I met my neighbor Rejita, a Central government employee as she was leaving for office. I chatted with her as we walked towards the bus stop. I congratulated her on the rise in pay that she would get as per the recommendations of the 7th pay commission. She didn’t seem too happy.

“A little pay hike of ours makes big news. People don’t know how tough our life is. You don’t know how tired we get going through files all day long. And we have to handle difficult bosses, subordinates, stubborn people etc. Also, we have problems like computer viruses and other virus.”

Since I wasn’t interested in a sob story, I changed the subject by asking her as to what is her office time. “It is 9.30 am.” I looked at my watch which had crossed the 10 am mark.

“You have more than an hour of commute left, which means you will reach office well after 11.”

“I know, but what to do. Even then, I am often the first to reach. Sometimes, I have to wait for the other team members to come. “

“What do you do next?”

“We are tired because of the long travel. So, we have a leisurely cup of tea in the canteen. After that, we settle down and request the peon to bring our files. Meanwhile, we update each other on the latest filmi gossip.

Just after we open our files and start perusing them, it is time for lunch. We sit together, open our dabba and eat while discussing the various discount sales that are going around. Without that, our digestion is not proper. On some days, we go to a couple of such nearby places and splurge on bargains.”

“So, you start full fledged work after lunch?”

“Not yet. We need to have a power nap to prepare ourselves for the long afternoon. After some file opening and closing, we have our evening tea. We cannot have it as leisurely as we want because we are in a to hurry to leave.”

“When, by 6.30 – 7?”

“Oh no, we try to leave by 5 as the trains become very crowded after that and we have to jump in to get a seat in the fast local”

“How do you manage to get things done?”

“Who says that I don’t get things done? On the way back, I manage to do a lot of things, buy vegetables, collect the clothes given to the tailor, visit the bank, and visit some friends.”

“I heard that you can also avail of a lot of leave.”

“Those are just rumors. All we have is EL, CL, SL, CCL (Child Care leave).”

“Do you have any final suggestions before the implementation of pay commission”?

“Yes. We get tired working continuously for 5 days. We need to be given a break mid week, every Wednesday. Our leave is also not sufficient.

Apart from CCL, we need CBL (Child Bonding Leave), CQL (Child Quality Leave). We also need some space and time for ourselves to pursue our hobbies- SCL (Self Care Leave). Sometimes, it is difficult to manage our husbands who themselves become like naughty children. HCL (Husband care leave) will help a lot. A FCL (Family care leave) would take care of all our problems.

We reached the bus stop. “Actually, I haven’t completed. Let me see if I can squeeze in some time at office to jot down more suggestions.”


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