Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Time flies

A long long time ago..actually, one year, I walked into MT to be one of its elite members, on this very day.

Was I nervous? Yes, of course.
Was I excited and dreaming of a better tomorrow?
I would be a fool or unnatural, if I wasn’t.
Did it live upto my expectations?
Partly. But, I will leave that discussion for later.
However, this bit really isn’t about deciding merits and demerits; it is however, about remembering a year gone by with fondness and exasperation, mixed in, in equal quantities.

A normal day at MT starts at the crack of dawn..6am. The cell phone alarm starts ringing in my ear (I had placed it on the pillow the night before to ensure waking up on time)..."Welcome to the Hotel California...it could be Heaven or it could be Hell".
"How appropriate", I mutter, rolling out of bed to look blearily out of the window. I don't think I had seen that much of "dawn" for a long time.

7th of June, 2010 was a cold windy day, and at 6am, there was no one else in sight on the road. The tall tree in front of my window rocked back and forth on its hinges, birds fluffing their feather, and huddling together to keep warm.

When I reached West Campus (and this was going to Home for the next few years), I was straightway given a tag and dumped into a 3 day induction program.

Now, this Campus, which is referred to as MTW, Lovely Greens, Place of the CCD, Village/Gaon, Hell, UN-Civilization (it really depends on the time of day and the mood) is really really far from anywhere. I have a sneaking suspicion its closer to Mysore than it is to Bangalore. Needless to say, I had NEVER travelled quite so far to go to work; my previous company was a stone’s throw from home.

So to say that it came as a shock, was a minor understatement.

However, once I got over my entire “Yeh Kahan Aa Gaye Hum” theatrical hysterical moment, I started appreciating the surroundings. The road wound itself through lovely small villages, with little hillocks popping up on either side, green palm trees swaying in the breeze as far as the eye could see. Cows and goats meandered about, dogs lay sleeping in little patches of sunlight and ducks ran about, cackling loudly. It could only happen in India!

The 3 day induction is a good idea, all said and done, as we get a chance to a) gradually "get into the company", and b) to know and make friends across BUs. Since my getting to the back of the beyond had taken me a horrendous and unplanned for 2 hours, I was a trifle late. By the time I got tagged and sent off with a wave, a movie had started and I was left groping in the dark for a place to sit, which WASN’T someone’s lap. (don’t laugh, this happened to a friend of mine at a movie; I don’t know who was more horrorstruck - she, or that girl-slash-seat’s dear boyfriend.)

When the lights came back on, leaving you feeling dazzled for that brief moment, I looked around at my neighbors. Who, I might add, were busily getting their HR paperwork organized. Me, of course, had to be unique, and wasn’t carrying any papers. In my defense, I had sent along about 20 odd documents via mail as they had requested, and thus didn’t think they would require it all over again. I was stumped. The solution: to revert to my most “Cultured Managerial Tone”, and tell them that I didn’t “expect” further paperwork to be required. And the HR were most obliging, I must say, to let me give them the papers by end of week.

On an aside, that tone really works.

That day I made my first set of friends, and put a little root in the MT network, which would see me through till whenever.
Sushma – my first neighbor.She looked at me, smiled politely, then went google-eyed at my tattoo. A nice sweet Telegugirl, or so I thought. Now, I definitely know better.
Poornima – who won my heart by asking for a coffee break, when HR asked us whether we had further questions. She deviated the attention from me, without my papers.
Akansha and Anusha – who were definitely the more quieter, politer versions of the 3 of us. I corralled them during the coffee break, which happened a lot faster on that first day thanks to P. and that was it. After that, we sat together the rest of those 2.5 days, and have been sitting together ever since. Aks is the youngest, so gets teased the most, while Anu is our voice of reason, more often than not.

Some parts of that induction left me feeling quite thrilled to be a part of this great organization. The other parts were completely anti-climactic. For example, the Information Something Session. Now, I do realize that in a 9,000 member company, human intervention is at a minimum, and Intranet is the way to go.

We were all Lateral Hires, coming from other companies, with 2-10 years’ experience behind us. The instructor started in a sonorous monotone, “GIGO – something that is Data becomes Information. We store the information carefully else it would be a problem - GIGO. Heh heh heh!”.
We were hardly going to need to know that bit..we ALREADY KNEW IT!

By the time he finished his “Heh Heh”-ing, I was out like a light. I did try really hard to stay awake, even going to the extent of holding my lids between my fingertips. But before I realized it, I had slid quietly and gently down on my seat and was off to la-la land, having pleasant dreams.

I woke with a BANG, literally, as my seat flew backwards and hit the railing behind me. I flew up with a jerk, and I could see my beloved friends almost stuffing hankies in their mouths to stop rolling on the floor, laughing hysterically.

What could I do, except look around furtively with a red face and an embarrassed grin, and wait for the coffee break. Thank god, the Instructor didn’t blink an eyelid and carried on that monotone.

He should be grateful I didn’t snore, to add insult to injury. Besides, it was a post lunch session.

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