Chronicles Of A Night Shift

A few weeks ago, I had this delightful pleasure of working in night shift. The experience was so wonderfully enriching that I wanted to share it with the world and because I love bringing joy & happiness to everyone around me. So please, read on, for a night by night summary of events.

Night 1

The beginning. Night shift for 2 weeks. Came to office late night. Saw everyone leaving for the day. Not at all feeling jealous.

Checked my mails. Took one hour. Felt like five.

Multiple projects going on simultaneously and all are high priority.

Noticed one dude sleeping in the office meeting room. It’s not even midnight bro!

An issue was reported, looked like an easy fix. My fix somehow created a brand new error. Poured through the logs, understood nothing. Did numerous random things, somehow got it into a working condition. My eyes are blood red now!

Saw girl sleeping in the break out area. Took extra care to walk quietly, why wake up a sleeping beauty?! 🙂

Damn it! Forgot to book the cab! Too late now.

Finally left office. Seeing people coming in for the next day, not cool. Seeing a beautiful girl walk by, Coool.

Night 2

Missed my bus by 5 secs. Had to wait another 15 mins for the next one. Not a good start.

Just realized that there are no streetlights nearby, nothing working that is.  The only lights are from the shops and the vehicles! And that is hurting my eyes somehow.

Sleeping dude from yesterday is again sleeping in the same meeting room. Not sure if he ever left.

Walked in to the break out area to see a couple getting cosy, a little too cosy for my comfort. But they looked pretty comfortable in each other’s arms, until I walked that is. “Okay…. I am just here to drink some water, you two carry on”. Nope, that wasn’t awkward at all!

10 projects have 15 updates and I am supposed to remember all of them! Lol

Some dude’s birthday and they celebrate. They took the whole cream of the cake and plastered his face with it! Apparently, people don’t EAT the birthday cake anymore.

Once again I forgot to book the cab, good thing my house is nearby.

So damn tired. And I need to do this for 8 more days. Sure.

Night 3

Woke up to wonderful news of our Mars Mission success. The entire country was proud of ISRO and its achievement. Made me reminisce about the time I tried to get into ISRO. Tried three times, each time they politely declined.

Big day in office, 2 Partners are getting switched over to a new connection. And I am going to do that from our end. Alone. First time. Not at all nervous.

Prepped everything for the first migration. They call in to cancel the switch, some things not right at their end. Well, that was anti climatic!

Random production issues popping up now! Of all the days; this is going to screw everything up. Fixed everything and got ready for next migration. Things appeared to go fine. But appearances can deceive as I would later learn.

Everything else was a blur. Don’t remember anything now.

Saw the beautiful girl from two days ago again today. Nice way to end.

Night 4

New Partner wants to go Live this week, we have not even started working on it! I am told this is high priority now. But what about project X & Y, I ask. “Yeah, they are also high priority. Business says everything is high priority.” Someone, somewhere out there, has a completely messed up understanding of the word priority!

Let’s call this Project F, because the F stands for….okay now, control, control. Let’s keep this professional.

Management announces they have a new tool for us to log our efforts. But wait, the old tools are not getting scrapped! So that’s five places now where I have to update my efforts. I joke that maybe we should have an excel sheet to track who all entered efforts in what all tools. “Excellent idea! Log it in the Value Idea Portal and I will take it forward.” What??! No, wait. I wasn’t…ahh, never mind!

Went to the break out area and saw all lights were off. Heard some weird sounds from somewhere in the room. Had read about ghosts haunting our building. Stood there expectantly for 5 mins. Nothing else happened. Walked away disappointed.

We have connectivity issues with one of our partners. And that’s all I know about the issue. I tried to make sense of the whole thing, I failed. Miserably. I can now empathise with people who say they can’t make any sense of calculus or trigonometry.

One guy pings me about the above issue. Wrong person, bro! Basically asks me which of the 2 options he should choose. Went through the mail chain about this issue, drew a blank. Tossed a coin, came down tails. Go with option B, I said to him.

Two hours later he comes back saying it is still not working. As if I would know why! “Did you confirm the setup is exactly the same in TEST & PROD environments?” He says he will check that. Sure, take your time bro.

Night 5

Woke up to a nightmare. All projects going Live and everybody wants updates. ASAP! But when I checked nothing was working. Absolutely nothing! And then all around me, I can see people closing in, asking for updates. They all have megaphones in their hands, shouting “What?” “What?” “What?” repeatedly until the words merge into one constant din that gets louder and louder and louder until it gets unbearably high and then my head suddenly and spectacularly explodes! And then I wake up. I verified that my head is intact and above my neck. Well, that wasn’t a pleasant dream.

I have way too many mails in my inbox and it is piling up. Decided to clear them out. Was reading them one by one and going “crap, crap, mega crap, what the hell is flipkart doing here?, Whoa! I was supposed to do this 2 days ago!!”

Different people are asking for different updates. I make a list of To-Do list; quickly realize it’s a never ending task. Questions increase, Tension increases. Wait, this is my nightmare! I am going to die like this only, right? Well, at least there is no one around to be impacted by exploded brain splatter.

Bracing myself for my imminent death, I suddenly had a brain wave. I just switched off my monitor and walked away.

I went to the break out area to have a drink. Nope, they only have water. Same weird sounds just like yesterday. But this time I noticed what was actually happening. Some dude had lined up 5 chairs and was sleeping on it. He was actually sleeping on the chairs! Making weird snoring sounds to boot.

So there I was, seconds away from my brain implosion and this dude is snoring away without a care in the world. Well then, something has to be done about it, right? So…marble floor, steel glass…oops! While picking up the glass, I ‘accidently’ drop it again. Didn’t even care to see if he woke up, I was mightily pleased and satisfied. Brain explosion, here I come!

Connectivity issue guy from yesterday informs everyone that there are differences TEST & PROD environments which is causing the issue. Well, duh. I told you so!

So week one ends. No major escalation. Did I just pull off Mission Impossible??

Night 6

Brand new week, same old story.

Caught an auto to work. The driver decides to get high while driving. He and a bus driver decide to play a game I call ‘Who Can Hit The Other First’. No, no, they didn’t come to blows. They were merely using their vehicles to hit each other. When that game was tied, Then they came to blows. All the while I was sitting inside the auto thinking, “if you guys could take your fight a few hundred meters ahead, then I can get down at my stop.”

Project F is running everyone ragged. Project X & Y are running below the radar. Fully expecting them to pop up at the most inopportune time.

Over the weekend, a prominent politician was arrested because she broke the rules. And then people protested the arrest because umm….actually, I have no idea why.

Dude on the same floor is shouting & screaming. Yes, Inside office. Apparently some cricket match is going on. And he is disturbing people nearby…who are watching movies! Wow!

Call with onsite guy. Project F dominates the talk. He hears the screaming and asks why there is a kid nearby. Doesn’t believe me when I say it’s a guy from another team.

Noticed the rising Sun while leaving. Thought it was beautiful until it blinded me. Stupid Sun!

Didn’t see the beautiful morning girl, so sad.

Night 7

Friend and myself decide to bestow code names for some of our colleagues. NRI, headphones, whitey, tiny, new girl, Sir Laughs-A-Lot, gym boy, silence, school boy, old man, blah-blah etc were some the names that made the list. Way too many people contended for the title of ‘Loud Speaker’ though and we couldn’t decide on a winner.

Far too many mails in my inbox. Half of them are unnecessary info & FYI mails. Created rules to file away or trash these mails. Named them Crap and Mega-Crap.

Onsite call again. At the other end of the room, Screaming Dude is at it again. Onsite guy declares there is a kid next to me. Even asks me if the kid Is my own. What nonsense, I don’t even like kids!

Saw a mouse on the floor. Mouse asks “dude, why you are in the night shift??” Why is the mouse questioning Me about night shift? Isn’t that tiny rascal Always in night shift??!! Okay… I may have been hallucinating this part.

Project F is a royal pain in the …. Ohh wait, there is another escalation.

Suggested a kick ass solution to a pressing problem. Got the green signal. Felt good. Thought about actually implementing it. Didn’t feel so good.

Random dude starts talking to me in the bus ride back home. Took me 5 secs to realize he was actually talking to ME. Thought it was too late to tell him that I had no absolutely idea what he was talking about. So politely nodded along in a way that is neither an Yes nor a No; I am the king of ambiguity!

Night 8

Most prominent thing about the first half of the night was headphones eyeballing me every time we crossed paths. Or was it me who was eyeballing? Personally, I would prefer ‘eyeballing’ only One particular girl in our floor.

Guy declares his day has been stressful because of one high priority issue. Lol. One. Singular. Here I am juggling multiple high priority stuff and he is talking about one, single, solitary issue. Of course, I don’t say this out loud. Instead I just lend a sympathetic “ohh, what happened?”

My ID card broke off from its tag! Weird. So I went to Admin to get a new one and they only have old & used ones in stock. Tells me they are into recycling everything now. I don’t even….

Project F is being shined up real nice to be inserted into…well, PROD.

Noisy chips eater, munching away on his chips without a care in the world. I am not pleased.

Spent half the night developing and perfecting the solution I suggested the previous day. Finally, after a lot of rigorous testing, it was ready. Then they say they don’t need it. Exercised tremendous self-control not to do violent things. Did use a lot of words that rhymes with luck though.

Left office seeing the Sun rising from the horizon once again. Saw many people making their way into office. Felt pity that they had to come in to office on a National holiday. Then quickly realized I am coming in night shift. For 8 days. Damn!

Night 9

Holiday!! Yay! A very important person in our country’s independence was born today.

Why is he important? Many youngsters and school kids will say it’s because he gave us a national holiday.

Who is he, you ask? Some prominent personality will give you a name….only that happens to be the name of a different prominent person, one who is very much alive.

And then there are some who lament the fact that this ‘dude’ was not born on a Monday or a Friday this year because “then we would have got a long weekend yaar!!”

Night 10

Last night in night shift. Office Campus almost deserted as I walk in. Office half empty as I enter.

Project F is finally done. Everybody is happy. Congrats being passed around like a joint in a party.

Gave updates for another project. Don’t see any other high project for the day, that can’t be right!

People are watching a movie inside office. Apparently it is hilarious. But then I start hearing weird sounds. Hopefully they are still watching comedy only and not something that sounds similar to Maria Sharapova playing tennis.

Work is still calm. No escalation, no urgent priorities. Addressing random issues here and there, no Biggy. Calm before the storm??

One dude hides behind a pillar to scare people. Two guys get scared. Another guy was filming the whole thing. My mind is too numb by now to react.

Friend proudly announces he is leaving for the day. An hour later, I still see him inside office. Nope, I didn’t curse him, I promise.

Random dude plays a romantic song out loud. Song is nice. Then he plays it again. And again. Okay. Fourth time. Hmmm. Five. This guy must be in love or got dumped recently. Six. Calmly took out my mobile, searched for Eminem’s ‘No Love’, positioned to the start of Eminem’s rap, cranked up the volume and let it rip! Peace.

Conference call: Everyone is relieved that we managed to get so many things done. Main guy says there was a Partner who came in today and said they wanted to Live today itself. Two hours are left for the day. We all laugh. Nope, they weren’t kidding, they were dead serious. 5 secs of complete silence. Then we laugh some more.

Noisy chips eater is at it again. I take out the first of my two bags of chips, it’s gonna be Revenge of the Chips!

Starting at the clock, counting down the time to leave office. Felt like the times we usher in the New Year, except that I was alone and there was no girl for me to kiss. But the happiness is more this time around.

Finally! Its time! I am free! Freedom is so….ohh, there pops up a new mail. Titled Urgent. In all caps. With stars and other assorted symbols….. Urgent my ass, I am outta here!! Sayonara.

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