Flipping through the papers, Sylvia sighed with a relief. At last few candidates struggled to pass through the test. It was a struggle to get candidates who suited the job and also who did fairly well in the test. The youngster group belonged to the ‘Next Gen’ giggled and made the place lively. Similarly if they can prove themselves in this career, Sylvia thought, it will be one step for her in her career ladder also.
Recruiting youngsters for a night shift job was a task. Even trivial matters sounded big, and she had to use all her tactics to convince the youngsters to get into the job. With a chuckle she murmured to herself, ‘like getting a rat in trap’. She had to lure them explaining all kinds of prospective in their future lives. The biggest task was to convince the parents ensuring their wards safety. She had to impress the youngsters telling that bridging technology with education is a novel experience that help them to be computer savvy and techno savvy.
Sylvia entered her cubicle with a smile. Responding to every one’s greeting she switched on her computer. That is her first day at her night shift job, that would teach her the lesson for her life. Unaware of things that would follow later, she sat down to start the day.
For the first few days everyone had the problem in staying awake all through the night. The biological clock got disturbed and every one went through a process that turned them a cold turkey. Sylvia drew down a plan that would make everyone awake and help them to stay awake. Every one was given a topic to prepare a power point presentation.
Every one must present it on turns. Learning to make a power point presentation glued every one to the computer and time flew without much fuss. Next day, when Sylvia entered the cabin she found scattered papers near her computer table. Wondering who would have done so, she started to arrange the papers. In the middle of that bunch she pulled out a paper with a poem written in a hasty hand-writing.
Now & Then
I was a butterfly,
Its mouth full of honey
savoring the sweetness of life
to the dregs.
I was breeze
gliding all over the place
not tied up by human feelings.
I was a creeper
with many staffs
I am the same butterfly,
but trapped in love;
The same breeze,
The same creeper,
but with no staff
to lean on.
All I am looking for
Is the day of death.
The poem impressed her and she searched down to find who wrote it. No name was there, except the initial ‘S’ written artistically.
Before we proceed further with this story, let me introduce you to the Next Gen, the first batch of trainees who play roles to spin and weave this story. Sean, Taylor, Martha, Kirk, John, Kelvin, Betty and Rebecca.
8:30 pm. It was their presentation session. Still sitting at the dinner table, no one bothered to stir from their chairs. Loud laughter sent ripples through the night sky making the stars wonder what happened to them. Martha’s laughter echoed through the roof of the junction followed by others.
“Time for the presentation session.” A voice reached their table. Sylvia stood there with a request in her eyes.
“Yes.” One by one they got up from their chairs and the procession followed to the wash place.
“Be there in another five minutes”. Saying so, Sylvia left the place. But she knew very well that it will take another 10 minutes for them to come down for the presentation.
“Who is going to do the presentation now?” “Not me”, Kirk whispered slowly.
“Why? You must do the presentation, now”
“Yes, but I need some more time to complete my presentation”. Sylvia accepted it and she knew there’s no other option except that.
“I can do the session to-day.” Martha sounded enthusiastically. “Yes. Please.”
After the presentation session, they started to discuss on the topic. Martha answered all the questions with ease and Sean was the main person to shoot much of the questions. Sometimes the discussion turned into a serious one and there would be heated arguments. Sylvia encouraged such interaction because it spurred them to learn new things.
At the end of the session, Sylvia suddenly remembered the poem she found on her table.
“Let me know who wrote this poem.” For some time there was no answer. “It is written well. I want to find out who wrote it.” No one answered.
“I know the person who wrote it down.”
“Sean. It’s you.” Sean was first hesitant to accept it. When Sylvia told him that there was no one there with a name that starts with ‘S’, he accepted with a sheepish grin.
“Who is that lucky girl?”
“No one knows”.
“Oh! Is that the reason why you play that ‘Lonely’ song often?”
The whole group cheered and made Sean blush.
Every day (night) turned out to be a fun filled day. When the whole city went into deep sleep, these night birdies kept themselves awake through the night.
Presentations and mock online sessions made them feel brisk and active. It is a surprise to note that the brain cells were most active at that time and Sylvia realized creativity sprung to its maximum level. Dreams that sail through sleep at night can sometimes be highly weird and it can be at the peak of imagination. The work place looked like an enormous family get-together and it never made them feel isolated and unhappy.
Sipping her tea, Sylvia looked at the mid-night sky. The dark sky glittered with bright stars. The sea breeze made the terrace look serene and peaceful. Sylvia looked around. She can see Sean standing lonely on the other end of the terrace. He stood there reclining on the wall, half-hidden in the shadows.
“Hi, Sean, What make you stand like this young man?”
“Nothing.” Sean replied with a mile.
“You are engrossed in thoughts.” There was no answer from Sean. Martha and John joined them.
“There is something special to tell, Mam.” Martha replied her with a twinkle in her eyes.
“Shut up. There is nothing Mam.” Sean replied with a hurried voice.
‘How dare you ask me to “‘Shut up”,’ Martha replied with a raised tone.
With a giggle John joined the conversation. “Sean will give us a party to celebrate this.”
“Oh, Sean will you invite me?” Sylvia asked Sean.
“Mam, these people are blabbering. Don’t believe them.”
“Whatever may be, my best wishes.” Martha and John laughed together that made Sean move away from the place.
Sylvia felt her heart softened with lovable thoughts. Love is something beautiful that must happen in everyone’s life. To feel and cherish love is something precious that cannot be experienced by everyone. Even to feel that feelings of love one must be lucky. Very few people are fortunate to experience love and with a sigh Sylvia realized she was at not lucky during her teens to feel and cherish love. Chapter 4
Sean felt walking on cloud nine. A memorable dawn with hopes along with the warm sun rays. Moving clouds on the bright morning sky reflected his happiness and he could not stop smiling. Sean could still feel the warmth of her hand on his. But, strings of fate also took its turn on that day making the dawn something special in its own way.
Every one looked gloomy and sad. The drastic announcement about the lay off from Mr. Iyer had plucked away the smiles from everyone’s face. Sean could not express his mixed feelings. The news had come to him also as a thunder bolt. He could not feel happy and unhappy at the same time.
I ’M nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there ’s a pair of us—don’t tell!
They ’d banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
Sylvia read her favorite lines of Emily Dickinson again and again. Her heart was numb with pain. If she can tell that’s a coincidence; it has happened once again. When she started to feel she can take up life with ease and hope that a day has finally dawned, things turn upside down. And it hits her right with a chuckle. To spend her day with youngsters boosted her spirits and she gained the courage to face life and thrash the hurdles on the way. But….
Now, Sylvia will be once again moving away from a place where she felt only love and love. Once again life has taught her a lesson. Never get emotionally attached with anyone.. That will be the final day for you and your dreams.
Sylvia will never have a chance to know if Sean succeeded in his love or how far love will take him further.
Sylvia realized with a bitter tone, even if she wants to be one with these youngsters, there existed a thin wall. Though it is thin it is strong as iron. Her days will not be enough to broke that iron wall and come out successfully. With a sigh, Sylvia walked toward the bus stop to go home. At that moment, home looked to be the only place, where she can feel the comfort and solace, for she has two loving souls waiting for her love.
Texte: Kalai Selvi Arivalagan
Tag der Veröffentlichung: 18.11.2009
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Wonderful time spent at night shift in the premises of TWWI, Chennai.