Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Pink Slip

“And that’s it?” As if I still had some doubt. 

I think some sense of disbelief was reflecting in my bulging eyes. 

“Yes! Revathi” Rajesh, the HR Director found it difficult to meet my sharp glare.  

“But, I want to reconfirm again, that this decision is not based on your performance, but due to the global strategy and company performance. We are asked to cut down resources, across all levels. As you already know that in India, the business growth has slowed down significantly, we can no longer afford high flyers like you.” Rajesh added. 

“It was awesome to work with you for almost a decade. You are a wonderful person. Best wishes for your future… Keep in touch!!! Aaah…Sorry to say Revathi, but as the layoff procedure, a security is waiting outside to escort you to your cubicle to collect your stuff and leave.” He felt a bit awkward to say that.

“Thanks Rajesh!”  I was numb by astonishment, with anger, helplessness, frustration.

I walked towards my cubicle, didn’t look at others at all. I knew layoffs were going on in the company, and all levels were vulnerable to it. I very clearly knew that global strategy team had instructed to cut down workforce by thirty percent, but even in my wildest dream, I never thought that I would also be a victim of it.

I sat in my car. A big tempest was going through my mind. It was really tough to accept the sudden situation I found myself in. Jobless from tomorrow………..

I got a promotion last year, received the Best Performer of the first quarter of this year, recently my interview got published in The Economic Times. Infact, I had the fastest career growth among my peers, from a trainee to a Senior Delivery Manager in a span of 10 years. My peers and friends used to call me the ‘crème de la crème of the company, trend-spotter and jet-setter girl. It was really a dream for me, coming from a small town. I struggled initially, but had established myself in this big city, with determination and hardwork. 

The driver was probably wondering what happened to my laptop, why I was returning home so early. I was totally feeling abandoned without my laptop, my all time companion in the car. Emotion was trying to swell up, but I kept defending myself, saying “No Revathi….time has not yet arrived to cry”. 

With a sigh, I leaned back on the seat and closed my eyes. All thoughts started making commotion in my mind. What's now?  Has all my glitz come to a zilch? Would my career would end here with this mighty fall? How would I cope up? What would be my identity from tomorrow? Revathi Dutt, a housewife?? Wife of Raj Thakur, mother of Adrita and Rahul….. that’s all? What would Raj think, himself being a big-shot, a Director of Sales & Marketing of a leading FMCG company. My friends used to joke, that we were a couple who used to meet only at airports. Would he be sympathetic or sarcastic? How would my kids take it? Would they think their mom as good for nothing lady? How proudly they used to show their gifts to their friends which I kept bringing from different countries!!! Now, when they come to know that mom would going to be at home always, would they make mockery of me? Would I be a loser in their eyes? Theoretically one can say, “Life’s like that babe……!!”, but practically, this was not easy.

“Madam, you are home”, I woke up with driver’s voice.. I was almost shivering, feeling very low…Somehow, I dragged myself from the car. I felt weird, walking in bare hand.

“Mammaaaa!!!!” Adrita came running looking at me, leaving the nanny behind. 

“You have come home so early……..Wow!!! You will have to play with us today!! Plz! Plz! Mamma! Don’t say ‘No’!” Adrita started jumping.

I could see many ladies from far, who were sitting near the kids’ zone, probably gossiping, and watching their children play at the same time. Rahul also saw me from far. He too came running towards me with excitement. I tried to smile, though I knew it was artificial.

I hugged both of them. Somehow, I controlled my emotion. I promised them that I would play with them from tomorrow on-wards.

I went home, opened the door with my keys. The rooms looked very untidy with scattered toys, clothes, food items. The maid had not come yet. The utensils were lying dirty in the sink. 

I didn’t feel like doing anything. I straightly went to my bedroom, sat on my cozy chair. I just closed my eyes……then only my phone rang.

“Hey Rev, what’s up? Where are you?” It was Raj.

“I am home Raj!”

“What happened Beta……Why are you sounding so low? Everything all right?”

“I am laid off….” I broke…..I could not control myself now….

“Hey! Hey! What’s a big deal…..why are you so sad…? You anyways needed a break….Dare you cry anymore…!!! 

You have such a caring hubby, two cute little children….what else you need…. I’m coming home right away…..”

In the dining table, Raj declared to my children that I would take a break…and spend time with them…The faces of both the kids became brighter…..Both jumped from their chairs, ran to me fast, hugged me tight……and cheered from core of their hearts…as if they were waiting for that moment for so long…

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