Monday, November 19, 2012


Siddharth was back in Mumbai after his month-long blissful Hawaiian vacation. Thoroughly refreshed with the change in weather and the exotic spa treatments, he was ready to go back to the grind. An hour of driving in traffic and he reached his mundane, but high paying workplace. “Back to the excel sheets!” he muttered as he parked his car.

Like routine, Siddharth walked into the office and headed straight to his cubicle. And then he noticed something strange. His desktop had been replaced. No, it had not been upgraded for sure, because this one was eerily green coloured. He looked around bewildered, noticing that it wasn't just his desk, but everyone's had the same ordinary looking green coloured desktop- complete with green keyboard and mouse.

He paced to the IT guy, demanding an explaination. “Relax, it's all the same. Except that it will make your work smoother and your brain sharper.” He handed Siddharth a user manual. “A manual? You are using it, how difficult could it be?” he mocked.

Grabbing his morning cup of coffee, Siddharth dragged himself back to his cubicle. He turned on the computer half hoping that it has a glitch and he can go back to his old one. But the new computer fired up like a charm. Siddharth loaded his e-mails and sipped on his brew while witing for his e-mails to queue up. Then, one by one he started deleting e-mails that were unimportant or he had already seen on his BlackBerry. “Oops, a pizza coupon.” He realized he had deleted the e-mail and hit undo to retrieve it.

A sharp buzzer went off and Siddharth figured that it came from his monitor. In fact, his monitor also emanated a red colour from within. After five sharp beeps it went as silent and green as it was earlier. “Was that because I hit undo?” he asked aloud. He looked around to see practically the entire office staring at him. The IT guy walked past and said, "Yes, don't do that."

Siddharth gulped. He saw the logo on the computer- the symbol of undo striked out. The cover of the user manual has the same thing. Siddharth opened it reluctantly, assuming it to be non-consequential. But it turned out to be like a science text book, with diagrams of the brain pointing different sections to words like alertness, confidence and concentration. Another page seemed to be dedicated to time management. ‘What?’ he thought, ‘How can you work without the undo button? It’s like not being able to think and re-think. It’s like not changing your opinion, like not changing your mind about something.’ He flipped pages around to see some motivational quotes- ‘Think Through!’ said one. ‘Your brain works faster than me.’ said another. ‘Silly mistakes are not for you.’

Shaken, Siddharth got up from his chair and began to look around. All his colleagues were back to their own work. But there was something different. None of them looked around aimlessly; none spoke on the phone, not one of them fidgeted. They all had their eyes locked at their screens, typing cautiously. They didn’t seem rushed or panicked or confused. All of them seemed to have learnt the art of super concentration. And for a long time, nobody’s monitor buzzer went off.

Siddharth smirked and said to himself, “One lost pizza coupon. No more.”

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