Printers, Targets, and a Scooter


"Come here!" commanded the Seth (as all North Indians were called in Madras) and walked briskly towards the cash counter.
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.

My boss, Chacko, was the sales manager for Madras, and a driven guy in his thirties. He had one good look at me, on my first day at work, and had me shadow one of his "senior" sales executives - Muthu Kumaran, an all of nineteen-years of age, high-school graduate, who was part-timing to get his bachelor's degree in commerce.
After four years in one of the "top 10 engineering colleges in India", it was left to Muthu to chisel the chip off my shoulder and bring me back to reality; and he did it with elan!

I didn't want this gig. I was not cut out for sales, I had concluded. Not that I was cut out for anything.

But, I had decided, even while in college, that I wanted to pursue a career in computer programming. Unfortunately, this was not the millennial India that we know of now. In the early nineties, there weren't too many companies offering programming jobs, and none at all for Metallurgical engineers.

While the matter of being unemployed did nag me on occasion, I was, in general, unflustered about my situation, and decided to wait it out till someone brought the programming job to my doorstep.

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.

My brother-in-law gifted me his old Bajaj Chetak scooter (a two-wheeler was a prerequisite for this job).

"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.

At the end of every week, when the sales execs submitted their weekly status, Muthu, my sales "buddy", reported spectacular results while I returned empty-handed. He sold printers and computers like it were sundal / murukku in Marina beach, and consummated new prospects with his left hand.

"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".

"You can't read?" he asked.

The Seth went back into the store to attend to his business, leaving me at the doorstep with feelings of embarrassment and shock. I walked down Thambu Chetty Street in Parry's corner, my morale low, shoulders drooping, eyes looking into the distance, with Ilayaraja's BGM, playing situationally in my mind, to accentuate my pathetic mood.

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.

"I know. Probably not your sweet spot. But I am glad you at least tried. Good luck!" he said and wished me well.

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?

51 comments:

  1. Awwwww ... really nice ya ... there is this beguiling old world charm in your writings and stories.. the gentle and wry self deprecating humour ..and ofcourse .. the scooter veering left 😻..how do you even remember and express such details ..!

    My first job was well .. no job at all ..
    I had got through to the final round of BILT in campus .. and the final call was in Bhubaneswar.. the interview went really well .. to my pretty naive mind .. they put me at ease in the beginning and soon my jovial nature put us almost on backslapping terms ..
    They had a constant refrain though and kept asking me if I would like to join their marketing team .. and this was when I would put on a grave expression and say ... Naah ..I have no idea about marketing .. want to be on the shop floor .. not that I had any faintest idea about the shop floor .. Balram must have planted this idea in my head ..
    Anyway... we parted, happily shaking hands after the interview and they said they will inform me ..
    After around ten days , I get this rejection letter .. I felt like I had been slapped !!! Took me days to recover !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh...and did they give you reason why they rejected you? Or was it, "it's not that you were not good...there were others that were better"?

      "Just shut up and tell me why you rejected me! BAS...BATA DE!!" she said, her left eyebrow twisted like a bow, her forefinger raised and trembling, and her biceps thrusting against her stone-washed shirt.

      Ok...I am trying to usurp your story...but pliss to elaborate what happened.

      Delete
    2. Stone washed shirt ..😪.. that also gone .. dunno who stealed it .. thieves ..

      To elaborate .. they weren't convinced that I can deal with workers on the shop floor ..
      So during our long interview , they said..
      You know .. you will be dealing with these workers .. and they will say .. yeh chhoti ladki hume kya sikhayegi ..(one interviewer's exactly words )..
      And I at my convincing best , said .. I will politely convince the worker what needs to get done ..
      And they were like .. polite ? hmm .. look , we would really want you onboard .. why don't you join our marketing team ..
      And I ofcourse wisely declined the marketing offer , sticking to my passionate demand for shopfloor (remind me to whack Balram's head with the Perry handbook when we meet next )..
      Rest is.. as I already mentioned previously ..

      What was your next job ? After u put in your papers ?

      Delete
    3. So what was your first job? And how was it? Or have you been working at the same place forever?

      Delete
    4. Arre ! That only I asked you first 🙄..
      Ok , my first job was as a project assistant in IISc, Bangalore, in the aerospace department .. sounds cool eh ? They had this wing called combustion, gassification and propulsion laboratory .. that is where I worked ,.
      All of three months , before I got a call from IOCL and left this ..
      But I enjoyed it a whole lot and it was hard work .. leaving office at 7-8 pm everyday ..
      Have fond memories of that place and the people I worked with ... had turned it into a recreation centre for myself 🙄😬

      Delete
    5. Oh great!! IISc..IOCL...and all! All heavy weight companies!! Combustion, gassification, propulsion...wow!! I strongly protest against those concepts.

      Delete
  2. How come you had no mention about yours skills in Fox and how you spent the entire first month salary on the pondy trip..it was the seagull restaurant in pondy right? You kept teasing me I had come to Pondy with 2Rs 😡😡😡

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn’t remember those details. They don’t call you Don for nothing!!

      “Entire salary”?? it was 1500 bucks.

      Btw, Foxpro is from second job. Probably the rest of what you said here could be from my second job.
      P.S. what did you buy with two rupees?

      Delete
    2. He he he .. 2 Rs was decent then yaar .. he would have got two plates of gupchup for that ..

      Delete
    3. Brags got his paycheck from SquareD and said let’s go to Pondy ..I had no money and managed to borrow 2 Rs bus fare from my home to the main bus stand ...rest he kept making fun of me that I travelled and had fun with 2Rs ..he also gave me 10 Rs for my return bus trip 🙂

      Delete
    4. Ok SquareD...that is my third job! Oh, I gave you 10 rupees? OK, plan on returning it with interest...must be in crores now, I am sure.

      Delete
  3. It was fall of 1993 and I had made it to the land of free with my American dream. But with only about 1500 dollars and after paying the tuition and house rent was left with about 500. I had to find a part time campus job as the money was going to last me about 3 months. After a week of trying to find a swanky computer lab job (most coveted) or more money from the electrical engineering department, I took a janitor role at the student center for minimum wage of $4.25/hour.

    On day one, my supervisor walked around the student center and trained me on the role. I was responsible for cleaning up all the outdoor sitting areas. It was fall and there were leaves all over the ground and sweeping it all took good part of the 4 hours everyday. I had never worked before in my life and doing this role in India would be unimaginable. I was feeling very awkward on the first day but rookie nerve settled down quickly as folks walking around didn’t really notice that this engineering grad from RE colleze was raking leaves. I also enjoyed watching all the pretty faces walking around and made a few friends as well. I looked forward to the 15 minutes break where I used to eat $1.15 burrito in the cafeteria. I still remember my first snowflakes and cleaning cigarette butts in -3F cold weather of Utah. By mid-winter break, I had graduated to vacuuming role inside the student center and got a pay raise of 25 cents/hour. I left the job in spring of 1994 when my advisor gave me a TA role that paid for my tuition and $500/month.

    Graduate school wasn’t easy given all the catching up I had to do after 4 years of goofing around in Rourkela. Thus, this additional 4 hours of physical labor every weekday was a big struggle.

    Looking back, it was the most satisfying role of my entire working career. The instant gratification of watching the cleaned up patio everyday allowed me to sleep well at night. The occasional “hi” from strangers everyday along with kudos/encouragement from my boss made my day! It taught me an important life lesson about giving 100% to whatever you do. Saying thank you for a job well done means a lot even if it was for taking out trash.

    That’s how I started living my American dream. I make a lot more money now but my first job was the most satisfying role. Fall of 1993 was special....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WOW!! Whatte brilliant Rengcolian success story, Kela! And lovely to know where it all started. We are all awfully proud of you -- not just because you are successful but for the great guy that you are!

      Thanks for sharing.

      Delete
    2. Just wow !! You amazin fellow !! Whatte heartwarming, humbling and inspiring story 😍😍.. The kind of stuff every kid today must read ..
      Will make my son read it ..
      Like Puttu says , you make us proud .. your most valuable legacy is the simplicity with which you carry your success !

      Delete
    3. Great Samir!! I remember hearing about your initial days stints in US when we first met after college in Bangalore reunion. I keep giving the same example to youngsters including my son to inspire them..

      Delete
    4. This is a truly inspiring story. Thanks for sharing it Samir.

      Delete
  4. I can’t forget the delight on my father’s face when he held the appointment letter of my first job as “Assistant Executive Engineer” in Indian Telephone Industries. The word “Executive” made him think that his daughter has arrived in life . And on a cold winter morning I arrived in Bangalore with my brother escorting me to settle me down as I forayed into new life in a new city. Fell in love with the city from Day 1. Being a public sector organization, ITI had a sprawling campus and I felt lucky to have landed there. Don’t remember if I learnt anything professionally there but I owe my Kannada language fluency to the workers in the shop floor where I was deputed on my first assignment on Quality Testing of ADPCM Transponders and now don’t ask me details of that:-) The day started at 7.30 when we had to board the company bus and ended at 4 pm when I eagerly waited for the siren to pack up. Life moved on comfortably with yummy breakfast at 60 paise and hot lunch at Rs. 1.20 and two chai breaks. Don’t know how much work I really did in that one year in ITI before the software bug bit us and we were in a frenzy to get out of that place and join an IT company. Now I wish we have the same siren to pack up at 4 pm and leave for home…..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Again wow ... !! I can imagine your dad's delight totally 😍😍.. and well .. you were anyway the cream of the college already 😼.. so nothing new in the word 'executive' ...
      Those 60p breakfast and lunches remind me of our training in KSDL.. we used to have this royal lunch for 50p..
      So we would manage to reach the plant by 1pm atleast and start our day with lunch 😍..

      Delete
    2. Whatte nice fairy tale :-))! I remember the ITI campus and the colony...during my second year training, I used to visit that place quite often as one of my friends was taking training there.

      Delete
    3. And the canteen!! I remember the HAL executive canteen, which served unlimited meals for Rs 1.20! It is probably a Bangalore thing!

      Delete
  5. First of all, very well written blog bhai..! Take a bow..
    I can totally relate to Kela's story as mine was similar.
    Well.. I came to US right after college and had no idea what I was going to do. Yaar.. everybody else came here to study or on work visa but I came here on immigration with family. So I had to start earning right away to make ends meet. The priorities were to get "some" job and get a house. Even though I had family support but it gets tough to live with relatives (my mom was also with me). But, the timing was real bad, US was in the worst recession and there were no jobs. So I took up job as a store clerk at 7-11 for minimum wage and also as a cook at a fast food restaurant (Btw.. I used to brew the best coffee in town 😀). While mopping the floors and taking trash out I used to wonder kii kabhi din badlenge kii nahi. I used to also distribute newspaper at night to make ends meet. Then after 10 months of struggle I met "maddu" and he offered me a job as a research engineer for 24k per year. It was probably the best day of my life and I have been with the same company till date.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Btw.. I own a stake in that same 7-11 now. Was lucky to be able to partner with some gujju friends who bought a few 7-11's and this was one of them. You have to believe me when I tell you how satisfying it is to own a piece of same property where you started your career.

      Delete
    2. Oh my God ! Whatte story .. you have been in the same company since then ? With the same boss ? So how old is he ? Goodness ! When did you get married ?
      What made you immigrate to US with family ?
      We have to thank Puttu again for providing us with the platform to get to know each other's story 😍

      Delete
    3. Lovely Mote! One of the first things that I noticed about you when I got reintroduced to you after all these years was your resourcefulness. As Ravi Shastri used to say, "you are a busy player"! All those jobs that you did...wow! But knowing how busy you keep yourselves, I am not surprised at all!

      Great to hear about your Best day :-)!!

      Delete
  6. Great blog....delightful to read your first job experiences@ Brags,Mots,Samir,Rachna,Sangeeta.
    My first job...well on the last day of our college i.e 19/05/93 gave an interview at campus alongwith Giddu and others. Got an hint of selection but was not sure. On 27/07/93 evening, received the offer letter which was posted almost 20 days before and was asked to report at the Jamshedpur factory site by 15/07. Giddu had already joined. Rushed the next day and finally the organisation accepted my reasoning for the delay and allowed to fill in the joining papers. With Giddu around was much easy to get accustomed to the new atmosphere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just imagine if that letter had never reached you 😳😳!
      And you and Giddu started off in the same company ? How fortunate is that !!

      Delete
    2. Thanks for commenting Santi bhai!! And great story...great that you remember all those dates:-))!!

      Delete
    3. Must have been such a comfort to have a friend at your first job. That must have made the transition so much easier.

      Delete
  7. Wow..lovely write up brags.. finally mustered courage to comment. Very interesting bit i have to share.
    As i was reaching 7th semester one of the biggest challenge I had to face was that I needed a minimum of 70% plus in final year to scrape the first class in engineering. Back home Appa had made clear that if I don't even make it first class it's going to be tough to be even called for interview forget the job.
    So given my track record sitting for campus interview was ruled out...but anyways I was not that keen as I wanted to start my career in bambai...u c I was for Bombay!! There was not a single company from.west who made it that year for mech I believe. God's grace and support from M 9341 finally scored 72 percent which landed me first class overall.
    Location shifts to Mumbai. Sister gets engaged the next week itself and I had to miss the Bhubaneswar trip which still eluded me till date. Appa wanted me to pursue MBA after I get my first job and he felt I should join a job which will help me prepare.
    The first class degree from REC did open a few doors in Mumbai ..3 to be precise..
    1. Job as maintenance engineer in Asian paints ankleshwar
    2. Job as maintenance engineer in Taj hotel to take care of all hotel equipment and infra in Bombay.
    3. Job as Executive trainee marketing in Greaves cotton ltd..part of the Thapar group Bombay.
    No doubt they call Bambai as the land of opportunities.
    The choice was never so difficult and I did pick up the executive trainee marketing job. Posting in Fort..for all guys like me staying in suburb it was a dream job. 3500 rs stipend made.me felt top of the world. Plus host of allowance for local travel and i used make quite a few calls every day. Added incentive were the visits to Irani cafes and pubs like Leopold and Mondegar..watte a time.
    Within 6 months life took a turn and I was moved to international operations where I was the youngest trainee. Started odd jobs like photocopying to sending fax to taking Foriegn clients out to lunch..well that's how I developed my taste buds and it's still very active...u and many know that.
    International operations meant that opportunity to wear ties and suits which I was fond of. So I was living the dream king-size. Within a year i started travelling abroad and within the first three years visited 15 countries..i still hold the pics taken over there close to me..fond memories.
    Flip side...appas dream of getting into a full time MBA goes down the drain.
    Well solid foundation in Greaves for sure .was there for 5 years. Love for food and travel kept me going with of course exposure to cross cultures.




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lovely GR...thanks for you opening your account on the comments section. And the panache with which you did, makes me want you to comment on every blog! There I asked it...please go to every blog and put in your comments. __/\__

      "God's grace and support from M9341"...Lolz! You scored 72% in final year??? Saala...bataya nahin...have to give a treat!

      I remember you joining Greaves Cotton. I think I also applied there through you...kuch response nahin mila magar!

      But amazing to see the turn of events...from marketing trainee to international ops...great GR!!

      "Bhubaneshwar trip eluded me"...hmm...wonder what that was for!

      P.S. I remember our final trip back from college...Seshu, you, and I went back. I had a great time in Mumbai then.

      Delete
    2. I see ... ZeeAar has been living life king sized since ever .. no wonder he winces when people pour wine in a creative manner ..hmmm .. have you seen yeh jawani hai diwani? And RK's first job on that ? Your life reminds me of that !! Exotic life you have led !! God bless you !!

      Delete
  8. Firstly, very well written Brags and you have selected a great topic. What better topic can there be than embarking on the journey of your life post college. Secondly, hats off to all you guys and, of course, girls for your wonderful stories. Some really inspiring stuff from Brags, Samir & Rohit and I am sure many more to come especially from the Don. The stuff that dreams are made of! I congratulate all of you friends on the success you have achieved and the peaks you have scaled in your respective careers. And it has been possible only by your grit and determination to succeed.
    Coming to my story, well, it isn’t much of a story actually. At the time of leaving college I had attended only one campus interview in which I was unsuccessful. After going back home I toyed with the idea of pursuing a masters and did attempt it, albeit half-heartedly, but could not clear GATE. The months were rolling by and despondency was setting in. It was around this time that my parents received the marriage proposal from my future in-laws. Maybe it acted as a lucky charm and I landed my first job with the National Fertilizers Ltd- a PSU at Nangal in Punjab. The marriage actually happened only after a couple of years.
    Now you know where I got my Punjab connection. Really loved the thick, creamy lassi and scrumptious punjabi paranthas during my stay there. Once I had a job under my belt and love in my heart, I became more confident and other job offers started coming in. After a year or so I quit NFL and joined IPCL – my love affair with PSUs continuing - in Gujarat where I was to work for the next 10 years until it was taken over by Mukesh Ambani. Soon after joining IPCL I got married and there the story ends. I mean that was the beginning of another story!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lovely Krishna!! Thanks for sharing! I remember you joining NFL. I didn’t realize the Mukesh Ambani connection!

      Also, I remember when you got engaged...probably he first to get engaged in our batch?

      Delete
    2. Yup, engaged at 24, married at 25 and father at 26. There are some areas where I have outdone the rest of you.

      Delete
    3. Oh my my ! Lovely story Kreesh ! And you were a father at 26 ??? Man !!
      In jobs you seem to have been around a lot , mingled with different cultures et al ... the depth you gained shows in your personality you know 😍..

      Delete
  9. Puttu Sir, I would like to thank you with tears in my eyes, for writing on such topics, that are so close to our hearts. And writing so well !!! It is such a joy to revisit those college days through your eloquent story telling. It is amazing to read all the stories and getting to know of all the struggles and challenges that this amazing group has overcome!
    I have to say the picture of you on your Chetak scooter, trying to sell Printers to Seths is hard to imagine. I was in Madras during that time. Wish we had run into each other then.

    My first encounter with jobs , or lack thereof, was during the campus interview season. when every day my friendly-neighborhood-uncle would bump into me on the street, and in a clear loud voice, that projected at least 4 blocks in each direction, say "Kire Sitta, Kuch noukri woukri mila ki nahin? "
    My first Paycheck was in the form of a Stipend at IIT Madras - Rs 2400 a month. A very student friendly stipend , I might add, because each semester, the payments started a few weeks late, but fees were always due at the beginning, so the fees always came from my dad's pocket, and the stipend was mine to do as I please. Those were good days.
    My first job was at TCS, where I got selected in a Campus interview. Ever since I was in 10th grade and a family friend's daughter was praised to no end because she got into TCS, this had been my dream job. I was several inches above Cloud 9 when I got selected. And the salary too (80,000 I think) was very attractive to me at the time. My best friend from IIT also got a job in Madras. The two of us were staying in our respective cousins' houses and would go house hunting on weekends. We even met the wife of renowned Telugu director K Vishwanath, and were going to move into the bachelor pad in their backyard, which was to be vacated by the current occupants at the end of the month. At that time, I could have been a brand ambassador for "Life is Good". And that is when Ravan swooped in (calling himself Ram) and took me away across the ocean! Thus ended my dream job , in just 4 months.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Sita: LOL....didn't realize you were living with Ravan all these years. You appear to be quite happy living with him. You are rewriting Ramayan I say:))
      Seriously though, very humorous especially where you say you were "several inches above cloud 9". You were getting Rs 2400 p.m. stipend at IIT-M. Goodness me. That was my salary in my first job!!

      Delete
    2. 😁😁. Loved the way you ended it.

      IIT Madras?? yeah, shame we didn’t meet then. Have fond memories of that campus.

      And 2500 is a healthy “stipend”...I can’t be called a stipend anymore! It’s in salary territory.

      Now that would have been a great story to have been a tenant of the legendary K Vishwanath. Missed opportunity.

      Thanks for sharing your great story here Sita.

      Delete
    3. "" when every day my friendly-neighborhood-uncle would bump into me on the street, and in a clear loud voice, that projected at least 4 blocks in each direction, say "Kire Sitta, Kuch noukri woukri mila ki nahin? " ""

      We are getting bold I see ..very bold ...🤣🤣🤣...

      And bad mouthing my saintly Ram bhaiya eh ?? If he hadn't swooped down in time and whisked you away to a faraway land , God knows what would have happened to my poor country ..we are steeped up to the neck in enough maladies to be dealing with you too 😳😳...

      But I say ... you have been stinking rich since u passed out ya 😏... not amusing at all ..

      And I agree ... Puttu has created a most delightful virtual platform for us to reminisce our idyllic youth 😍😍....

      Delete
  10. Oh Oh.. Hmm.. Where do I start.. After studying for extended period of time in college to strengthen my computer Sc & Engg. skills, I reached home with no campus job.. Where do I go from here.. All local town friends had only one thing in mind.. roam around the day and sit at beach in the evening.. typical laid back style of small town.. According to family, I was suppose to invent computer or assemble one. that is all every one knew of IT..

    Just as in college,was crazy of typing on computer everyday even if it said I am stupid to type or code so.. Luckily, I I had in pocket was Rs 500 every month from home to do nothing.. somewhere guilt was setting in within few weeks.

    After few stop over @ Chennai.. I mean staying at multiple friends' home (kept hopping from home to home), enjoying their home cooked lunch, watching movies returned back home that some day big companies would know me ..

    Finally decided to walk into "Aptech Computers". The job was "Lab Instructor" helping students on dbase-III plus and COBOL. They had three rounds of interview for this job and was asked even to do a mock teaching. Did great Oscar rewarding acting. The best lie I said why teaching after Engineering, I said "passion in me is teaching and giving back to students". Got the job.. The salary was Rs 800 per month..

    As it was middle of the month, I was given option of to join later. But all I want is computer and money. So readily agreed to join next day..

    First day, I was put right into the job of helping students in the lab. Whatever I said in the lab was correct even if syntax error. How will the students know that I did not know. As long it was true, they saw me as "Guru of Coding"

    It was a part time job too (4pm-8pm) every day. Dressed up in complete formal with tie was always present in time. It was social opportunity too as most of students were either college student or just passed out. Only thing in local town friends' mind was when is my first salary coming :)

    Got the very first salary of Rs 400/- and hurray it was party time.. Salary + Rs 500/- from home made it big..

    After two months, I think the student realized the true coder in me which was not meeting standards of Bill Gates. Though had the job, wanted to move out of home-town. The same Brother-in-law of this Blog owner referred me to TBS on a walk-in interview @ Chennai... Rest is history (TBS ==> CBSI ==> Covansys ==> CSC ==> LE (Managing CSC & more) ==> DXC)..

    Today however many more zeroes have been added to that Rs 400/- does not meet or beat the "excitement and happiness" that first Rs 400/- provided...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny experiences Abou!! I had almost forgotten about your Aptech experience! I remember attending a training course at Aptech for 6 months for C++ and Assembler programming...or something like that. I was very impressed with the teachers there.

      So, you kept getting the Rs. 500 / month even after your salary:-). Nice! Such thieves we all are.

      Well said about meeting the "excitement and happiness" of the first job.

      Thanks for sharing, Bucker!

      Delete
    2. Nice yebou .. very nice ..😍...The excitement of your 400 Rs resonates completely ! I can literally smell my first salary ...
      Those days were so simple ... we could be jobless, or have small jobs .. it didn't matter .. and we were resilient enough to take the limited judgement and pressure in our stride ..
      Now it is such a different scenario .. the pressure is huuuge and the youth's resilience way less ..

      Delete
  11. As some of you guys might remember, I had got into ITC Ltd, as an afterthought, after they had originally booted me out and recruited Sachin Dayal and Piyush Sharma. This created a buzz in the Mallu Community in Rourkela, particularly among parents of nubile and marriageable girls, and also a mini Tsunami at my home, with particular reference to my mum.
    My mum was aghast at the thought of her poor gullible and innocent boy being posted in Calcutta in the midst of predatory Bengali girls. (No offense to anybody, it was my mum's perception)
    "Oh my Ayyappa Lord, those Bengali girls are going to consume my son. We may as well forget him. He is gone. Our old age is now condemned. Nobody will be there to look after us."
    My mum thus lamented to my papa, and resolutely resolved to ensure that I quit ITC and come back to Rourkela, as a Old Age Retirement Benefit for her and Papa.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for capturing your story here Biju!

      Oh, I didn't know you were part of that elite force from REC colleze to ITC. Great! Congratulations!

      Delete
  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete


  15. Meanwhile, I joined at ITC, and very soon I was having a very regular visitor to my Office. It was a High Ranked Govt Official, who had jumped the starting gun from among the queue of prospective fathers in law for me, and accosted me at my office, while the laggards among the prospective pop in laws waited for me to come back to Rourkela. Very soon, I was moving around Calcutta , in the elite company of that gentleman, and in his official car. He took me to meet many of his acquaintances in Calcutta, where he sang paeans to my abilities and my grit and my determination and my talent and about me being a self-made-man, from a very poor family, with no tuitions, etc. etc. and blah blah. Soon, I also had a fair inkling about the intentions of the gentleman, which I really did not mind. I was feeling flattered and all puffed up, in my new found highly sought after status.
    Meanwhile, my mother had other plans for me. She employed a master stroke by pretending to become mentally deranged. I was shocked upon seeing her condition during one of my visits to Rourkela, and I resolved to make amends. My juvenile and impressionable heart was deeply pained at her deterioration, and she dutifully promised me that she will become all right once again, if I were to come back to Rourkela.
    The interview for SAIL was held in park Hotel, which was just a walk away from my office on Lee Road. I literally walked into the interview of SAIL. If there is anything in this world called a "Walk-In interview", this had to be it. The guys there were flabbergasted when I did not produce any ticket for reimbursement of TA and no hotel bill either. The grand old man in the interview was quite quizzical and incredulous after learning that I had walked over from ITC, TTD Office to the SAIL interview.
    He had only one skeptical and very suspicious kind of question for me.
    "Are you really going to leave ITC and join SAIL?"
    "Yes, I will. If you post me in Rourkela."
    I replied with great elan and with great smugness, as if I was doing some kind of favor to them by acquiescing to accept their offer.
    Very soon I my mother had received my appointment letter and my family prepared to welcome me back. My father was about to retire and my sister was still in school. And we ere also quite poor like shit. That was the other reason that my family wanted me back in Rourkela, so that they would not need to rent a place for a considerable period of time, in order to educate my sister and marry her off. (We did not own any home in Kerala either)
    Meanwhile, at my office, I had a visitor once again. My front office ushered him in. It was the High Ranked Government Official.
    "Son, don't quit ITC. Here you are a man. If you join SAIL, you will be like a fish in an ocean. I know what is SAIL. I beseech you. Do not quit ITC."
    The old man who could now see his marital dreams for his daughter slowly evaporate into thin air, had tears in his eyes.
    "No Uncle. My mother wants me back in Rourkela. My family needs me there. I am joining SAIL."
    "You are going to suffer for this!"
    The shocked Government Official left the place in a huff, and that was the last that I ever saw of him. Needless to say, that was also the end of my chance of getting married to his daughter with some very lucrative add-ons and bonuses.
    In a way, his words were prophetic.
    But my sister did complete her education from my home and also got married off too from my house.
    My father left for his heavenly abode in the year 2000, and he lived a life of dignity till the end.
    My mother is still there with me, albeit ravaged by age and the debilities that come with it.
    Did I commit a mistake, as foretold by the Government Official Uncle? Or did I do the right thing. I don't have any answers. God alone knows !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great story Biju :-):-)!!

      Again, thanks for sharing that with us.

      Look...(removing my glasses...wisdom alert)...everything happens for a reason and I think you were in the right place at the right time. Twenty five years on, there maybe a tendency to look back and wonder about decisions made, and all the alternative realities, but I can tell you, you did the right thing.

      Anyways, you probably already know that...so...

      Delete
  16. I know Brags. I didn't have any other option than to.

    ReplyDelete

COMING SOON! In The Whirlpools of the Koel River - by Virinchi B Srinivasan

"IN THE WHIRLPOOLS OF THE KOEL RIVER" - By Virinchi B Srinivasan What is it? A novel that offers glimpses into personalit...