Work in progress! – By Jigar Shah

‘Beep beep’ the cell phone buzzed. Barely opening his tired eyes Ashish unlocked the keypad of his phone to check the new message. “I think I should give you 40+ tablets.” That’s what the message read and it was from his boss. His eyes went wide open just to reread it, to ensure he got it right. It was 9 am and Ashish was off his bed right away, with a face that was turning as red as a turnip!

Ashish Malhotra was a budding event executive at ARC Events Private Limited. ARC has been in the business just for a year and has been going places. And major share of the credit could be attributed to Ashish’s efforts.

Yesterday was his 55th day of working from nine in the morning to two at night; a good 17 hours – without a day’s break! Today being a bank holiday and with no events lined up, Ashish sent a text to his boss for a day’s leave. And the SMS was the boss’s reply!

Haling from an upper middle Delhi class family Ashish is the third son of his parents. Being the youngest he was also the most pampered! And both his elder brothers being creative professions – Advertising and journalism – Ashish was expected to follow the suit too. He happened to chose events, given his capability at organizing stuff.

Completing his post graduate diploma in event management, Ashish secured a job in ARC during the campus interviews. Though the pay was low, he was ready to rough it up in order to learn more. He was the fourth employee to join the company, the other three being his bosses and the partners of the company.

At first his boss at the Marketing Head would take him to teach him the trick of trade of how to bargain and settle for a certain price. Subsequently his Production Head would teach him how a structure would be made at cheapest cost. The third boss, Kunal Rao, was into business development, and got clients for the company.

Four months into the company, Ashish began independently dealing with clients to discuss rates, get the event structure ready at the lowest cost and also began getting clients for the company. A one-man army!

Leaving home early and reach back late, his mother began calling him a guest who would come home only to sleep… and at times not even that! It was a joke in the family that Ashish, who celebrates all festivals at other’s events, would hopefully get married in his own mandap and not in one which he organises for someone else getting married on the same day!

With every passing day the work pressure only mounted. The three bosses turned a deaf ear every time Ashish requested for an assistant to help him in his work. The slog continued hence. The results soon started showing on his health. Irregular meals and erratic sleep schedules caused drastic weight loss. That apart from a severed social life…

Concerned brothers, earlier supportive, slowly started worrying. The work was only showing physical changes in Ashish but also his personality. The few hours at home would see Ashish irritable and angry! On a couple of occasion his father even tried talking him out of his obsession towards his work, explaining that he was being a emotional fool. His career was definitely not going anywhere if he continued to work like a donkey without thoughts towards the future. And his bosses were not helping the cause, only taking advantage of his willingness to work it out.

Ashish was however too attached to the company. It was his first job! And his bosses were the first one people after his close friends and family who accepted him for who he was… he could definitely not let them down! Ashish hence continued working… singlehandedly taking care of three of his company’s biggest events – three marriage, each of which spread over 12 days! By the end of the third wedding he was mentally exhausted and needed a break real bad. That’s where the SMS to his boss requesting for the day’s break had originated! The reply of course drain out any sign of slumber out of his mind… at least he made himself believe so!

 

Within an hour Ashish was back to work.

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