Being a digital native and witnessing the revolution of the internet, it must come as a surprise that I longed for our office floors to reopen since day one. As I’ve repeated time and again, I crave ‘agency chaos’, the people, the energy, the everything.
My heart aches, every time I schedule a meeting on Teams without the location mentioned. If this meeting was to be conducted in an offline world, would it be in conference 1 or 2? I think to myself.
OKAY, YES. That was a major exaggeration, but my point being, over a period of time, you start to wonder, what ‘IF’?
For what may seem like a burden for many (read: another WhatsApp group), for some (like me) it’s a place that I get one step closer to what makes an agency so loveable — its people.
Needless to say, I squealed at the opportunity to finally meet some of these people with whom I leave no excuse to interact with IRL.
That’s when the questions kicked in, ‘What do I wear?’, ‘Should I wear any makeup?’ ‘but they’ve already seen me all puffy-eyed, deep in with dark circles, pre-morning-coffee-bare faced…’, ‘would a concealer or two really make a difference?’ ‘hmmm, well, at least a decent IRL first impression if not anything else’, I thought as I winged my eyeliner.
[Other questions that made a brief appearance were as follows: Am I too early? What if I overtalk? Am I smiling too much? Wait, they’re all so brilliant, what am I even doing here? Did they figure out I’m an imposter? How’s my hair? I wonder what’s on the vegetarian menu! Glad I had Srujana to keep me company on the food front hehe..]
As I entered the venue, my mind was surprisingly calm. I saw a few familiar, other anxious faces, and a few pleasant surprises! By that I mean, the presence of Binaifer Dulani. Binny, as we call her, is the human version of a warm hug. Her smile, her voice, honestly, even through horrible Teams connectivity, her presence, would put you at ease. (Finally) meeting her was easily one of my highlights of the evening. (notice how I conveniently skipped the part where I forget to mention that I first stared at her for a good 30 seconds before stating the obvious, “wow, you’re just as pretty in real life.”)
Another personal highlight was seeing the strategy team be under one roof, at least 5/8 of us. Ishtaarth (bossmannn), whose aura oozes out knowledge about anything and everything, graced the night with his usual charm and wit. Freya, who had been a mystery woman in my mind (famously known for her no camera policy), was finally in front of me. Met Gayathri for the first time, who’s a livewire of energy, and of course, Shambhavi, and Nandita, who I look up to with utmost awe, made the venue feel like home.
I met a whole bunch of new people that I’m so so so grateful for. No one person felt like a stranger, be it Sruthi and I, indulging in useless but at the moment hilarious banter, or talking to Antra & Priyanka Gupta, who are just so much fun to be around. Be it Tasha, who is calmness personified (and is just so loveable in general), to Cajole, Nikitha, and Bhavika who are honestly too cool for me, but yet they obliged, and let me pick their brain.
The night though, ended in the blink of an eye, what they say is true ‘time rushes by when you’re having fun’.
But the night ended with way more questions than it began with. Questions like — ‘Is PG secretly a professional emcee?’, ‘Is there anything Gautam cannot do?’, ‘How many lifetimes will it take for me to be half as brilliant as Priyanka Borah?’, ‘Will Sunil Penugonda ever remember my name?’, ‘wait… did PGK & GD leave already?’
This was a personal account of what happened that night, but just thinking of the numerous perspectives, stories, and experiences of that one night, amazes me.
Earlier, a URL link connected me to Teams, but after this IRL night, I feel like I belong to a much larger team, ie. Team Webchutney. All thanks to the underrated efforts of Rahul Pai and Mehar.
Self-plug: Maybe it’s time to delete this tweet.