It came to me like an epiphany...
That the greatest morals...
Out of the greatest Faux pas…
I was having a girlie problem. Let’s leave it at that. Now, to explain that to an all-male team...and a male manager, is not such a joy, as you would imagine. But you gotta do what you gotta do. Because coming to work every day was becoming a nightmare. I’d rather sit on my bed with my laptop on my lap and work from home. My company allowed that.
So, I guzzled my embarrassment with a piece of digestive biscuit and a glass of water. And wrote an email with the words “gynaecological problems causing acute and constant pain”. One can always guise the most awkward moments using serious clinical terms. I did too.
My manager (nice fellow, god bless him), read the email and came up to my desk to say “No worries, do what you have to.”
I gulped and sneezed....and then pulling myself together, I thought I better make a statement. So I said “I may not work from home at all. If I need to, I’ll figure out in the mornings.” And even this wasn’t enough to shake my manager’s poise. So he said “Yes, D. Whatever suits you” and walked away.
Now in the next few minutes, I visualised my reproductive organs being projected in the boardroom and my all-male team sombrely looking at a PowerPoint presentation that my Manager had made, titled “Let’s Make Our Womenfolk Comfortable at Work, Folks”. And he didn’t trust if his employees’ parents had explained the birds-and-the-bees story well enough. So he left no brick (organ) unturned.
Now, all of it was my imagination, of course. My team continued to write SQL code or talk in their usual database jargon that I still don’t understand. In short, they were far away from the birds-and-the-bees story.
But I shuddered, nonetheless. In an attempt to “clarify” my problem further (as if the poor man hadn’t had enough), I wrote another email. This time, I wrote:
Oh, just figured that I sounded very “strange” when I said “I’ll figure out in the mornings”. Just so that you know, I am not pregnant :). (there was no awkward smiley...so just used a normal smiley)
No warning bells sounded when I hit the Send button (and I was told Microsoft Outlook was so clever, huh!). But since I hit Send, I fidgeted on my chair... playing my email over and over in my head. If there was any “dignity” or “grace” ever associated with my name (I doubt, though)....I had poured acid over it. What an ass I had made of myself! Why on earth do I give silly unnecessary details to the most important people of my life? Why do I take a completely serious and logical situation and manage to make it hilarious to the point of being tragic? Where did “pregnancy” come from? True, in my last India trip, that’s the word I heard being used in as many emotions and contexts as could be:
As a “question”: An airline attendant, after carefully scrutinising me, asked A, “Is your wife pregnant?” And A, with a serious face, told him “No, she’s just had a big meal.” (Of course, A tried to make up to me later by saying that it was the “dress”, not me)
As an “exclamation”: Old aunts with nothing better to do or over-curious neighbours: “Married for four years and still not pregnant!”
In sympathy: You poor thing! Don’t worry. It’s all in God’s hands. To which I wanted to say, "It’s not a matter of “hands” anyway ;)”
As an advice (unwanted): "Have you tried doing the Supported Headstand yoga posture?"
Of course, all of these people assumed that we’d been trying to conceive and failed. Myth. So my irritation at all these people expressed itself as nervous humour (or a miserable attempt at it) directed at my poor boss (of all people).
And just when I was about to write my resignation letter (a suicide note would have been more apt, perhaps), my mailbox flashes with a new message. And my boss writes:
No worries ... I’m a man so I made no such conclusions :)
Yippee! Bless that man. Somehow, this one line convinced me that I can continue to work here. Nevertheless, will the ghost of Bridget Jones please find somebody else? Thank, you.
Moral: There is a reason why people don’t openly talk about certain things. Still. Not because they are taboo or awkward. But because very few people have the poise to talk about it without growing donkey’s ears.