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Most people enter University and find their sleep cycle turned on its head. I’m one of them. It’s not something I exclaim about, but it’s something I’ve found works for me. I’m slow in the mornings – so I stay up later at night to finish off everything that I want to. It’s just the way I function. It isn’t universal and I don’t impose it on people when I’m working on teams. Working on teams tends to need compromise from everyone to ensure you’re overlapping in terms of the time you’re working on an active project – just to efficiently discuss things which are open items/still active.

Oh my God, I just used the phrase “open items” in a blog post. I’m talking like a Corporate lawyer now. What has happened to me?

Sigh.

Basically. My sleep cycle sucks. It’s my own fault. I work a certain way and I prioritize things in a particular manner. The compromise I make – and I’m comfortable making for now, is sleep.

Few people understand that, few don’t.

And it’s lovely and fine and dandy when it’s self-inflicted.

However. On principle, it starts to affect me a little when it isn’t necessarily self-inflicted and the late nights arise from things outside your sphere of control. It isn’t rage as much as it creates a lot of doubt about why I’m undertaking what I’m undertaking – and whether it’s something I’m happy doing.

That’s what happened over the last month. The answer was largely yes – because I ended work every single day with a lot of satisfaction about what I had managed during the day, and being happy with the kind of work I was given.

But working late nights for such a prolonged period can change you. It changes how you view your day – and your construction of how many hours you have each day – which begins to stretch as you go along.

It begins to affect your eating habits. The kind of food you eat starts to become the answer to “what’s convenient” rather than the answer to “what do I want to eat”.

It affects your lifestyle at home.

Essentially, my conclusion of things is that it’s a domino effect. Here’s how. You let one thing out of your control affect something personal – in this case, client expectations/work, affecting the number of hours you spend in the office. That factor makes its way into everything else and starts to put small small decisions of yours out of your control.

I say all this now. But trust me – I loved staying back those late nights. Solely because the kind of work I got was mind-blowing and the people I was working with were amazing. Made me very happy to stay in the office for as long as they wanted me to.

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Corporate culture has flooded into my veins.

For the most part, I’ve grown up feeling like I couldn’t fit into corporate culture. I haven’t really seen the thrill in dressing up in a formal set of clothes daily and going to sit at a desk and work from 9 to 5 – or beyond. Even job descriptions at firms sounded extremely cumbersome to me, and never fascinated me.

As I grew older I understood that corporate culture was a lot more than a 9 to 5 job and a fat paycheck. There’s an entire lifestyle associated with it. It’s not something that I think you can accurately capture by experiencing it at just one firm, but I think it broadly includes being a workaholic. And prioritizing hours over efficiency.

That’s definitely true in India, especially at places where overtime is compensated, and there are no caps on working hours on a given day. It probably hits its peak in the service industry, where clients and upper management get to dictate timelines which filter down to worker bees.

This isn’t a chiding of corporate culture. Corporate culture will continue to exist irrespective of what my opinion is. All I wonder sometimes is whether we can effectuate any change as a generation on the way that it’s viewed in India. Insofar as we can make a change in the fabric of this corporate culture to permeate it with ideas of the way we prioritize certain things – like a healthier work/life balance, for one. Or returning home at a more reasonable hour. Or encouraging holidays. And more decentralization of decision-making power, perhaps.

It’s going to need a lot of work – but it’s something we need to examine a little closer. The one thing I do know, however, is that Indians work extremely hard. It feels like everyone within the corporate structure is tuned to working with a goal – whether short-term or long-term, and whether client-driven or otherwise. There’s a definite purpose about it all.

It’s also extremely Darwinian, I think. The market will spit you out if you aren’t able to keep up.

What’s crucial to recognize under these circumstances is that the fact that you don’t fit into corporate culture isn’t a failure on your part. It’s just a case of the allocation of your resources perhaps being better served elsewhere.

What I meant by the corporate culture flooding my veins is that I’m beginning to get a feeling that this entire mental wall that I had created about the culture sort of broke down. I can see the allure of fulfilling client expectations now.

Which is the wildest thing in the world for someone who definitely wants to do things for himself. I’m intrigued to see how the two intersect in a few years.

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Hello! Good morning! Welcome! (Try to read this in three different Robin Williams’ exclamation tones – and you’ll understand the dramatic effect better.)

If you didn’t quite understand what I meant, don’t worry. I’m just trying to create dramatic effect and a build-up for (a) the flurry of activity that is going to consume this blog for the next few hours, and (b) your inbox – which, if you follow this blog, is going to end up receiving a lot of e-mails. My deepest sympathies, but warmest of regards. I fully intended the spam to come.

Speaking of spam, Gmail is doing some really wild things for me these days. My inbox is pretty much full – which is scary, because I live everyday on edge. I never know when I’ll stop receiving emails because the cup runneth over (literally). That’s one thing I need to fix. But more importantly, someone I sent e-mails to definitely marked my e-mail as spam. Because my e-mails reach people’s spam inboxes super frequently. It’s now become a running joke. Which is pretty unfunny, if you ask me. It’s something I am rallying the troops to try to correct.

I received my first piece of fanmail earlier in November – and because of how crazy things have been since then, I have been unable to respond. To said sender: I am very sorry – I am responding soon. Please check your spam for a reply – in case it isn’t available in your inbox directly.

What else, what else. Oh, yes. I’m 4 days away from going home. What you’re going to read henceforth is a vivid recounting/renarration of everything that I’ve been through emotionally for the last one month or more.

Good luck getting through everything! I’m so happy to be back here. Missed you folk.

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Hello, readers of this blog. It’s been a long time – a month and more, now. That’s a fact I’m acutely aware of, but there’s not been much I could do about it. The last month has been a little crazy in my life. I know that isn’t an excuse to stop writing, but it got me to reprioritize and reshuffle a couple of things around. Writing, unfortunately, dropped to a little lower on the list – so by the time I ended up getting around to it each day, I drafted things and trashed them.

There’s a lot to say, because while I stopped updating you here, my life (surprise, surprise) hasn’t come to a standstill. I do actually still intend to chronicle everything I’ve done. It’s just a matter of time before it actually happens. Stick around and we’ll get there.

In the meanwhile, I’ve now come to visit my grandmother in Pune. What needs to be said is that several things might have transpired since my last visit here, and a lot has changed, but the gulab jamuns my grandmother makes still taste as delicious as ever.

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Guess who has a holiday!

That’s right, this guy.

And every other normal professional individual who works 8 hour, 5 day weeks. Because today is Sunday.

Internships teach you a lot about the process of adulting, to be honest. Aside from the work and travel, and managing a place to stay – when you’re away from home, that is, you also end up getting experience with a lot of things adults complain about. As a young person (youth), I’m able to understand why several adults complain a lot about fatigue. It seems legitimate.

But also, the last week has got me thinking about the kind of industries we take for granted, and expect to be on-demand. The services industry, restaurants, hospitals, call helplines – there’s this expectation we have as consumers that they’ll always be open for us. It’s rare that you see hospitals or restaurants shut on a Sunday. In fact, most businesses and establishments end up doing more business on the weekend than the weekdays, because people are relatively more free – they’re able to make time to visit places they dream of.

However, for the adults and sometimes, sadly, children, working these industries, it gets pretty terrible. Imagine having no Sundays off when the rest of your friends are partying. This, however, doesn’t mean that they don’t get holidays. It’s just that it’s super dependent on factors you’re not entirely in control of: like the kind of organization you work for, the kind of staff rotations you do, when everybody else is taking a holiday. I guess it’s a little difficult to envisage great work/life balance when this continuously happens and you’re left working every Sunday when your family and friends are partying.

It could be better than I’m making it sound – I have no experience in these industries, so I can’t accurately capture what it’s like. I’m also quite sure a lot of people make peace with it and consider it a trade-off for the kind of lifestyle they’re getting to live with the earnings, etc.

Irrespective, subjectively, I feel a little sad.

Holidays are best enjoyed when everyone has one, I do believe.

Nonetheless, there isn’t much you can do about it. Unless you declare Sunday to be a mandatory holiday and shut a city down – which capitalism will never allow for.

But.

You can be kind.

All of this blogpost is basically a series of thoughts I had while witnessing a terrible customer-service employee fight, from start to finish. I watched the whole thing, and it seemed far too petty to raise concerns about, but also, the customer was being super unreasonable and demanding a fresh drink because this drink was missing one ice cube. When the ice cube was added, she complained that the addition of this ice cube did not make the perfect drink and demanded a fresh one – while a queue formed behind her. While I’m being judgemental of her requests, maybe it’s fair to ask for these. There’s just no need to be rude with the employee. Ask nicely. People will respond.

And say good morning to people who are working on Sundays. Greet them, make some conversation. The world can do with nicer people – especially those who had to wake up far too early on a Sunday morning.

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I didn’t get any of the Diwali holidays off. Which taught me a lot.

But all of the reminiscings about things I could’ve done instead of being an intern stuck at work is for another day. Right now, I’m super optimistic and I feel incredibly lucky to have been given the opportunity to work where I am – because the people I’m interacting with are very nice, and, I’m able to get experience at a place I had a lot of reservations about.

On that note, you should watch this:

 

B99 is back soon!

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Happy Deepavali to readers of the blog!

I think you only recognize what events mean to you when you miss out on them sometimes. Most festivals have been touted as a celebration for extroverts, where they’re able to focus all their energy into getting together and making a lot of noise. This is especially true of Holi and Diwali. (Yes, this is a joke from a stand-up special by Biswa.) I am merely using it as analogy.

And yes, some festivals have negatives. Especially Diwali, what with issues like child labour to environmental pollution, to health hazards and animal rights – there’s a lot of stakeholders who are impacted by the manner in which the festival is celebrated. But at its roots, these festivals are all about spreading joy – it’s something I think the below Cadbury ad showcases the best.

All of this is being triggered by the fact that I celebrated Diwali evening working in my office and ordering food off FreshMenu. What sucks is that I watched YouTube on my phone while eating my dinner because I was alone at the office, and further, my office laptop had blocked YouTube.

I think the latter is reason to give me sympathy. The former is how work culture and corporate culture works – which definitely needs changing, but not something I want to highlight & make the central part of this post.

As I sat eating my food, I realized that Diwali held a special place in my heart because of the reluctance with which I joined in the festivities. Lighting and decorating the house has always been something my mother loved, and as a lazy person who really didn’t like obeying my mother’s directions without a fight, I used to bicker with her about decorations a lot, only giving way after I saw how pretty everything looked. This was true even for activities meant for lazy people like me – using electric diyas instead of physically lighting candles. Or even flicking switches and changing the flickering pattern of coloured serial lights we had at home.

This one Diwali I even did a photoshoot for my mum, ultimately getting one of my favourite clicks of all time – her looking into a mirror holding a candle.

I still remember my first Diwali in India being exposed to cracker/firework culture. I used to be scared of them as a baby, and then got used to them as a child, but never saw them from a close range because of how restricted their sale and distribution was in the UAE. Their use was supremely heavily monitored by the Government, and I believe at one point there were jail terms for lighting fireworks without authorization. In any case, when I first moved to India, I was quite taken aback by how crazy people went for these crackers – especially big ones, like the 1000-in-1, etc.

People allocated budget at the start of their month for Diwali festivities. They even drove till Tamil Nadu to buy OG firecrackers. I never got the hype because of the chaos it created – but participated as a teenager and enjoyed the thrill of running away after lighting something because it made me feel like I was a hero in an action movie.

Or a villain, come to think of it.

But that’s unimportant.

Ultimately, I stopped celebrating with fireworks because I realized I didn’t like them.

But all these memories came flooding back when I was at work today, and I felt like I would’ve loved reliving each one of them – because each time I was surrounded by people I love.

Today, that total was 1. I was alone in the office on Diwali eve. Loving yourself is an art, and I hope this Diwali, and New Year, you remember that sometimes it’s important not to underrate your own company. You can be your own source of entertainment. Just pretend your life is a sitcom and see where your brain takes you.

Or imagine people around you doing dumb things – including, but not limited to, spilling water and then tripping on it. Falling flat on their bum.

On that note, Happy Deepavali!

 

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My mother pointed out that I’ve become a very uneasy sleeper. That I toss and turn repeatedly through the night, and it takes my time to fall into a deep slumber. This is very unnatural behaviour for me, because I love sleep, and really, honestly, do try to get as much as possible (contrary to popular belief). But, it raised some concern, because I’ve learnt that sleep is extremely important to the way humans function, and extremely important for emotional and mental well-being. Well-rested people (irrespective of how early they wake up), are often able to apply their mind better and make smarter decisions: like taking on less work for themselves because they care about their sleep cycle.

But a bigger part of why it raised some concern and sent off a few worrying signs for me was because it pointed out two things. The first, was that it showed me how much I had changed from school. I was literally asleep half my time during my schooldays. I slept a solid 8 hours at home and then another 2 hours every single day on the bus. And then every evening I’d come home and spend another 1 hour asleep on my couch while watching TV and waiting for milkshake. It was a great life.

The second, was that it showed me how much I had let my desire to do things and push myself take over my system. I love work. I’m not going to deny that. For others, what seems like work, to me, is very calming and entertaining because I have to apply my mind to things. But, maybe because of how less I sleep, on days I want to sleep early also, my brain constantly believes it needs to think about things. It’s probably time to re-evaluate that: just for a healthier lifestyle.

Of course my mother blamed it on how much I use electronics just before sleepytimes arrive. Something about radiation.

I’ll ignore that.

But something I’m doing now is wearing an eyemask and going to sleep. Which I think is pretty cool because it blocks off a lot of light and forces you to close your eyes (a great start to the process of going to sleep!)

It’s funny, doing that during Diwali. In Bombay.

Because I’m blocking off lights. Get it?

Anyway. I’ve gotten back from work now and I’m going to work on my moot. After eating Chinese food & watching Netflix.

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My winter plans include being in a new city – one that I’ve never experienced properly before, save for 4 days last April. I’m going to be there for two months. Working. And renting an apartment with friends. Basically attempting to do adulting.

I’m also going to be working on a moot – something I quite enjoy. I only hope I’m able to devote as much time to it as I want.

So there are a few expectations from the upcoming months:

  1. I’d like to figure out what exactly I feel about the kind of work I’m getting at this internship place.
  2. I’d like to explore the city I’m in – through food, culture, art, and history. Apart from getting really nice photos of myself in the city, because I think that’s something I enjoy now. And a lot of nice photographs in general – of people, of the city, as best as I can. I’d also like to read about the city: online, in print, and everything in between.
  3. I’d like to work on my moot and devote as much time as I want to give to it.
  4. I’d like to catch up with all my friends in this city – especially an old childhood friend I’m looking forward to reconnecting with.
  5. I want to sleep 7 hours a day. Please.
  6. Budget Management.

This should be fun. I think these are pretty broad, low expectations.

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Papers in Law School really need to change. Atleast, our evaluation pattern can be slightly better than it already is. Maybe this is a systemic problem prevalent across places in this country. Eitherway, it’s something that annoys me. I fully recognize that you’re reading several exam-related posts. This is what my last two weeks has been – so you can skip past a couple more of posts if you’re uninterested.

Too many of our questions expect us to have memorized too many trivial things about the Law. As a subject and profession that essentially relies upon the application of a static, definite thing (subject to change, of course), to dynamic, changing facts (essentially, situation dependent), it’s slightly sad that we need to spend most of our time during examinations answering theoretical questions about what was held maybe in one particular case. What makes me a little more sad than normal is that these theoretical questions don’t just need to be answered with the theory. That won’t fetch you the marks. They need to be answered in the exact manner and method that have been taught to you. This is saddening because it means you can’t apply your brain to what you’ve studied in the way you want to – and you’re not really assessed on how you’re using your brain, which is what I believe the purpose of an examination is.

That aside, while testing the application of the Law we’ve studied to a factual situation, more often than not, Professors end up copy-pasting the facts of one particular caselaw. And we end up writing down all the cases that have come before that Caselaw and then describing that caselaw itself – and it’s still sometimes deemed to be inefficient.

This isn’t actually application – because we’re already taught the case in class.

And I’m glad we all score well, I know that’s important. But we don’t really learn anything in the exam. Which I think is tragic.