Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A year gone by!

Today Alexander Pushkin, Sukarno, Björn Borg, Steve Vai celebrate their birthdays, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj became a King, YMCA was formed, Tetris was launched, NBA was created, Battle of Normandy started, Venus crossed the Sun, the world will shift to IPV6 from IPV4 and I completed one year at Tata Motors Limited. One amazing year spent at Mumbai, Johannesburg, making new friends, meeting new people and going to so many amazing places. Hope the journey continues forever :)
This was my status message in Facebook on 6th June, 2012.  It has been one year since I joined the dream job that I had mentioned in my last post. It has been over a year that I've not blogged as well. I would accept at the outset that it is not because I've a super busy job. I had a lot of expectations in this job when I decided to select this over the OTHER Tata job that I had got after my Summer Internship at Tata Steel Ltd. This blog entry will also be an answer to a lot of my pals who remind me each time we meet that I had left a better paying job at Tata Steel. Tata Steel had been an excellent company and I had the fortune of working with very good people while I was working there, but Tata Motors is an Auto company where innovations like the Nano and also powerful image making products like the Safari. Post acquisition of Jaguar - Land Rover, it has some of the most beautiful machines that men has created. An example of that can be seen in this ad:

All this being said, now I work for Tata Motors Limited for over an year. A year that took me to a lot of places, made me experience a lot of things that I dreamed of and some which even were beyond my dreamworld. I joined at Mumbai for a month long induction that took me through the various stages of getting accustomed to being in a CORPORATE culture than the relaxed life one had in a B-School. Corporate world, now it sounds funny, because I still have the fun I had in college, albeit the people around me have changed. I'm lucky to be in Mumbai which is where half the classroom of any B-School gets placed. I had a lot of fun in the initial one month, mainly because of the location where we were accomodated during our induction - South Mumbai. It was amazing to be at a stone's throwaway from the best location in Mumbai called Marine Drive. I've spent a big part of my life in a coastal town and even now I say to my friends that a beach is not a great hangout place to goto. Marine drive is not even a beach, it is simply an artificial sea-wall built in the southern coast of Mumbai to prevent the water from coming into the town. But after 6 PM it lights up and gives you a simple but not isolated place to sit and gawk at the waves crashing onto the seawall. It is one of the best places to hangout with friends, have your share of looking at girls walking/jogging/running. Have a look and decide yourself if this is a beautiful place at night or not. I've spent atleast 10-20 nights chatting with friends till midnight and later in the night and the best thing about this place is that no cop, no moral cop will come and question you "kya kar raha hai be" even if it is 2AM in the night, no matter if the group consisted of more girls than guys.

Before I make someone feel that this post is gonna be a "I LOVE MUMBAI" piece like the one Pritish Nandy wrote in TOI blog, let me assure that it isn't so. So after a few weeks of spending each night at Marine Drive, chatting to new people who joined the job with you and go out to eat at all the amazing places in South Mumbai, we all got our projects. I got lucky in that regard and went on my 1st overseas trip(barring the short walk I had into Nepal while on a break to Darjeeling in my summer internship) to Johannesburg. The place was not having a great reputation, unless ofcourse you worked for the Mafia. People and websites started scaring me about the possibility of being mugged and even being killed for sums as little as $10(yeah, by then I was talking in $ and €).

Johannesburg or Joburg as the locals called it, is one of the best places I've visited. Yes, there were moments when I felt unsafe, there were people who scared the living hell out of me, but then I also loved the place a lot because of the amazing roads, the nice work culture of 8AM-5PM and most importantly because it had places where even Europe or US would've felt less opulent and at the same time had slums which were worser than the one's we see while landing at Mumbai airport. It was another country which had the dichotomy of having few rich men who held more wealth than the rest of the nation's population. It had a high percentage of people who were HIV positive and had no means to support themselves, so they indulged in theft, mugging and even murder. 

The city was a treat to watch from the air as I landed at 8AM on a cool morning at the end of July 2011. I was simply amazed at the lack of people on the ground and the speed at which vehicles were being driven. I saw trucks doing 100kmph with full load of 40-50 tons, even old people were driving cars older than me at speeds above 90 and the city had such an amazing road network. This is how I always will remember it:
The reason I loved the place most was because of the amazing roads. The whole country had  some of the best roads that I've ever driven on. Some dream surfaces like this:

I drove so much in this place that some days I had so much driving that I kept on driving even without stopping for a piss. I had an amazing time both in my work and in my free time. I was living alone and enjoying it. Technology made it possible for me to be in touch with my loved one's even when I was 1000's of kms away. I saw some of the best cars that men have been blessed with on the road on a daily basis;  lamborghini's, ferrari's, rolls, buggati's, bentley's. You name it and I had seen it on the road in Johannesburg. Even had fun with a few of them while driving my 7 year old Indigo, trying to keep pace with a prosche boxster after a signal and feeling amazing when the chick driving the boxster couldn't find the right gear and I got ahead for a second. 

It was a place where I drove more than 10000 kms and totally loved the 5 months I spent over there. I came back to Mumbai and took up my new role from 2nd of January. It wasn't sales, it wasn't marketing; it wasn't anything that I had ever dreamt of when I joined TML. It was a role that even now I'm trying to understand and the less told about it the better. I had a lot of good days when I've met a lot of people who are the big names in the auto world, I've had the pleasure of visiting facilities where some of the best vehicles of the country have rolled off from.

In addition to all this I had a big promotion in my personal life, I got engaged on 19th March, 2012 and since then it has been an amazing journey for me on the personal front. I've been the butt of a lot of jokes from my friends who keep telling me how much freedom I'll lose once married and what all I've lost already by being engaged. But I simply enjoy the feeling of being in a relationship and I somehow feel better. I don't know what exactly it is, or which exact moment it is. But when I'm with her I simply have a great time, I yearn to spend more time with her and most importantly I look forward to spending the rest of my life with my wife.......