It has been a year now, but the feeling is still fresh. I remember how nearly a year back I bid farewell to my dear ones and boarded for a new journey. Clutching my mobile thinking, now it’s probably the only way I can contact. Called all random numbers I knew, announced to all my friends that I’m going for training, TCS Trivandrum and one common question I heard, “why so far? When you’ll return.” I could manage to say “I’ll be back in a month” and the journey started.
Thinking this is the time when I’ll officially get my first salary and I won’t be asking my dad for that new iPod or the new jeans I liked. Humming songs I liked and gradually it shifted to more energetic one, felt this day I can touch the sky; it’s just a leap away. I plugged my ears with my beloved player which seemed to be the only companion who’ll be with me in that unknown place. Dreaming myself in the finest and that’s how the journey passed and I set my foot on the place which I’d remember for all of my life where I was decorated with the dog-tag “Assistant Systems Engineer – Trainee, Grade –Y.”
It was the first day of my job life when everyone expected us to be little more mature and serious. I felt I’m just an ordinary college guy being pushed too early to this even though I was waiting for this day for more than 6 months post my college. Looking for familiar faces, “Oh!!! She’s from my college”, “Hey!!! I think you were in my college”. Jostling to be sitting together and denied the law of “birds of same feather flock together.” Then suddenly “Wow!!! Look at her… she’s awesome”. Well don’t know about girls coz I’ve had pretty bad experience but maybe some would’ve slipped (not for me definitely, it’s generic) “Psst!!! That guy is nice, hope he’s in our batch”. The proceedings started and came to know not all “hopes” are fulfilled. It felt like a new world and class rooms seemed bigger. Trying to fit with the most familiar face and looking if there are more with whom I can just talk to. “Rome was not built a day” proved too good. Tried to study hard whatever they were teaching. I assume it was the first time I was studying and obviously when you study, doubts come up. These doubts helped me attain new friends. I found new buddies and as always, lost the touch of what they were teaching.
Hardest part was waking-up in the morning. Thank god there were people to kick me out of bed by banging on the door. Dressed in the-then what I considered best and felt like I’m going for some corporate fashion show. Reaching classroom and getting a place for self, my friends, made me feel it’s nothing but college – extended. My friend making notes and me chatting or messaging, taking a look around made me realise actually everyone is doing the same. Lunch time reminded me of my college canteen and I loved it coz I could see all my crushes at the same place. End of class, like release from jail. Sneering at peon who had more authority than the faculties. Tussling in the bus so as to reach for the lovely “dhabas”, have lunch and back to routine sleep, only thing we learnt in past 6 months. Some serious dude will tell, we should practice and we’d fancy ourselves and return to base, this time entering the cave as lions as head-peon is nowhere to be seen. Instead of practising problems it was time when we could meet other and show off our knowledge and get to know the crush sitting next to my friend.
Oh my god, it’s time for Evaluation Criteria in short ECs. Slogging to remember what the shortcuts, tips we learnt. Asking friend for help and thus came the theory of learning and sharing. Same college days, where we tried to mug up all things in one night and then vomit into the paper, but this time paper was online and vomiting was not allowed. The pace of heartbeat, sweat in AC room, the tension, trying to know the logic by peeking that’s how all ECs were skipped. End of each EC meant one week we can laugh and enjoy and then again one night stand for another last stand. Result of EC meant bursts of laughter for some and few drops of tear. It didn’t anymore mean that I passed, it mattered that my friend didn’t and the friend is the one I came to know few days back. We would just hug each other and wipe the tears to gear up for another start. With every passing day, danger of extension seemed closer and heart skipping a beat with just a thought was as real as our laughter and skipping hours of sleep.
Completing a month has its own rewards, first salary. The ATM card that has been my guardian for long seemed alien coz my dad filled it up and I managed to finish it off before he could ask, “you want more.” Clutched the card which they called is for Salary Account, checked my balance and smiled “It’s mine and my parents can’t say don’t spend on worthless stuffs.” I would sniff to check its freshness, and pull this one out for every transaction even if it is of Rs. 10, if they allowed. No more need to think twice before paying own bill. By the middle of the month, it occurred I’ve spent most of my salary and then it struck it’s the first time I’m thinking of how much I’ve spent, the same lesson my parents tried to teach me since my first pocket money. Still enjoyed, ate till brim and then walk back just to save that 20 bucks auto driver demanded. At month end first time I uttered, “Dude!!! It’s month end have no cash, next month, please.” If I was on receiving end then it’s more like, “even I’m in same state, save me” or “thank god, expenditure avoided is money saved.”
But even then how can we miss those trips of ours. Our training hanging on the edge and we would go for an impromptu trip and few short planned ones. Trips were more than just ideas of unwinding. Those beaches, the sunset, sand under our feet – felt I belong here and wish I could just capture this moment. No one allowed a moment alone and I was called before I could sit and think, “wish I can spend my life with those cheerful faces, slogging every week and on weekend dancing on place like this till we drop, this is heaven.” Group outing meant that my friend wants to go and I should be there, where a friend falling sick could stop a gang of 20 and all 19 lifting the one coz they didn’t want anyone to be left behind. The plan of group outing would give us hope that finally I could talk to my crush and all the ideas of my impressing the other, but at the end of it, it happened as it has happened ever before, just fooled myself. Trying to keep pace with the training which was lost somewhere in 2nd paragraph days passed like dew in the morning sun.
Finally it was the time for adieu, these 2 months I gained new friends which I will remember for my whole life while regretting that I missed many, about whom I’ve heard or just admired from far. They could’ve extended the training or gave us release a day after; they could’ve arranged a get together. Many questions were unanswered, “why she laughed at me”, “why he stared at me” and train took different directions and birdie left for new abode. And here we are still the same, even after one year at TCS dreaming the same, wish I could bring back those days.
Happy Anniversary – 8th December 2008