Venugopal from Tightal Park - Complete two parts from the Original Notes


This is taken from the Original Notes of 2010, which I have lost. I couldn't find the original author of this post but felt the use of high quality English words and the deep lost experiences / expectations of an Indian IT guy made me post this here.

Part I (From the Original notes!)

"And thus, we've come to the end on this discourse on creative strategies. Hope you've all got the basics on analysing and streamlining the end-to-end process on corporate governance to meet stakeholder expectations. See you". With that the professor left. What a great school, I thought. A lot of business blah-blah, but so worth it. Sweeeeet. I should've joined B-School in 2010 when I had the chance, I thought. Could've saved 2 years. Packing the couple of books and the lappie, I walked back along the hallowed corridors to the hostel. Kshitij, my buddy, met me on the way with a grin that could mean only one thing: "Party night, baby!". Every day I want to fly stay by my side... The alarm rang. Panicking, I woke up.

Blink. Specs. Grope. Light switch. Argh! Bright. Hazy. Hmmm. Breathe. 5:50 am.

Kshitij? B-School? Corridor? Management? Books? Damn, I thought. Not another dream. Sigh. Breathe some more.

Ugh, Bus in exactly one hour. Hmmm.

Friday = Casuals. Right. Okay, I wore the Spykar last week, this week Pepe. Settled. The crucial decision made, I rushed to get my stuff in order and the blood rushing again to get to work on time. Tooth-paste, Towel, Shirt, Charger, Cologne, Keys. They're a blur. I rush out, and carry out my daily ritual of checking if I've got the ID card in my bag while walking to the stop. It's there. Thank God for that.

The Bus Pass is a separate coloured slip which I have in my wallet. I don't know why the two are in separate locations. I just prefer it that way. The Bus Pass is a separate accoutrement that they issue just to ensure that the probability of you forgetting one for the other is more. The company I work for at least has transport facilities. I silently pitied my other friends who have to grovel their way through perennially full MTC Buses to the IT Corridor.

I grabbed the newspaper, dished out 3 Rs., stuffed the already beginning-to-crush Hindu into my bag and quickened the pace. I cross the road and heave a sigh pf relief. I'm in time. Phew. SSN and St. Joseph students stare right through me at the great long stretch of the Marina Beach road. No sign of any buses yet. I start reading the Weekend Plus and I'm onto page 5 when the company bus arrives. I board and am greeted by the one friendly face in it. There are total of 8 souls inside, 2 awake, 5 asleep and 1 semi-conscious. I am lucky number 9. Ombotheyy, my Bedeans friends would've yelled. The Bus driver is a friendly chap and a very decent driver and in Chennai, that's saying something. He actually uses mirrors and indicators. He should be given an award, at the very least. And in addition to impeccable driving skills, he also wants pedestrians to see the day through. Compare that to the Sathyabama bus drivers who're responsible for sending 73 % of the people on the OMR to the mortuary.

I pass the school, the church, plug my in-ears, switch the phone radio on to 91.9 and I switch off. Till 7:50 am at least.

The speciality on Fridays is that there is a lot of denim on the ECR/OMR. A lot. All IT Employees, making full use of the one day when they go all… Casual. And for some other related but as yet unexplained reason, there are a lot of couples on bikes on Fridays. Along both the Highways. I am still pondering this when Shollinganallur, Navalur and SIPCOT all flash by in minutes. The bus turns in and I brace myself. I step out, the friend by my side and we encounter the first security guard of the day herein referred to as U.S. Special Task Force and Operation Marines. There are a lot of whistles being blown almost all at once each signifying either approval or disapproval, you can never know which. It is an enigma. Sometimes, it's to pull-up some poor sleepy soul who's not had the ID card face up, else it's for some bus driver mate of theirs. I walk past the huge imposing blocks into the entry zone. "Bag check please", female security asks. I like gender diversity. Their clever, administration is. "Just papers and suchlike", I reply and smile. The smile catches her off-guard and she waves me on. I press the 'Up' symbol and wait. In-ears still delivering music to my ears.

A bunch of e-mails will be ready to greet me.

I can't wait.

P.S: The original version was on Notepad and vanished unsaved. This is a version that I completely retyped. The bells and whistles are saved for the future parts. Forgive me, Omaticaya people.

Part II (From the Original notes!)

This is part 2 of my totally made-up story, following the protagonist Venugopal.

From Tightal Park, yes.

Now, continue and plunge into part 2.

I love Otis elevators. Along with Kone, I reckon they have the best safety record. And they're so industrial. Uncluttered. Basic. Secure.

Unlike those loud, flashy, occasionally-jumpy, Mitsubishi ones that want to kill you every once in a while. I am still thinking this aloud (the lift, designed to hold 15 sleepy IT nerds, now holds the solitary narrator) when: "Third Floor. Thank you for using Otis. Good Morning. And have a great day" voice shakes me out of my reverie.

I sanctimoniously proceed to the restroom, freshen up and proceed to the ODC (Offshore Development Centre - which is just American for 'place-for-crappy-Indian-lowly-paid-guys-as-far-from-the-real-action-as-possible'), when the Lead accosts me near the coffee lounge.

  • "Venu, come come...", he says dispensing off the mandatory smiles and compliments. This can't be good.
  • "Good morning, Bala." I say, with all the cheerfulness of an Indian plumber addressing an Arab Sheikh.
  • "We have an escalation.", he whispered, fear in every syllable. Bala would have more cheerfully admitted that he had AIDS.
  • "But, we just had an appreciation last week. Now what?" I venture.
  • "We have an escalation." he repeats totally oblivious to my audible protests. "From onsite", presumably expecting me to drop dead on hearing this.

Now, for the uninitiated, appreciation means someone, somewhere said "Good" in a long-distance call at some point, in some vague manner while watching Conan and sipping Diet Cola. Escalation means the same person coughed into the phone on a long-distance call at some point, in some vague manner while still watching Conan and sipping Diet Cola. The cough is of course, immediately and conveniently misconstrued for a verbal tirade of abuse. Onsite is just another word for heaven in IT Circles. Everyone having anywhere from 1 - 5 years of project experience gets a chance to visit the Holy Land. There are of course, 4 crucial criteria to satisfy before that.

  • Suffer silently for anywhere up to 5 years. Muttering 'onsite onsite someday' through gritted teeth can help.
  • Suffer through mind-numbingly boring work for above mentioned period of time.
  • Lose all hope, ideals and ambitions.
  • Have ABSOLUTELY zero plans of making it in life.

Now, if you've ticked all the right boxes, then onsite it is for you!

Onsite is also where people get pounded left and right from the clients. Direct. But, they will post pictures of them cooking 'Kozhi Masala' on Facebook to let everyone know that eating chicken somehow compensates for zero self-respect in a foreign land. Onsite people are feared and loathed in equal measure as they get to bark orders back to the ODC.

I refused to believe this news. "But Bala, we almost got the hard commit after the soft commit of the deliverable analysing the RSM from all POC's before the EOD as mentioned in LC2 during EM1 via OC, right?", I managed hoping all this would confuse him. It worked.

"Hmm. Please send out a mail. Meeting at 3:00 pm CST."

Mentally, calculating what the IST would be and resigned to my fate, I walked back to my desk. As the world-famous 'Figure's Rule of Location' holds true, I took the long way to my desk walking past at least 7 different project units in a desperate attempt to locate at least one pretty girl.

Turned out none of them were in that early. Sheesh.

Figure's Rule of Location states that every work cubicle except your own will have at least 3 extremely cute girls.

I trudged back and switched the Monitor on, fingers automatically pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del on the jet-black keyboard. It quickly transpires that I have 25 unread mails on different inboxes. Flummoxed at what could have caused this, and aided by my stomach rumbling, I lock the system and proceed to HSB for some breakfast. Cash. Bill. Set 1. Spoon. Shove. Return. Wash. ODC. Desperate to finally get some work started, I swipe my way in and roll my seat in.

"Teoonng- Teoonng. Associates, this is a fire-drill. Kindly evacuate, there is no need to panic. Please assemble outside and await further instructions." Great. Just great.

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