Wednesday, March 18, 2015

You're simply not good enough for us!

At that moment, it seemed to me that my life had come to an end,when those words, “You’re simply not good enough for us,” came crashing like a hammer on my head. 

I was asked to leave from my first job, after only a month. I was merely 21, fresh out of college and green behind the ears. As an aspiring writer but somehow, now a junior client servicing person, I didn’t know that I needed to be servile to my bosses. Nor did I know that one should not be too vocal about the unfair practices adopted at work with regards to a lot of issues. The final result was that one evening, second month into my job I was asked to leave. I pleaded and apologized…but the boss was determined to see me go. I packed my stuff and ran out of there. What would I say to my mom? Worse, what would I say to my father who had such high expectations from me?

Those were the days when there were no mobile phones. I stepped towards a pay phone at a grocery store hiding my swollen red eyes from the grocer. I put in a rupee and called my father. In between silent sobs I told him what had happened.
Here’s the actual conversation which I can still remember even after 15 years…because honestly, I didn’t expect it to go that way.

Me: Dad…
Dad: What happened to your voice? Do you have a cold?
Me: I was asked to leave my job.
Dad: Why? Did you do something wrong? Did you steal something?
Me: No. I was asked to leave because I wouldn’t stay late.
Dad: Did you leave your work incomplete?
Me: No dad. I finished my work. There was no one else in the office. But my boss expects me to be the last one to leave.
Dad: Why is that?
Me: I don’t know. It’s advertising. He says that I need to be trained to work late hours.
Dad: What sort of a moron cannot finish his work on time? You don’t need to work with such idiots. Don’t waste your tears on that fool. Go to your aaji’s (grandma’s) house and relax for a few days. Come back, and look for another job.

I actually expected to be reprimanded so my sobbing was now a stunned silence. I dragged myself and took a train from Churchgate station to go to Virar (the northernmost tip of Mumbai) where my grandmother stayed. When I told her my tale of woe, she didn’t even bat an eyelid. She was just happy to see me.
“Jobs will come and jobs will go. It wasn’t meant for you maybe.”

It started off as a horrible day. But by night, it seemed perfect. Dad, mum, aaji, my best friend from college, my boyfriend (now my husband)…they all called me and assured me that everything was good and it was not the end of the world. They were not there by my side, physically, but clearly, they were all worried about me.

I didn’t party that day…nor was it a picnic. My friends and family were not even close by. But the encouragement in my parents voice, the loving caress of my grandma’s hand as I slept that night and the silly jokes my friends told me on the phone to lighten my mood, it all #together gave me the strength to recover from the horrible day that it had been.

A couple of days later, I got a call from the Indian Express group of papers. A friend, who had read some of my writing, had recommended my name to them. They needed a writer and they wanted me to come in for an interview. I gave my writing test with them and another small miracle…even before I had reached my home after the interview; I was confirmed for the position of junior writer. Within a matter of 72 hours, my life had completely turned around.

That night I realized that when one door closed, another better one always was waiting for you and no matter what happened, your family and friends would never ever tell you “You’re simply not good enough for us”.


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