Dec 12, 2022 12 min read
I would like to start this article with an extremely personal anecdote that happened very recently courtesy my writings for HR Vista. This incident left me with varied emotions and occupies a very special place in my heart. I have this habit of sharing my HR Vista writings on various social media handles to reach a wider audience and many times appreciations, feedbacks and acknowledgements follow. In one such incident around 6 months back, I received a congratulatory message from a college friend. We have not been in touch for many years now and it was a pleasant surprise to hear from her. We cherished our old college days and she even pushed me to write more often.
And then last month, courtesy social media only, I found out that my friend passed away. The news came as a shock. She was battling Cancer for last two years but she didn’t even mention this, the last time we spoke. She was a fighter!!!
It made me remember the famous quote of Yann Martel from his book ‘Life of Pi’ – “I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye”
To even think about this news brings grief to me, however, I’m still thankful to God for that last conversation. I feel many times in life, while moving forward, we disconnect ourselves from those, who once occupied a special place in our lives. How we shared countless memories, had numerous conversations and somehow with passing of time and our busy lives, we lose touch and sometimes the friendships too.
This time I thought that I should write about friends – School Friends, Mohalla Friends, College Friends, Coaching Class Friends, Sports Team Friends or may be The Office Friends. Although people say that most work cultures are not that conducive for real friendships, yet I feel we all have that one office friend who can walk that extra mile for us and never let us feel lonely in this highly competitive professional world.
With an ode to friendship, let me bring a very simple yet magical incident from my life that taught me that even the worst of days can bring with them the most unexpected outcomes. So, here it is another adventure of my official life “Silver lining”
Let’s start by elaborating on my office’s location - situated in posh south Delhi, also known as Lutyen’s Delhi, with numerous stunning parks and interesting archeological sites around it, the office complex had an adjacent petrol pump having a 24*7 operational convenience store. The story goes more than a decade back when I joined my 1st job. Like every eager and curious youngster, I started my professional journey by asking numerous questions every single day and tried learning from my seniors.
Because of living alone and my limited cooking skills, on most days, my breakfast would mean Corn-flakes/bread-butter/boiled eggs etc. And for the remaining days, when time becomes a constraint, the breakfast would depend on office pantry or the convenience store at the petrol pump. Like one such day, I reached office just in time without having any breakfast.
As we all came, the team was told that an urgent requirement has come in and we need to provide the deliverables within a short span of 2 hours. Accordingly, tasks were assigned to all team members. I straightway started working and soon my computer screen was moving back and forth from one excel file to another. I was confident that I would complete my part on time and thankfully, I did. Thereafter, my senior started further working on that data and found some discrepancy. Upon checking, we found that I had downloaded the wrong excel file and hence, the data prepared by me was erroneous. I was taken aback. It was a blunder. I was extremely furious over myself for doing such silly mistake during this critical time. I felt that I had let the whole team down because of my carelessness.
My senior didn’t say anything to me and started working on the data afresh. I requested him to let me work on it again, but considering the tight schedule, it was not feasible. I was feeling both embarrassed and apologetic at the same time. I still recollect that miserable feeling and how I believed that it was the worst day of my life.
Meanwhile the revised report was prepared by my senior and everyone got relieved. My friend and colleague Suman was watching me from a distance and knew what was going on in my mind. She came and said, “I knew you have not eaten anything since morning. Let’s go downstairs and have something”. I was in no mood to go anywhere, and the feeling of hunger had already vanished because of my morning blunders. But I feel that’s what friends are there for. They made you do things that otherwise you won’t be doing at all. She literally ordered me to come with her to the convenience store.
With all my sadness intact and a dejected look, I started walking with her. It was a big store with many segments including food & beverages, fiction/non-fiction books, Music CDs etc. One of my favourite pastime in the store would include going through the available books on the book counter while my friends/colleagues would get the billing done.
I straightway went towards the books section, that was adjacent to the billing counter. Although I was going through the books, yet my mind was still thinking about that slipup. Suman got me a sandwich and was standing at the billing counter. Suddenly, I heard Suman calling my name multiple times in a low husky voice. I was reading and annoyingly turned towards her. A gentleman was standing just beside me checking some shaving cream from the adjacent counter. As I turned, Suman immediately pointed towards him and uttered “Look, Kapil Dev”.
For a cricket fanatic like me, it was a moment beyond words. I couldn’t believe my ears. I immediately looked and it was The Great Kapil Dev standing infront of me. And now I couldn’t believe my eyes either. I was speechless. My childhood hero, (the Greatest Allrounder) Kapil Dev.
It was a distinctive feeling that gives me goosebumps even today. With my senses already in awe of this moment, I straightaway extended my hand towards him and said, “Sir, I’m a big fan”. He was kind enough to shake hand with me and smile. Those were not the days of selfies, and so I just fetched the bill from Suman’s hand, requested the billing attendant for a pen and asked Kapil Paji for an autograph on the other side of the bill, that he happily gave. Later I got to know that Kapil Dev lives nearby only and hence, was out there at that store for some grocery shopping.
From the worst day of my life to my life’s most memorable moment, I had quite an adventure that day. Till date, I still had such fresh memories of that day.
That day I learnt that each day comes with its own silver lining and we need to accept it the way it is. But another important lesson from that day that I learnt much later in life is that for many years, I felt that meeting Kapil Paji was the silver lining for that day but later, I realized that it was friends like Suman who are my real silver lining for life.
Until next time mates, do get in touch with some old friends!!!
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