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Delhi people bunking office? It’s not the common flu but the IPL fever

This is the Indian Premier League season and young professionals in Delhi are creative with their excuses to wriggle out of work and watch the cricket matches. Personnel managers know but can’t do much!

ipl 2018 Updated: Apr 16, 2018 18:15 IST
Henna Rakheja
Henna Rakheja
Hindustan Times
Cricket,IPL,Delhi Daredevils
Young professionals in the Capital are using all possible excuses to take an off from work, to watch IPL matches. (iStock, AFP; IMAGING: Shiv Kumar)

There’s a kind of fever sweeping through the urban hubs of India. In Delhi, where the sudden rise in temperature in April leads to a spike in the flu, that excuse has come in handy for those who’re bunking work to watch IPL matches. The Indian Premier League began on April 7, and since then, the rate of ‘sick leave’ among young professionals has jumped. Other excuses have been prepared, too, to wriggle out of work and watch the matches.

“Last time, I wanted to really watch a match and we had an important meeting at the office. I didn’t want to disappoint my boss, considering he never says no to me taking leave. So, I went to the office and after half a day, acted sick, stating I had loose motions. Then no one could stop me from leaving early,” says Sameer Joshi (name changed), a 30-year-old communications manager in Delhi.

“Kai bar to maine apne dadaji ko bimar bata ke chutti li hai (so many times, I’ve pretended that my grandpa was sick),” chuckles Sameer. “Now that he’s no more, I plan to take a day off on the pretext of my child’s health. Office mein mahaul nahi ban pata jo doston ke sath ghar pe banta hai (at the office, you don’t get the same celebratory atmosphere that you get with friends at home),” he adds.

When it comes to watching the semi-finals and finals, the absence of cricket lovers from their workstations is not just likely, but a certainty.

“I’m going to tell the office that I’ve got a severe stomach ache, a night before the team’s match, and then I can watch the match at home peacefully.” — Parth Singhal, operations associate

“I’m going to tell the office that I’ve got a severe stomach ache, a night before the team’s match, and then I can watch the match at home peacefully,” says Parth Singhal, 25, operations associate, a diehard fan of Delhi Daredevils. His manager is also a cricket fan, so Singhal has, in the past, been able to convince the company management to put up a big TV screen at the office, so that everyone can watch the match collectively. “Virender Sehwag is my favourite, and since he’s playing for Kings XI Punjab, I can’t miss his match either. So if the two teams end up in the finals, I’ll ask my manager to organise a live screening at the office itself. It helps us both,” adds Singhal with a twinkle in his eye.

Human resource development managers are often aware of the real reason an employee wants leave, but there isn’t much they can do about it. “Some of our employees have planned to take their long leave in April, because they don’t want to miss even a single match. And no matter how early you leave from the office, one often gets stuck in traffic while going back home,” says Sini Nair, HR manager at a health clinic in Delhi. She adds that she’s prepared to receive messages in the morning hours saying: ‘I slipped in the bathroom so unable to come’, ‘My car broke down so can I work from home?’

Nair adds, “If an employee is saying that they or their family member has fallen sick, then we can’t stop them from taking leave. But, when we get a hint that it’s their wish to watch the match that’s making them miss work, then we try and tune into the matches on the office TV screens, during the non-busy hours. Not otherwise. Until then, we have to allow them to take leave.”

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First Published: Apr 16, 2018 18:15 IST