“Sakti, Your today’s blog was good.” Somebody said while I was getting inside lift. This lift has huge demand throughout the day. My floor in office being on the 4th one in the building, compels me to use lift unless there is no other option or I am in very good mood. So I pushed my body into the lift but kept my head out to tell ‘Thank you!!!’ to my first unknown admirer. After that, whether lift took me to the 4th floor or my happiness, I could not distinguish. If I would have realized that I am happy, I would have taken the stairs.
Many people started smiling at me whom I do not know. I tried to become extra cordial because of the ‘pride and desire to gain popularity’ that I have hidden from myself. But gradually I tried to kill the hidden enemy within. Now, I know many people by their view-point, name and face. Yes, the order is correct. First by their view-point because I read them in Facebook or in other forums, then the name because I see that along with their view points and then the face because that I find by looking at their profile. This is a wonderful experience. Yes, it took little longer than four years to know my workplace to some extent. But as they say, ‘Better Late than Never’.
So, Today no thoughtful talk. This being the 100th blog of my life, I will try to write the story about my discovery of current workplace with no manipulation or dramatization.
16th Jun, 2007 I got down at Vadodara airport. Small but beautiful airport welcomed me in a pleasant way. I had a big head, lots of arrogance and a strange feeling because I came from BANGALORE (Read that loud) to Vadodara. In my view Vadodara was a small city which was yet to develop and Bangalore was a fully developed city. Then I found one well dressed gentleman with a placard in his hand where my name was written on it. That gentleman offered to take my luggage to the car but I preferred to carry my own. I was happy by the kind of reception. Although I expected this because I believed that I deserve this kind of reception. Although on the way, I got to know that this was not a vehicle sent by my new company but sent by Hotel where I my stay arrangements were made by the company. After reaching the hotel I was happy because the hotel was nice and costly. My belief was, cost of things that you use is directly proportional to your value. So this made me feel that I am valuable.
17th June, 2007, Sunday: I walked from my hotel towards the office. I had the address of the company. I saw some nice buildings on the way and I expected to see the best building to be my new company building. After couple of minutes walk I located my new office. Coming from ‘International Technology Park, Bangalore’ and ‘Embassy Golf Links Technology Park’ had restricted my imaginations for any software company to be of a certain kind. I could not find anything similar to my expectations. I could not stand there for long so I walked back to hotel room. (Read: I was extremely disappointed)
18th June, 2007, Monday: My first day to second professional Institution of my life. I was welcomed with a red rose and couple of smiling faces. I was made to sit in front of a desktop for which I had no access. I had to fill some forms and provide some documents. Then a big book of ISO standards and company history was given to me to read. I told myself, “Huh! I used to help my Organization to implement ISO and here they want me to learn what is ISO? How Funny!!!” . Luckily found another like-minded person who joined the organization on the same day. I spent that day speaking to him and finding the common points between his as well as my life. Strange but true that I found there were many common points.
The next day I was told to sit on 3rd Floor. Then I could find my only other team member and luckily he was my colleague from previous company. That was a breather for me in a unknown environment. In next couple of days there were various strange incidences happened. One day suddenly power went off. I never experienced power off in office in my last 7 years career. ‘IT companies will always have power’. This was my belief but my belief was broken. I understood the reason, I never saw this in my last 7 years because my office used to be inside a big international technology park. Here it is an independently maintained office. I was trying to come out of the first shock due to broken belief and I heard group of people started playing Antakshari inside office premises. Entire floor was filled with various noises and some melodious voices in between. This gave me second shock. I used to be the source of noise till date and I was never at the receiving end. That day, I was first time at the other end. I was irritated by the noise and in my mind, I apologized to all those people whom I disturbed in past 7 years by making noise. Although when I used to make noise, it was entertainment for me but for others it was just noise. So, I learnt my first lesson there.
I was very poor in spoken English when I started my career. I struggled several years to speak which others can understand. Now I am at a stage where I can say that I am not very bad in spoken English (written needs a lot of improvement I know) . When I heard some people who were seating next to me or heard them speaking in Tea shop, I used to feel pity at them for not being able to communicate in English. My arrogance and pseudo-pride could not accept them at that moment as friends. The other reason was because I was poor in Hindi. I am fine when I see a foreigner speaking English in a different accent with unusual pronunciation. I am even fine if they make grammatical mistakes while speaking in English. My respect for them never goes down due to their English speaking skill but in my homeland I consider people not speaking good English as people of lower class.
After couple of weeks I became very busy with my responsibility both professionally and personally. So, my world remained very small due to interaction with limited people and arrogance at its peak. I could not see or appreciate anything good. When you limit yourself in a small world with limited people, you think small and can imagine only a little.
Then gradually when I found some free time and started writing my own “Great thoughts and achievements” in the form of blogs. Some kind hearts and beautiful minds, appreciated some of my works despite my arrogance and ‘I-know-it-all’ attitude. This made me read them, listen to them and see things beyond. The more I read and observed, I got more interested. Then after learning from them and writing about the learning that I got from them, I found myself as absolutely nothing. ‘Zero’ from all angles.
I realized the great heritage and unmatchable culture of this city. The depth in thinking than the flashy exteriors. The respect for the language and the quest to learn anything that comes on its way. The ability to keep an open mind but down to earth. A Barodian may spend several months of a year in foreign country but never let himself to become a less Barodian. Value of life and respect for others. I found myself just a poor arrogant nothing before every people I saw around.
I used to be proud of my leadership skills but after falling several times flat on my face I realized that I am nothing in this field too. Leadership to inspire people, motivate people, art of communication, courage to take risk and dare to loose-it-all is present in every person around me. I was absolutely ‘Zero’ here too.
My efforts to speak in English to show off my highness, gradually diluted because people proudly responded in Hindi or Gujarati. I continued my English and they continued their language. After several interactions I realized that I was loosing. I do not have as much depth in English as they have in Gujarati or Hindi. So here too I found myself as Zero. They I tried to find the language I have depth on. The obvious answer was Odia and Bengali. I started loving Odia and Bengali more than ever. I am also serious about learning Gujarati. Nobody forced me to learn Gujarati, but after seeing the love for their own mother tongue forced me to love their language as well as mine more.
I also realized over time that the flashy buildings always made me happy for first couple of weeks and after that, it is the people who mattered the most. So the same is true here too. Now I see people are more important that the infrastructure. If you have people around who care for you, then no infrastructure is needed and if you do not have people around you who care about you, then the best of infrastructure is also not enough.
So ultimate find after discovering my work place is that I am just ‘ZERO’. But this gave me a new starting point. I can build my thoughts and beliefs afresh and new. Thank you all for making me realize who I am and what I am worth.
– Stray Dog