Friday, May 23, 2008

A Project for Mr. Kumar

On 9th May 2003,I thought I am finished.I couldn't believe that all my toil had come to nothing.I had been studying in an engineering college since last 2 years,but had never quite felt like I had left school.The reason was simple,till then I had subconsciously never allowed myself to think that I actually belong to my college.I had been burning the midnight oil for 4 years to get into the much famed corridors of IIT.If desperation to get into IITs had been a paper,I would have strolled into them.Any IIT,any stream would have done,I had given it my all,nearly.But that day,I flunked again,for the 3rd time in a row.It was all over,nothing I would now do in my life would change the fact that I didn't study in an IIT(B.Tech that is).So what do I do now,where do I go?My college was a non-entity compared to IIT.

Till 1 more year,I didn't understand what is it that could liberate me from the mediocrity of my college.Then 1 fine day,we got the news that an Indian IT heavy weight is coming to the campus and is expected to pick up some of the students.This news was God sent for me.I thought this could be the Nirvana I had been seeking.I had a chance to get into something big,something which people have heard about.I prepared hard in the intervening period,had a good day when they came to the campus and  got selected.Needless to say,I was really looking forward to starting my career there,to work in great projects.

We joined the real office by December 2005.By then,I had become sort of familiar with a new term,it was called 'bench' and it meant getting paid but being jobless.And the news was that every Indian IT company worth its name kept freshers in bench for unknown periods.If these bench men were lucky,they would get a computer for some time every day and if they were really lucky,they would get a cubicle all of their own with unblocked Internet access.Needless to say,if kick starting your career is what you were looking for,bench was the last place you would have liked to be in.Some 70 of us joined the office together and to our great delight were allocated our accounts on the very first day.Though this was better than being on bench in the sense that we knew which client we would ultimately work for,it was still the same as we didn't knew when.This went for a week or two and then some person walked into the conference room we were called to and told us that we have been divided into competencies and would be trained accordingly.They didn't have any project to give(in the hindsight,they were doing the next best thing,i.e. taking time off their work and training us) and it was obvious.These trainings went for another two or three weeks.Then the coordinator of my competency came and told us that we had been identified for projects,finally.Great,so finally we had one.Well,as it turned out,we still weren't into projects as what had been given to us was the task of making in house applications and not the client work which was supposed to be the real thing.However,this was fun and we started having hands-on experience of doing things.We loved it,learnt things and finished what was asked of us.This entire thing took another one and a half months.

We were ready or so we thought,but we still didn't have projects.To put it bluntly,we were still in bench.Two and a half months since we joined and still in bench.Crazy heavens and I had thought this company was my ticket to the big world.Being in bench sounds tempting at first if you have access to bandwidth to fritter.But it is dangerous even if you believe life is a lark and working is the most useless thing to do in this world.It is like a bedbug which slowly eats you out.It shakes your self-esteem,coaxes you into a norm of inactivity and ultimately kills you with boredom.You will look at your watch and then look at it again after 5 minutes in spite of knowing well enough that you had looked at it recently.You just wouldn't know how to kill time.And if you get to know that your friend who joined at about the same time in some other place as you had got into a project,it would be like rubbing salt into your wounds.Every hour you think about the days lost,when you could have worked and learnt something.Mr. Biswas had wanted a simple house for himself,that's all he had wished for.I too just wanted a project,from somewhere,rather anywhere and the situation had looked quite bleak for too long.Every day felt like a month and still there was no project(or rather good project) in sight.I took a week's leave and went home for Holi.I wasn't going home in the right mood but hoped to return in the right mood because I had been to home.Two days before I was about to leave my home,I got a message from my colleague,I had been selected for a good project based on my performance in the in house application we made.Oh,finally!I had never felt happier on receiving an SMS.

Well,that's it and that was 2 years back.A lot has happened since then,I have worked in multiple projects,been to multiple places and understood the system better.But those bench days still scare me when I think of them.


kaushik said...

why are you asked to go to office if they don't have work to give you??? I guess, if they said, you are on bench, its a paid holiday..go enjoy, then things would be different :p

Anand said...

Wish it was so simple then :)

kaushik said...

nice photo on the template! but you must write more often :p