September, I was alone in Chennai. No, the Chennaites have not abandoned the city but I mean that my ears starved for some Hindi. I was left virtually alone at my room. Television is there but you can’t talk to the television. My roommate is there. A college friend, but he prefers talking to his girlfriend now. Believe me, the major network operators in India who cut such huge revenues are running healthy because sleep deprived, socially nonexistent people like him never feel sick of talking for hours on phone. Office was also at the same side of the coin. A team of all Tamil speaking people, who I guess must have proved a miserable failure in their Hindi classes.
It’s very natural that when people from the same community collide they resort to speaking in their mother tongue. Ideas always float more efficiently and succinctly in the natural language of the people. So in boardroom meetings, it was always Tamil that took the upper hand over English, and I was just left clueless. Finally, I came up with a suggestion. I told them that before starting a discussion or argument, however they might want to phrase it, just inform me on the topic. Then they can continue brainstorming on it in any language they want. If I would have something to contribute I would do so. And after they are done, just read me what was the conclusion. This proposition proved to be a breather in the coming meetings.
The only positive thought that made me survive among these people was that I am polishing my communication skills in English. Whenever I had to say something, I had to tell it in English. I have discovered in the process that I have a very weird problem speaking English. Whenever two consecutive words start with an s, my tongue falters. As an example, if I have to say ‘she sits’, it always comes out of my mouth as ‘she shits’. I hope I do not ever have to tell anyone about the movements of a lady!
Going for lunch and evening snacks with these guys is always amusing. The team here is super cool, and I would have enjoyed it a lot but only if I knew Tamil or they knew Hindi. So even if I enjoy their company, sharing laughs always turns out to be an exercise. By their gestures and context I have to make out the joke and have to match my facial movements with theirs. I have to follow their eyes which are busy following a girl, and though their glance return to each other after a while, mine continues to stick with her, following her all over the place till she disappears inside a lift. But then another one comes out of the lift and she is stalked, and the cycle continues until my reverie is broken by their guffaws and I become conscious that I am not part of the group anymore and need to concentrate again.
Join a software company and the first few months are a little light. The expectations of your manager hover around your getting acquainted with the product, your learning of the system and ice breaking with the team. Unless you are not of the types who want to do it all, you can stretch yourself a bit and enjoy the work and learn at a leisurely pace. Many people call this honeymoon period. But once this honeymoon period (typically lasts for 3-4 months or so) gets over, the pain of pregnancy and delivery is also very unbearable. Like a girlfriend turned wife changes within a few days, your boss no longer remains the same person. The demands grow and you wonder whether that honeymoon could have lasted a few more days. Social life comes to an abrupt ends and rest of your evenings are confined in office. Very tough time, it is like a triplet is born and you have to toggle yourself between all of them efficiently unless you do not want yourself under a load of piss and shit.