Every day, around 11 in the morning, a postman comes to deliver letters to our doors. He slides in a bunch of letters through a slit in the door, and the entire act, which takes about five seconds, is a noisy affair – he always manages to bang the outer door against the wooden door, and pushes the letters in through the slit, which carelessly fall all over the carpet, creating arbitrary paper patterns. Mostly, these are letters from banks, insurance companies, housing offices and the university office. Sometimes, these letters are addressed to other students who have lived here in the past, and have not informed them of their change in address.
Yesterday, the postman came and repeated the same rituals. I carelessly collected the letters from the floor, and was sorting them out, when I noticed a bunch of letters, with the Pearson logo, addressed to my roommate. Just as a brief introduction, my roommate is in the teacher-training program at Stanford. Just a bunch of plain white envelopes with a very familiar blue logo set me off on a time travel!
It's been almost four months since I have become an ex-employee of Pearson Education. Like any other firsts in life, this having been my first job has been very special to me. As Nagma (my roommate) was tearing open her letters, I stood there with a smug smile, almost giving her the impression like I own the company! She doesn't really figure out why I have that stupid grin and a proud expression lurking on my face! I don't either!
A few days ago, work-day thoughts came floating by. I logged in to www.pearsoned.co.in, and checked out all the books I have worked on, how they're doing, what they look like now (from an ex-employee's point of view), and what kind of memories I have associated with each of them. I write to my ex-boss trying to find out the status of a rather long-drawn project. He writes back giving me details of author feedback. I share one of the links (with the cover and the book details of my last project) with my ex-copyeditor, who had copyedited the book.
I'm a part of a campus group that meditates and chants Buddhist prayers every Wednesday morning. Today, when we were chanting prayers at a student's apartment, I kept getting distracted by the bookshelf that was right in front of me – lines of engineering books, untidily arranged on the shelf, with the familiar blue logo! The moment we finished chanting, I blurted out, pointing at the blue logo peering from the weary bookshelf, 'That is my ex-company!' EunYi, a friend who chants with us, exclaimed, 'You owned a company!' I corrected myself, 'Sorry, I meant to say, I worked for that company before I came here!' She looked at me rather surprised at the pride I exhibited!
I came back home, missing the office and all the friends I had made there. Images of my desk in the new office facing the giant window, of getting coffee from the Bunker, turning back and sharing inane jokes with Y, trying hard to stifle the laughter gurgling up my throat clogged my brain. I looked up the blog Web site, and found a post from the CEO (soon to become the ex-CEO, as I hear), announcing a prize for blog posts. I read Soumitri's beautiful post about airports in the country. I closed the window, scolded myself for not studying for my exams (which are just round the corner) and engaging in a nostalgic romanticization of an ex-worklife. I diligently went back to the life I am committed to now.
Just now, between study breaks, after making dinner and before dish washes, I clicked the refresh button unmindfully. I laughed out loud reading about the prize withdrawal and imagining Vivek's hungover state! And even though I realize that Pearson has been shifted to the line of things I have left behind, I knew I had to write something on the blog, even if it meant attaching the tiny little 'ex' with almost every second word in a sentence!