- 09 Feb - 15 Feb, 2019
The Devil wears Prada
- 20 Jan - 26 Jan, 2018
I often tell my friends to watch The Devil Wears Prada before joining the work force. There is no one who can induce the fear of working under a boss like Meryl Streep. She impersonates the devil so masterfully that it gives one goosebumps.
Meryl gives you all the feels. But once you see Anne Hathaway survive her wrath, you realise what it means to have a tough boss. Surprisingly, a boss who makes your life miserable helps you grow and learn the most. You might even get to see their soft side if you hang in there long enough, for no one is pure evil.
“What’s your boss like?” I asked one day as we lounged on our porch, without a care in the world.
“My boss?” he echoed confusingly.
“Yes, Fawad, who else’s? In fact, didn’t you tell me a few weeks ago that a new person is heading your department now? You have a new boss and we really haven’t hashed out anything about this mysterious person.”
I became intrigued all of a sudden. Fawad isn’t that vocal about office gossip but I succinctly remember him telling me a few months back that a new person was heading their department since the previous HOD got transferred to their branch in Dubai.
Now I was wondering why I hadn’t heard anything about this new person.
“So tell me,” I asked, smiling encouragingly.
“She’s ok. I guess.”
“She? Your boss is a woman? The person you answer directly to is a woman and you are telling this to me now?”
I was trying to keep calm. In fact, I was calm. I just found it a bit strange that he had not mentioned it to me earlier.
I know I am educated and sane and definitely a person who does not let something so petty get to her but I couldn’t hide my annoyance at the revelation this time.
“Your boss is a woman?”
“Yes, Saima, what is so strange about that? I mean if it isn’t a man, it would be a woman.”
“There’s nothing strange about it but I am just wondering why I haven’t heard about her before. Is she pretty?”
Oh great Saima, now you’re sounding like a typical woman jumping to conclusions. About time you let your smarter self take over.
But I couldn’t help it. I am a woman. And as a woman, I felt insecure.
“How old is she?” I couldn’t keep myself from voicing.
“How old? I don’t know. I can’t ask her now, can I?”
Hmm… is he getting defensive?
“Of course not,” I replied. Then, as an immediate afterthought, “But you surely must have noticed if she is young or old,” I blurted out.
“She’s about your age Saima, our age really, since we are just a few years apart.”
Aha! A twist in the tale.
I know I should’ve stopped before getting ahead of myself but now that I had started, I knew it was too late. I needed to bring this to a close.
Actually if it was any other person I would’ve stopped. But the comfort level Fawad and I shared encouraged me to continue. If we were open about everything then why did he keep this from me?
On the flip side, I knew my husband and I knew where he was coming from. He probably didn’t tell me to avoid the very situation he was facing now.
He didn’t want a show down and he didn’t want me to turn into a psycho maniac out of suspicion, which I could sense myself becoming as we spoke.
What was I thinking before I started this fiasco? I was thinking of bosses and the way they manipulate their employees into becoming their slaves. The words of Pink Floyd came to mind, “You’re just another brick in the wall.”
“Well, if my husband was just another brick then he really wasn’t of any interest to anyone,” I mused.
“You know Saima, I didn’t mention anything earlier because I knew this is exactly how you would react. You always take things to a dramatic edge-of-the-cliff. See? Now you’ve got me thinking like you too. This is not even the real me.”
I could sense Fawad getting edgy. He was regretting telling me about his new boss. If it was in his power, he would have turned back time and told me that his boss was a man. I felt bad about everything. I felt guilty and emotionally drained. I realised that I was pushing my husband away and actually tempting him to lie to me. If I continued getting worked up about everything so much then that day was not far away when my husband would conveniently lie to my face, only telling me things that made me happy, and then where would that leave us as spouses?
Being a woman is certainly tough. We have some default features that we cannot do anything about because they stem from the very fact that we are women. The double XX, the double trouble.
I turned around to face Fawad. He had turned his back to me.
I deserved it. It made me upset but it was entirely my fault.
“Fawad, are you not going to talk to me now?” I asked in a meek voice.
“Have I ever stopped talking to you Saima?”
He was apparently still ticked off but I could sense him easing down for my sake. He was like that.
The balance was important.
A thought came to my mind. “Fawad,” I said almost musically, “You know what?”
He turned around to face me with a smile playing on his lips. Why did I have to make him upset and why was I always so dramatic? I wondered, regretfully.
“You’re my boss,” I said emphatically. And I meant it in a nice way. He kept me grounded and focused. He gave me the liberty to feel empowered and he mentored me whenever I needed it. He was everything a good boss and leader should be. And that wasn’t so bad after all, was it?
“I’m not your boss, Saima. I’m your friend. I should’ve been more open. I know I should’ve told you earlier. I am sorry, not because I made you unhappy but because I genuinely believe that I hurt you,” he continued, “Although you did sound terribly like my boss a few minutes back.”
We laughed heartily at his joke, while I silently thanked God for introducing someone like Fawad in my life. A woman does not hear testimonies like these often. She goes without even expecting an apology most of the time. And yet she chooses to continue loving. When Fawad opened up to me in such an honest manner, I fell in love with him again. He was always sincere to me. I don’t know why I doubted him in the first place.
And thus, an uneventful evening turned into an interesting one for both of us. •