The end of exams signalled the beginning of corporate life for most of my batchmates, and the beginning of a six-week-long vacation for me. The first two weeks were good – this was probably the first time in months that I lazed around without a care in the world, considering the fact that we had been continuously bombarded with coursework over the last couple of years. Most of the remainder of the vacation was uneventful (my “internship” at the kitchen wasn’t exactly a hit, even though mom had been bragging to my aunts about finally getting me on board), save the heavenliest trip to Hyderabad to visit my cousins and celebrate my sister’s birthday. Never had I imagined that the weekend would just fly by and I would have to come back to Mumbai so soon.
Being awesome as always, my employer, a telecommunications major, had organized a hotel stay in Mumbai for approximately 40 of us trainees for about a week. This week was certainly the one where I had learnt the most – spending time with the other trainees (although a few of whom were my batchmates, a majority were from NITs). Although we all had our share of small talk in the beginning, we started actually interacting after the ice-breaker corporate theatre session. The lesson was by far the most valuable one – we became aware of some interesting facets of human psychology, learnt to open up and laugh freely, and finally shed our inhibitions and participate in activities that we would usually be really uncomfortable with. The learning that had the most profound impact on me was that something which is induced in the beginning becomes a part of our natural behaviour if practiced over a period of time.
The weeklong stay was also a place I bumped into really interesting people. The first one was an amazing person named Sukanya, who just like me had begun her career. I found that there was quite a bit about her that I really admired – she was fluent in ALL the major South Indian language, as well as French (She was learning German too). As a couple of other trainees joined us at the table, she conversed with them in their mother tongue effortlessly. The coolest part was that even though she had been in Mumbai for about a month and was already familiar with Marathi, which she spoke almost like a local would. Sitting with her gave me one of the most memorable lessons in life – when life gives you a fork with vanilla ice-cream in a soup bowl, savour it before it melts. We couldn’t meet again after that as she had to leave Mumbai the next day. I guess this is one experience I am going to cherish for a while.
The other person who just made me smile was a live musician named Denzel who plays often at the hotel we stayed in. Having been at the office for almost twelve hours and finally returning to the hotel in an almost famished zombie-like state, listening to him sing while we dined was almost like a trance. He played a couple of Billy Joel songs that a buddy of mine requested and acknowledged us with a big smile on his face – it seemed like a couple of people appreciate him just made his evening. As I walked to the elevator he waved while singing “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran. I went downstairs again in a while to enjoy listening to his voice, but he had already stopped by then.
Listening to the leaders of the organization speak and asking them questions was another privilege that we were given. They shared with us a bit about their departments and their experiences during their corporate life, and finally wished us the very best of luck in ours. We were mesmerised by them – their insanely amazing presentation skills, the crazily infectious level of energy and the charisma left us all gaping with awe (and hoping that we would be as good as them someday).
The best part of the week was learning that we were to attend cross functional training in different parts of the country for about a month. We trainees were assigned to locations scattered across the country. Special care was taken while choosing the locations, as each of them was right outside our comfort zones (I guess this was done to give us a clean slate of a location so as to maximise our learning). I grinned when I learnt about my posting in Guwahati, Assam, along with five other new trainees (three of them being my batchmates). The six of us hail from different parts of the country and have never visited North East India before (and needless to say, have absolutely zero idea about the geography and the life there). We are scheduled to fly out to our respective locations at the end of the induction week. I eagerly await the adventure that lies ahead.