The Client/ Job Forsaken - II

Posted by - Rohit

I still remember those days when finding a job was as good as finding a Unicorn in Kurla. Those were the days when I realised two things; one, there were more software industries than pan-tapri shops; two, Samosa Pav was highly underrated and should've been the National Dish of India. But after 4 months, 40 odd IT companies and one bribe offer that my friend Pradeep and I were willing to give to one of the companies, we finally found that elusive job.

"9,800 per month" she said with a smile on her face. The offer was more than enough for the two of us as it replenished our hopes of being software engineers that our parents dreamed us of being. The de facto principle that every software start up adopts is - "If a client asks for your service...also offer him a glass of water along with a straw". They were what Ram Gopal Varma is to struggling actors. So, in order to cater to their needs and 10 hours of never ending love for the client everyday, we marched on with undaunted hopes.

With almost 37 days of experience, Pradeep and I were finally ready for client interaction. I was asked to meet up a client who had forayed into a new business, which was all about making juices with an imported juice maker. I had no clue, what kind of service I was supposed to give. Probable IT consultation? Or maybe he wanted to know how could he integrate or make IT synergetic with his business. I was given the client's phone number and we finally met as he arrived in an auto-rickshaw near a wholesale vegetable market. I introduced myself to him in some fake American accent which eventually sounded french and he replied back in American as well, but it still sounded Gujrati. I initially thought we were headed to his office, but we were instead headed to his home. Maybe he wanted consultation or maybe my accent was too big for his office.

We got out of the rickshaw and as he was about to pay he figured out that he didn't have any change with him. I had to do the honours, even though I made a mental note of it, I had made up my mind that I would not take money from him as it would really be a petty thing to do. 33 bucks? Really? I wouldn't even think of asking.
We finally reached his door, opened by his wife. Her little nod of acknowledgement was as sophisticated as Sharapova's to the chair umpire. By now I knew this interaction would be the right learning experience. They had a little kid who greeted me with a very innocent "Hello, Uncle". I didn't mind that jibe from the kid. No, really I didn't. Ok, I hated the kid right away. The kid went on to ask his mom "Kaunse uncle hain?" (Who is this guy?) to which his mother replied "Beta, mechanic hain?" (He is just another guy, who is good with wires.) I was shocked with this amazing act of typecasting techies into the category of mechanics. Before I could think much about it, call my mom and tell her to get me out of that place, the client asked me to accompany him to his room. As soon as I entered the room, I felt I was trapped between these walls made up of gelatin, clearly shouting out "My family is better than the one you watch on TV". He guided me to the only thing that was relevant to me in that room, his desktop PC. And then he clearly stated my purpose of being present at his place -
"I want you to print 12 labels on an A4 size paper."

Before I could look back at him in disbelief, tell him that I'm an Engineer, tell him not to judge me by my accent and tell him that I have a better purpose in life, his wife came in the room and asked "Khaana bhi yahi khayenge?" (Is he going to have food with us?) I was shocked with this act of non-chalance. Then I took a moment or two to regather myself and do what was sane and the right thing at that point of time - I started printing labels.

I was setting up the label template, getting the dimensions right so as to arrange the entire strip of 6 properly, I heard that little kid come inside the room and say "Aap ghar nahi jaayenge?" (I think you really are gawking at my mom. Don't you want to go home?). By now I wanted to tell that kid that his father is a loser and his juice business is not going to take off and that they are going to be miserable at the end of this venture.

I finally finished off all that I had to. Gave him his A4 sized pages with labels on it. he gave me a nod of acknowledgment as I kept feeling like one of those hardware engineers who would come home to repair our PCs back then in the late 90s, tighten up a screw and blame the motherboard for everything. With a sour taste in my mouth (I believe it was the Dal), I was all set to leave, I turned back to him and asked him for my 33 bucks I paid for the rickshaw.


These were the times when having a social life would have termed one a rebel, earning anything around 15k a month would term one rich and finding a job would LABEL one lucky. Happy to have lived that life, but then I still hate that kid.


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10 comments:

  1. Well..some how this post makes me feel good that i didn't follow my moms advice on becoming an engineer..and became a media guy instead. However..i feel good that you are doing well in "these" times.
    And yaa once again you didn't disappoint us with your writing skills :) Keep it up, Rohit.

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  2. great MM as always ofcourse... :)

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    1. MM is Mallu Manoos by the way :)
      Thanks Vidya!

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  3. Ahem Ahem! You're still an operating system mechanic aren't you? :P Good read though!

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    1. Yes yes yes...I'm a mechanic. Just that I get a bit more than a mechanic does.

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  4. Rohit, thanks my friend for sharing this. It has all ingredients of a write up that stays with you, sincerity, clarity and humour and something to relate to.

    Wonderful. Just loved this piece.

    I'm gonna LABEL it in my head now ;)

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    1. haha! Thanks a ton Anupam. These words coming from you is a huge compliment. Thanks again.

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  5. hahaha if this is true the two thumbs up for actually printing the labels!

    - Basil

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    1. The site was blissfuel.in It is not there anymore :D

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