The restaurant was full of people. It was the lunch hour. Esha was sitting with her colleagues. She was the project manager. They were supposed to meet a client there. It was a very usual scenario; to meet the clients at expensive restaurants. Esha was one of the most particular heads at the office. She believed in discipline. Whenever she was around, the other employees had to be more poised and sophisticated then their usual.
They heard from the client that he would take one more hour to reach the venue as he was stuck in the traffic. Her colleagues felt little uneasy as they were more conscious in the presence of Esha. She opened her laptop and started working. Seeing this, her colleagues also had to do the same even unwillingly. They just wanted this hour to pass as soon as possible.
Half an hour passed. Esha coughed. One of the colleagues offered some water. She took it. She again coughed. She leaned back on the sofa closing the flip of her laptop. She sat there for few minutes. Her colleagues were observing her from the corner of their eyes. She scratched her arm looking around. She yawned. She again yawned, but this time, the people sitting around noticed the sound of her yawn. Now the colleagues were more surprised. Esha was with her own self unaware of the peoples’ observations.
Esha started tapping fingers on the table producing sound, more loudly with every few taps. The colleagues found it humorous and looked at each other. Esha was still unaware of her surroundings. All of a sudden, she started humming a song and spoke, “Hey guys, have you watched the latest episode of Game of Thrones?”
Few of them nodded positively. All they could do is a nod as they were still more shocked then surprised this time. The project manager who could only think and talk of work, who they thought had no social life was suddenly talking about Game of Thrones! They felt like they were lucky enough as Esha was being more vocal to them.
“Why so cold nod, guys? Its Game of Thrones dude,” reacted Esha.
“DUDE?” said two of them making a face. Which version of Esha they were seeing? Thought the colleagues.
Esha noticed their face and smiled, “What? Can’t I talk about something other than work?”
“You usually don’t,” stammered one.
Esha laughed loudly this time. She tapped her palm on the table and came forward, angled her elbows on the table, “Really?” She asked narrowing her eyebrows. Leaning back, she said, “Actually yes. I have never noticed it. You know, the thing is, I am very passionate about the work and to add more, I believe in discipline. And that makes me a tough one. It’s just I have never thought it that way,” noticing everyone’s confusion, she clarified, “the way which you must be feeling.” Again, everyone nodded affirmatively. This time, more relaxed.
“But it is important. The discipline and focus. Being a senior, one has to have both more than others, to maintain the dignity and team spirit. But do you think, I should be more live and talkative at the office to make the environment light and fresh?” asked Esha.
‘Hmm..’ Everyone nodded firmly, in sync.
Esha again burst into laughter. It seemed like she was enjoying herself. Everyone was happy to see that.
Esha was being more live and humorous, but all the colleagues still could do was nodding. This was out of respect and not the fear. This was what they too realised.
The client came. They had some coffee and talked over the projects. This was more of a conversation rather than a boring meeting. Esha enjoyed this new experience, and everyone else enjoyed more. The team work was worth and more productive. This was what Esha felt.
Esha decided to change the decor of the office and declared the ‘Just-Talk’, one hour session on every Friday. But yes, she could never leave the workaholic Esha behind, but she just found the ways to be happier and fresh, keeping the environment of the extremely important work place more energetic. She could see more enthusiasm in the employees. This change was worth.
No matter how much work you have and how difficult it is, steal time, smile at yourself in the mirror, mend your hair or collar. This is your own stolen time.