Among major shifts accompanying COVID-19 and lockdown was Work from Home (WFH). Initially it was heralded as the digital future. Now, we are worried if it may end up an annoying blend of neither the best of office nor the best of home.
Over the past few months, periodic interactions with friends and relatives threw up concerns about WFH; especially long hours of work given employee is anyway at home and available on call. The boundary between home and office has increasingly blurred. With time we may retract to a more enlightened form of WFH. However, there are challenges. Currently, there is more money in an inch of technology than a mile of human life. In world by money, we just can’t be sure what will eventually triumph. In the meantime, as with many things beyond our control, the best option we have is to laugh at our predicament.
The recent past has for some reason drawn me closer to the music of Chris Rea, the British rock and blues artiste. His debut album was in 1978. In the late 1980s, somebody gifted me his album: Dancing with Strangers. It had the hit song Let’s Dance. From then on, I have listened to his work on and off. But of late, I have grown to genuinely appreciate his style. A talented guitarist, he keeps his music simple. His compositions often evoke a sense of space and momentum (a good example being that beautiful song: Set Me Free). I like this idiom of peaceful, spatial and moving in a world becoming more and more complicated and congested.
Working on It was a song he released in 1989.
Here are the lyrics:
Oh how I’d love it girl, just you and me
Take the day and fly
But oh this job, it’s got the best of me
Tell you why, tell you why
Somebody above is in a desperate state
Some kind of urgency, the kind that won’t wait
I say tomorrow, he say today
And the man in my head well he tell me no way
I got eight little fingers and only two thumbs
Will you leave me in peace while I get the job done
Can’t you see I’m working
Oh, oh I’m working on it
Oh, oh I’m working on it
Well they’re coming from above me
And they’re coming from below
Yea they’re in there right behind me
Everywhere that I go
And my buddy, he’s screaming down the telephone line
He say gimme, gimme, gimme
I say I ain’t got the time
Oh, oh can’t you see I’m working on it
Oh, oh I’m working on it…
A few days ago as I revisited this old song, I felt it could be an anthem for our WFH days.
Use good headphones, speakers.
Turn up the volume.
Amidst WFH, shake a leg.
(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)