“This is my WFH,” says Mr Alvi. Since the pandemic’s second surge, he has—again—been obliged to work from home.
“This is my WFH,” says Mr Alvi. Since the pandemic’s second surge, he has—again—been obliged to work from home.

Delhiwale: The work-from-home pro

  • A Cyber City professional working from Chitli Qabar in Old Delhi
By Mayank Austen Soofi
UPDATED ON JUN 18, 2021 04:31 AM IST

On the laptop, the Microsoft Excel file is open. The young man with a week-old stubble is urgently poring over sales invoices and balance sheets. This concerns a UK client, and he must complete the auditing of their financial year revenue before the next morning in London.

This is just another day for Zubair Alvi, 25. A “Senior 2” in a Gurugram consultancy firm, his office is in the Cyber City. But he is in Chitli Qabar, in Old Delhi. Outside his window the lane is teeming with hawkers and goats. His mother is sitting next to him, checking a recipe (fried rice) on her mobile.

“This is my WFH,” says Mr Alvi. Since the pandemic’s second surge, he has—again—been obliged to work from home.

Earlier, he would wake up every morning at 7.30, when everybody else at home would be asleep. His mother would have prepared his lunch box the night before, and kept it in the fridge. He would put it into his bag and walk out of the house, then out of the gali, and then towards the Chawri Bazar Metro station. He would reach by 9.45 for the morning meeting with the team.

That meeting still takes place at the same time, but Mr Alvi now gets up just a minute before and attends it on his mobile, while still in the bed. “I go to my office by 10.30.”

The office is downstairs, the family’s living room, where no one in the large household disturbs him. It has a mattress laid on the floor, covered with a white sheet, and long gaontakian pillows stacked against the wall. The niche has the portrait of poet, the late Musheer Ul Hasan Jhinjhanvi. He was Mr Alvi’s grandfather.

“It’s nice to work from home. You get to have short naps in between, which freshens up your mind.”

Here his mother intervenes, wishing old days could come back so that her son could start going to Gurugram again. “Hai, it feels so nice to have mera bachcha (my child) going to Gurgaon for work.”

Before the second surge, Mr Alvi would leave his office at 8pm and reach home at 10. These days, he shuts down his laptop by 10 “because when you work from home, you end up working for longer hours.” He then walks up the stairs, to a fresh hot dinner.

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