Sunday, September 20, 2009

Escalations! Sigh!!

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Things have been very very busy and hectic. There are multiple escalations at work, things have gone really bad.. the client is in pain.. and is screaming. All rescue missions till now have failed, and now drastic emergency services are being rendered. It is never pleasant when the customer gets hit, sometimes I feel it is worse than when your own company gets hit. But the escalation has now hit the highest echelons of management, on both sides. In big corporates, like in the firm I work for and the customer firm, that usually means trouble. When escalations happen, for a person who is caught in the middle of it, it can either be good news or bad news. Because escalations, especially the critical ones, get you a lot of attention from the big guys in the company. The VP level and above. And when that happens, you can either come out of the escalation an absolute star. Or an absolutely worthless manager. Statistics say that its more often the latter than the former. My Global VP has always thought that I am a star. That is why I am where I am. So I have more to lose than to gain. SIGH! The intricacies of professional life.

Today on the metro train, I was sitting alone and this 30 something girl got on. She had a huge suitcase with her, and a big bag. The train was empty but she just stood near the door. She had tears in her eyes... and a far away look. And suddenly she started crying. She was weeping, without any sound, without trying to wipe away the tears, without trying to hide it. Just standing there clutching her suitcase tight and weeping. My heart somehow went out to her. And I felt so helpless. If I was back in India, I would have gone and talked to her. If she had been an Indian, or even an Asian, I would have still gone. And known that she would have appreciated someone just talking to her. But there is a huge cultural difference between Asia and Europe regarding things like these. I know she would feel very awkward if I walked upto her. Hence I could just look at her and send a silent prayer to God to take care and to give her the strength to face whatever she was going through. Her face said that her world had fallen apart. And I wished that she would be able to pull it together and start a new life. Wherever she was going.

Strange how some incidents affect one so much. Some random incidents. I had friends sitting around me who were totally unaffected. They didn't even notice her crying. Everybody went about their lives as if this woman was not there. And I just cannot get her face out of my mind. I know there will always be sorrow in this world, and there will always be pain. But I wish God gave us the opportunity to help others going through the sorrow and the pain.

Durga Puja is coming up. I am singing on stage. In a group song, but still, I am singing. And that too a Bengali song. I am proud of how brave I am. I have always been a stage guy since I was in 3rd grade. Elocution, Debating, Compering, Quizzing, Dancing, Dramatics, Mimes, Paper presentations, JAMs... I have been up on the stage on every opportunity there could be. Except when there was singing. I suck at singing, and I never could gather the courage to sing on stage. But I am now. And that too in a language which is not my first language and I am not very confident about it. But I am singing. :)

Will try to be more regular with the posts. Till then pray that the escalations go away!


  1. Hope things get better at work and Bengali song riyaaz kartey raho :) All the best!

  2. well Merlin, it is not about the cultural difference entirely, because even I would not like anybody asking me what is wrong with me whn i am crying...but, right now as a third party, I can understand what must be going in your mind when you spotted one I will be a bit careful next time before snapping at smone at such a time...hope things get better at work place too...and will surely pray that the escalations go away asap n we see many posts here on regular basis :)

  3. we are sailing in the same boat ..:D

    Hope thgs settle down soon .!

    ALl The Best .:)

  4. I am glad you are singing a bengali song, I 'll cheer for you from one of the pandals here!

  5. Merlin, I think some people are just more naturally empathetic than other people. It's not one of those things that is about one thing being better, the other being worse, it's just a difference in emotional processing.

    Like you, when I see someone in great distress, I feel some of that distress. I want to reach out to them because some of their feeling has just leaked into me. It's like a shared experience.

    But you're right, not everyone would feel comfortable with someone coming up to them to ask if they were okay. For most, I think, it would be a signal to stop crying. They would feel like they were causing a disruption of sorts.

    Hopefully her life will be okay again soon, and there is reason to hope for that. Clearly she feels things fairly deeply, and the good that comes with the ability to feel sad things deeply, also means that joy can be experienced at the same level. If given an opportunity, she can be as happy as she was sad.

    I do believe that thoughts, prayers, moments of energy concentration make a difference. You did reach out to her.

    I hope that all is well at your company soon :-)