This lack of sleep is becoming a regular thing in this country. Noises everywhere and a racing mind kept me awake till the mid-morning. I waddled out onto my balcony and sat and looked up at the night sky. To my horror, there were no stars. Pollution was so bad here that the wondrous night sky, with all its twinkling diamonds, was missing and replaced by a thick grey sludge-like cloud smeared across the world. It felt like looking up on another planet. I often look outside at night when my head isn’t feeling heavy enough to sleep. But this, this didn’t really didn’t feel the same. Nothing much does here.
I slept most of the way through the morning. Partially waking up to use the toilet as ‘traveler’s tummy’ to put it (politically) correctly had taken over me. But also because Day 3 was my first day of work, and nerves had besieged me. I wasn’t here for the “holiday of a lifetime,” but to show off my skills and work my very hardest. The working day here starts around 2pm, and then continues on into the night, with most of my colleagues finishing around 9pm. Sounds joyous, and frankly, it is. The only issue is that when you are finished, you aren’t tired.
I nervously walked into the building with my rep, Shreya, to be amazed that the bag scanners and metal detectors were here also. India never ceases to amaze me. After clearing security and signing in, I was whisked upstairs by one of the newspaper team members. She was very friendly and sat me down to discuss what the plan for my time here was. She said my interests matched perfectly with their paper’s magazine and explained that as content creators we get the freedom to write anything, so long as it’s relevant to our target audience. This played out perfectly for me. I chose to start my time by brainstorming ideas and rolled out my strongest one to really show off my skills: the top video games releasing this year. Being January, it was a perfect time to release a sort of “what’s to come” piece and also conjoined the idea by saying what console you could buy. I chose the Nintendo Switch. I don’t actually own one, but thought it a good idea to chuck myself into the deep end and show off that I can write about something that I don’t even own. I sent my copy off and after one or two minor changes, it was accepted.
I felt I really did make a good impression. One of my many mantras is: ‘first impressions are often entirely false.’ But today, I really felt like I conducted myself well and showed them what’s to come. For the first time in a long time, I felt pride and enjoyment in something that I was doing.
After yet another perilous cab journey home, I arrived to find it too late for anywhere to be open that serves food. I used my amazing student powers and tip-toed into the kitchen and found a small amount of pasta. I cooked it on the oldest hob you’ve ever seen. It was so old it was likely created around the same time as the dinosaurs. It pumped out gas and you had to light it. I lit an abandoned pair of chopsticks rather than risk my pudgy fingers. There were no such abandoned sauces anywhere, so plain Fuseli it was. How thrilling. A packet of Lay’s tomato crisps to top it all off. I thought my student days were long behind me. It felt like thousands of years ago when I had pizza and hookah to enjoy. A disappointing end to an otherwise enjoyable first day in office. I think I’d best go to the market tomorrow no?