April 2007


Bombay

13th April

It’s been four days in Bombay for me, and as I say goodbye to the City of Dreams, a few random thoughts float around.

Chennai does not have the worst weather in the country, Mumbai does! Some cities just get a bad name…

It’s nice to see the Nehru cap actually being used as a practical head-gear. So far, the only places I had seen them were on TV or during patriotic plays.

I love the Mumbai locals!…well, atleast for 4 days, it’s an experience worth having. In fact. I think this much-hyped ‘spirit of Mumbai’ has its roots in its local trains. When you are lost in that sea of humanity on the Dadar station and you get jostled and rattled for space, it isn’t only your body that gets crushed in the process, but also your ego. When you realise your destination is decided by which way the crowd pushes you and that you have no control, you understand that you have to hone your survival instincts to fight against the tide. At the same time, you realise that you can’t make it without your fellow passenger’s help, and so you co-operate. It’s a beautiful exercise in developing one’s individualistic and collective streaks at the same time!

The local train is the best mode of transport for a woman. Often is the time I’ve been squeezed between a wire mesh and a huge, sweaty paan-chewing chap, only to see on the other side of the Great Divide, a couple of women in the empty women’s compartment calmly having their lunch.

The Gateway of India isn’t half as impressive as it looks in the pictures.

The people are helpful and good. Case in point is the wonderful family I stayed with. So what if they’re Mangalorean? I like to think it’s partly due to the Mumbai spirit!

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Bombay 

9th April

CPD, IBG, TSO, TSE, RSM, NCO,…..they never end!

I’ve just had my induction, and I’ve been flooded with an avalanche of three-letter acronyms (TLAs). You have to give them credit for trying to make the process as less intimidating and as friendly as possible, but for a company which prides itself on having a directory called ‘MAD’ (I’ll leave the deciphering to you), I guess this was always coming.

The induction in itself was quite cool. The ambience (5 star hotel by the sea) was great, food was edible, fellow interns seemed like nice folk and the PPTs were entertaining enough to keep me awake…at least till the afternoon session. I wonder how far removed my work is going to be from this kind of environment….

I’ll soon find out!

Jamshedpur -> Bombay

5th April

Brao is an excellent chap!

His love for being Just-In-Time is something to be admired. Deming himself would have been proud. Consider our latest train journey from Jampot to Bombay. The train was scheduled to leave at 11:45 PM, and here we were in our hostel rooms at 11:25 PM, watching Mr. JIT gaze helplessly at all his yet-to-be-packed stuff. It didn’t help that he had to pick this opportune moment to fall prey to the viles of liquor too, though I like to think it atleast kept him in good humour. With the help of some indispensable friends, we finally managed to make it to an auto.

By the time we got to the station, I was making alternate plans to reach Bombay, but I needn’t have worried. We got there at 11:50 and the train didn’t arrive till 11:55. Trust the Indian Railways, trust IST! At least that’s what Mr. JIT’s knowing smile seemed to suggest, but I refused to acknowledge it.

Our sojourn in the station was only a short one. As the train rolled in, we knew we had only five minutes to make it to our compartment. A 100 metre dash basically, but with a 100 kg of luggage to be factored in. Maybe it was because of that, maybe it was because of my grumpy mood, but I thought I saw an AS chart plastered on a compartment when it actually was an A chart. Having hauled all our luggage in, we realised our mistake, but it was too late. The train had started moving.

Nothing much to be bothered about, you might think. Just walk through the train till you find the place where you belong. Easier said than done, when the next compartment happens to be the unreserved section and the connecting door had been firmly locked. We had never been hit so badly by class distinctions. But I was at peace with the world. We had made it to the train in one piece and on time, and we were moving towards Bombay. Every other issue was inconsequential.

3 AM was the next halt, and our first chance to return to our rightful seats. Half asleep, we ran (optimistically, considering all our luggage) along the platform searching for AS1. Horror of horrors, we realised it was at the other end of the train. It was with a sense of deja vu that we boarded another compartment where we didn’t belong, as the train started chugging again. We weren’t even surprised to see our path inside the train barred once more, this time by a locked pantry.
So there we were, two wannabe managers, who couldn’t get to the station on time and couldn’t find the right compartment till 5 in the morning. We spent the entire night standing next to the toilet, enduring suspicious glances from passengers who came to answer nature’s call and explaining our predicament to understanding ticket checkers.
But inspite of it all, the night was fun. Leaning out of an open door of a moving train in the dead of night is always an exhillarating feeling. Chatting with Mr. JIT, laughing at each other, pulling each other’s legs, talking randomly about summers, about XL, about people, the night didn’t seem long at all.

Like I said, Brao is an excellent chap!
 

Is it all about the job in the end?…those months of preparing for the entrance exams, those endless periods of keeping yourself awake through torturous classes, those months..err..days..err..hours of preparing for the end-semesters…the most tangible result of all these is the job you end up with. And just to make sure we make a better choice, we even get a test-drive at it! At least that’s how I see the summers project at any b-school.

I have no clue what’s going to happen in the next two months. And that might actually be the reason for this blog. A means to understand new (hopefully good) experiences, a diary to preserve memories for posterity and an added incentive to keep my eyes and ears open.

About the nitty-gritties, I’ll be into a get-down-and-dirty sales role, identifying growth opportunities for “The Healthy Oil” (THO) in Bangalore, Mangalore and Mysore. A lot of other cities are on the radar too, and that’s something I am looking forward to…..and err, the dates and places at the beginning of each post indicate the time of post-origin, not necessarily post-penning down!

Am I a salesman?…I dont know. Am i travelling?…I most definitely am!