As Kriti pulled the chair closer to the desk, adjusted its height and switched on the lamp, she noticed the notification glow on her laptop. It was just about six in the morning and the first rays of sun were just brightening up the horizon. Birds were at their melodious best amidst the trees in her apartment complex. It was a pity that Kriti had to supplant herself to work, instead of her routine morning walk. During the week, she had been swarmed with member posts that she was yet to review. This, amidst demands for her to write a few posts herself, meant she needed to alter her morning routine.

Chief Editor at a fast growing online publication, Kriti had not thought much about the demands of the platform at the time of signing up six months back. Having spent more than a decade in the frenzied world of newspaper publication, from being a starry-eyed reporter-journalist to leading team of writers, she was constantly setting the bar higher and egging her team to go beyond their imaginable limits of writing glory. Having always lead by example, she was now being challenged on the new platform, with young writers in their early twenties with little history of writing, doling out great posts on wide ranging subjects. What amazed Kriti was the abject lack of co-relation between one’s age and the depth of emotions their post.

As she quickly checked her emails, she made a mental note to personally talk to few of the writers who had been writing consistently. She was looking at building a new team to focus on the post-pandemic scenario and needed someone to lead the initiative. The management had reviewed reports on surge of mental issues among the teenagers and youth due to the lockdown. There was a urgent need to understand the people impacted and create content that can help these people cope better with the situation.

The shift to work-from-home due to the Corona induced lockdown had been a blessing in disguise for people in the media industry. While there was the obvious challenge of not meeting people in person leading to a lessened awareness of their well-being, productivity had gone up. Kriti was glad she could spend more time with Akriti, her eight year old daughter. She would peep in sometimes during her online classes, spend time with her early evening on the homework or take her to the park.

Having gone through the routine of checking email and WhatsApp notifications, Kriti spent an hour on her next blog post. She realised that her creativity quotient was at its best in the morning, when the world was still sleeping and so was her small family. By eight the house would be buzzing with activity as she would enter the kitchen to ensure the maid had prepared the breakfast for everyone.

By nine thirty, with hubby Akarsh onto his work routine and Akriti in her class, Kriti, after a quick shower, was back at work. Akarsh had just recently started going out for work meetings. Consultant with KPMG, he had not had it easy with Zoom calls, engaging with customers rattled by the business slowdown, and asking them for more business. He was more at ease exercising his charms on them in face-to-face meetings.

Till noon, the time just flew by for Kriti, attending to multiple calls, one-on-one sessions and conference calls with various team members across the country. It had been an unusually busy day for her. With surge in readership on the platform, it was getting difficult to have a unified theme of content. There was constant demand to innovate and build content across myriad set of topics. The print industry had made a comeback of sorts. With readers exhausted seeing their screens for during work, holding onto and reading the newspaper was suddenly in fashion. On the digital front, there was never ending debate on App vs Web, with both having its own pros and cons.

After a quick lunch of pasta and salad that was favourite of Akriti and herself respectively, Kriti was back at her desk by two, for the post lunch session. She reserved this time to reading, check on the happenings on the platform and updates on various social and political issues in the country. As she was reading, she also made quick notes on the points to include in her post. It was a constant challenge for Kriti, while she had to read on what was being written and discussed on the other media platforms, yet she could not let her mind get influenced by them. She had to have a strict discipline on what was ok to be inspired by and what had to be strictly ignored.

At quarter to five, after having battled sleep for almost fifteen minutes, Kriti was about to get up when she get call from Rajat. Rajat, the young and very promising assistant editor in her team had been battling multiple issues of late. Shaken up by his father’s demise after a long fight with Cancer, his mother had tested positive for Corona a few days back. Family was totally shaken as she had not stepped out of the house for 6 months since March and they had taken all necessary precautions. Rajat called to inform that she was being admitted to Max hospital, as the doctors did not want to take any chances, considering her age. Kriti understood the situation and told Rajat not to worry about the article that he was to review and submit that day. She made a mental note to set aside some time for the same later in the evening. After having a quick chai with new set of cookies ordered on Swiggy from the bakery near-by, she walked into Aakriti’s room. Having completed her online class an hour back, Aakriti had had a quick nap and now was ready for some ‘masti’ time with mom.

By eight pm, she was ready for warm dinner of daal-chawal with family. Akarsh had just returned back after day long meetings across town. With the mandatory shower and change routine completed,  Akarsh was as ravenous as a wild tiger. Akriti had exhausted all her energy playing in the park earlier and was ready for her last meal before dozing off. The maid coming in for the morning and evening meals had been a big relief for Kriti. Especially after the long months of summer, when she had to stage-manage all three meals for the family, seven days a week.

After chatting with Akarsh for a bit while having the warm chocolate cake that she had the got the previous day, Kriti was back at her desk by ten. Having done a detailed review and spellcheck on the articles that she had composed in the morning, satisfied that she could not improve it any further, she pressed the ‘submit’ button and heaved a sigh of relief. Just when she was about to shut the laptop, she noted couple of emails pop into her inbox. With the subject line  of her boss’ email clearly indicating more work, she had neither the inclination nor the energy to open and read the same. 

As she snuggled into the blanket, her mind was already zooming through on the tasks she had already lined up for the next day. Checking again on the alarm next to her bed, she adjusted the time to five thirty, as the extra thirty minutes will allow her time to meditate before rest of the activities of the day. With her mind buzzing on the to-do-list and the spillover work, she did not realise when her eyes closed and she fell fast asleep.

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