Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ascend: The Beginning of my Descent!

This week, our company bribed us to attend some training program designed by some bigshot (who wants to get brownie points for his “organizational activities”- mid year review is approaching people) in Hyderabad. Five star accommodation, awesome food, no work for two days: well worth it, even if it means going through some inane exercises, some clichéd jargons, and some hackneyed jokes by the “who’s who” of the company. It was a trade off, but one that we were willing to take up! And then I decided to improvise! I left a couple of days early for Hyderabad, which gave me the whole weekend with my friends: the first ones in the company, whom I met during my summers, and who continue to be an integral part of my life. So yes, giving up the luxuries of Novotel was a tough choice, but all the haggling with autowalas, sleeping on the mattress, washing dishes, and walking 30 minutes in the sun were well worth it, because it gave me the chance to go back to my Summers days, when I would stay up with the same people, discussing the same nonsense, bitching about the same people (this time, we just added more people to the list)!

Now the training program was the typical exercise in corporate jargon, big words, and “best practices” laundry list, interspersed with “simulated team games”. Titled as “Campus to Corporate”, it was supposedly a “revisit” of our marketing and HR classes in MBA (but since I never “visited” them in the first place, I wouldn’t quite call it a “revisit”; however, whatever little jargons I had picked up in between my sleeping sessions, like “customer value”, “change”, “responsiveness” etc etc in college echoed here as well). And of course, how can I forget: it also gave us a chance to “network”, to “interact with the senior people” and to “broaden our horizons”. I had no expectations from the program: for me it was supposed to be a paid holiday, a chance to catch up with friends, free alcohol on “ladies’ night”, and yes, when we were asked to mention our key takeaways in two words, we were tempted to say, “breakfast and lunch”.

But it turned out to be quite an enlightening experience, much to my surprise, as I met someone who could have been the potential love of my life. The only minor glitch is that he is 20 years older than me, married, with a teenaged son. But note, it’s only a “minor” glitch! This was our coach, in Breakout 6, where I was thrusted with a bunch of strangers, and asked to “bond”. I reached late, as I was too busy talking to my friends who were all in different groups, hating this huge conspiracy of the company to keep us away, and therefore forced onto the front bench, where I couldn’t’ possibly sleep. But 15 mins into the session, and I knew that there was no way I can sleep! The guy had this uncanny ability to keep you enthralled: while he said nothing awe inspiringly new, he articulated simple things in a simple manner and the sharp wit made it all the more lively. Before I knew it, I was eating up all his words, listening agog, and actually participating! (People who know me, also know how rarely I open my mouth in a public gathering, and especially in classroom like environments). More than the chocolates he gave me, I appreciated the way he got my name right in the very first attempt! Anyway, before I start sounding like a ‘crush’ed and mildly crazy teenager, I would just shut up…

By the way, I decided experimenting with my hair, and got more than I bargained for, and ended up spending more for something I didn’t want in the first place. So yes, the disease is spreading: from clothes, to books, and now to hair!

Hyderabad rocks, and it also marks the beginning of my descent to complete degeneration…

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