Friday, November 04, 2011

Sazaa-e-Namak Paani

This time the reason for my break from blogging is quite serious. With a heavy heart I must announce here that I have just been released from prison. This piece of news must come as quite a shock to many of you but it unfortunately is true. To arrest your alarm, I owe all of you an explanation here to explain my current circumstances.

I was jailed on the 18th of August soon after I came back from a quick visit to home on the Independence day long weekend. Little was I to know how my own independence was to be brutally cut short soon after. The rude jolt came in the form of a shrill phone call on a cozy afternoon when completely unawares of my impending fate, I was busy sharpening my skills in online archery. (Angry Birds was blocked in my office and no matter how angry we were at this, the policies remained unchanged and thus the game beyond our reach ). To come back to the point, the call was from my manager who wanted to see me. Now this itself was a disturbing little thing which sowed the seeds of doubt in my mind. Over the past three odd months, we had developed a very beautiful relationship - one in which we saw as less of each other as possible. In times when the resource utilization was best left undiscussed, it was a mutually agreeable unsaid arrangement.
As I made my way to his desk in the 8th floor, I kept wondering what the reason could be behind the unexpected invitation.
Could it be what I was thinking ? But how could it be so ? It was unimaginable that it would catch up with me so soon . Not after all the effort that I had put in the last year and a half in the desperate hope to never ever tread those God forbidden paths again. But the shadows of the past are lengthier than we think my friends. It was time to face the truth.
"We have identified a project for you. "

Seven harmless little words which came together like a slap in the face. I was just getting so comfortable in the post MBA do-nothing phase but someone just got jealous I guess !
To add salt to injury, I was informed that the project was housed in an ODC. To those unfamiliar with this obnoxious little term, ODC stands for Offshore Development Centre which is an area in an IT office that is earmarked exclusively for any particular client. The client has a free hand to impose any restriction within the confines of this area in the name of security policies. Thus if they were to ask to us to present ourselves in yellow pants and red shirts with blue shoes, we being the typical accommodating Indian service providers would go a step further and add a cowboy cap and maybe orange feathery mufflers to go along with it. Well this particular client was not so much bothered with our attire as it was paranoid with our cell phones and Internet activity. To enter the premises of one's own bloody office, any cell phone that had a camera was required to be deposited to the security chaps who manned the doors 24/7. You would go crazy answering to the daily question " Sir phone aache ? " but the buggers wont relent.

Thus started the jail term. Internet services were completely blocked. Can you even imagine a life without Google but one such existed within the confines of those walls. My brand new Blackberry had to be forsaken for a camera less and a lot many things less Nokia 1800 which however introduced me to a world which I had thought was long lost- The world of the great Kumar Sanu. With FM being the only means of relaxing in an otherwise claustrophobic environment, I was amazed to see (hear) that Kumar Sanu numbers were not only alive but thriving in Kolkata FM channels. It was impossible to surf through all the FM channels at any point in time and not find at least two that were playing old nasal Sanu hits. Bengal does not forget its heroes..So true!!
The authorities were so stringent with data regulations that they thought it wise to not even install Microsoft Office in our PCs. All Excel based flash games faded into oblivion and with it my hopes of being a great Online Archer.( Ricochet Kills Version 2.0 - Just FYI for those interested) So the only thing that the PC hosted was a link to a remote machine that resided in a foreign country and no prizes for guessing which one. So technically I was actually working in US. Aur lagao H1 par restrictions...Aur karo L1 reject.... But Hum desi log tumhare wohan kaam kar ke rahenge !! Karlo jo karna hai.

The prison term soon started to take its toll on me. With no Internet connectivity and continuous barrage of Bengali radio advertisements that were hell bent on making me buy just about everything from umbrellas to advice on sexual issues, I started showing signs of depression. I would go back home and watch Rakhi Sawant's talk show on TV. Yes my condition was that serious and it was then that I decided to do something about it.

I write this blog to say that I did. A few changes in life have followed. I have escaped from prison (read : changed my job). I have landed in Mumbai once again and today morning did something that I always dreaded. Travelled to office in a local train during peak office hours !!! The fact that I am writing this post shows that I survived. In fact it wasn't bad at all. This city makes you a survivor.

A new chapter has thus begun this week. Will keep you posted as the story unfolds.
Till then have fun !!!
I will miss the city of Calcutta nonetheless. Hope to write about that sometime.

1 comment:

Anita Jeyan said...

OMG...i have worked in such a project too ..but mobile phones were allowed...but this one sounds like a deadly and u escaped unscathed. Good !