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Thursday, December 22, 2005

year ending thoughts

As one crosses the twentieth day of December, one ponders over the past and, in most cases, enjoys a few silent moments with his inner self in analyzing his personal gains and losses. Most of those who are employed are governed by two sets of years – one is the calendar year from January to December, the other is the financial year from April to March. The logic in maintaining such a system is not readily understandable. However, to the employed, it is the calendar year that has a greater appeal.

One of the reasons is that leave entitlements are calculated based on the calendar year – casual leaves are meant for sudden requirements over the year. These normally lapse if not availed within the year. Some are lucky to keep them preserved till the last possible minute – the result is fantastic: he (or she) derives immense pleasure in watching the not-so-lucky ones brave it out in the cold to reach offices while they relax in the sun.

Another reason is the LTC – these are facilities extended by some employers to their employees to enable them to travel and enjoy the diversities of different places. These LTCs or Leave Travel Concessions also lapse if not utilized within a certain period. Here again, the last day is 31st December.

The best part is, without doubt, the picnics in neighboring locations where one surrenders oneself to laze in the sun and watch butterflies flit from flower to flower or stare at birds chirping high above in the branches or watch a stray leaf as it sails down to the ground or listen to the ripple of the water as they jump from stone to stone on the banks of the river. These picnics can be family outings or in the company of close friends or even in a group. If the location is far away and there is a large group, one becomes a part of the whole and tries his hands at so many things that he would never ordinarily think of. Like – singing out of tune or bowling doosras or swiping at every ball outside any of the stumps. Breakfast of bread sandwiches, boiled eggs and bananas with tea or coffee, lunch of mutton curry, rice, tomato chutney and a couple of rosogollas or gulab jamuns and evening tea with biscuits before pack up are the usual menu for such outings. Hard drinks are always consumed on the sly and, there are invariably one or two members who find it difficult to hold on to their drinks – they provide enjoyment for the others.

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