Work From Home

WORK FROM HOME
Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE
Two “IT Nerds” – a “Techie” Couple – Nisha and Nikhil – Wife and Husband – Software Professionals – they both work for a famous IT Company.
Nisha and Nikhil are both “Working from Home” for over one and half months after the “COVID Lockdown” was announced due to the Corona Virus Scare.
Since they live in a “Joint Family” with Nikhil’s parents – Nisha and Nikhil have to work in the bedroom – so – Nikhil works with his laptop on the solitary work-table – while Nisha sits on the bed with her laptop.
Nisha’s mother-in-law is forever watching TV in the living room – while her father-in-law sits in the “master bedroom” reading books to pass his time during the “lockdown”.
One afternoon – when Nisha and Nikhil are busy working in their bedroom – Nikhil suddenly says to Nisha: “Office is opening tomorrow…”
“What…? How do you know…? Nisha says.
“I just got an email from HR…” Nikhil says.
“Email…?” Nisha asks.
“Yes – the email came just a few moments ago. You must have got one too. Why don’t you check…?” Nikhil says.
“I’ll just check…” Nisha says.
Nisha checks her email – there is no email from HR.
So – Nisha says to Nikhil: “I checked my email. There is no email from HR…”
“Oh. You may get the mail after some time. It’s quite a long email – lots of instructions about Corona Virus Precautions, Social Distancing at Work, Sanitizing Hygiene etc. – everyone has to come by bus – only 15 per bus – they have allotted me a bus and seat…” Nikhil says. 
“Can you forward the email to me…?” Nisha says to Nikhil.
“Of course…” Nikhil says – and he forwards the email to Nisha.
Nisha reads the elaborate email – and says: “I wonder why they didn’t send the email to me…?”
“It says that only 33% of the employees can work in office – so – they must have called the important people…” Nikhil says.
The chauvinistic nuance is not lost on Nisha.
She knows that her husband has a typical male superiority complex.
But – does her Team Leader feel that she is less important than her husband…?
Is that why her husband has been called to office and she has been asked to stay at home…?
Or – is it something worse…?
Is she going to be made redundant – or even fired – once this “lockdown” is completely lifted…?
There were rumors on the Social Media that IT Companies are going to cut costs and downsize to cope with the losses during the COVID-19 Lockdown and its aftermath.
Will she lose her job…?
Even if she doesn’t lose he job – will she have to work from home forever – while her husband goes to office every day…?
All sorts of thoughts perambulate in her brain.
Nisha can’t concentrate on her work anymore.
She shuts her laptop and gets up.
“What happened…?” her husband Nikhil asks her.
“I am going to the balcony to get fresh air…” Nisha says.
Nisha picks up her smartphone and walks to the door.
Nisha comes out of her bedroom into the living room – on her way to the balcony.
Her mother-in-law is sitting on the sofa and watching TV – which she does the whole day – lockdown – or no lockdown.
The moment her mother-in-law sees Nisha – she says to Nisha: “I was waiting for you to come out. Make some tea for me – I am dying for a cup of tea…”
“I have an important call to make. I will make you tea after that…” Nisha says to her mother-in-law – and – Nisha walks towards the balcony.
“Just look at her arrogance…!” her mother-in-law mumbles, “She thinks she is a “Maharani”…”
Nisha ignores the taunt of her mother-in-law – walks into the balcony – and – she closes the glass sliding door since she doesn’t want her mother-in-law to snoop on her telephonic conversation.
First – she calls up her friend in HR and tells her about not receiving the email to come to office.  
“Only those working on certain projects have been called to office…” her friend in HR says, “the rest can work from home…”
“But my husband and I – we both work in the same team – and he has been called to office – and – I haven’t been called – why…?” Nisha says.
“Well – please ask your Team Leader…” her friend in HR says, “Team Leaders send the names to us and we just send emails and make arrangements for transportation and the necessary corona hygiene precautions…”
“Thank you…” Nisha says.
Nisha does not want to speak to her Team Leader on this issue – especially – Nisha doesn’t want to tell the Team Leader the reasons why she doesn’t want to work from home.
If her Team Leader was a man – maybe Nisha would have spoken to him – but – her Team Leader is a woman – and an extremely gossipy woman – she is an incorrigible flirt – and Nisha suspects that the Team Leader has a “glad eye” on Nisha’s husband.
Is that why she has called him to office and ensured that Nisha remains at home…?
There is turmoil inside Nisha’s brain – she doesn’t want to work from home – especially when her husband will be working from office.
What should she do…? Who should she talk to…? Who will understand her problem…? Who can solve her problem…? And – most importantly – who will be discreet about it…?
Suddenly – an idea come to Nisha.
Nisha decides to call the big boss – the CEO of the IT Company.
She remembers her CEO saying that every employee is free to speak to him on any issue and his doors are always open.
It is time to see whether he means what he says.
At the worst – the CEO may get annoyed – but Nisha feels the matter is urgent and requires a quick decision – and – under the circumstances – speaking to the CEO is the best option.
Otherwise – she would have to stay at home whole day – while her husband would be in office – and this she doesn’t want to do.
Nisha searches for her CEO’s mobile number on her smartphone.
Then – she thinks for a moment.
Calling the CEO directly may be too rude.
So – Nisha decides to send him an email – requesting a suitable time to call and speak to him.
She types the email to her CEO on her smartphone – wording it carefully – saying that she wishes to urgently speak to the CEO on a personal problem – requesting a convenient time to call – and she gives her details and mobile number at the end of the email.
Then – Nisha waits for the reply to her email.
She makes tea for her mother-in-law – and then – she goes inside her room and starts working on her laptop.
Nisha keeps checking her email – but there is no reply from the CEO.
Suddenly – her smartphone starts vibrating.
She looks at the screen – it is an unknown number.
Maybe it is the CEO calling – Nisha thinks – so she accepts the call and says: “Hello…”
The person calling identifies himself – yes – it is the CEO.
Nisha misses a heartbeat – then she recovers her wits – and says: “Hello, Sir. Just a moment, Sir…” and she decides to go to the balcony.
Nisha doesn’t want to talk to the CEO in front of her husband.
She quickly goes to the balcony – and says to the CEO: “Sorry, Sir – to keep you waiting…”
“That’s okay – what is the matter…?” the CEO says, “I saw your email – so I have checked all your details – now just quickly tell me your problem…”
“Sir – my husband also works in the same team. He has been asked to come to office tomorrow…” Nisha says.
“I know…” the CEO says, “I approved the final list…”
“Sir – I also want to work from office…” Nisha says.
“You want to work from office…? Why is that…? Aren’t you happy working from home…?” the CEO asks Nisha.
“No, Sir – I am not comfortable working from home…” Nisha says.
“Comfortable…? You are not comfortable working from home…? Well that isn’t a convincing reason…” the CEO says.
“Personal reasons, Sir…” Nisha says.
“That won’t do. You’ll have to give some proper reason…” the CEO says.
“It’s quite embarrassing for me to say…” Nisha says.
“You can tell me in strict confidence…” the CEO says.
“Sir – I live in a joint family. When my husband goes to office from tomorrow – I will be working from home – my mother-in-law – she will harass me, Sir…” Nisha says.
“Please be serious and stop wasting my time…” the CEO says with irritation in his voice.
“Sir – my father-in-law – his intentions are not honorable – he has his lecherous eyes on me – I am scared – when I am alone he tries to get close – my mother-in-law looks the other way – I can’t tell my husband because he won’t believe me – and with my husband away in office – I will be all alone in my room – Sir – please try to understand…” Nisha says in a pleading voice.
“Okay – Okay – I’ll see what I can do…” the CEO says, “but there are restrictions on the number of people we can call to office – we can’t call more than 33%. So – if we call you to office – since both of you are on the same team – we will swap you with your husband – and – your husband may have to work from home…”
“Thank you so much, Sir – I will come to office – my husband will work from home…” Nisha says, “I am so grateful to you, Sir…”
“It’s okay…” the CEO says, “You come and see me sometime – my doors are always open…”
“Yes, Sir – Thank you, Sir…” Nisha says – but the CEO has already disconnected the call.
One hour later – Nisha gets an elaborate email asking her to come to office the next morning.
And – Nisha’s husband gets a short email asking him to continue working from home.
Surprised – Nisha’s husband calls up the Team Leader – but the Team Leader says that says that the instructions for the swap came from the “Top” – she can’t do anything about it – and she would give him his “work from home” instructions next morning.
At night – when they are in bed – Nisha’s husband – Nikhil – he grumbles to Nisha: “This is nonsense – they want you to go to office and I have to work from home. How will I manage…? There is no maid – no cook – no house-help – due to this painful “lockdown”. Who is going to cook lunch – wash the dishes – do the housework – go down to the store to get milk, foodstuffs and vegetables…? You know that my mother does nothing except watch TV – and my father just sits in his room reading books. I don’t know how I am going to manage all this housework – plus work from home all day…” 

Next morning – with a mask on her face – and – a spring in her step – Nisha walks to the company bus stop near her apartment – on her way to work from office.

VIKRAM KARVE

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1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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