Thursday, November 26, 2009

Blackberries and Bananas

16 November 2009 - Chandigarh, India. Abhishek's Blackberry (text is blurred to protect the inncocent...and I didn't have Abhishek's permission to take this photo, for the record).

I journeyed seven hours north of Rishikesh to meet Abhishek, a close friend and colleague from London whose wife just had a baby so they’re visiting her parents in the modern and beautiful city of Chandigarh. I got in late so Abhishek and I dined alone, indulging in work-talk while feasting on chicken, mutton and beer (after 6 weeks of no meat or alcohol).

Abhishek’s Blackberry sat on the table [bxA]and it really haunted me, the little red flashing light beckoning him to read new messages. His Blackberry is identical to my old Blackberry, which I seriously considered pitching into the Thames when I left my job last year, but decided I didn’t want to do that to the Thames. Abhishek and I had exactly the same job –both VPs covering BofA’s EMEA Healthcare portfolio, working on the same clients, same acquisitions etc.

During our recent dinner, when Abhishek went to the loo, I peeked at his Blackberry to find the same old emails that were in my Blackberry over a year ago – same clients and coworkers, not even the subject lines have changed. That tiny little appliance was like a Pandora's box containing a galaxy of dynamic problems and prospects and obligations and responsibilities and anxiety and nerves and excitement and passion...with just a tiny red light flashing in the periphery of everything I did all day and night.

My Blackberry was always with me. I checked it the minute I woke up (my analyst was several hours ahead in India), after I crawled into bed at night (many bosses and business partners were several hours behind in the US), and just about every five minutes in between. I carried it around the office with me, to meetings, to lunch, even to the office loo where there was often more than one Blackberry sitting on the sink waiting to be retrieved by their owners. After work we’d all have our Blackberries on dinner tables in restaurants or on countertops at pubs…red lights flickering as we tried, in vain, to pretend like we weren’t thinking about work.

November 2009 - Rishikesh, India.

But now I think blackberries are a kind of fruit, like bananas.


Anonymous said...

i just love that last sentence...because all i thought when i read your post title was...yum!!!

assie said...

if only you could eat the blackberries !!! i wonder if they would have those strings ... ??? like the 'banana strings' ?? hehe :)