Badi Pareshaan Officer

Bansuri Chaddha, the BPO executive, gets a calmness lecture—and it works. Sonal Kalra tells more.
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Updated on Feb 21, 2009 07:44 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi

Chaddha ji is a happy man these days. He can’t believe somebody is actually willing to pay money to his daughter for doing something that she only earned scolding till now for —talk endlessly on the phone.

Yes yes, Chaddha ji’s daughter got a BPO job recently…and even though I suspect he doesn’t have a clue about how call centers work, he can’t stop telling people that she’s so busy that international clients don’t let her go ‘off the hook’.

Whatever, the excitement didn’t seem to last long and Chaddha ji looked stressed when I saw him the other day. So I met up with Bansuri (people have every right to name their kids anything they like…stop getting on Chaddhaji’s case please) and man, did she look tired?

“What struck you?” I asked her, adding that I expected her to transform overnight into the ‘cool BPO-types with firangi accent’. “Arrey baba, don’t ask. I love the job and all, you know. But timings are so weird. They have changed my shift thrice by now, swapping between day and night timings. I think my body has got so confused that it has stopped responding,” she sighed. Looking into her sleep-deprived eyes, I instantly knew what she meant.

So often does one see these young kids, sleepy like hell in the backseats of their Qualis and Gypsies in the wee hours of the morning — and just not communicating with each other. It’s not rocket science to understand that they are paying a heavy price — that of their physical health and calmness— for that hip lifestyle and cool salary that the BPO job brings. I know one can’t dispute the importance of call centers as a sought-after work place and can’t wish away the unavoidable timings, so here’s my calmness mantra for young people like Bansuri Chaddha (stop grinning at the name, will you?).

GET A LIFE. I know you would counter that by saying that with all the fun things in the cool corporate environment BPOs offer, you already have access to fun things — a pool table, a gym, a great café. But there’s a difference in having access and actually using them to unwind. Moreover, infrastructure can hardly make up for the stress caused by a lack of human communication. Be sociable in whatever time you get — make a rule to crack a joke with colleagues after every three calls you take, spend weekends in family outings (basically let them know you exist and are not a noise which they hear when you sneak in at 3AM), work out (and not just feel happy that your office has a well-equipped gym), listen to soothing music and most importantly, learn to talk while on your way back from office. You are anyway going to hit the sack as soon as you reach home, why lose the precious little chance of interaction you get. Bansuri went “humming” after I gave her this lecture. Chaddha ji is a happy man once again!

Sonal Kalra tells everyone she’s lucky to have a ‘day job’. But after watching TV all night, she looks as tired as Bansuri Chaddha does after the night shift. And Bansuri gets to sleep during the day. What luck!! Send your
calmness tricks to her at


    Sonal Kalra edits the daily Entertainment & Lifestyle supplements, HT City/Cafe; writes the weekly column ‘A Calmer You’

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