Elevators not only do the job of moving us upwards & downwards in a building. They also elevate our mood with all the funny and interesting incidents happening inside it! The kind of melodrama you see in an elevator, you won’t probably see in any movie. I would never miss any day in the elevator be it morning or evening, a peak time to be in an elevator. These moments always bring a smile on my face & brighten my day!
Elevators have become an inseparable part of life, especially at this job of mine. I work in an Investment Bank which has starts from 7th level to 12th level + a cafeteria on roof top, in one building. From 4th level to 6th level, in another building. The parking lot is into 3 stilts. And there is another assembly area for those adverse incidents or in our terms – BCP Situations. I started here as a support engineer and hence I had to keep myself scrolling between various floors – either to manage the unmanageable situation or to meet some of those designated VIPs in the firm. Elevator is the only medium i prefer to scroll about as I don’t wanna use the staircase and get sweaty in a minute! The elevator also adds to more of exciting people experience.
In the morning there is a rush to reach our workstations. We have the best arrangement in the first building. 3 of the 6 elevators are supposed to travel between 7th to 10th level and other 3 for 10th to 12th level + Roof Top Cafeteria. But there is nothing such in other one, may be coz that’s a small one with just 7 levels. Think of entering into these elevators and relate that to getting into a Mumbai local from Kalwa station (at times) or it’s like getting into an empty rake from car-shed at Thane station to Mumbai CST. You are all jam packed into the elevator. Someone still has an i-Pod running the trance & the dude is half asleep. This lady is finally connected to her man with efforts, and now putting in more efforts to say “I have reached safe” electromagnetically. Amidst all the crowd, this wanna-be-executive is trying to tie the knot. Executives already have it tied up while they are travelling to work in their Toyotaz and Hondaz. And this pregnant lady still carrying the I-need-a-heavy-breakfast look. Another one looking at the new handbag of hers. And this bike-o-holic employee – unwinding himself from the wire of Handsfree, struggling to get out of of his jacket (as if he was in a straight jacket, and doing a magic trick), helmet on one of his arms (a safety thing which creates a pain for others in elevator). and this road-runner-employee, who tries entering into the elevator when the doors are almost closed. Sometimes it’s him winning and rest of the times it isn’t.
Finally the elevator starts travelling upwards, to the place where no one wants to go.. No no, its not the heaven. 😛 😛 😛 a ting happens and half of them are seen rubbing their eyes to check which level it is. And there are higher chances that the person destined for that first halt, is way inside the rush, in one of the extreme corners – struggling to get out of the crowd. Sometime he manages and other times, he/she has to give a SoS – “Let me get off here!” If its HE, its fine. He would manage to deal with hurdles. If its SHE, others manage with the hurdles – a leather hand bag on the left shoulder, a breakfast-cum-meal-cum-snack bag on the right one, a cell phone in left hand with hands-free still connected (one end to fone and other to her rarely-used-organ), and the right has the final thing – the Door Access card with her identity (which she isn’t sure of). Finally she is out of the elevator, when two of them moved out of the elevator just to create way for her. While they are arranging back, another one remembers of getting off the elevator. There are 2 -3 tings more and finally the elevators gets offloaded completely. Everyone on their desk and a business day proceeds further towards afternoon, which is another experience.
2 cafeterias in 1 building – one at 10th level & another at roof top. Both serving different stuffs. One of the perfect strategy is to display a menu of both cafeterias at both cafeterias. So employees get a chance to choose what they want to enjoy rather than being forced with what is available. Employees move towards cafeterias from 12:00 noon onwards till 2:45 pm – either alone or with team or with buddies from different teams, depending on their roles. While moving out of their cubicles towards elevators, it’s the discussion – if they should go to roof top cafeteria or to 10th level. But the discussion continues even when they have reached to the elevator bank. And there are 2 options available for choosing the elevator – to go up or to go down from their current Level. Get into one of them, and later realize – we are going the wrong direction. Get off the elevator and discuss again to get into the right one. This time you are on right track and one of them changes the decision to move to other cafeteria – you again realize you are going the wrong way. Happenings inside the elevator? These two cute employees are discussing – how can a man carry pink colored box with lunch in it? How gurly? Another of the man’s buddy puts the same thought to him in his own words. And the owner of the pink box says, “who cares? It’s the lunch in it that matters to me.” While you are trying to reach the cafeteria on roof top, at one of the halts an executive enters carrying a big bag of lunch (as if it’s a team lunch). Finally with so much of discussions, tings, elevator doors opening and closing, you are into the cafeteria with your lunch buddies. Another discussion about what to be ordered for, payment to cash counters, get the food and then hunt for a table & chairs enough in number for the entire luncheon. Done with lunch and you again have to get into one of those elevators and back to workstation. In case if you moved for lunch in early-time, you might encounter some struggling souls who are still running for elevators to cafeteria while you are waiting for one to reach to your desk. If you moved out of your desk later for luncheon, you might encounter the executives and planning people heading for meetings, with a load of planners in their hands, handouts of presentations. Or maybe even the Butler moving with trolley full of customized-tea / coffee servings & Cookies for the business clients visiting for deals.
Its 4:00 pm and employees again start moving towards cafeteria for snacking. The series is still the same > move out of workstation, either single or with team > discuss and get into an elevator > to find that u were into wrong one > or the mood changed and hence you are in wrong elevator > hit the cafeteria door > order for snacks and juices > looks out for the perfect snackeon > move back to desk in elevator > finish off the pending tasks > pack-up and move out to call off a day by about 5:15 pm, the official timing to leave your desk still says at 5:30 pm though.
On one such evening our snackeon was heading towards cafeteria for a tea session. Into our cafeteria, we have got this new tea maker. It isn’t a machine, but a team of human beings, who serve you some of the bestest tea – Masala Chai, Basil Chai, Lemon Tea (hot wala, though my version is only cold wala from the vending machine). We al got our teas & discussions flowed. Within 10 minutes we were again at lobby, waiting for our elevator. With us was another female employee. No acquaintances with her. Its just a mutual traveler, travelling with us from 4th level to 6th level. We all entered the elevator, door closed and the journey started. I saw that L (for Lobby) was pinched as the elevator’s next destination. I thought our gang wants to go to Lobby – I continued with my silence. The Mutual traveler saw the Level 6 highlighted – nothing for her to worry as well. She kept herself action-less. My Team was into the typical boyish entertainment, entertaining self and the team – both at same time. They thought I might have highlighted the Level 5. When the door opened, we all were at Lobby. Some of them were looking at me, others looking at that mutual traveler, as she didn’t move out of elevator. And everyone was questioning each other while looking. Released no one had selected any Level and it was the previous traveler who might have selected the L for prank-sake. The doors shutted and the fresh selections of various levels were done and the journey started to end at respective destinations.
Post 5:00 pm, it’s the elevators again that are waiting to test your patience. Men and Women are seen hurrying towards the exit. While you watch the pace of their feet, questions come to your mind – Is this a Fire Exit? Lobby at each level is full of anxious souls waiting to breathe a natural breeze, after spending 9 – 10 hours in air-conditioned cubicle. Ting! The door opens when you are at 12th Level, allowing you to see that it is full with Employees. You take your step back and start waiting again, looking at the position of other 5 elevators. You hurry to reach to the door of other possible option. But may be the first elevator realized what you did last summer. Hence it didn’t allow you to get in. As it reached 11th Level, 5 people got off and other 6 got in and none of them was you. One more situation which reminds you of Mumbai Locals – People form Byculla, Masjid travelling towards Mumbai CST to reserve a seat when the same rake moves back to Kalyan / Kasara. They don’t mind to travel 10 kms extra or spend 10 minutes more for assuring themselves a Window Seat for next 90 minutes of journey. Bunch of employees do follow the same. From 10th level or 11th Level, they don’t mind to travel into an elevator destined to Roof-Top-Cafeteria, and then bound towards the Lobby of Building.
What’s happening inside?
Everyone tries to contract themselves as much as possible for the same hurdle to enter again. A bag on each shoulders, 2 hands back to the job of holding stuffs. May be the door access card is still tucked into the right side, on waist. And this time someone is on the other side of cell-phone, who is been assured of a nice-made-by-my-hand-dinner. At such an intense discussion, they have eagle-sight to see someone waving them. She doesn’t want to be rude by not waving, and she waves to her / him / them. Her wave might be a quake for someone who is day dreaming, as one of her bag brushes him / her so hard. He is back with his i-Pod in his ears and he is almost asleep. Another one texting the pending tasks to a colleague, who is stretching at work for some unknown reason. An Executive looks very worried while in elevator – “shit! am late by 5 minutes. I would face heavy rush at JVLR.” Another wanna-be-executive, who is guiding his fellow – how to make time effective at work? It is a rare sight of someone getting off elevator on 7th or 8th level. It happens only when employees of other shift are going back to their desk from roof-top-cafeteria. And they are always placed at the extreme corner, with a cup of coffee or masala-tea, finally making way out of the crowd. Certainly one feels like spilling off their beverage. And the elevator starts its final piece of journey – 7th level to Lobby. Nonstop. The faces glow up with smiles as they see glowing L on the Position Indicator. And everyone is rushing out with no patience to swipe the access card for the final exit.