*Second Prize Winning Entry in Mia by Tanishq’s “As Beautiful as Your Work” contest*
Life comes up with quirky afternoons. There are ones when you sit fidgeting over the presentation the next day, wishing time would either speed up or stop. And then there are ones when memory brings up discrete moments from the past, punctuated in neat little rows – times as fluid as a set of pearls.
There was that time when I was a neat-grey-uniformed girl in high school and would return home with a bagful of assignments and a mind full of chlorophyll, Akbar and Arithmetic. That pigtailed school-goer moved on from green ribbons to green rubber-bands, from grey-pleated skirts to work formals, from glasses that touched her nose to ones that are visibly smaller in size. The confines of ‘work’ may have changed but in spirit, little else has.
There are mornings when there’s zilch that looks inviting – yes, the bowl of oats that screams ‘health’ included. When the preoccupying thought in mind is the presentation with that tyrant of a client who thinks he’s the cat’s whiskers and his tail too. That brainchild of a plan by the team I work in…exquisitely designed and tailored to meet the objective bang on. There are occasions when I long to pick up just about anything from the wardrobe in the urgency to report to work. However, I need a lesson in ferreting out a befitting outfit for the day.
“What you need is some beauty sleep.” Mom starts off when she sees me trying to disentangle my hair. “Or,” she sighs, “some sleep at all.” I look around for a pair of earrings and wish I had them sorted into piles akin to folders at work. A party-wear set, a traditional set…you get the picture. Before Mom has the opportunity to embark on a lunch-is-as-important-as-work discussion, I am out. However, a Call-Mom-Up is priority on my list of reminders for I know the old girl has high probability of fretting her way to anxiety.
I hear people say a generation behind us worked far harder than we do. I am tempted to enumerate a collection of counter-points: improved technology, smarter personnel, time-saving and multitasking…and isn’t the diminishing average age of success-story protagonists evidence enough?
I don’t always put up a perfect deliverable. There is the occasional midnight-whining-routine. Oh, even the whose-boss-is-more-rotten competition. But, after I have hammered away to my heart’s content, my work is what defines the person I am. It gives me joy when a random stranger appreciates a piece of my writing. In my world of stories, the characters are all mine – their idiocies and their idiosyncrasies. In the realm of my work, I learn to nurture and cherish, prioritize and editorialize, persevere and sit back in the warm winter sunshine.
“Mia from Tanishq?” quizzes my Mom. “Yeah, for women as beautiful as their work.” I drawl meaningfully.
“Speaking of which,” she beams, “I fit the bill perfectly!”
I glance around the neat house, the organized desk and the aromatic kitchen. I shake my head in agreement.
*Written as a part of Tanishq’s “As Beautiful As Your Work” Contest for Mia – the new work-wear jewellery range