“Mapla can you swap with me for next weeks night shift?”. He asked me, and he looked anxious. For he knew I preferred coming in night shifts, he knew I loved the precious solitude i shared with the empty cubicles while working in the midnights, he knew I loved to disappear with a glass of tea into the roads which led me far away from work. He then opened up almost in tears. “Having a function at home next month, we are supposed to do the customary spending for my sisters kid and her in laws keep pushing us for more. Running short of money da, and appa is already broken I somehow have to make up for the rest. I need the night shift allowance. Can you swap?” He looked at me, and he looked anxious. For I knew he was the only earning member of his family, his father has had a neural failure and his sister is married as a helpless house wife. We swapped. While working in night meant peace for me, it meant hard earned money for him. Not just for him, but for a hundreds and thousands of people who are sarcastically branded as the IT crowd, who are termed to have no real purpose or maturity and who are accused to bloat the society with their easy fortunes, it means hard earned money.
My perception of the industry i work for has changed over the times, not that i am going to stand in the frontline and fight for its worth. But I am not going to accuse it randomly. For i have had first hand evidences of its potential to change lives. My once team lead shared, over a drink of whiskey in the sloppy hills of Moonar, that he almost lost his hope for life before he got this job. It was the mid 90’s he was a very average student at college who had an extra load of arrears to carry at the end of each semester, he had a delayed degree, he never got a job and roamed around with drinks and dope and after losing precious years if his early twenties he at last knew he was going no where in life. Someone made him take an software course and then he joined a startup as a programmer for a meager 3000/pm. He worked hard and then harder, he shifted companies, he travelled across continents and finally he, someone who could have ended up as a hopeless suicidal young man, or a rapist, or a suicide bomber destroying lives in the name of God, instead became a man who is deeply respected. Same applies to me, the guy who sits next to me at work. This industry has redefined the old world and parpanaric views of who can be given the opportunity, of who can be successful, it has brought wealth and dreams into very ordinary households, it has empowered a generation to be independent, it has turned many a boys into men, it has not only turned many girls to women but also made young women to stand up and live without dependence. It stands as the gateway to a more self dependent and open minded future. For me? I wonder what would i have done if i didn't have the smooth transition from college to work, for all the rebellious speeches i give, and the assumptions i proclaim- i would have suffered and be shamed. It has personally made life easy for me, just like taking the next step in the staircase, like has been easy. Money flow has never stopped, I am now able to feed myself, pay my internet bills, and buy my own perfume and razors every month, it has taken care of my everyday life while i wonder about which Ingmar Bergman movie to download next.
It has been almost two and a half years I started wearing tags and started entering into large buildings embellished with glass facades, I have met the most interesting people in these building. From the guy who could discuss Dostoevsky's literature to the guy who can detail me on how the Nasdaq operates on a daily basis. From the guy who pings me every time our mutual crush comes in a revealing top, to the guy who would call me over a midnight to ask for a shoulder in the rough times. I have earned people. I have outgrown my shell, i have amazed myself. But all these have not brought love for my job. I do not find enough comfort in my place i have chosen in it. I respect the Industry as a whole but not in parts, for i have also met with the most pretentious people on the planet within the same buildings, i have punched walls with the over flowing hate for bosses, i have witnessed the worst inter personnel politics, i witnessed slavery in its most meanest forms, i have seen someone else stealing my work in front of my eye, i have witnessed enough stabbing on the back as it bled but anyway all these are universal. But for most part i am just spiritually un-involved in the work i do, for most times i have seen myself only as a misfit. Yes, this is not what i wanted to do with my life. I always knew that. That doesn't mean i wanted to study middle English literature and arts in an old European University, or plainly become a bearded hippie look-alike filmmaker, or become a rebel preaching communist values, or someone who wanted to spend rest of his life serving the starving children in West Africa. I always wanted be into the business, of illusions and branding. A different kind of corporate. For i always knew i had more patience and love looking at typefaces and doing designing than looking at the computer generated code and developing modules of software.Anyway.
Sometime in the summer of 2007. I entered the Tidel park for the very first time, it was my first day in the company and a bunch of us were being officially inducted. After document signing and hours of lecture by the corporate heads. I knew i was caught in the wrong place, with time i turned really restless and bored. Sometime in the noon the pretty HR girls with their totally made up smiles came in and screamed “IT’S TIME FOR SOME GGGAMEES”. I was like what the fuck?. Some other rebel(?) joined me and we came out for a smoke. We crossed the road and found a tea shop on the road between Tidel and Thiruvanmiyur. The sun was right above us.The traffic was maddening. I had my tea and i didn’t feel like getting back into the building. I hated the formalities, and the fake wave of happiness and security they bestowed on us. I wanted to be free, get back to my room to my senses, forget the mess and get some real sleep. I walked to catch the train, and got my tickets. Standing on the cemented platform of the station and waiting for the train i saw Tidel park at a distance, it was glowing in deep blue.
A few minutes later I crossed the road and was walking again into the grand entrance of the big, blue building.