One thing I particularly enjoy about my job (or perhaps the thing that I enjoy) is stumbling upon various kinds of men and women. While you’re about your regular job, trying to convince frantic users as the cut-off for payment is approaching that their trades are indeed on the way, processing and healthy, unlocking accounts for users, some of whom have the propensity to manage to lose their passwords once a week, things can at times get monotonous- sometimes frustration rears its ugly head and creeps in, if people are too pushy and show no patience.
To liven things up a bit, we tend to have little casual chats at times- with the users or our own team. The most implausible things come up for discussion, and when you never know how the person at the other end might react, it calls for a few risks. The most cool and distant-sounding person can turn out to be very friendly and considerate, when you catch him at the right time.
Hilarious confusions result from names. I usually try to decipher the origin of a person from the name. Intriguing names come up- Swiss, Polish, English, Scottish, Irish, Italian- apart from Indian. How well I remember a particular Italian user I had to speak to, who promptly reminded me of Valentino Rossi with his heavily accented English! Sometimes, while discussing issues regarding a user within the team, the conversations begin with- “Tell me this first, is it a he or a she?”
Surnames- my favourite subject. I have lost count of the number of remarkable surnames I have come across in these nine months. Of these, Sandwith is my favourite, for the amount of confusion it caused. The poor unsuspecting user was constantly referred to as ‘Sandwich’ within the team, until some discerning eyes pointed out the vast difference between the letters ‘t’ and ‘c’. The name, however, stuck. When I, with my incorrigible curiosity, mentioned its unusual nature to him (with not a little trepidation, for I had no clue how he’d react), he was good-humoured enough to tell me about it.
Sports is definitely a popular subject on chat. I remember extremely well how I was first given the news of England’s fall at the hands of the Dutch- a user’s chat window popped up without preamble- ‘Holland beat England’. What jubilation broke out that night- it formed the substance of most private chats that night.
Treats are often announced on public chat. This is the indication of birthdays being celebrated- and the birthday of a person I’d encountered just once earlier on the occasion of some testing a few weeks ago led me to a bit of contemplation on Friday. I found out it was his birthday and wished him. I asked him if he’d be partying all weekend. His reply took me off guard for a moment- he was hoping the real party would begin after Pakistan lifted the T20 WC. I couldn’t being myself to say, “I hope so, too”- because I didn’t, and I probably never will feel that way, but hostility seemed ridiculous. For his sake, for the happiness of one person I barely knew, I wished, in some absurd manner, that his dream would come true. Contradicting ideas clashed in my head, and I still do not know what I want. I have never met anyone from Pakistan earlier, and this surprising encounter left me quite dumbfounded, and with mixed emotions. (And yes, now I will have to congratulate you, I.F.!)
What would this world be without people?! A new week, full of promise, approaches.