morning. “Damn it, I’ll have to wash those again.” And now I have posted one more sticky note on my head. The day passes in a jiffy with one task or the other. My project lead has decided that this project needs weekend support and probably, 9 AM to 9 PM shift. “I can’t do that. In fact, nobody should do that. As if we are left with any personal life on weekdays that they wish to suck the life out of our weekends, too.” I insist that I can’t do that, and, as expected, I receive a call from the manager to whom my PL reports. By presenting facts, I dodge that bullet, too. It’s 9 PM and I rush to catch my office cab, which would move at 9:15 PM. From the list, I check the cab no. and driver’s contact number. I call the driver to know that he hasn’t reached the office yet. I am sweating profusely,”God must have decided to roast the humans to death. This is our punishment for becoming the morons that mock one another based on our outer appearances. But, I don’t mock, then why is He roasting me with others?” My train of thoughts come to a halt when I see my cab making its VIP entry. I stop the cab and hop into it. My cab mates have decided not to show up till the last moment. But, wait, it’s 9:15 PM, the time when the cab is supposed to move. The vibration of my cell phone brings me out of my anxious state. Obvious enough, it’s my cab mate asking for the whereabouts of the cab. Talk about not being punctual! It has been more than 10 minutes since I informed her about where the hell cab is and yet, she is nowhere to be seen. The driver has not turned on AC because the cab is still inside the campus. “Did I make a mistake by honoring everybody’s time?” I wonder. At 9:30 PM, finally, my cab mate honors me by her gracious presence. This has become an everyday story with her. “Talk about being stylishly late.” I get that you might be overburdened with work, but please guys, don’t burden others with your work. It’s my humble request. For you, your work is important. For me, respecting others’ time is important as well. Anyway, finally the cab moves. I know that this is going to be another one hour ride, I pull out the kindle and try to forget about the fact that because of this lady sitting next to me, I had to suffer in heat for more than 15 minutes. Unsurprisingly, the book helps 🙂

I reach to my empty apartment at 10:30 PM, unlock the door, get ready to take the shower, and enter the washroom. After the shower, I feel lighter and happier. I serve my dinner, turn on the TV, and eat dinner — alone, of course. I make one more attempt at studying French. I begin enthusiastically, and once again, sleep on top of it. I wake up at the sound of the doorbell. With heavy eyes, I try to ask Arun about his day and other stuff. I can hear him talking, but I don’t think that my brain is comprehending anything. I nod and smile to make him think that I am interested in knowing about his day. To be honest, I am interested; it’s just that the level of exhaustion has beaten the level of interest. I doze off without even realizing it. I don’t know whether Arun had dinner or he slept without even taking food. Each morning, I regret not being able to share even one meal with my husband, but there is nothing that we can do about it.

Each Week passes in a rush and weekend arrives with high hopes. We forget that the pending tasks from the week have left no breathing space even in the weekend. Arun rushes in one direction to take care of outdoor tasks, while I run from one room to another to cross off the indoor tasks from our ‘to-do list.’ The only ray of relief on the weekend is that I don’t need to report to any manager and that I can write a little. I fear that lying on my deathbed, I would look back to my life and see that I wasted my life spending more time in office than with the people who really matter.

So, I ask again, “WHERE IS THE BALANCE?”

P.S. This post is in response to the Friday Reflections prompt – Do you think you have a decent work/life balance?

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