Tuesday, March 09, 2010

All about an (ab)normal day

The silence of the closing in evening was nothing new. The occasional tadattuts of keyboards from the nearby cubicles always gives the working feel. For a roller-coaster ride going on for the past four days, today was an unusually slow day. Lack of sleep or the "feel-good" factor of a fruitless task, I was not sure, it was about lazing through the rest of the day until I have to board the train to Cbe. I prioritized my tasks in such a way that I contributed to the tadattuts once in a while, to reassure the surroundings and myself that I'm awake.

The floor I work, situated on the seventh floor of a nine floor building, is huge enough to accommodate around 120 people. It is a square area distributed with cubicles, with a lean pathway on one corner of the floor, leading to two conference rooms and ending in the back exit. Within the floor, right adjacent to the lean pathway is the restroom and next to it, the pantry. Perpendicular to the pantry are a couple of cubicles that end in the corner diagonally opposite to the lean pathway, and on either side, is fenced with cabins of "Periya Thalais" of the BU. This finally leads to the front exit of the building.

Looking up and around every other minute, I kept telling myself that I have to concentrate. It was like a buzzing in my brain that I so didn't want to accommodate. I figured I'd work on an Einstein Riddle my friend had sent, to get into rhythm. Trust me, there is nothing more effective to come out of boredom - solving solid math/logic problems. As I was about to scan through the list of mails, my teammate came in for some support and the buzzing was back. Unfortunately, duty first (no other go) and I got it done for him.

As he left, my hands reached the headset that lay on top of the CPU and immediately, I let go; It crashed on my desk-phone with a bang. For such a silent environment, the sound was definitely distracting, but to my surprise, no one seemed to have noticed it. The reason was that an even louder wailing sound like a factory siren had masked the headphone crashing. A drilling machine piercing a nearby wall was the first image in my mind to map with that sound. Simultaneously overtook the thought of imagining it (brain buzzing). I did not bother to stand up and look around. My mind was pretty blank, except that I wanted that noise to stop and that too right away.

I'm not able to explain how it happened but out of nowhere, I could reads the words "Carlton Towers" in my head. In a split second, the wailing seemed to make sense.

I did not need second opinion that it was a fire alarm. I could see lots of things happening in the next few seconds. My reflexes began to overtake my presence of mind. I stood up and saw half a dozen score of pale, terrified faces looking towards the lean pathway. None of them had started to react though. It does take some time to take in something out of the way in an issue filled IT day. The ERT (Emergency Response Team) plunged into quick action. I saw a couple of them pull out their ERT caps from their desks and put it on. One of them rushed towards the restrooms and pantry while the other went into cabin after cabin. The evacuation process had started.

I locked my system immediately and started towards the front exit. I walked quick without acknowledging any known colleague I met on the way. I could see people rushing towards and away from me. A couple of them were heading to the exits with their laptops. I reached the exit pretty soon. No one dared to use the lift, I noted. I turned back into the floor to check on any familiar people. A force of guilt rushed. I hadn't bothered to check on anyone. As I peeped into the floor again, I saw that it was pretty much empty already.

I turned again and started down the stairs. After a couple of failed attempts, I slowed down. The rush of people made it difficult to be fast. It was surprising that I saw no panic amongst the people around me. In fact, I heard one guy inquire with another if he had a D-Link Modem reserved for use. Few guys were cracking jokes and laughing their way down. Well, can't blame them, for, one joke was so damn funny and my lips twitched close to smiling. Floor by floor down, the number of people increased and finally, I was down in the ground floor. I quickly walked down the flight of stairs to the road and looked up at the building. I saw it.

It was a tinge of orange-red and a mix of black. None of the windows were open. The bright sun of the late afternoon added to the refraction effect. It was of no use. I was helpless. Lots and lots of people were still walking out of the exit. Few were talking on their mobiles, few keeping a look behind and few holding their laptops dearly. Once they were out of the exit, they turned right, walked into the lawn and turned right again, to go to the open space down the other exit of the building, probably, instructions from the ERT, I thought. For sometime, I alternated between glancing up and looking at the exit. I knew there was nothing I could do. I looked up at the building once again, enjoyed the beauty of the red-orange and black colored window panes that were arranged neatly. The sun's rays always added to the class of the building and I love that sight. After taking it in completely, I joined the queue of people to see what the fire-drill was all about. :P

-Dated, Friday, 5th March 2010

View of my office building! :)

5 Expressions:

VJ said...

chi pe! adi vaanguve! I was thinkign ennavo nu! Sollave illaiye nu! :( Adippen :(

Chiju said...

:) :)

Vibushan Lakshminarayan said...

bugger. i'll kill you mahn.

$ph!nX said...

hmm... Looks like if the fire din't do him in,we will :D

Chiju said...

Enna da... Company thedudha!!! Varum bodhu vechurukken!!!

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