It was just another day as I kept my bag and sat down at my desk. Being a new man to the organization, I felt the need to obey all the rules laid down regarding the time of entry and exit along with the others of corporate culture. There was hardly much attendance, thanks to the tiring traffic and busy mornings. As I flittered through the news and emails of the previous day, she came to me. It looked as if she had had an accident – she wore a collar and had bandaged one of her elbows. She inquired about me and my post and told me that she had been using my desk before going on leave a week ago.
Being new to the place with scarcely any seniors around, I told her to wait till my teammate came. With a sweet smile, encouraging nod and to my great surprise, she took my colleague’s chair and settled down happily in my cabin. Maybe there were practices here that I had to learn and replicate. As moments passed, understanding my situation, she started a conversation. The conversation, like any other introductory talks, proceeded with a small and simple recitation of my bio-data to her. My colleague entered an hour later and we shifted our chairs to accommodate him in the confined space where two could barely squeeze in.
As we entered into the day’s routine, she was allotted another desk (Thanks!! I would not have fancied moving around aimlessly in an alien office trying to find a work-area – not at least when I was just a few days old.). I had almost forgotten her by the afternoon when she came and invited me for lunch.
“Ryan, do you want to come with me for lunch?”
I wasn’t a moron to reject her invitation. I had had my own share of rejections from the girls of my college.
But, there materialized an obstacle in my mind. I could not remember her name. The only name that kept popping up in my brain was Smira and she was my manager. I was always bad at remembering names. Faces were identifiable though, occasionally accurate. I felt bad about myself and thought of a way to ask her name indirectly. Taking the example from my friends’ and my own official e-mail, I had hoped that the formula of firstname’@company.com would let me recall her name.
The foolishly great idea backfired very badly. I asked her company e-mail address. The hilarious part happened as she told me her address – it was ‘surname’@company.com. Oh, my! What a short-lived ‘new’ friendship.
She was talking incessantly as we had our lunch and I was happy that I did not have to contribute much to the chat. I adjusted with the beautiful ‘You’ whenever I had to ask her something. Back at my desk, after debating a thousand times with myself, I decided to ask her name to the only living thing with whom I had the better contact in the premises – my colleague. My few days’ experience told me that he would not laugh at me. He did not laugh but did smile before he told me that he too knew only her surname. I could not control my senses; I burst out laughing…
Someday after our first meeting, I heard a team mate calling out to someone across the office. She responded and I knew her name, thankfully wishing that I would never forget…
Days and months passed… We became friends who could hear and understand beyond the barriers of language. A change of work-area and we were separated by more than desks. We worked from different locations, meaning that there was little or no chance to meet. We never spoke for months when the heat and pressure of our work-loads affected us.
The long periods of silence were never felt when we spoke the next time. We could resume our conversations comfortably from where we had left off. We filled in the gaps and said good-byes every time, not knowing when we would meet again.
As said, friendship is never about how long we know each other; it is about how well we know each other.