Monday, November 26, 2012

Bro Bonding - Happy,but not Gay!

It seems a while since i wrote a full blog post which is not another travelogue or pic motivate. There is no waiting time for an idea that has arrived as they say! It’s been a while now that I have wanted to blog on one of my old friends – Vishal or aptly nick named Sandy by me and Rana (another common ex-colleague cum friend cum roomie of ours).

Sandy and I studied in the same engineering college – specialized in Electronics engineering, but we were in different class rooms throughout the course. Our paths hardly crossed in the first three years of our four year engineering course. In the fourth year – thanks to the extra-curricular activities we were involved in – Vishal leading the IEEE activities and yours truly dabbling in both IEEE as well as Placement Committee, we started to know each other and understand our existence. Our relationship was that of acknowledgement of our roles in these extracurricular activities and there was nothing like a “friendship” or common bonding between us. Neither were we friends nor were we trying to avoid each other. Both were however destiny’s chosen projects – when it came to the next 10 years of our life post final year of engineering – 2002.

Thanks to my participation in the students placement committee of our college and the impending recessionary clouds left by the Internet Dot Com Bubble of 2000`s, not many of us got campus jobs after completing a torturous 4 year engineering course! Vishal & I were sailing on the same boat and were going about our own ways of hunting jobs – not crossing our paths between May and July of 2002. In August’ 2002 we both were invited by Infosys – along with other batch mates and the larger strata of Mumbai's engineers for one of those “entrance tests" in one of the colleges in Mumbai. Such examinations are conducted by the dozens in India by Public Services, Banking Industry, but was probably being conducted for the first time - out of campus by a reputed Private company. We cleared the written test, sailed through the interviews and got our offer letters on Sept 5th 2002 (I am thankful to god that i used to check SPAM mails then and not DELETE any emails! The appointment letter landed on my SPAM folder!) After a 4 month long ordeal of being jobless and watching other batch mates start going to their first job and getting monthly salaries, we felt life wasn’t too bad. (Interesting point to note that post 2002 - the flood gates opened in Indian IT organizations and they started ramping up from being a 15,000 strong organization to 150,000 - 200,000 strong organizations now in 2012).

We both connected with each other then and thanks to the fact that we had a common alma mater in our engineering college, our residence in close by suburbs ( Thane & Mulund) – we geared up with other likewise friends to prepare for being in Infosys Bangalore from end September – the first job of our lives! The Infosys job was destiny's play to probably bring us closer over the years. Be it the shared frustrations of being jobless before we started, or discussing pressures of day to day work life – that we did quiet often since we were sharing our accommodation with other room mates. We spent a total of 3 years – sharing common accommodation across cities like Bangalore, Pune which deepened our understanding of each other and our resultant friendship.

Over the years, the mutual interests that have connected us well include (not an exhaustive list):

a) video games – we totally exploited Sandy’s X-Box in 2003/ 2004 / 2006. I always wanted to buy a video game console for myself, but guess never was able to buy one. Maybe loosing to Sandy on a “Dead or Alive” game fighting down was better than solo single player escapades from reality?

b) Toastmasters Club – we both joined this amazing movement in Bangalore – through the local Infosys Toastmasters Club. We donned various roles during meetings, gave various projects from the CTM Manual and also were office bearers. That spark from Infosys Bangalore was also further implanted in Infosys Pune, when we started the “Lets Talk” public speaking club, which was then certified as a fully functional Toastmasters club. In fact i had posted about “Lets Talk” on this link in 2004. Pls click here

c) Hanging Out & Movies: We painted “Bangalore” red by hanging out in Brigade Road – MG Road – Commercial Street and by watching most of the movies in single screen (multiplexes were just gaining an entry then) theatres over weekends with other room mates or by renting DVD’s and watching it indoors. Some of the good times we have had as room mates is also captured on "Tribute to Bangalore Roomies" at this link.

d) Blogging: This has been an “acquired” taste for us over the years. Sandy’s blogs have stayed true to the internet and have been descriptive, detailed – articulating his travel and travails as a global nomad across India, China & Americas. He is now dabbling very well by blogging on areas out of his comfort zone. You can access his blogs here. One of the blogs on this site - Dogs take on corruption was an inspiration i derived when we were together at the Registrar office in Thane, India in April 2012.

e) Humour:  Over 10 years – there have been so many shared memories now that we have a pulse on each others sense of humour and those incidences from 2002- 2006 that still makes our face break into a smile if not a passing laugh. Be it “SaSa” and his pink tubelights or the innocence of “Tatya Vinchoo” – our dear roomie, “Sasuma” or “Boss”– we chose to exploit humour in the most unusual circumstances!

f) Being Spontaneous: Doing as crazy a thing like putting up a tent in the living room of your apartment and enjoying a beer inside, playing “Holi” inside the walls of our 3 BHK late at night – back from office or diligently weaving a story on the fly and selling ourselves as poor students from Sangli to bargain a piece of kitchen and bathroom ware from a “Marathi centric” seller in Kothrud, Pune - we guys have done it all!

g) Enjoying Outdoors: We have jointly done the “Bababudanagiri / Mullaianagari” Trek with other roomies and also the 40km cycling trip to Manchenbelle dam. Blog for these trips are also available online - Manchenbelle Trip Blog or Mullaianagari Blog ! Look forward to another outdoors in the coming years!

g) many more – but will reserve it for some other blog!

Sandy has been “God’s Saviour” on many occasions – the most important ones during my home moves. When i moved in from Bangalore to Pune - following Sandy (he moved a month earlier to me), i had pushed some luggage through him to Pune. When i landed in Pune – a city where i knew no one – Sandy had come to pick me up at the station – ready to embrace the tonnes of baggage i had carted out from Bangalore. Even when i was moving back from Pune to US or while i was moving houses in the US, i had Sandy with me in Connecticut, helping me shift through boxes! He was in Connecticut for a group re-union and didn’t mind lending a helping hand for the shifting! I should ideally feel guilty for taking advantage of his helpfulness so much. However i know i can depend on very few people and he is in that short list of mine!

We no longer work for Infosys. We are still very much upto date on our lives. We do speak often  – almost once/ twice a month and keep connected through GTalk, Facebook and our Blogs. Sandy is currently in a very interesting part of his professional journey, a journey not many undertake. I am sure all the positive elements of nature will conspire to help him achieve the pinnacle and realize his potential.

As i said - there is no waiting time for an idea that has arrived! This blog idea has been niggling my mind for some time now. I chose to reserve it till Sandy’s Bday in December, but can’t help – the time of this idea has come!

And by the way if your mind just went a tad mischievous – we are “Happy, but not Gay” !
DC & Sandy rocking @ Thane, India

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