Guest Article #50: For the Joy of Sharing

The Virtual Guests At My Dinner Table

By Swati Kakodkar
Educator, Founder & Storyteller – STORY KI BORY, Bangalore


Foreword by Venkat
Just as ‘No size fits all’, no meaning fits all because in the human space, there is no end to its dimensions. Meanings switch quickly depending on the level of one’s trust, interest, purpose and needs. There could be as many reasons to connect as there could be for conflicts. Given the presence of humans in any social situation, there is always a different shade of meaning for everyone and humor is certainly one of the dimensions among them.

Swati presents a sweet chapter in a lighter vein from the pages of the pandemic we all have lived through. I am sure this story will resonate with most people who worked online, having innumerable meetings with some in parallel with lunch or dinner in the presence of other family members. While the pandemic taught us many great lessons on human values, it also brought in peculiar and unusual social situations to savor in irrepressible waves of laughter.


Enjoy this lovely short story from a wonderful story teller – Swati Kakodkar.


Swati Kakodkar is the Founder & Storyteller at “Story ki Bory®” – an initiative with a vision to make a definite difference, and create a positive change through the transforming energy of stories and storytelling. Swati believes in destiny, and at the same time strongly believes that it’s up to each person to make it a reality – like when she stumbled upon storytelling in the US libraries where she participated in the parent-child sessions with her son. She herself was so awed by the story time program that she decided to try her hand at it.

Website: http://www.storykibory.co.in

The Virtual Guests At My Dinner Table

“Papa, was Tanmay from your office team asked to leave because he did not complete any of his tasks on time?” My hubby is aghast, hearing this question from my 13-year-old! Hubby looks at me with a big question mark on his face – “How does the child know this?” “Don’t ask me”, I retaliate, “Blame it on the virtual guests who have been joining us at the dinner table!”

When the pandemic struck, hubby started working from home, like thousands of other IT professionals in the city of Bangalore, and elsewhere in the world. With rooms in the apartment occupied due to online school classes, hubby was relegated to the common dining area in the house – and I must admit he took it up without a fuss. But what the rest of the family didn’t realize was that with this arrangement, we brought home a bunch of virtual guests who joined us for dinner every night as hubby ate dinner while being in and out of office meetings.

“Soon these guests became a part of our lives. For my son, largely confined to the four walls of the home, Papa’s office conversations became a source of interesting time-pass and curiosity. In a few weeks’ time, the boy knew names of all the team members, their locations, what issues they were facing and even their voices! My mother meanwhile began to feel sorry for the lady team members who joined virtual meetings during dinner time. “When would they have finished their cooking? Do they have young children?” Empathy ran high. It was a time when my heart swelled with a little pride when I witnessed hubby patiently mentor a fresher, or stick out his neck to support a team member. During this time, words like “Strategic sales, Release dates, Onboarding, JIRA, KRAs, ‘Don’t reinvent the wheel’, Synergies, Cloud, DevOps etc.”, became an integral part of our dinner menu; while the mild squabbles and juicy gossip spiced up our – sometimes – insipid food.”

With the arrival of the new year, the pandemic restrictions got diluted a bit and hubby had to report to office thrice a week. The first day of his return to office was a joyous one as the office welcomed its employees with bright decorations, sweet treats, free lunch and a week of fun, sports and games. At home though, the scene was a contrast – silence seemed to have enveloped the house. The dining table looked empty without the laptops, headphones, cellphone, books, papers and pens. Time seemed to move in slo-mo. But what we missed the most was the fact that along with hubby, our many virtual guests had left our home, our dining table and our dinner times. But they could never entirely leave our lives, for through them, the pandemic had taught us some important lessons – Empathy will always be in fashion – Each of us is fighting our own battles – To make the best of what is available – The cleverest strategy in today’s times is to adapt, adapt, and adapt. Most importantly to retain humor in our lives, just like we did, thanks to our virtual guests who joined us at our dinner table. Bon appetite!”

By Swati Kakodkar
Educator, Founder & Storyteller – STORY KI BORY, Bangalore

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