By the look of it, he was, perhaps, the proprietor of the jewelry shop.
I was jubilant. Is he taking me to the head of his IT department? While coming in, I had noticed a sign that read "EDP" in the nearabouts of the entrance. I may be close to clinching my first deal with this wretched company, I thought to myself!
The last three months on my maiden job had been ridden with disappointments. I had reluctantly joined "Fifth Dimension Technologies" as a sales executive, at the urging of my brother-in-law. The money wasn't great. The salary of 1,500 rupees a month barely helped meet ends.
My job was to sell printers, computers, and networking equipment to pawn brokers, jewellery shops, and family-owned fancy stores in Madras. These were the early nineties. Very few big companies bought computers, let alone small establishments. To make matters worse, there were a hundred resellers vying for the same clientele.
I didn't want this gig. I was not cut out for sales, I had concluded. Not that I was cut out for anything.
One day, a couple months after my return from college, someone did arrive at my doorstep. It was my brother-in-law. In what seemed like a well-rehearsed "shock and awe" move, he accosted me with the entire extended family, like the climax of a Sooraj Barjatya movie. He gave me a dressing-down for whiling away time and for showing "no aim and focus".
He didn't stop with that. He gave me a job offer that I couldn't refuse.
After the guilt-trip that he had taken me on, I decided to give the sales executive gig at "Fifth..." a shot. It gave me some pocket change. Plus, the job could be a happy compromise to stay close to a career in computers, I had thought, smiling cleverly to myself.
"Be careful, it is a very good vehicle" he said. I wasn't so sure. It guzzled petrol and oil like it were eight months pregnant, weighed over a ton, and constantly veered to the left, near-missing many a curb and pedestrian.
This was three months ago.
For twelve weeks or more, I rode the Chetak far and wide, exploring corners and crevices of Madras that I never knew existed, trying to peddle a frigging TVSE dot-matrix printer, to someone that would care to buy.
"Super da! This is how you do it" Chacko high-fived him, glancing disparagingly at me. I took the blows on my chin with admirable equanimity.
Now, three months after I had been on the job and made a thousand cold-calls without opening my khata, I finally, may have had my moment of reckoning!
The Seth walked towards the cash counter...
Just when I thought he was taking me to meet his EDP guy, he took a slight detour and went straight to the front door. He walked out with me, stood at the doorstep, and pointed upwards to a sign at the entrance, right under the Goddess Lakshmi insignia that read, "Sales reps not allowed".
I put down my papers the next day.
"I don't think this is the job I was looking for, sir. This is not why I studied engineering," I told Jayaraman, one of the partners in the firm, asked me the reason. That was, perhaps, the first (and the last) time I felt any semblance of pride for the engineering degree that I had acquired.
It would be months before I landed a stable job, but my first job did two things for me: taught me to ride a Bajaj Chetak and brought me back to the ground.
So, what was your first job like? How long did you stick around?