Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The Office Puja

Working in India vs being a tourist in India takes some adjustment. I have been coming to India over the past 20 odd years as both a tourist and the wife of an Indian spouse. Although my marriage ended nearly 16 years ago, I have always had a feeling that India was somehow part of my genetic make up.

One of the things that I love about living and working in India is that the spiritual is woven into everyday life, even corporate India. Last month we had an office puja (prayer offering) to ensure that our company continues to prosper. One of the office cubicles was converted into an alter; the IT guy is also a Hindu priest so we had the puja during work hours. The smell of incense wafting through the office lingered long after the puja finished.

On my rickshaw ride to work each morning, I pass small, colorful, street-side Hindu temples adjacent to stalls selling fruits and veggies, medical supplies and umbrellas. Nearby, a stray dog or cow may be rifling though a pile of last night's yet-to-be picked up garbage. A puja may be going on with the ringing of bells and the lighting of incense. It takes me out of my morning wind-up to a fast-paced day in corporate India for a few moments, and I do a mental reboot on my reasons for being here...