Work from Home

As I’ve been broadcasting proudly on social media recently, my recent mid life crisis and search for what brings me joy has led me to try a few things out on my own. A new consultancy and freelance writing is what I have been devoting most of my time to in pursuit of monetary satisfaction and the more noble reasons of fame and glory! Travel, choir rehearsals, spending much time and walking with my two mutts, baking, and catching up with friends and family even on weeknights has been the plus side. 

But working from home has also come with its own set of challenges. I used to work partly from home a few years ago, but I traveled frequently for work, sometimes for weeks at a time. At my last job, though I didn’t travel much I was at the office most of the day . For the first time since I started working back in 2003, it is quite new for my family to see my tights, tshirt and rainbow socked avatar traipsing around the house most of the week. 

You don't realize how much your doorbell rings between 8 and 10 in the morning. The milkman, a shrieking Sarina, the garbage guy, the grocery delivery boy, the dhobi, the car cleaners, the cleaning lady, dogs going on walks and dogs returning from walks, and a motley group of others all feature in a long stream of ring-a-ding-a-dong. Just as you settle in to check your email, that question which I have diverted for years towards Sid is now directed at me by Sarina - kya khaana hai, kya banaoo lunch meh? 

I've always hated discussing aloo gobhi and just stare in despair at having to decide. Just as I've managed to dismiss Sarina with a kuch bhi and started replying to an email, there is a yelp from the window. Both the dogs are scrambling at the glass pane, enraged by the cocky pigeons bobbing their heads right outside. In the frenzied pawing they have managed to open the sliding window and Molly is hanging partially out, her head jammed uncomfortably through the opening. After shrieking at both of them and extricating said head from the window, I banish both of them out of the room. Peace ensues for 10 minutes, after which Sid will waltz in and bounce on the bed. "Whatcha doin?". I mumble a response, and he launches into a story about his morning so far and where he will be shooting next and that Sarina is asking what to make for lunch. At the sound of her name, she magically appears and they argue about whether to make alu gobhi in gravy (yuck!) or dry. I yell at everyone to get out and they oblige.

Half an hour passes in peace and I go out to warn everyone that I am getting on to a video call and I don't want a peep out of any of them. All is well and the call is sailing along, until I hear a sudden eruption of barking. I am trying to concentrate, but the barks are getting louder and closer to my door. The person I am speaking with asks if I didn't like what he said, and I am wondering why he is asking, when I look at my face in the camera and I am cringing, my nose crinkled and eyes screwed tight. I apologize and say it's not him, and I need to excuse myself for a minute. I go out and find the dogs barking their heads off at a squirrel while Sarina and Sid are talking on their phones, unperturbed by the noise. After sharp words are exchanged and frantic apologies are made and the dogs are bribed into silence with chewies, my video call is completed with minimal cringing and disturbances. 

But as everyone gradually gets used to having me home, things have got smoother. Once the initial excitement of the morning is done, the dogs settle in for a 5 hour nap during which I motor along. Sid usually pops his head in at 12 to ask if I will have some coffee, and comes back a few seconds later to place a steaming cup on the desk. Sarina will still try to ask too many questions, but has restricted them to bursts at intervals, rather than a constant stream! I usually get out for meetings at

leaner traffic times, which helps to avoid hours of being on the road. Most of my thoughts only make sense after 4 PM and I end up being quite productive during the evenings, working in blocks of time. It's all a work in progress, with certain days being overwhelming with a fine line between work and home. Sometimes you end up writing an article at 1 AM, or chipping away at a proposal over the weekend. I'm still trying to find the perfect balance, if that exists.  But in the meantime having the flexibility to take to the sofa with your laptop, a dog's head resting on your thigh, and some really good coffee, is not a bad way to work!


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