Thursday, June 16, 2005

hyderabaD blueS

The beginning
When the exams ended everyone was in joie de vivre. Each one had different reasons. For some, it was the mere feeling that the grueling first year has come to an end. Some were happy because it is just one more year to become a manager who hire & fire thousands, get and expend lakhs and churn & burn crores. Some were more than ready to go to their homes. Some were going abroad for doing their summers. Some were enthused of embracing the fun-filled life of a tuchcha (colloquial term for a final year student).

The company where I was doing my internship was located at Hyderabad. And during the interviews, they had agreed me to pay for my travel. Before we leave the institute, we had to submit our room keys to the warden. Since I was one of guys who was leaving last from my dorm, my dorm friends gave their keys to me to submit to the office. After submitting a bunch of keys at the office, I set start in an auto rickshaw to the airport. En-route, I realized that though I submitted all other’s keys, I forgot to submit my own room key. I heard somewhere that this could invite a fine of some obscene amount. It was just the beginning of my eventful two-month stay at Hyderabad.

At the airport
I reached the airport on time. With all the arrogance of a 21st century customer, I handed over my ticket to the counter staff for a boarding pass. It was an apex fare ticket. The lady at the counter said me that there was some problem with my flight ticket and it got cancelled!

“We have enough seats”, she continued, “But you may need to pay the extra amount required for a normal ticket”

“Mam, it is very urgent. By any chance I need to reach Hyderabad today itself. May be I could pay the extra amount”

I still don’t understand how I made this statement with only 1000 bucks and an expired credit card in my pocket!

“I need to talk to my manager” she said.

And the once arrogant customer, that is me, stood at the side of the counter, having some heavy luggage and wondering what to do next.

When the queue was finished, she called me up and said. “Ok you are allowed to travel with this ticket. You don’t need to pay any extra amount”. A set of advices followed. In the Ahmedabad heat of 44 degrees, I felt my self cool.

The coolness ended abruptly, when I entered the flight and discovered that the cabin crew didn’t contain anyone from the fairer sex. These people made my entire 2 hour journey end up in vain. I remembered the flight owner’s parents as the plane took off from the land of diamonds...

Agony of a middle manager
I was given two main projects and a few filler projects in between. It was like the company was all set to use everything I can offer them to its maximum. I was becoming a value for money product. In fact I knew that in future each and every one of us, when working for a company, would be considered like this. I was given a crew of 7 for doing a survey.

Well for the first time in my life I felt myself the painful life of a middle manager. The bible got a famous sentence to describe my situation at times. “Between the Satan and the Red-sea!” A few days were filled with superior’s rebuking and subordinate’s cribbing. Agreed that this is an exaggerated version of what I intended to write, but to a lesser extent it contains some genuineness also.

Things were different after my interim presentation. The presentation gathered appreciation from top shots in the company. That was the time when I felt that I was not that idiot as I thought myself to be.

But yeah, altogether it was an amazing experience. Even though I was doing some studies and making some suggestions, in each and every work I was doing, I could feel that I was doing something which may change the fate of a company. It was there in each and every simple thing I was doing, that those are as serious as it can be. Figures of 8 or 9 digits, though appeared small in my calculations, were able to make me feel the real power associated with them.

Survival Strategies (Food & Accommodation)
This was one of the rarest times that I felt I really need a company. Almost all of the hotels in Hyderabad serves food so voluminously that either you get some one along with you and share the food or simply watch the food being taken away after your defeated attempt to finish it. Since I didn’t find the much famous Hyderabadi biriyani up to the mark, food was bit of a problem for me there. Prabhat, one of my colleagues at the company was kind enough to let us (me and my friend) in to his house, to sort our accomodation problems.

Hyderabad – In & Around
Doctor, my friend and colleague, was equally enthusiastic as me with respect to exploring places. We covered the entire city, explored most of the hotels, shopping centers and also went to bit far away weekend destinations like the Ramoji Film City etc. My shoes won me a gift at a gathering in Ramoji Film City, though I had to run around the crowd a few rounds.

Once we decided to go to Golconda Fort and the more-than-helping crowd of Hyderabad ensured that we reached our home safely instead of reaching Golconda Fort. We never knew that when we ask directions, we should sample the crowd, where the sample size is more than 30 (so that normal approximation can be applied) and then arrive at a consensual result. Golconda Fort remained more of a dream than a destiny. We never visited it.

The last day
Everything that got a beginning has got an end. A period which started with a glitch should end at least with a quake. My gold chain and ring were stolen on the penultimate day of my stay at Hyderabad. I went to the police station on my last day to complain the thievery. The police came to the flat and took a suspect, the security of the building who visit our flat usually, to the station. I went to the police station after one hour and found that the police men had employed the security to do some work in the station. I felt sad about the security. He got a wife and two children. I asked the police men to release him and then went to the office. Evening I was supposed to catch the train to Kerala. On my last day at office, the status of my yahoo messenger read, “Hypedabad, at last you took me to the police station also”

PS: These are my personal feelings. Please bear me if these hurt anyone else’s feelings.