Stagnant Progress

Stagnant Progress

25 mins 16.4K 25 mins 16.4K

“Well well! Look who's finally made it to a post… Congratulations Trisha!” cried a voice from the background as I was gladly viewing my designation plate go up my cabin door. I wondered who else could it be, but Tamara. As I turned around, I found her holding a bouquet of flowers at a distance. Shocked to see her around, I thought to myself “How in the world was she here?”. I responded by saying “Not everyone gets a direct flight to their destination. Isn’t it Tamara? But for that, you are not really the one to be blamed. I can blame it more on the long story behind…” Immediately, many of the listeners there, insisted on me sharing my version of the success story. Thus, I began by saying…

“I clearly remember, it has been 5 Years 4 months and 27 days since I joined IVN Internationals. That morning I woke up to the dream of a lifetime. Yes my first day at IVN… But truly speaking, I don't even quite remember sleeping a wink the previous night… I ironed my ironed clothes thrice to nullify the slightest visible wrinkle, I counter checked my email a thousand times to hunt out any possibility if it being a fraud mail, praying most sincerely that it wasn't. I scanned my phone almost a dozen times, only to find an incoming call entry at 5:37pm on my call list. Pooh! I was super excited.

That morning as the clock struck 8:00, I placed the last stroke of kajal on my eyes and rushed off to my dreamland destination. The smile on my face that morning never quite vanished even for a minute. As I stepped into the office, the feeling of accomplishment arouse deep within my being. It indeed was God's choicest blessing on me. The ambiance of the place was magical, while the people looked vibrant with energy. The receptionist Debbie, with a warm smile on her face and welcoming tone in her voice, asked me to take my place in the waiting area as she gracefully continued her work. After about a minute I heard a firm voice talking to Debbie “Hi I am Tamara. I received a call to join today at 9am” Debbie gently asked her to join me in the waiting area.

Soon after that I heard the employees release a cluster of morning wishes as the boss Mr. Walter entered in his grey metallic suit, his super polished shoes and a highly sophisticated briefcase. Along with warmly responding to their greetings, Mr. Walter also shot some instant orders that needed immediate attention. He even appreciated a couple of employees for their extraordinary output of the previous week. I must admit that his very first appearance exhibited pure and distinct professionalism. While he passed the waiting area he threw a quick glance at us and then disappeared into his cabin.

In a short while from then, Tamara and I were summoned into his cabin. After engaging with us in a short conversation, he asked Ms. Riya to show us the place and explain to us in detail our portfolios. While we were leaving his cabin, Mr. Walter, gently asked me to stay on for a minute. “There's something that tells me, you'll do very well in life. Prove me right…. God bless you. Carry on” were the words he uttered with deep affirmation. I was in a state of amazement. What must have made him say those words? Behind my mind I was overjoyed with the appreciation and was encouraged to prove him right. Tamara and I were added to different teams of new joinees and we had to directly report to our respective bosses.

From there began our journey of hard work and dedication. Tamara and I rarely met due to different work fronts but our bosses often appreciated our efforts while they discussed work. A couple of months later, both Tamara and I were made to lead the teams of the fresher batch that had recently joined. Heading the team was indeed a great experience for helping me to acquire skills and display my talents. I worked really hard and thus was even piled with huge responsibilities. With God’s grace I was able to successfully handle every duty well. Over a couple of years, Mr. Walter was deeply impressed by our performance and had decided to give us both a promotion. Just then, as rightfully said, fate struck and Tamara’s boss was forced to take a voluntary retirement due to his ill health while another department lost her most dependable employee due to her job switch. In the very next quarterly gathering, Tamara was declared to have been promoted to her boss’ position as Branch Manager while I was asked to occupy the place of the so called “most dependable employee” at the Business Development and Promotion Department. Mr. Walter did understand my situation and raised my salary scale that equalled Tamara’s. His decision sure disturbed me for sometime because I still held no recognizable position in office while Tamara enjoyed her new designation.

Around 10 months later, I rushed into Mr. Walter’s cabin and that too without a knock, so highly… highly confused… I'm sure I didn't even have a clue of what I wanted to speak with him. The only words I remember saying were “Sir, yet another transfer?” My pitch was high and I repeated those words again in frustration “Not Another transfer... No Sir… Not this time… this time I'll definitely not take this… It's a height now…How is it that I am the only one you get to use as a punching bag?... Just 4 months ago you transferred me from ‘Business Development’ to ‘Sales and Marketing’… and now how come I get a shift to ‘Quality Assurance’? I have worked here for nearly 3 years now and I haven't found anyone else in such a pathetic state as I find myself in. Where am I heading to? You are paying me such a high salary but I don't have a worth mentioning designation to even switch my job. “What was your previous designation?” is what the interviewer asks me when I claim such a high pay. Tell me what's the problem, Why cannot I have a stable portfolio? Mr. Walter let me yell my heart out and then he calmly asked me to settle down. “He was indeed a great mentor for all my professional issues… He often advised me when I was subjected to serious problems at my work front… but this time it was quite different…” I thought to myself. But what he said to me next, changed my attitude towards life… He said “*Just because the past didn't turn out like you wanted it to, doesn't mean your future can't be better than you ever imagined” (*Courtesy - Ziad) That day was indeed a turning point in my life, my attitude towards my job got a real lift. My job never lacked my sincerity but now it got an additional zeal.

That's how as 5 years of time passed by, I saw IVN Internationals grow as a Multinational Company while God kept me busy by making me struggle through different departments at IVN giving me varied amount of new experiences and helping me gain expertise in every area I could ever have imagined but I still couldn't find a suitable designation for myself. Then, for a couple of months I temporarily lead the International Affairs of the Company after the departmental head retired till someone else, more qualified and eligible could come and fill that vacant post. The resumes of extremely qualified personals just kept pouring in by the day. During that tenure only, promotions happened again. Receiving their fair share of promotions, Tamara now held the prestigious position of the Regional Managing Director, Mr. Walter too was promoted as Country Manager of IVN Internationals and not forgetting, with him was promoted Ms. Debbie as his Personal Assistant. On the other hand, Mr. Walter couldn't help but to keep me halted on the same designation(less) state but nevertheless he rightfully gave me his share of contribution by raising my scale with my experience. I kept wondering why was I still not given any position worth defining as my job profile. That day I consoled myself by repeating the most perfect and true words “God has plans which are much higher than I can ever imagine… and worrying about it would never be reasonable enough anyway”

One fine day, Mr. Walter called an urgent general meeting within minutes of stepping into office. Our general meetings always had a specific agenda of discussing very important and crucial company related decisions. Thus the very intimation of such meetings made all the employees get on their feet for immediate action. But strange enough, this meeting wasn't held in the conference room as usual but rather we all were asked to meet-up in the main building’s auditorium. On arriving there, everyone were caught by surprise as they saw a projector displaying the video of the achievements of IVN over the past 5 years. I wasn't surprised about the video, as I had compiled it myself but was shocked to see it on display during such an important General Meeting.

After our arrival, in about 10 minutes, to our great surprise, IVN’s Board Members along with Mr. Walter entered the auditorium and a sudden unexpected murmur filled the room. Probably there was no one in-there having even a slightest idea of all that was happening. I could find nearly all heads turn towards each other in amazement including mine. Mr. Walter taking the responsibility of addressing the audience said “My dear colleagues, I welcome you all to this urgent and extremely important General Meeting. In our presence today, we have with us, our dignified Members of the Board who have spared their valuable time to give us some wonderful news… I now request Mr. Reyansh to enlighten you all on this topic” I began to wonder what all this suspense was about…? Wonderful News? hmm… Can this mean promotions?...or Do they want to felicitate some deserving employees with incentives? or… hmm….Oh God! Maybe they want to send a few people abroad for an internship program... My head kept on spinning numerous questions within a few seconds. But when Mr. Reyansh took centre stage he announced something totally unexpected... He said that IVN had decided to open up a new branch in Paris… the dream city of millions… and a few of our employees would be given certain designations there, while some will have to help to get the setup ready. At the end he wished us luck for this new leap of faith we were going to undertake.

“Paris had always been my dream holiday destination… like everyone else's… but never did I ever think of living there… Mr. Reyansh’s announcement sure brought a smile on my face but it didn't last for long as I couldn't imagine spending a lifetime out there… away from family, friends, home and these my colleagues with whom I had spent over 5 years of cherished moments. Spending a few months away was still understood… But why was I even thinking of all this…? My name was far off from being selected… there were many having much more experience and expertise than me… but what if it was God's Grace? At least I would have a designation to call my own. Hmm… why should I live in suspense? I'll ask Mr. Walter instead. Obviously, the team of those who were to head the Paris Branch must have already been shortlisted. So then, should I call him now? No… I think it's better to send him a WhatsApp message rather than having a telephonic conversation... that will also do the trick of hiding my nervousness.” I thought to myself

*I tried desperately to avoid myself from checking my phone to see if he had replied. It had been about three days now. I hated that I was constantly checking his 'last seen at' status and yes, he had logged in just five minutes ago. I just couldn't stop myself from being anxiously worried. This sinking feeling to find absolutely no communication from him was becoming unbearable, almost torturous.

And then, just as I sat down in my chair, my phone vibrated. With my heart thudding in my ear, I unlocked my phone and stared at the screen. Finally! It was his message.

But when I opened and read it, I nearly stopped breathing. I didn't know if he was joking or not. What was this? (*courtesy: Write India Campaign)

Mr. Walter's reply read “I'm sorry Trisha, you haven't been selected to hold any designation at the Paris Branch but be patient there'll surely be something great stored up for you in future" My mouth dropped open in despair and my forehead developed immediate wrinkles. “This job had given me something beyond description: an identity, awesome colleagues, more than deserved respect, the ability to make decisions, a teamwork spirit, a handsome salary and above all a strong hope in God who makes all things well. But the only thing I still lacked was a designation, which had again slipped through my fingers“ I thought to myself.

A week after that incident, Mr. Water had summoned me into his cabin only to introduce me to Mr. Jason, whose resume suited best for the post of Manager-International Affairs, the post which I temporarily held for a couple of months while I waited for an aptly qualified person to replace me. He also requested me to introduce Mr. Jason to his departmental subordinates and to guide him through the various procedures and facilities at IVN while handing him over the entire documentation.

I was just about done with the given task, that I received a notice about a meeting, scheduled in an hour to distribute portfolios and related responsibilities regarding the venture at Paris and to discuss some crucial issues. Unlike the General Meeting having an auditorium full of people, this meeting had called for only the heads of the various departments and a handful of other people who formed the backbone of the company. We were also requested to get along with us any suitable issues we thought needed discussion, to bring about a well planned establishment of our new branch.

Sharp in an hour's time, walking confidently within conference room, were those who were significantly identified to handle this entirely new project with great expertise. Right at the commencement of the meeting, we received a copy of the duty chart which clearly stated each individual's portfolio in establishing the setup. Since Tamara was the then Regional Managing Director, Pune and the future Vice President at IVN Internationals, France she was made the sanctioning authority for every penny that would be invested into the project. She was one of the lucky few who were requested to take charge in the France Office. I was handed the overall responsibility to supervise five procedures in detail. Guess what! These were the very same departments which I had handled in the past years. That meant I had to work with my own people and the process of authorization would become highly simplified as they all know my work methodology inside out. An added advantage was that being conversant of working with the heads of all these departments earlier, even the interlinking procedures between the various departments seemed easy enough to handle. Oh! This deeply thrilled me. The meeting then proceeded into considering the various complex issues of the project and their respective possible solutions.

Towards the end of an exhaustive two hour meeting with heavy discussions about the finances, the infrastructure availability, the workforce requirement, the purchase scenario, detailed list of equipments, accessories, servers, power consumption etc, I interrupted by saying “Excusez moi s'il vous plait! Qu'en est-il de la langue?” They all had given me an extremely absurd look. What’s the matter Trisha? asked Mr. Walter… do you want to make any significant point? Please speak up openly and we will discuss the issue in detail. “Sir”, I replied “I'm sorry to interrupt. I couldn't help but notice a very crucial fact being totally neglected. I just made a statement in French. Yes, that is the issue I'd like to raise. Neither of our colleagues are completely fluent in French language. According to me, any dealings done in French will always benefit us, as it will eliminate all the middlemen, helping us to get down to real business. Thus I request you to first and foremost get our employees trained for the same. Mr. Walter gave me a pleasant smile and said “Trisha, this indeed is an extremely important detail we were missing. Thank you for your feedback” He turned around to everyone and said “I'll look into this matter myself and guarantee you'll quick action. Now I'd like to end this meeting by reminding you’ll about the great responsibility placed on our shoulders and the importance of every single individual to give their best to make this venture a grand success. All the best”

The progress review taken six months later showed excellent results and profitable advancement. It meant that we could now begin our groundwork by tapping potential resources in the form of qualified employees, finding the most suitable insurance company, getting a tie-up with a renowned hospital, employing the best support staff and preparing for the Grand Opening scheduled a couple of months away.

On the very same day of the review I rushed into Mr. Water’s cabin, but this time abounding in joy. “Sir, you told me that the future could be better than I have ever imagined… working without a regret of not having a designation has actually made me perform better and has lead me to true happiness. I've grown so much professionally and I've undertaken responsibilities far beyond my potential. Therefore I've come to sincerely thank you for your guidance” saying this I turned around to leave. Just then he said “Trisha, I truly appreciate your selfless service. Knowing that you will not get to serve in Paris, you still have worked over and above your designated hours. Now here's something you get, purely as appreciation from your IVN family: You will be heading the team of selected employees who will fly to France and spend some couple of months in personally organizing each sector of the office. Your trip expenses will be completely borne by the company. You will have an individual accommodation in a business hotel and a car at your disposal 24x7, your meals as well as your tourism expenses will be borne. Only personal purchases if any will be your expense. You will have to leave in a week's time. Pack up and get ready to have a blast.”

That day my joy knew no bounds… I couldn't believe I was standing right at the entrance of the Airport, all set to fly to my dream destination. “My God how mysterious are your ways. You fulfill my heart's desires in a fashion far beyond my expectation. I bless your holy name. Take charge of this trip and may your name be glorified through me” saying this I had stepped with confidence into the airport. My highly efficient and extremely excited team were eagerly awaiting my arrival. We boarded the flight full of unknown energy and will-power to give this our best shot.

Paris! Paris is a wonderful place, a place anyone could easily fall in love with. The people are so charming, the ambiance mesmerizing, the sunsets so elegant and the scenic beauty, sensational. The butterflies in my stomach didn't seem to rest even a single day while I was there. My weekly offs went in exploring the city and thoroughly enjoying the amazing food, while everyday at office was action packed, filled with new and wonderful experiences. The dealings with service providers were extremely professional and their employees highly efficient at their jobs. Our daily schedule was well planned with a specific ‘to do list’ for every working day. It was earnestly an awesome experience, far beyond what I had ever wished for. After I had landed back in India, Paris adventure had finally come to an end and since International Affairs Department had also got a well qualified Manager in Mr. Jason, I was all set to undertake any new portfolio at my very own office. But at that moment all that I needed was a good ‘Siesta Time’. Sufficient amount of rest was the only tool needed to heal me from the jet lag and re-energize me for work the next day.

After a short nap, when I woke up I found an email intimating me about a grand celebration planned for the successful establishment of our France Office and also for welcoming the new President of our company scheduled at 6pm the following day. With immediate effect, my mind scanned through my entire wardrobe for all the possible options I could wear and obviously also for the associated accessories. After having made the appropriate choice of my attire, I decided to retire back to rest but my mind kept wandering all over, restricting me from sleeping.

I began thinking intently, who could be the newly selected President? I was well aware of the selection procedure that took place by the Board of Directors, therefore his welcome party was no surprise to me but because of being held up in France at that moment I couldn't quite personally witness the related chaos and rumors in the office. But I distinctly remember, during my France trip, when I had called Mr. Walter concerning an urgent and important technical issue, I overheard someone making a clear statement “We’ve got to thoroughly scrutinize all these 12 eligible contestants to finally make the right choice....” and that voice slowly became inaudible. Few seconds later, Mr. Walter's stern voice came across saying “This better be important Trisha coz I've just left a really important meeting to attend to your call.” we quickly discussed the issue and he immediately hung up the phone to return back to his meeting. It dawned on me just last night that the statement I overheard, must have been pertaining to the selection procedure of the new President. Wow! That meant 12 people were considered for that post. Tough competition ha!...

Even though my drowsy eyes were wanting to doze off to sleep, the thoughts passing through my exhausted mind didn't seem to cease even for a moment. Those anxious thoughts lead me to even dream about being selected as the new President of IVN but then Mr. Walter entered my joyful dream, just to clarify that the results were tampered with and that their original decision of Mr. Ryan being selected the President will be put into execution with immediate effect. That very statement brought tears in my eyes and I woke up with a startle. That dream sure disturbed my peace of mind but then I pampered myself back to sleep acknowledging the fact that dreams are dreams and only hard work can make them come true.

The next morning brought with itself a fresh, rejuvenated feeling and the warmth of again being one with the colleagues who formed my extended family. I was thrilled to get back to office especially on such a joyous occasion. I made myself cup of a coffee and spent some leisure time meditating upon the events that slowly unfolded over the past 6 years. Joy engulfed my heart upon seeing the hand of God work so miraculously in my life. After spending some real quality time with myself, I decided to get ready for the evening and rush to office a little ahead of time to help in the preparations.

When I reached headquarters at about 4pm, I was caught by surprise seeing the beautiful decorations all around. I went to my desk and suddenly a sweet smile flashed past my face. Just then, from the background, a voice filled with cheer called out to me. “Hey Trisha, Welcome back. We missed you so much. I almost knew that you would arrive early today. You've come to help in the preparations as usual?” I responded with delight “Hi Zoya. You don't seem to have forgotten me in the past six months ha! I know the usual last minute hassle, so just came to be of some help”. Zoya tapped my shoulder and said “Trisha, you've made it at the perfect time… I needed some help at the stage decor. Would you like to join me? “Of course Zoya… needless to ask dear” I replied. Suddenly, I heard some giggling sound coming from Tamara's ‘Ex’ Cabin, I bent over to have a look but couldn't see anything distinctly. Zoya clarified my anxiousness by saying “Mr. Walter wanted to warmly welcome the new President to IVN so the cabin was renovated over the past few days and now was being decorated for the grand arrival of its owner. Anyway let's proceed towards completing the stage arrangements and thereafter we have to give a final glance at the musical sequence and refreshments planned for the evening.”

After attending to all the necessary arrangements of the evening, I wanted to have a quick peep into the President’s new cabin just out of curiosity but I didn't find sufficient time as my colleagues started pouring in by the minute. After more than 6 months I finally met all my dear colleagues with whom I've grown professionally so beautiful. Each of them made my evening really special in their own unique way. We had discussions on nearly everything but Paris adventure was indeed the crispy crust of our conversation. The evening was indeed a great reunion. Soon we were joined by Mr. Walter, the Board of Directors, and the Chief Guest of the evening Shanaya Kashyap, CEO IVN. As they took their places on stage, the series of surprises began to unfold.

Ms. Debbie swiftly made it to the podium, while we sat in our seat dumbfounded. “This wasn't part of the function” Zoya said “I think Mr. Walter must have put her in-charge of all the necessary arrangements. But what could all this be about?” she added. Ms. Debbie initiated the program by saying “My being here on stage is a great surprise to all, but this in fact is the master plan of our very own Board of Directors. They have decided to facilitate the employees who went far and beyond to work exceptionally well throughout the previous year. I now request Mr. Reyansh to please do the honours. I'm privileged to call on stage one of our newest joinees Ms. Taniya who has performed exceeding well over the past 6 months in coordinating with the team across the globe, helping reduce much of our workload. Next on stage I would like to invite Mr. Jasmeet, on whose shoulders was laden the whole sole responsibility of dealing with all legal matters in India and Mr. Dixit who was busy managing the legal matters out there at the France headquarters…” She just kept announcing names after names and with each name my heartbeat grew faster and faster but my name seemed nowhere in the picture. After a long list of deep appreciations to many people she spoke something that made my heart skip a beat… she said “And last but not the least here's finally a name that has put in an effort worth of tremendous appreciation. Therefore this name receives not just an appreciation, but in fact an award for the contribution and selflessness in service to the company. And that name is…. Yes, on no second's Mr. Walter” Among the thundering applause, mischievous whistling and joyful cheering, though my hands and heart joined the crowd in appreciation, my mind wondered as to how this could be the last name…? They have forgotten me?... And Tamara and Zarin? While returning to his seat Mr. Walter was interrupted by Ms. Debbie, they discussed something in a jiffy but their faces clearly reflected the confusion of their minds… “Ah! Finally, they remembered to acknowledge our work too… Ms. Debbie must have reminded him. Even if he just says a thank you I'll feel really good” I thought to myself.

Immediately Mr. Walter scanned through the audience, perhaps trying to find someone dependable for that particular job he’s got in mind… I can say this because of my experience of working with him these six years… I guess I'm now capable enough of reading his expressions too. Within a minute his eyes fell on me and they suddenly sparkled with joy. With the change in expression itself I knew that there was something urgent he needed me to do. He signalled me to approach the stage quickly and I did so. He then instructed me saying “Trisha, I need you to fetch me the sealed envelope kept on the table in the President's new cabin. We are in need of it right now.” Slightly disappointed, I nodded my head and made my way through the crowd, passed the lawn and into the corridors. The complete floor was lit up with flashlights and the huge open area just outside the cabin was beautifully decorated with WELCOME written with Rose petals. A mesmerizing ambiance of cute twinkling lights and a sweet fragrance of the rose petals filled the air. I didn't even barely get over that sensation, that I opened the cabin door just to find the perfect space that would inspire and motivate you daily to push yourself beyond your limits. It took me more than couple of minutes to sink in this amazing feeling and gather myself together to get going with the given task. I began searching for the envelope but it was nothing less than a scavenger hunt… Finally after about 5 minutes I got hold of the envelope hidden beneath a huge pile of files towards the extreme corner of the table.

As I took the envelope and rushed out of the cabin, I was startled to find the entire open space packed with people. Being in a state of shocked, for the next half a minute, I was unable to register even a single face. Slowly my blank mind got back to its senses and I realized that IVN’s entire workforce including the Board of Directors and Mr. Walter were right before my eyes… Mr. Walter said “Stay there Trisha, that belongs to you.” Having completely lost track of the entire situation and highly confused, I asked in return “What belongs to me Sir?” Mr. Walter replied “That what your hands hold and that what stands behind you” I dropped my eyes down to find the envelope and turned around to find Keshav fixing a designation plate on the cabin door that read “MS. TRISHA MUKHERJEE, PRESIDENT, IVN INTERNATIONALS” A gush a water streamed out of my eyes as I fell on my knees Praising God. The entire crowd gathered there, burst into resounding cheer and acknowledged their approval with a thundering applause.

A couple of minutes later, I felt two hands hold me firm and lift me high. When I looked up, I couldn't believe my eyes… it was Tamara... her eyes seemed damp. She then pulled me close, hugged me tight and whispered “Congratulations Trisha, you truly deserve every bit of this success” perplexed at her reaction I responded “Thank you, Tamara. I'm glad my flight has finally landed at its desired destination. I guess, it just encountered a larger number of halts during its journey…. But, by the way… how come you’re in India?... And Mr. Walter, you all were seated in the lawn, how is it that you’ll suddenly show up here?....Am I missing something?” Mr. Walter said “Trisha, While you were still in France, everyone but you, knew about the selection result. Rather it was very obvious…Tamara was overjoyed about your promotion. She flew down to India today, just for you… She said she had to be here, even if it was on her own expense. The entire office staff kept this secret while carefully planning this event. That's how Zoya caught you right at your desk this evening and even resisted you from entering your to-be cabin while Tamara, Ruth, Ishank and few others were busy in-there preparing it for your grand arrival. Not you alone Trisha, but each of us deeply awaited this special day....” As tears rolled down my cheeks I said “The journey I have traversed with you'll is what makes my destination even more beautiful. This moment for me is much more than I had ever hoped for… it is my picture perfect moment”

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