I wrote a blog on ‘Inclusive Work Place’ sometime back! Not just work place, I am an inclusive person, at least I think myself to be one! I am from Jabalpur, an educational city, which has diverse geographical landscape with Narmada, a mountain river, flowing by its side. Somehow I grew up to be an inclusive person with due gratitude to this beautiful warm city where people from different places converging to settle here. My paternal family came all the way from Khulnaa, then East Bengal. My immediate neighbours in Wright Town, the place where I was born and spent 10 years were Nairs and Bhargavas. As a child I have no idea where they were from but knew I had access to their home just like mine and the relation still remains. When Baba, my father had an accident and we moved to Rampur, MPEB quarters, we got Marathi brothers, along with endless relations with different ethnic backgrounds. I learnt I am a Bengali only when I married as I was not a Sindhi! My big hearted mother-in-law taught me to love not only the language, but also Sindhi music and culture which is intrinsic of most Indians. Basically inclusiveness settled in my blood.
When for the first time I had to block a person from all virtual communication on April 27, 2021 — WhatsApp and Facebook, it created discomfort because of that inherent inclusiveness of mine. Thankfully my faith in universe took care of me so I accepted with grace and recovered. My profile on Facebook states that I joined in 2009 though I cannot remember who was responsible for my joining this space. WhatsApp I had to adapt to as part of my work in the University and thanks to an android mobile gifted to me by Sudhir, my brother-in-law in 2014 February as Gut, my sister moved back to India from Abu Dhabi in December 2013 after working abroad since 2007. He knew how close we sisters are. First time in 13 years in Facebook and first time in 7 years from WhatsApp, not bad I suppose. When required I have had to shut out people from my life, I have tried to do that gently not abruptly. This time I was working on things and did not have time in my hands.
I am sharing what happened, so people do not have to invent the wheel, in case they get into a similar situation. I know that each person is unique and diverse and have their own perspective to deal with situations. Initially when I had joined Facebook I had accepted all request without a clue who the person was; I thought it was a normal process to accept any and all friend requests. In course of time I stopped accepting these requests. I was part of NSS faculty team in the University, so many students from all streams knew me. They would send friend requests which I kept accepting.
All my actions were spontaneous and the time line was happening at a fast pace. I accepted a person’s (Dr. B) friend request on Facebook around 15–16 April 2021 and saved his number on 18th April. I avoid taking calls as I do not wish to. Most of my communication is through writing. WhatsApp keeps records of when a person’s number is added, that is how I remember dates, otherwise my brain prefers to not keep track. I was in the middle of checking IGNOU assignments and was running late. I was contacted earlier for this by IGNOU administrators, but I was in Ashram then. When I returned the first week I went away to College campus and therefore collected the assignments on 10 April, could check only Saturday Sunday and again left for campus. 17 being Saturday full day I was checking assignments and carried it over into Sunday. The next week too I continued checking assignments after coming back from campus. 25 April morning I received a message from Dr. B asking my address as his young son had liked to get something for me. Mornings I am hardly functional so it did not register. 1.29 p.m. I received a reminder from him to send address which I did but added a note as decently as possible that things available in foreign lands are of no use to me. Then I went to sleep. Evening I told him not to send anything due to the pandemic situation. He replied that his agent had already sent. And I would receive on Tuesday.
27 April Tuesday morning I received message from him to ask if I had got the parcel. Obviously I had forgotten about it. I responded that I would inform as soon as I would get. Then got busy observing online classes. As I was not picking his repeated calls he wrote that his agent had got call that the parcel had reached and I was not accepting calls. I shrugged thinking one of those persons, who does not know I do not take any calls in the morning. I replied I had not got any calls. I shared my landlady’s number and wrote that the delivery person can call her. He presumed that someone had called for delivery and I should call back. I again replied that I did not receive any call. Post noon I learnt that he had sent laptop, watch and some other stuff. I was zapped. At one point I had wondered what a 4 year old would like to send to an old woman. No wonder I was zapped at the strangeness of the situation. He kept insisting how wrong I was to not take calls. It was 12.14 p.m. Between 1.00 and 1.14 I got a call from customs that I would have to get the parcel cleared with a payment of Rs. 35,000/-. I wrote to the person that the customs were asking money which I did not have and I did not want anything. When I spoke with the person he tried to cajole me that I should pay and get the stuff cleared from the customs.
As I was busy with back to back meetings, I did not have time to get any feelings regarding what was happening. I wrote the custom person’s number with a note that the number could be called for whatever needed to be done about the parcel and I blocked the number at 1.34 p.m.
I am not mentioning the full name of the person who called, as it is easy to change name and profile. I have dealt with persons with so many issues but never felt the need to block them. I learnt that I can and it is ok to do so, if need arises.