Monday, July 07, 2008

My first year in Bangalore

So, we have finally completed a year in our job and also in Bangalore. From young graduates right out of college to software professionals, its been an amazing transformation. A transformation which includes an experience like never before.
I still remember the day I was coming to Bangalore. Right after my final semester exams and after just a week's break, I had set out on the flight from Kolkata to Bangalore. It was my first experience of a flight and was full of emotions. My mom had tears in her eyes as she bade me goodbye at the airport and my grandmom could hardly speak. I was about to set foot out of my safe zone and face the world to make my mark, to become a man.
So when the flight touched down at Bangalore's HAL Airport, the first thing that caught my notice was the weather. It was cold; really cold. From the hot and humid high 30 degrees in Kolkata to a low cold 20 degrees in Bangalore on June 30th, the weather change was dramatic. This actually lasted the entire time from July - September and we got used to wearing jackets which we could never imagine in Jamshedpur or Kolkata during this time.
Apart from the weather, what also I noticed was the language and the culture change. But Bangalore is a very open-minded city and you can easily manage here without knowing the local language, a very unlike Chennai. But yes, the culture change was evident everywhere. From a very laid-back approach in Kolkata, you are into a highly professional culture of Bangalore. Every morning when you board the bus to office, you can see a huge crowd of people wearing tags and waiting for their buses to take them to their workplace.

Now talking about workplace, the experience at MindTree has been phenomenal. First 3 months of C2 training - the Orchard experience, House activities, PALs, inter-house competitions, Ethnic Day to sessions, lectures, assessments and finally allotment into projects; it ensured our transformation from college to corporate was smooth and actually enjoyable.

It was also during the C2 training that we had our OBL trip to Savandurga. 120 Campus Minds on a one-day trip. Savandurga is famous as the largest single rock structure in Asia. From garbage collection drive to walking on ropes, from getting thrown off a rock in Trust the team to playing dodge ball in the mud; it was amazing fun. But the enjoyment in Bangalore didn't remain confined to team outings only.
In August, Payal Di had come down to Bangalore from Cambridge for Rakhi. And the 3 days she was here, we had awesome fun. I had my first experience of late night movies at a multiplex when we watched 'Heyy Babyy' 10:30 pm show on the day of Rakhi.

Now it took me 2 months since coming to Bangalore to make my first trip out of Bangalore. On 15th Sep morning, I boarded the Volvo bus to Mysore for which was to become the weekend trip I would never forget. From visiting the Infy campus (which was simply breath-taking) to Brindavan Gardens, I had an awesome time with my friends. We managed to offer puja at Chamundeshwari Temple, lunch at Rice Bowl and even make a trip to City Palace in the rain. A whirlwind weekend and a truly cherishable experience; an experience which I was to revisit two weekends later with my MindTree mates.

Then came the Pujas and my first trip back home. It was so uncertain that we had to go by train from Chennai. The trip by bus to Chennai was pathetic and the weather was worse. But our eagerness to reach home made me forget all those hardships faced. Pujas were great and I had a beautiful time home. It also made me realize how important it was to spend time with your family and relatives.

We came back refreshed after the trip and ready to face the next months which went off in a fly. The Avis Redesign project, the host of sessions & lectures we attended as part of the ramp up sessions and whole new team feeling. It was amazing. What really went in my favour was that I had about 15 Campus Minds from my batch joining along with me. I had a group at the very start.
The project time has been a total learning experience. Apart from learning a whole set of new technologies, I also learnt how to actually work in a team. How to coordinate, cooperate and share knowledge so as to benefit everyone. And being part of a huge group had other benefits too. Frequent outings, team outings and even over-night trip to Value Lanes in January. It has been a rocking time being part of ABG and Avis Redesign.
Bangalore also got me in touch with another thing I truly liked - Blogging. And it was being part of Blogger's Community that took me to these camps being held in Bangalore - DevCamp and BarCamp. A truly enriching experience, I got to know a whole new side of the city. I met up with a lot of people who shared similar interests and really enjoyed the concept of knowledge sharing and open-source community.

In between all this I managed my second trip back home. This time, it was for my convocation. On 16th february, when I received my Bachelor of Engineering degree, I finally graduated from college. I was an Engineer. That day was truly enjoyable. Lunch at Rich (I realized how much I missed it; especially Chamki's food) and then party in the evening at Park Street with friends. Then I went for a trip to North Bengal with my parents. A week at home and I was back to Bangalore.

It was only in March that we managed to form our Loyola group in Bangalore. It took some special effort from some of us but we were back together. Then a host of parties at various hangouts in Bangalore. Suddenly, life was no more only work. It was enjoyable. From watching IPL matches at Mojos to listening live music at Java City, from bearing Sayantan's jokes to celebrating birthday at Barbeque Nation; its been masti all the time.
Now a year has passed and I have supposedly grown one year wiser. Can't confirm that but have certainly confirm is that I have definitely become a lot more independent and a lot more informed. Hopefully it will stand me in good stead for a lot more years in the future.

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Abhishek Saha
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
A NRB (Non Resident Bengali) or rather a 'Probashi Bangali'; born in Kolkata, brought up in Jamshedpur and now trying to make his mark at IIM Lucknow.
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