Dear PM, Please Stop Bragging About Not Taking Chhutti, My Boss Just Cancelled Mine


Dear PM, Please Stop Bragging About Not Taking Chhutti, My Boss Just Cancelled Mine

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

Dear Prime Minister,

In your recent speech from Bhilwara in Rajasthan, you boasted about never taking a leave. Your speech was playing in the office cafeteria while we were having lunch, and my manager playfully nudged me and said, “Kuch seekh!” As a corporate slave who hasn’t seen the sun set in six months and has had every leave rejected in the past year, I was tempted to reply, but keeping the job is more important than a sick burn. So I did what every employee does – pretend to laugh at your boss’s childish jibe and channel your anger somewhere else. I wasn’t on the road, so I stabbed the paneer on my plate with a vengeance.

Dear Modi ji, every few days, we are greeted with a WhatsApp forward about your great work ethic. Some say you work 18 hours a day, others say 20, while some kind folks have claimed that you’ve defied the laws of time and now work 25 hours a day. You work on the plane (where you spend more time than 7 RCR), you work during festivals, you work while eating, and you work while doing yoga. We mortals sleep-walk but I’m pretty sure you sleep-work too. Good for you, but your claims are making life even more tough for us.

“Modi ji bunk maarte hai kya? Chup chaap school jao,” parents tell their children. And today when I was leaving work, my manager told me, “Prime Minister 18 ghante kaam karte hain, aur tu 8 baje nikal raha hai! Half day kis khushi mein?” During team-building programmes, we will now be shown your memes as motivation. You are slowly becoming the ultimate Sharma ji ka beta, as the rest of us struggle to score 35.

Waah Modi ji, waah. I accept that you’re as hardworking as you claim to be. Because if I don’t, an online army is ready to troll me. Looks like they never take any leave either. My concern isn’t that your claims are untrue, Modi ji. When has anyone from the IT cell ever lied using a photoshopped image? My worry is if your claims will set a bad precedent.

Modiji, everyone needs a vacation. They say, even God rested on the seventh day.

When you asked from the podium at Bhilwara, Did you ever hear that I took a holiday? Did you ever hear I went somewhere for leisure or was missing for a week?”, you might have been taking a potshot at RaGa. But here’s the thing: I don’t think he gets these jibes. What you’re doing is making our jobs tougher. Anyway we Indians are overworked – now taking a break will also be considered anti-national.  

With your statements, you reinforced the Indian workplace commandments: If you go on a vacation or take time out for yourself, you are not serious about your job. If you do anything apart from work, you are not working hard enough. If you take leave, you better have had your legs broken or be diagnosed with some life-threatening illness. The time you spend at work is an indicator of your dedication. Work-life balance is a myth, like unicorns or… acche din.  

Modiji, everyone needs a vacation. They say, even God rested on the seventh day.

When you don’t rest well, you slip up. Look at what happened to your overworked BFF Amit Shah in Manipur and Madhya Pradesh?    

I wonder why you hesitate to go on chhutti. While you are way, there’s an entire team that can take important decisions, like where to build the next statute or which former PM to attack in a speech. I hope you get my drift. Go, take a break. I don’t need to advise you about possible holiday destinations – your frequent flier miles are bigger than my bank balance.

The next time we read about you on WhatsApp, let it be about your vacation to the Star Wars Museum, so that you don’t confuse it with X-Men. Because after all we all need a break – from each other.

Yours faithfully,

A Corporate Slave