I sat on the bed. Barely able to breathe. Heart lodged in my throat. Palms sweating. One eye on the clock and the other on the phone. Nervously checking if the network was clear. That’s when the pacing started, I wore out the floor with my frantic walking up and down the room. Every time the phone would ring, I’d jump right outta my skin. And unsurprisingly, it always turned out to be customer care or telemarketing or my mum telling me to calm the hell down. So far, it wasn’t working. I took a friend’s advice and decided to step out. Distract myself a little bit. And so it was that i landed up at a crowded mall with a few friends to shop, when finally the phone did ring and it was the call that i’d been waiting for all day. I ran to the nearest restroom and picked up. Ten minutes later, I walked out of the restroom, absolutely stunned. My friends looking at me like they’d seen a ghost. I sat down and Abhinav asked,” So? What did they say?” Literally incapable of speech, I took a deep breath and broke the news to everyone,”I made it.”
The next two weeks seem like a blur to me. They passed in a flurry of collecting documents, finishing the pending formalities at the college, shopping, etc. Fast forward to April 6th, my first day at TelMaximus. I entered the lobby, outwardly confident in my Austin Reed suit, and a nervous as all hell on the inside. The lobby seemed quiet, the receptionist asked me to take a seat, said someone would be down shortly to get me. Within the next few minutes, I saw a familiar face. Prerna Kulkarni, apart from me, the other candidate who’d made it. We looked at each other and a wide smile spread across our faces. I’m not sure, but i think we both muttered, “thank god” under our breaths when we saw each other. While we were talking about what we both expected the day had in store for us, a lady walked into the reception to fetch us and took us to another lobby where at least 50 more people were waiting. “Laterals”, says Prerna. I looked a her with a mighty confused expression and she clarified, “off campus, or non- freshers”, comprehension dawned, and I made a mental note to not let my ignorance all hang out next time.
As we walked down to the induction hall, I soaked in my surroundings. Mahogany paneled corridors, people silently working in their cubicles, high security areas with guards, it all seemed like a lot to take in. The induction began, let me not beat around the proverbial bush here, but the whole thing kinda sucked. Prerna and I kept shooting each other looks of utter boredom. I’m sure I saw a couple of people dosing off, I was one of them. Thankfully we got pulled out of the induction by Pramod, our new boss, for our very first team lunch. What shall follow shall be a lesson in the subtle art of deception, but we’ll get to that later. And so it was that Prerna and I went on our first lunch with Pramod and Anirudh, a senior in our team, as a part of the Global Alliances and Channels team.
That day, I got home at 8 p.m. and met Abhi and Abhik(funny, I know. They were roommates too at the time.), and we spoke about what happened that day and how exciting it was that this time had finally come in our lives where we could finally say, that we’re standing on our own two feet. We had dinner and they left early to let me catch some sleep. That was the first time, in a long time that I hit the bed and fell asleep in seconds of getting in. I woke up straight to the sound of the alarm at 6. I couldnt wait to get back in there. Today was when I was to get my I Card and my cubicle, my desktop…. so excited.
The office was a good 15 kms away. I got an early start and was at work at 9 sharp. Prerna joined me shortly ad we both went and met Srishti, from our new team. She was Prerna’s classmate from MBA and had referred her for this job. A petite and pretty girl, piercingly intelligent eyes and an extremely quiet personality. I could see this was not going to be an affair to remember at all. I was going to have trouble with this girl. She showed us our seats and went along with us to get our formalities sorted. We were just getting comfortable at our new desks, when Shreeram Cherian walked on to the floor. We’d met him during our interviews. He was our new manager. Simple, portly fellow… unassuming. I instantly took a liking to him. There was something very protective about him. Just like a manger should be. We discussed our first few basic assignments and then he left us to it. So I finally had my show on the road. My job, colleagues, managers and their bosses- all sorted. Thus, began my introduction to the world of the cubicle jungle and the over crowded canteens. IT, truly, happens only in India.