MY FIRST JOB – TIME TO RECOLLECT

Everything has to begin somewhere and it certainly ends elsewhere.
Every day is a new beginning and it ends somewhere.

I would love to share my experience with my first job.

It was a lovely day when I and my friends set out to the campus recruitment drive happening in a college in our native place, Cochin. In fact, being a careless person, I was the only one not carrying anything for the campus interview. Most of them came with a CV, photo, and copy of certificates and much more and me – just nothing. I was never intending to do anything. After reaching the campus, I realised I was I didn’t even carry sufficient money. I was, I am and I guess I will be totally absent-minded.

Thanks to the loving people who are supporting me and bearing me. My friend’s dad, on his scooter, took me all around the city to find a place to get my photo or even other stuff printed- luckily which I had saved on my email. Even though we managed to at least get a resume, I was happy. It was then when the exam began, and I went in to write it.

As usual, I was never expectant about getting to the next level. To my surprise, there was my name among 250 others – I was shocked. I called my parents informed them- they were super proud of me. I always feel blessed to have such kind-hearted people around me.

It was a long wait for the call letter. Still, the very first time I received it,  my happiness knew no bounds. My dad gifted me a Nokia 1100- the very first mobile phone I had. In September, I was all set for my training which was in Bhubaneshwar. The campus was huge, we all trainees had a big room to stay in. It was hard for me to find any familiar faces, but there weren’t any.

This morning was quite pleasant.

I  woke up and freshened up and walked towards the training centre. I could see groups of people coming into the same building. All had hopes and dreams and enthusiasm for the upcoming things the future had in store for them. I too walked in, grabbed a chair in the corner and sat there. I knew no one in the room, still, I decked up my face with a smile for everyone. It all began in a jiffy.

But I could still recollect the moments of my days- I had in the Infosys Campus, which became a piece of memory to cherish forever. Even though it didn’t last long, it still changed my life.

A few friends I made there, remain, my friends, the rest drifted away like me. It was a memorable time for me though. The only thing I carried ahead was the teaching and the moments of fun I had with my friends there.

Even though I had many more dreams to conquer, my path drifted away from there. Still, it was the first job in my life. The first something doesn’t have to be very dramatic in everyone’s life but it does leave some very valuable memories to carry forward with, in life. It allows us to the scope to experience something new and learn from it. I didn’t have anything dramatic in my first job yet, I had lessons which I learned for life that came afterward.

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The biggest question of this generation is, “WHO AM I?”
All our worldly achievements have failed to answer us.
Our true identity is that we are created in God’s IMAGE
and God’s Spirit resides in us.

MY FIRST DAY AS A FREE BIRD

“My First” is an interesting topic. I have had a few interesting encounters but I’ll mention a funny incident.

A college is a new beginning in any students’ life. After the much-disciplined life of schools there comes the college. We suddenly start thinking that we are actually grown up wand that now we can do anything we want. We feel like a free bird. After 12 years of studying in Girls’ Convent school, and 2 years of +2 in a women’s college, I got admission in Ravenshaw University for pursuing higher education. I had so many emotions running through me because for the first time I was about to step into a co-education institution. I had so many things on my mind, from what I was going to wear to how to figure out where the class would be located at. But I was not alone, three friends of +2 had also taken admission in the same university, which was sort of a relief for me. 

Finally, the day arrived when I stepped in Ravenshaw University. One of my friends had accompanied me in a rickshaw. After reaching near the gate, we waited for the other two friends. After they arrived, we exchanged some gleeful glances and entered the campus. It was huge! I call it the “Red Empire”. There is a big lawn, spherical in shape with antic street lamps neatly fitted. The buildings were red in color. And my favorite color is red! The scenic beauty, the neatness, the entire atmosphere inside the campus had won my heart. To the right-hand side of the lawn, was a big digital board which read “Welcome to Ravenshaw University”. But without wasting much time we headed for the inaugural lecture. It was to be held in Gallery No. 2. We asked a few students and made our way through the crowd to the Gallery. After walking for about 5 minutes, we could see the word “Gallery”. We smiled at each other and rushed towards it. But when we reached near the entrance door, the Gallery was nearly full and the class had begun. We exchanged “oh-no-we-are-late” looks and one of us told, “Ma’am may we come in?” The class which was totally hooked to madam’s lecture was startled by our interruption. We could even see backbenchers giggling among themselves. I felt really embarrassed. But then it was mentioned in the time table that the inaugural lecture was supposed to commence at 11 am. We are only 5 minutes late. Madam looked at us, she didn’t question, she glanced at her watch and told “okay class, we will continue tomorrow” and she got up to leave. We four exchanged puzzled looks. “Get inside”, madam said and left. 

We four got inside, but we were greeted by startled looks, “who-are-you-what-are-you-doing-here” looks. We four settled in and looked left and right to see many familiar faces. Finally, I spotted a familiar face and waved my hand. She was my school senior, she too noticed me and waved back. “What are you doing here?” she asked. “Di, actually I,..”, before I could complete, another madam entered the class. “Settle down class, we have to cover two important topics today,” she said in an urgent tone. Without any delay, she started taking attendance (Ravenshaw University is still strict regarding attendance). After finishing with the left block, she signaled the right block for attendance. We four exchanged nervous glances because we didn’t have identity cards or roll numbers!

Meanwhile, it was our turn. “Yes, your roll number”, she asked my friend. “Ma’am I don’t know”, my friend replied in a feeble voice. “What do you mean by I don’t know? Anyways yes, next”, said madam in a hurried tone. “Ma’am I don’t know my roll no”, another friend of mine replied. “What? And you?”  Madam signaled me. “You too don’t know your roll number,” she asked sharply. “No ma’am” I replied. “You all are from which department? Where are your identity cards? Wait a minute, are you all freshers??” She asked us, nearly getting up from her seat. “Yes ma’am”, four of us replied. We could hear indistinct chatter and feeble giggles from behind. “My my”, madam exclaimed. “This is the Second year, English Hons. Class, your lecture is in the Gallery No. 2 and this is Gallery No.3. Common hurry up, you guys are late.” Madam signaled us to leave and showed us the correct place. After we left the room, we could hear laughter and indistinct chatters all through the stairs. Before we could catch our breath, madam had asked an office staff to accompany us to the destination. Had he not accompanied, we would have never reached the Gallery. Because we were new there and the campus was huge and lots of short-cut paths and ways puzzled us. 

Finally, we reached the Gallery No. 2. It was 11:30am. We missed some parts of the inaugural session. But we got our identity cards, roll number, library card, and the syllabus. After nearly 40 minutes, the inaugural session ended. We met with a few familiar people, friends of friends. After that, we headed for the canteen, for a quick refreshment.  We had a hearty laugh, with what just happened. Then two of my friends left. I and my friend took a walk around the campus and then headed home. Thus, the eventful day came to an end. My first day in Ravenshaw University is truly memorable. 

We all are little celebs in our own small worlds,
constantly being appraised and criticised
for our gestures, words, choices and actions.
We accept it or not but these do impact us in certain ways.

SLOW, SMOOTH & SIMPLE!

While Good Health is something that we almost take for granted in our day to day lives, it is sometimes necessary to strike the right balance between work stress and a healthy body.

Yes, the right food coupled with the correct diet and sufficient walking time normally do manage to keep most people fit or afloat to keep going – and then there’s never a dearth when it comes to advice when friends are around. For the many suggestions that my friends/colleagues have showered upon me, I smile, listen & moved on – till this one thing they said…

Read on!

Massage
(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

I guess the above picture says it all, doesn’t it? A good massage after a stressful day at work

At first touch, our heart rate slows down by 10 beats per minute and our blood pressure lowers by 8%

To say I was nervous before settling myself on the fairly narrow leather-ed table/bed, was an understatement. I had read up on the ‘various technicalities’ that happen in course of a massage session (which lasts anything between 45 minutes to an hour) and only after being satisfied with it all, I decided to take the plunge.

It wasn’t a new concept and my friends (who had previously had massages) advised me to be all cool about it – but there is so much of chill you can feel being in bare essentials covering you up. It did feel very comfortable though, I will have to admit.

There were thoughts galore in my mind. Should I ask my masseuse I wondered. Music played in the background, I decided to talk. Now, needless to say, my masseuse was young, pretty and very Indian, my eyes scanned her briefly – at least she’d have soft hands or that is what I had thought initially. As she went about the oils and the rubs, I felt so relaxed… almost felt a song in my head.

She finally beat me to the first question…

“Is this your first time?”

Now, as a  single guy, when you’re asked a question like that from a girl… (irrespective) you’re not sure if you want to tell the truth (I was ‘A Massage Virgin’).

Very quietly I replied “hmmm”.

Not sure if she took it as a pleasuring stroke evoked from her firm hands on my bare back or an answer to her question, but she didn’t find the need to clarify.

…and just like that, we got talking… while she massaged me so well with her now fully oil glazed hands… I could tell, along with being a good masseuse, she was made an excellent conversationalist. Her English though could do with some improvement. (I may be clothed 5% on an otherwise normal dressing day, in front of a total stranger, I will still judge her English).

Not sure of the bonding that happens between a masseuse and her customer in the little room, converts into a friendship outside of it – but in those 45 minutes, we got to know a few things about each other, which clearly states that, it wasn’t just a massage that happened in there, probably a budding friendship too.

45 minutes of body massage, healthy conversation, and a shower later, I was served Ginger tea.

“How did you like the massage?”

Considering I had nothing else to compare it to, I replied,

“It was nice”.

I thought that was the right thing to say. Did I have any say in how the masseuse was? A feedback form perhaps?

.

.

.

I received a text message from her yesterday…

“Hi”, it said…

Yes, we’re connected on WhatsApp and I guess she’s missing her customer, its been some time I haven’t been there…

…or then maybe she is just doing her job.

Whichever way you look at it, My First was pretty memorable, fresh on the mind-n-body, also a learning experience. Oh! …and I felt great after I got out, almost like a new person.

If you haven’t tried one out yet, what are you waiting for?

You are ONE massage away from a good mood

To sign off – A piece of advice to parents and to the old school…

Let’s not write off ‘an appointment with your therapist’ as one of those taboo topics that can’t be spoken out openly. It is as much important as any other of the treatments and luxuries we give ourselves from time-to-time, to help us get up and be ready for a new day. Who would not want to look and feel their best? 

…adventure and routine are not separate from each other;
they intermingle and blend with each other
to make yours and my life beautiful.

SPECIAL FIRST TIMES!!!

First times are always special because they make you either confident in continuing what we want to do or they make us really scared to go ahead in that venture. There are many things that have gone well for me when I think of my first times. Although there have been goof-ups too, sometimes because of me and other times not. 

The very first memory that I have of a goof-up is when I was going to the school in Dehradun for the first time. I was born in Gujrat and my parents had been staying there for almost 18 years. When I was 6 years old, my father got transferred to Dehradun and we packed our bags to come to this new city which was quite different. My father and one of his colleagues had got the transfer together and hence we were travelling together. I was 6 ready to go in 1st standard and my sister was 13 ready to go in 9th standard. And the other family also had two kids – elder one going to go in 4th standard and younger one was my age. 

We had shifted mid-session so getting admissions in the school was a challenge. Somehow we managed to get admission in a school named Scholar’s Home which had 3 branches. The farthest branch was quite far off where my sister was supposed to go since she was going to High School. The first branch was quite a big school but we did not get admission there, we younger ones got the admission in the second branch which was only the Primary school. The schools were quite far off from our home and there was a school bus that would take us there. 

I don’t remember a lot of it but I remember being dead scared. It was a brand new city, new school and away from home. I don’t know if I cried but I know that the only relief I had was that I was not alone going to that school. So, the goof-up happened when the bus conductor got confused about which branch he is supposed to drop us at. There were no mobile phones or landlines at that time. My sister was on the other bus. We three kids got dropped at the first branch which was not the school we were supposed to be at. I remember kept telling the bus conductor that I don’t think this is where we are supposed to be, but who takes a 6-year-old seriously? 

As soon as we came in, the teachers were surprised to see us as we weren’t even expected. I started crying and so did the other two kids with me. We spent the whole day sitting in the Principal’s office. There was no way they could get the confirmation from anywhere either our parents or the other school. We did not know which bus to take us back home, so we waited for long 6 hours or so for the school to get over. Once the school got over, we were escorted to the school bus. The bus was waiting there and I was so relieved to see my sister on the bus. I remember telling her the whole story and then repeating it for my parents multiple times about what really happened. I don’t know how scared or worried they got. 

Now as a parent, I feel that it was a pretty bad goof-up. We could have been lost and I can imagine the state of my parents once they came to know what really happened. Later on, till the time I was at that school – it was a pretty funny story to tell other kids that how I got dropped at the wrong school.

The first-time event isn’t always goof ups. They are also memories for a lifetime. And there is one more first time that I would like to share which was rather special – it was the first time I travelled abroad. It was an official trip to the US and I was just 22 years of age. That opportunity was rather an unexpected one but I was quite thrilled that I got a chance to stay there for 3 months. During the journey, I kept listening to the song from the movie Chak de – “Badal pe paon hai”. It did feel like I am cloud 9 and everything around was so very exciting. The first experience of explaining a Mc Donald’s cashier that I wanted to have a vegetarian burger was quite funny. After a while, I asked them if they could make a burger without meat and the lady looked at me as if I had asked for all the trash in the restaurant. Just by her look, I left the place after having fries and coke. 

At the Denver airport, I was quite nervous at the security check for a simple reason that I had to take a domestic flight now. I had heard quite a lot about their security checks. I did the regular drill of taking off the shoes, socks, coat, specs, etc. Unfortunately, my mobile was still in my pocket. So when I went through the metal detector, it beeped. And I realized that those guys take the metal detector beeps way seriously than I had ever seen. The security personnel there looked quite scary and he asked me to step back. In all my nervousness, I did not understand him at all. He had to say this thrice for me to get it and my eyes were fixated on the gun that he had taken out because I wasn’t listening to him. Of course, once I stepped back they checked me thoroughly only to find a harmless innocent mobile in my pocket and then they let go of me. I was trembling by the time all this got over, but now I knew how to handle the security there. The more nervous you are, the more trouble you are in.

We were a group of Indians working together on a project while my first stay in the US. Our project manager was an old American lady who was a workaholic. She once came to me and said – “Prabhjot, I have trouble communicating with some of our colleagues”. I was a bit puzzled if my friends were in some trouble. 

She said “Every time I ask a question to Anand, he always nods his head sideways. I cannot make out if he is saying a Yes or a No. What does it really mean?” 

I couldn’t help but laugh at this. She was sincerely quite embarrassed in asking this question and it was her first time working with Indians. I told her it is not just you, we Indians also get confused with each other. And then I had to tell my manager to sensitize the team to not use nods and communicate very clearly in Yes or No. 

Well, first times are special. Not just first time events but also the first time objects are super special – like first salary, first address of your own, first house, first car, first pet and the list goes own. My husband gets quite frustrated every time we cross the ATM where I withdrew my first salary from – because I always remind him that this is the ATM where I saw so much money in my account for the first time and what a thrill it was.