Injecting sunshine?

Three hectic months. Two people*. One project.**

We stumbled, fumbled, messed up, and from being way behind schedule, made a last minute dash towards the finish line. The hangover from our project took a month to get over, and our hard work paid off in the form of a third place award for 2D animation.

Things were beginning to return to normal – I was catching up on my assignments, and my team member picked up a job.

But that’s when it all really started.

A shooting pain went down the left side of my lower back. It must have been a sprain I picked up while running to catch a bus last winter. It had troubled me a lot at the time, but had disappeared in the summer. I went out for a walk, and the pain subsided. I began walking regularly, expecting that it would heal over time.

Then, on a cold December morning, the pain increased exponentially. I mustered up courage to take a walk with my mother. Holding on to her shoulder, I limped at a snail’s pace. Ten minutes later, she said, “That’s enough – we’re going to the doctor”.

Four days, three blood tests, two X-rays, one diagnosis. Blood sugar – normal. Blood count – normal. Bones, muscles – no issues detected. Vitamin D3 – negligible!

The doctor wasn’t amused. Heavy dosage of vitamin supplements daily, extra heavy dosage weekly, and rather painful injections monthly. And of course, a long lecture on the importance of Vitamin D3, and sunshine. Once word got out, in came a flurry of forwarded emails, and anecdotes about lots of people suffering from the same condition.

‘Oh! These days everyone seems to having that. You must spend time outdoors, you know.’

‘My colleague fell down and broke her bone’

‘I wanted to change my work timings so that I could spend some time outdoors. My boss wasn’t happy. He told me to go get injections. His wife is doing that’

The television and newspaper joined the party, and began informing me about it too.

I learnt a lot… The deficiency of this vitamin is apparently linked to obesity, diabetes, and even cancer. It also inhibits the body from fixing itself. Perhaps that was the reason I never recovered properly from injuries. Although Vitamin supplements are available, the one produced naturally is the best.

Sunlight is required to assimilate Vitamin D. And so it is dubbed the ‘sunshine vitamin’. As it turns out, the phrase has a figurative meaning too. Being exposed to the sun also affects our mood.

Living in the tropical region, I always wondered why sunny days were ‘happy’, and the month of May was considered ‘merry’. Personally, I prefer a cloudy day. But science has confirmed that sunshine makes us happy, and a lack of it, gloomy and irritable.

I began spending more time in the local park. One day, after walking, I stepped off the jogging track, and took off my shoes. The damp grass tickled my feet, and invited me to stay a little longer. I obliged by lingering on… I lay down on my back and looked up at the sky, and I wondered, when was the last time I felt this good…

Our lifestyles have changed drastically over the past few decades. And it is leading to an increasingly large number of problems. We live in an artificially created environment, barely move our limbs, and are married to gadgets.

We are not computers, we were created by nature. That is how we have survived for so long on this planet, and no matter how far science progresses, we cannot create a sun, and definitely cannot inject sunshine.

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* The People : my partner-in-crime – together, we’re guilty of creating a monster! He’s recently started blogging.

**The Project : I’d like to think the project was responsible for several of my problems, but it probably just aggravated something that has existed for years. I’ll explain all about it in the next post!

Related Post – Interview In A Dungeon


Interview In A Dungeon

A few weeks back, I went for an interview conducted by a super secret unidentified company. Since I am still studying, and will probably want a job soon, I shall refrain from mentioning the name or location of the company.

The interview was short – just a few questions like why I would want to work there, and whether I knew what kind of work was being done. The rest of the day was spent in giving the ‘test’ – and it was really enjoyable. I was given a storyboard, character and background graphics and voice over. I had to string them together into an animated clip.

The office was located in an obscure location – locating it was an adventure by itself. And when I entered it, I took an instant dislike to it. Although it looked large from the outside, it seemed to lack space inside. The windows were covered with black paper and there were millions of lights on the roof. This got me thinking, why were the windows constructed at all, if they had to be covered up. And what’s the point of covering up natural light, and installing so many artificial lights?

But despite my initial dislike, I loved the work that they did. As I mentioned earlier, I actually enjoyed what was supposed to be a test!

I requested a lunch break, and was readily given one. There was a small grocery shop just next to the office and I enquired whether there was any place where I could get a decent meal. The lady said, well, if you have some packed lunch, you can eat with me… otherwise, there isn’t any such place around here. I accepted her offer of company and bought whatever she could offer by way of food. I casually enquired about the company and her opinion of the people who worked there. Satisfied with her response, and the ‘meal’ of juice and cake, I resumed my test.

My interviewer shared her concerns regarding the fact that I lived far off and the working hours were not fixed. But I had a much bigger concern.

Working for long hours in an environment that provides absolutely no natural light is disastrous. After personally experiencing consequences of working in such an environment for just three months, I can testify that the employees’ health will deteriorate without them even knowing about it.*

I understand that this is the case practically everywhere on the planet, and for some technical reasons, shutting out real light and living in an artificially created environment is justified. But an organisation should allow (or maybe force) employees to leave the office premises and enjoy some fresh air and good old sunshine.

If the lovely lady and gentleman who interviewed me are reading this, I hope you will still welcome me to your office, should I come begging for a job (I love the work!). But I also hope you will consider that the poor work environment is perhaps the reason why you have such a high turnover in the first place.

Healthy employees = Happy employees = Low turnover + Better Output

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* I will leave the explanation for another post!