Meeting a Psychology Prof

One of the wonderful by-products of working in a field that requires speaking to people and having the unusual prerogative of asking complete strangers, a series of rather personal questions, is that once in a while, I get to meet and speak to some really unusual, interesting and unforgettable people.

One such most recently was Professor Frederick

A clash of cultures

Being on opposite sides of the work-flex debate probably only fueled our already obvious differences.

The head of editorial and production at a large publishing and printing-house began the exchange badly by asking whether I thought I was the only parent in all of Delhi who had a child at home.

And worse, actually said, with all sincerity, that a three-year old child did not deserve to be called little anymore.

The immediate cause of her ire was that I, despite being shortlisted for what she certainly thought was a hot job at her organisation as head of copy, had the gall to enquire if I could do half days simply because I did not want to be at the other end of this large, sprawling city for more than a couple of hours.

Now, a few hours after the rather unpleasant and unbecoming exchange, I can actually feel compassion for her. And I don’t at all mean it sarcastically. (Well, okay, a tiny bit…: )

I mean this is what all of us are drilled with day in and day out.

The cost of living is rising, a good education costs a lot, the older you get, especially as a woman, and even worse, as a mother, the less desirable you are to the work force, children need to get used to the harsh realities of the world and not be molly coddled, they can thrive equally well in the hands of an ayah and so on and so forth.

I can’t dare say the first few concerns don’t affect me but I am quite sure that suitable work, preferably not too far from home and preferably not full-day, will eventually work out.

Simply because things do have a way of working out.

Or so I believe so far.

And until then I can bask in the glory of being told by our favourite cab company’s head on the same day as this godforsaken job interview that he was very touched when I corrected the little three-year old when she called him (as a lot of people unfortunately in this culture and this city do), ‘driver’ — as though he were a job, not a person.

He said it had meant the world to him that there was at least one young child who was being taught to not mindlessly replicate the predominant abhorrent etiquette of addressing those considered beneath their class or station, by their occupation, rather than their names.


The thrill of deadlines

It happens every time.

Despsite having planned it all well in advance, thought about, scribbled down, edited and rewritten all the various bits and bobs that are to become full-fledged copy, it’s only when the deadline is looming on the horizon that we, the two-member, geographically splayed editorial team of our small-sized, grand themed mag really get into the groove.

And I have to say, there is something about deadline pressure which is actually quite thrilling.

Working against the clock, being totally consumed by the act of thinking, pruning, rejigging, rewriting one’s own and each other’s copy, and being rendered unavailable, well nearly, to the rest of the world.

It reminds me of a writer saying that one of the greatest pleasures of work, and especially that involving doing what one loves, is exactly that. The gift of oblivion. The immersion into something that ensures the loss of oneself. At least temporarily.

Until the world comes creeping back, leaping back in.

Wonderful, wonderful world.