Outlook Traveller
Trees Company Image Credit: Outlook Traveller
Trees Company Image Credit: Outlook Traveller

Tree's Company

Outside Bengaluru, a Nofrills Homestay Built Around a Mango Tree. Srinath Perur Climbs in for Some Silence.

Srinath Perur

Some years ago I worked in a corporate office awash with garbled management-speak. People were given to saying things like, “We’ll come to the nitty-gritties later. Give me the 30,000-foot view.” We were incapable of having a meeting or a discussion without calling it a brainstorming session. Which produced something we called actionable items (though not much ever seemed to get done). The one thing we sought above all else was traction. All meetings and conference calls ended with the promise that another would be set up “once we have some traction” on the actionable items of this one. We sent emails to our managers saying we would revert back—it was always revert back—once we had traction on whatever it was we were supposed to be doing.

But the thing about traction was that even as we spoke about it all the time, there seemed so little of it in our physical working environment. The tables our computers rested on were made of some sort of faintly glistening brown substance that was either wood trying to be plastic or plastic trying to be wood. The brainstorming would happen on glass topped tables with actionable items squeaked out on shiny white-boards. We sat in chairs whose casters allowed us to glide over to the next cubicle. Vast panels of glass divided spaces, presumably so people could watch and be watched, a literal manifestation of transparency that was internalised by nobody. We smiled brightly at each other and exchanged greetings but beneath the surface wa

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