Sastang Pranam at your lotus feet oh revered Swamiji. I am very happy that you will be taking zoom classes for us. Actually, Sahil is happy as he was complaining why only he should have all the on-line classes and why not we adults 😉. Your live view will propel us in this gloom and doom kind of situation. The way you see all of us at the end of the session is just awesome and we feel blessed. The COVID has created an obstacle in visiting the Ashram, but like lord Jagannath comes out of the temple to give darshan to all his bhakts, your zoom meeting (class 😉) brings you straight into our homes and hearts.

Today I will narrate a topic which all the people who started doing jobs can corelate with their initial days. I passed out my MSc. Physics in July 2007 from one of the prestigious Universities in India. i.e. Utkal University, Bhubaneswar. Then I cleared some exams followed by interview and was selected as a Scientist in one of India’s Premier Organizations. (Sorry folks I cannot reveal the name as it is confidential). I joined the organization in November 2007. It was a huge transformation: from Student to Scientist!

For the first time I was leaving home. I was fortunate or unfortunate enough to be a day scholar during my entire Study career. (I invite readers to comment on this: was I fortunate or unfortunate not to have hostel experience). I left home to join my job in Hyderabad at the age of 23. I got official accommodation. In office I joined on 08 Nov 2007. I was in probation. I became the Reporting Officer for two lower grade employees (one Scientific Assistant and one Tradesman). I suddenly felt the power of sanctioning their leave request. I was on cloud nine singing (Salaa main toh Sahab ban gaya 😉).

Study to work is really a big transition. There will be no Professors to guide you. Yes, you will have Seniors, but you have to dig a lot to find your rhythm in case of a typical Govt. Organization. The young blood in me was shooting in full speed. I was just combing through one department to another. I was spending time in library. As it was just the first year, there was no targets, no work pressure etc. I had a Punjabi friend adjacent to my accommodation who was working in the same Division and was a Chemical Engineer. One day when I addressed as a Chemistry fellow, Sardarji went mad and mumbled “Oye, tenu Chimistry aur Chemical Engineering vich fark na pata…” I told him I was just kidding.

But he was a really nice guy and a pakka Baniya. He used to take a lot of milk. He used to bring 2 packets of milk at Rs 10 each i.e. total Rs. 20. He measured the two milk packets in his Punjabi glass brought from Bhatinda. Four glasses were equal to 2 packets of milk. He used to give me one glass of milk and used to wasool Rs. 5 per day. He had a notebook and noted down if I did not take milk on some day or he was away and the wasooli was accordingly. He used to tell me “Nandaji, tusi doodh sood pia karo, tabhi toh body shody banegi aur kudi pategi 😉”. One day I told him, “Sardarji, tusi jyaada tension maat lo, I am committed (to Sanghamitra)”. And his expression was like langur k hath mein angoor or whatever, when I showed him the photo. (I showed him the hard copy as we did not have Smart Phones back on those days folks). Then he asked me ”Roka kab kar rahe ho, menu Bhubaneswar bhi dekhna hai”.

I received my first salary of poore Rs. 26,000. (Pay revision was due) But it was like 26 Lakh as I thought that I could purchase the entire Hyderabad including Charminar with the money. First Sardarji dragged me to a cot shop saying “ Yaar pahle na menu bed chahinda, jameen par soya na jaa raha”. Both of us purchased a single bed at Rs 3500 each. Then we went for shopping to Abids (a famous shopping place in Hyderabad). I purchased some clothes, but they were so dhinchak that kutte peeche pad jate. But that was my fashion statement those days, kya karun nayee nayee azaadi streamlined hone k liye time lagta hai.

Yes, one incident I should describe. I and Vishal (my Sardarji friend) were strolling on a lazy Sunday morning when some people came up to us asking for some money. Their version was “They came to visit Tirupati Temple and exhausted all the money.” They would return the amount once they reached their native place. Both of us gave them Rs 1000 each thinking that we were helping them. But on the same day in the evening, similar incident happened with us when a second group approached us. We figured that we were fooled by scamsters.

I bought a Saree for my mother and a watch for my father. Also, some clothes for Sanghamitra so that I could give her when I visited Bhubaneswar! Sundays were very boring days for us. We had to wash the clothes, cook food (on working days, we would happily dine in the office canteen), clean up the ‘bachelors’ mess’ (you know 😉)created over the week. After that we would hit the multiplex or go to Koti / Abids for window shopping! I used to purchase many second-hand books. And let me tell you a fact that bus services are very good in Hyderabad even till this date. So, we always took the bus.

In our Personnel group, a sir was there who explained us about LIC policies and I got enrolled in the next month. Now the policy is 13 years’ old! Then all the suggestions from family members and our seniors poured in for becoming spendthrift and inculcate the habit of saving. Yes, it was really a good suggestion owing to which we could purchase a flat in 2011. It was a considerable achievement from the salary point of view of a govt. employee back then.

But the first 6 to seven months of service was the months which I really enjoyed. The new found financial independence, exploring people working from all over India and most importantly learning the dangerous language called ‘Telugu’ 😉 to be treated as manwadu (apna hi banda).

Please share your experiences regarding the experience of your first job in the comments section.

Jai Shri Hari, Jai Swamiji for his unconditional grace.

PS: Dear technical team, one of my posts “15 reasons to be grateful “ posted in April last week is no more available. It might have got deleted accidentally. May be Swamiji is trying to teach me the way to handle disappointment 😉. Hence, it is requested to do the needful.

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Biswa Nanda

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