Thursday, May 04, 2006

Of Panic Attacks and Pulp Fiction

I have blogged earlier (here) about how my company is being an ass about fitting the post-maternity me into the larger organisational scheme of things. Anyway, after an endless round of meetings with them where things just don’t seem to be moving forward and I am asked to hold on just a little longer while they work something suitable out, I decided to explore my options in the big bad world outside. So, last week I put myself and my resume out there and got a few calls. ( is highly recommended by the way). Nothing concrete yet but let’s just say that I have gotten closer to switching jobs in the last 7 days than I did in the last 7 years before!

So all looking good so far and I decided to hop into bed for a good night’s sleep, completely unprepared for what was going to happen next. It started with a funny butterflies-in-my-stomach feeling and grew bigger and bigger till I couldn’t sleep for 5 whole hours. I tried everything – watched most of Pulp Fiction on TV (have a question on that later), counted sheep, stared into the darkness and tried to empty my mind but to no avail. In fact, the more I tried to empty my mind, the more reasons I found to panic. Here are some of the thoughts that fed the panic attack and kept the sandman away till 5 in the morning:
  • I have only ever worked in the one company. I joined as a management trainee fresh out of MBA school and have spent the last seven years firmly ensconced here. My ideas on how to function in the corporate world have been formed and shaped by this organisation. I know the people here and have made many good friends. I know the written and unwritten codes of conduct. I have a complete understanding of what passes as acceptable, good and excellent performance here. The thought of giving all this up and starting afresh is scary to say the least.
  • I definitely plan to add another kid to my family in the not-too-distant future. In my current company, I put in six years of work before going off on maternity leave and I had enough leave accumulated over the years to buffer up my official maternity leave and take a full 6 months off. In a new company, I would not have that luxury and also how would they react if I announced I was pregnant after just working for them for 1-2 years.
  • Quitting my current job would also mean losing my company-provided accommodation. We have bought a house but that’s still under construction and is likely to be ready only sometime in August. So we will have to figure out some short-term accommodation in the meantime. What will I do with all my stuff? Will I have to pack up everything, unpack, pack again and unpack again all in the space of three months? Or can we figure out a furnished place available for a short while and keep the majority of our furniture in storage till we finally move into our house?
  • Once this worry fest started, there was nothing to stop it and I started worrying about everything that was even remotely worry-worthy in my life. I worried about Ayaan and whether I was doing everything right as far as he was concerned. I worried about a friend’s illness. I worried about the work still to be done in the new house. I even worried whether I worry too much (I would think the answer to that would be an unequivocal yes!)

At 4 in the morning, I just couldn’t take this solitary worrying anymore so Jai was rudely woken up with an elbow in his ribs. His attempts to induce sleep also came to naught. He asked me to imagine the holiday we are planning in Sri Lanka, I worried about whether we would be able to get Ayaan’s passport in time. He told me imagine the same holiday in Goa instead and I worried about whether we would be able to afford a suite so that we can have somewhere to hang out after we put Ayaan to bed at 9. And so on and so forth.

Finally, at 5 a.m., utter exhaustion forced me into an uneasy slumber that lasted till 6.30 a.m., when Ayaan decided it was time to get up. What a night! I really don’t know how I survived through the day today without collapsing….

Now the question about Pulp Fiction, posed to those who might have seen it. I saw most of the movie through a worry-induced and sleep-deprived haze last night and I might have missed a trick or two. There is this scene when Butch (Bruce Willis) goes back to his house to pick up his watch and finds a gun on the kitchen counter. Just seconds later, he hears the flush in the loo and the door opens and out comes Vincent (Travolta) to find a gun staring him in the face. Anyway, Butch shoots Vincent, who is last seen splattered all over the loo, in complete blood-and-gore Tarantino style. And then a few scenes later, you see Vincent back in business completely unharmed as if the shooting bit had never happened. What’s with that? Someone, please to tell…


  1. Hi Rohini. The movie runs in non-linear order. It is worth watching pulp fiction atleast a couple of times :) The bit about Travolta coming back to life puzzled me too.

    I like reading your blog and updates about Ayaan. I hope I get to see him when I come to bombay next.

  2. Hi Rohini,

    Aahhh... yes... Pulp Fiction... definitely, watch it several times. I like to call it the Sholay of Hollywood, but only because I like it so much. I'm sure your experiences in this company would help you to bring new ideas into another company so knowing your present one as well is more of an advantage for you. I try not to worry about things that I have no control over, which lets me have an easier life :)

  3. [Sameer] Hi and welcome. I didn't know you were reading my blog.

    [Mosilager] My philosophy on worry is summed up by anonymous quote: “Don’t tell me that worry doesn’t do any good. I know better. The things I worry about don’t happen”

  4. I like the quote :D Been here a number of times - first time posting a comment. I like your writing style. I especially liked your post on "5 minutes in the life of an 11 month old" - very interesting!

  5. Hey, Rohini. The more I get to know you, the more I think that we may be similar. I will occasionally get insomnia and be up all night thinking, scheming, planning, and/or worrying, too. Don't know if you knit, but I find that sometimes helps. Reading sometimes helps, too. Anything to take my mind off what is occupying it. Apparently, you tried that with the movie thing. Sometimes you just can't do a darn thing until exhaustion takes over.

    Starting something new is always scary. Sounds like you have a lot of big things going on in your life right now. I know what it's like to live in limbo, and I feel for you. My thoughts and prayers will be with you during this time of transition.


  6. [Gettingthere] Hi and thanks. I have been visiting your blog pretty regularly as well

    [Talena] Glad to know I am not the only one! My husband thinks I am quite crazy. I am not very good with my hands so I stick to reading and watching TV...

  7. Do not over tax your grey cells on such issues. Remember there is always God above who takes care of everything. Life is such that there are bound to be ups and downs. Without the 'downs' we would never know the true value of the 'ups'. All will be fine in the end. Just be cooool about everything.

  8. Hi Rohini, Welcome to the Club. Corporate India /World ? is definitely not a great place to be in , post kids.
    Have you read 'I Don't Know How She Does It' by Allison Pearson - it's fascinating

    PS- Did you read Namita Devidayal's Sunday Times of India feature last week- its an interesting take on the whole mom-work scene

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. [Patti] If only it were that easy...

    [Sonya] Hi and thanks for visiting. Will try and check out that article. You a working mom too? Any survival gyan?

  11. hi rohini!
    worried to see u in lots of worries!
    just want to say "don't worry"
    wish u best luck and smooth routine once again..
    "happy mother's day"(8th may)to you!!

  12. [Rachana] Thanks and Happy Mother's Day to you too! Don't worry about my worrying - it's part of who I am and I wouldn't be me if I stopped worrying!!

  13. fatso,
    1. yes, you worry too much. no dubt at all about that.
    2. why are you worrying about adjusting to life in a new company ? cannot be as tough as carrying and delivering and nursing a baby ? and am sure the adjustment period will be much shorter than 9 months.
    3. just remembered that my parents have a house in lokhandwala complex, kandivili that is lying empty. worst case, you can go stay there for three - four months.
    4. you will hate me for this, but if you exercise a bit, its much easier to sleep. or if you dance for some time.
    5. or the enjoyable option - eat like a pig. once all the blood goes to your stomach, there will be less blood flow to the brain and you will automatically feel drowsy.

  14. [Zen]
    1. Completely agree but think it's in my DNA and there's nothing I can do about it
    2. You make a good point
    3. Thanks sweety but need a furnished place otherwise I will have to unpack stuff twice.
    4. To exercise, I need two rare and precious commodities called time and energy
    5. Given point 4, if I also eat like a pig, I will soon start looking pregnant again.