Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bangalored - Part 1

It was the summer of 2005. I had just graduated from my engineering college (Jadavpur University, IT Department) and was about to join Infosys along with nearly 30 of my classmates. We were the young turks, full of ourselves at being asked to join work within few weeks of finishing college. After all we were from Jadavpur University, the melting pot of all intellectual activity in the Eastern part of India. We had spent the four years of our college life debating the virtues of communism, Das Kapital and gheraoing the Vice Chancellor of the University, while our less illustrious compatriots studying in other colleges of India had engaged themselves in less cerebral activities like sports, debating, acting etc. Even our last semester examinations had been disrupted by political agitation, with the more conscientious jonota of our batch rebuking the capitalist minority of the batch, the minority who wanted the exams to be completed in time so that they could join their jobs or MBA colleges.

Yet when it came to joining our first jobs at Infosys, all of us without exception towed the line and boarded the train that would take us to Bangalore and then onto Mysore, for our initial training period. Even in Mysore, amongst new joiners from almost every other part of the country, we never broke ranks with our clan. So it was always Bengalis separated from the others, and even within the Bengalis, JU vs Shibpur vs Durgapur. So almost all of us invariably had our own classmates as roommates in the Infosys Hostel; clearly we had not had enough of each other in the last 4 years. I was one of the unlucky few who had as a roommate a guy from Delhi,, a guy could play cricket, tennis, TT and even dance with equal panache; he had reportedly even not joined IIM Khozikhode after getting an admission offer. So much for the northie upstarts. (This guy Shashi, from DCE, is important in the context of this post as well as my life, being one of my few enduring friends who has accepted my general silliness over the years.)

The Infosys Mysore campus is perhaps on the best training facilities in the world having classrooms with Bose speakers et al. and providing facilities for almost extra-curricular activity imaginable like swimming, TT, cricket, badminton, pool etc. But come on, we were Jadavpur, no less; so while guys from other colleges were making full use of the facilities on offer, we were busy cramming the Infosys training material so as to secure an “A” grade in each course and hence top the class.

The training lasted for about 2 months; by that time I had grown a bit distant from the rest of my JU classmates. Shashi’s influence on me was having all the undesired effects; I was more interested in listening to his 4 DCE exploits and playing volleyball than getting the CICS out of running fundu mainframe programs that, guess what, wrote my name and age in COBOL data files. The end of the training program threw up an interesting set of events; a major chunk of the JU batch had got their postings in Bangalore. This naturally upset us; we all wanted postings in the most exciting city in India, Bhubaneshwar (Raghu: please do not take offence) so that we could go home to Calcutta every other weekend. As KJo has said in his seminal work K3G, its all about loving your parents. The postings were announced in the evening and that night was one of the longest non-academic nights in the living memory of most of my classmates. Hectic parlaying went on till the wee hours of the morning as people became desperate to find non-JU people who would be amenable to exchange their Bhubaneswar postings. We had suddenly become very friendly with all the guys from north, the Madrasis and the private college students in the hour of need, our own need i.e. The negotiations and chained exchange of postings (A exchanges with B and then A with C) would have put political spin doctors to shame. In the end quite a few of us got their coveted Bhubaneswar postings while few who didn’t broke down into tears. I also lost out with a Bangalore posting and could not also get a swap; that evening I had probably gone to the Jungle Dhaba in Mysore and after a few beers was dancing to the famous Telegu song “Ante” with my new made non-Bengali and non-JU friends; clearly I had lost it by being a Bengali and dancing to a Madrasi song.

So onward we marched to Bangalore to join our real jobs after the Mysore training period which was more like college than office; me and my classmates had at least treated it like college, doing what we did best, acing exams and never going out of comfort zone to embrace new cultures and interesting people. In Bangalore the first week was spent searching for affordable accommodation. Here also we JU grads were true to our form; with the possible exception of 4 of us, there was no JU guy who was sharing flats with non-JU people. Sadly, I was one of these 4 people. I was actually supposed to share flats with 3 JU guys (Dippy, Abhishake, Haju) and 1 other Bengali guy but that did not work out. I ended up staying again with that brat Shashi and one other JU classmate of mine, Deva. It was the ideal recipe for me to lose all sense of belonging to my clan of Bengali JU grads, but I will dwelve on that in the Part 2 of this post.


Blogger bubul said...

a nice one :) took me back 2 yrs and relived 4 months of training (read extended college). kudos to u.

March 30, 2010 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger zubin said...

Awesome read. But seems you still havent learnt your lesson. The staying at Secaucus, when we had an option of staying in NYC, being an example, and all 4 IIMC people together.
When will we come out of our comfort zone?

March 30, 2010 at 10:48 AM  
Blogger Sreeni said...

Bongs are not the only ones dude...I think gults beat u guys hands down in clan culture :)

March 30, 2010 at 11:12 AM  
Blogger pulkit said...

Your best post till now! with first 3 paragraphs best then u finished it in hurry :) .... your interest in non-bengalis puts u up with them all the time.... wish u also marry a non-bengali girl :P , otherwise u may get more reasons to crib....

March 30, 2010 at 11:18 AM  
Blogger Abhishek Ghosh said...

waiting for the second part....!

March 30, 2010 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger Vikas Sahu said...

hmm, thats why you came across as one of the most non-bong bong chap on campus.. but playing footie, all that mugging and a little whining gave you away ;)

btw, agree with sreeni.

March 31, 2010 at 8:01 PM  
Blogger Jai said...

good read...reminded me my college days and 1st job.

April 1, 2010 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger Satyajit said...

Comeon i am also an enduring friend of yours and have always accepted ur silliness... Dont just ignore me like this......

But desparately waiting for some funny moments we have spent together in Bangalore, specially the 1 and half kilo chicken disaster... :):)


April 2, 2010 at 6:55 AM  
Blogger Debashis said...

reminds me those days, and don't forget to mention about the time we used to spend after returning from office... waiting for your 2nd post.. will post a unbiased comment after reading that.. after all I know the both side of the coin!!

April 3, 2010 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Sneha said...

nice read! i like the underlined wit throughout! specially the bit on wanting to work near cal and the quote from k3g..! keep writing...your dam good at it. scew anyone who tells u otherwise!

April 14, 2010 at 1:57 AM  
Blogger Shashi said...

@chatter : stop singing my praises !!..will u ?..

btw totally agree with sreeni *wink * wink*

April 17, 2010 at 12:51 AM  

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