WFH for the summer!

So I took the highway again last week, after a break of 2.5 months. Of course that’s nothing compared to my initial break of 27 years before I started driving 😀 But getting reacquainted was far less daunting than I expected it would be.

My ankle is slowly healing and getting its flexibility (and hopefully strength) back. I’ve been working from home for these 2 1/2 months, and likely will be for another month or so. I’ve been to office twice in this time and can I say just how much I prefer my home-office, that’s inches away from my bed?

This is a new development cos a couple months ago I would drive to work twice or thrice a week with no complaints, and was in fact happy to do so. I remember a colleague mentioning, When you’ve worked here long enough you wouldn’t be so excited to spend a whole day in office. I see what he meant now.

I always have to wear a sweater or a cardigan while I’m in my cube at work. Back home even if we set the AC low at 72 (that’s super low for me), I have a space heater that I use for my room.

And snacks? What about snacks! At home I can munch on any thing I want. It also helps that my bath room is closeby at home, especially now when I think twice before taking a trip to the loo or the water filter at work to not work my ankle too much.

I also like keeping my ankle up at a comfortable angle while I’m working, and everything is set up well here since I’ve had months to adjust and rearrange things.

What about attending calls from home? Can’t do that if I’m in office either due to bad reception and having to walk away from my desk.

I thought I’d miss my colleagues more, but before I sprained my ankle, on two consecutive days I went in to work and returned home by afternoon cos nobody else from my team showed up. I don’t miss doing that.

And I definitely don’t miss the traffic, and I love not having to drive back in the scorching Texas summer with the sun blasting its way into my eyes through sunglasses. Phew.


Introducing BYOTP : Back-to-Office Town Hall

Single-ply, multi-ply – you decide. All that we ask is to show up in office Mon-Wed-Fri. A conversation with the CEO on the new Bring Your Own Toilet Paper policy.

Disclaimer : All incidents are made up, none of the featured characters are human etc. AKA I hope I don’t get fired.

In Conversation With the CEO

Welcome and thankyou for yet another year of great performance and stunning margins. First things first, in keeping with the times, my title will be modified from Chief Executive Good Boi to the more inclusive CEO.
I presume you’ve all read my Back to Office email, I appreciate you showing up here today, we sure are one goodlooking pawnch. (There goes my one and only dog-pun).

Now we have an exciting announcement in store based on feedback we received from you. Before that – Sam, could you run us through the top-voted response to our Back to Office story?

Sam : “Of course. With 578 upvotes, top comment by HoomanIsBae with an o-o reads- “Didn’t we exceed expectations working from home these two years? Not looking forward to returning to the single-ply office TP that tears off after 2 pulls. A puny feline couldn’t work with 2 sheets of that abomination -”

“Thankyou Sam, I thought you’d be giving us the TLDR. Anyway, to answer the question which appears to be of chief pertinence – I understand your sentiments about returning to office.

And we see you being independent, responsible adults here – walking on the grass like it’s nobody’s business, picking up after yourselves – we see all the good work. I ASSURE THAT WE SEE YOU. (It’s a security problem if we don’t and I’ll have I.T. fix the CCTV cams).
And we’d love for you to continue the Good Work! Which is why we have news for you!”

Necks craned, pupils dilated across the room in anticipation and hope as Mr. CEO continued.

“To address what was pointed out from YOUR end, we are initiating a BYOTP policy. Whether you’re furry, bald or thick-skinned, Bring Your Own Toilet Paper!
Single-ply, multi-ply – you decide (and you buy, obviously). All that we ask is to show up in office Mon-Wed-Fri.

The clumsy, rhyming lines appeared on the large screen behind him. Audience exchanged quizzical looks while a few loyal tails wagged ferociously. Clearly he’d missed the point HoomanIsBae and 578 others tried to make, or did he not and was this the best he could do? Corporates are a mystery to me.

“Second row, raising your paw – You have a question for Mr. CEO?”

“So you’re rewarding us by removing Toilet Paper from washrooms?”

“No, we’re rewarding you by letting you bring your own.”

“Erm sure, how about Bring Your Own Bidet (BYOB)? The Afghan Hounds and Asian Shepherds feel 73% more at-home with it. We just ran an audience poll in the last 20 seconds.”

Okay this was tricky and as they say, any stat ending in a 3 must be true.

“I hear you… Let’s start with BYOTP and we’ll get to BYOB eventually. One step at a time, together.”

Awoo’s rose to the ceiling. An Indian Pomeranian wiped their happy tears, nodding, “What a leader.”

“Let’s hear another one, Sam. I know we definitely saw some folks excited about the Return to Office.”

Sam : “Here we go again. StopAskingMeToFetch69 with 6-9 in numeric says – SO GLAD to be back in office, I missed the Chipotle. But now there’s less steak in my burrito cos of long lines at the counter!”

“I’d like to commend StopAskingMeToFetch69 on diversifying to human styles, but my limbs are tied on Chipotle. It is what it is.”

Scattered boos permeated the conference room. “Well now you sound just like John, nobody likes John,” a wizened Husky from the front row flailed and dropped her arms.


“The HR, he no longer sends us bowl treats and our bonus this year was meat flavored gummy bears. We love those but it doesn’t begin to cover inflation.”

Jeez, his own bonus wasn’t gummy bears and even that didn’t cover inflation. Mr. CEO glanced at the floor briefly.

“I see we’re at time so I’ll ignore that completely unless you want a generic managerial response from me. We’ll take one last question.”

Husky wasn’t done, “Can we atleast have a Bring Your Human to Work day? I worry for my human when I’m at work.”

“No, and that’ll be all.” Mr. CEO stepped to the edge of the podium. “To close, we know you had fun at home these 2 long years. Now we let you have fun twice a week. Isn’t that fun?!”

As the crowd walked out, the Pomeranian wiped their eyes still wet from animated glee.

“You know, I might just bring my bidet to work anyway. He told us to have fun at work, didn’t he?”

“Yeah, I’m not leaving my showerhead at home either. Hopefully his cameras don’t work.” LadyBird winked at Jessy, the IT admin.

A debacle in the Land of some Dreams

Note : They/their is singular in the writeup and to preserve identity

“Good morning! How ARE you?” That came out more cheery than I expected, staring at our names pasted on two adjacent rectangles on the screen.

“Not too good. Things aren’t so well in the family.” What? They’re American. Aren’t they supposed to know the Good morning-I’m good-How about you dance?

“Oh I’m sorry. I hope everything is fine.” Never intrusive. Always optimistic. Clearly ignoring the ill detail that was just shared aka would they like to modify their response? I’d nailed it by the book.
Don’t judge me, it wasn’t my book.

“Hmm I don’t think so.” – never thought I’d see a day of such candor and yet here we were. Why wasn’t B joining the call and why was I held hostage to this slight overshare, a definite inconvenience in the first world?

“It’s been a while, I don’t think it’ll be fine soon”. Don’t get me wrong, I did feel sorry for this person. But that was overpowered by the time they said my faulty audio sounded like I was in a tin can, and such other misplaced passive-aggressiveness.
It’s always them behind the bad attitude and never your internet. That shit hasn’t changed since high school.

I was reminded then of that introvert who took a job in Netherlands and moved there to avoid small talk. While here the small talk was elevated to medium talk, it felt good and uncomfortable at the same time, and I hoped I’d never subjected anyone to such discomfort.

Who was I kidding?

And whose book is it anyway?

#21 Postcard – I cooked (and ate) well last week

I didn’t cook or eat properly the last couple of weeks, so I made a conscious effort to not let perishables go to waste the past week.

Warning – I bought pork chops last Saturday that I didn’t want to freeze so you’re going to see a lot of pork. The cooking was almost entirely done in the evenings after work. Also no breakfast – it was mostly leftover hummus or avocado on toast because they’re the easiest things to do on week day mornings.

Everything I cooked was yum! 😀

Pork fried rice/pulao thing. I cut the chops into thin strips, seasoned with paprika and salt, fried them to give a nicely colored crisp. Saute vegetables and ginger-garlic in oil, season, add the pork, then the sauces, then mix in the cooked rice.

Also curd for the tummy ❤

The heart wants what it wants – Rice with rasam and pork!
Cooked rasam on Tuesday night. Lazy pork with curry leaves, red onion and chilly powder, turmeric. I slept so well!
The rasam lasted me for another 3 meals.

Sandwich with lazy pork but without aromatics
I used a peeler to make thin carrot shavings because chopping carrot isn’t worth the effort plus the long slivers sit well within the bread. It wasn’t as crunchy as I’d like though. I coated the vegetables in the leftover fat from the pan.

Crab-cheese poppers – okay this came frozen and I just had to bake them in the oven. Ugh I didn’t click a photo of the dip – it was a ranchy something with bites of pickle.

I worked from office on Thursday. I had avocado toast for breakfast that I took with me (do not compromise, even if in office :P), and had packed orange marmalade sandwiches with me for lunch. They obviously paled in comparison with the lunches I ate all week, and I couldn’t wait to get home to have the rest of my rasam-rice 😀

#11 Postcard – MidWeek, MidYear, Back to Office

I cannot believe it’s Wednesday night. That was fast. The week went by quick because we’ve had Nvidia training all week at work and I had a deliverable to be completed today. There were also events that happened in my family and my friends circle, so taking time out to write this post is a breather really.

It’s also almost mid-year, incidentally.

My office opened up fully in-person on June 21st, and I’ll be visiting my campus for the first time on Monday. After 6 months of virtual conversation and catch-up over audio meetings, it’s going to be nice to meet my team mates in person. I hear they might not be in office for regular in-person work, I do prefer working from home myself, considering how there’s time for life-stuff after work-stuff.

I also do not fancy the idea of wearing masks in office, though it is comforting to know everyone has to wear it when there’s no room for social distancing. Looking forward to see how it turns out to be!

#5 Postcard – Work, school, weekends

I couldn’t wait to get out of grad school. Now I can’t wait for the long weekend.

In grad school, by the third and last semester, I couldn’t wait to get out of college.

My final semester was fall 2020 (August to December) so the frustration was all the more justified since it followed 5 months of staying home, and we were looking at another 4 months of online classes.

Friends that I spoke to couldn’t wait to leave (“get out”), what with the assignments, job market and the added stress of catching a virus while chasing deadlines. In fact, we all agreed students from my batch who graduated in summer probably lucked out.

I was also done with the lack of free weekends. Really, college is this long extending week that only ends after the final submission. It does help that the schedule is posted at the start of sem so you can plan out your life and, on a cheerful note, take an occasional break. Nobody did though, we just had days of limbo where we got nothing done.

Puneeth said, But once we start working we’ll just go back to waiting for the weekend, I don’t want that either.

I knew he was right, that’s how I remembered workdays as well. That, and the complete lack of energy to ponder or finish a running thought, because you leave early for office and are exhausted by the time you’re back home.

Which is why I love working from home, among other reasons that have been discussed at great length on LinkedIn. Yet by Wednesday I’m waiting for Friday again. It is comforting to know it’s 00:53 on Thursday as I write this.

I’d love to go back to the company from college, but I’d still choose my work over a life without off-days.

Afternoon showers and WFH

Taking a shower during a lunch break when working from home has been an unexpectedly cathartic joy during WFH.

Taking a lunch-hour shower when working from home has been an unexpectedly cathartic joy during WFH.

Of course these days are rare. But when the opportunity presents itself – a full afternoon hour with no meetings, when you aren’t drained by the forenoon’s work, and where you manage to have time for lunch too – a bit of Moroccan Rose in the middle of a day’s work is quite nice.
Amidst IDEs and slide decks and to-do post-its pasted on to my desk because they won’t stick to the wall, and a lot more stationery than I would ever use on a work day.

The bath scrub feels like rubbing fragrant sand on my back, yet there is nothing quite like scrubbing fragrant sand on your back as hot water flows seamlessly over it. It bothers me that the running shower doesn’t bother me as much as when water runs in the wash basin or even in a sink.

Lunch-break showers can last utmost 10 minutes. And I’m not just writing that because I’m wary of a colleague or my manager (or a future one) that might be reading this and questioning my work ethic otherwise. But because it’s a Neverland, a newly found one. Nothing quite like knowing you can waltz into your shower any moment and turn the knob to usher a trail of soothing warm water ready to caress you wholly, sending steam all up your bathroom mirror and curtain, washing down your hair and face and body.

I don’t know if one day I’d take an afternoon shower because I’m frustrated or foggy at work, but let’s hope not.

Snapshot from Finding Neverland, 2004.
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