The Summer Diaries – Week 1


Since I’m currently interning with a company based outta Pune, I thought it would be gr8 fun to keep a journal with all the most important events of the day, if ne. This is an excerpt of that journal from week 1.

Apr 11th 10:00 pm

It’s been a day since the 2 day long induction. It was tiring, to say the least. Not because it was physically demanding at all… we had to sit in chairs in an air conditioned Board Room and do nothing other than listen to the speakers. It was demanding in a more mental sense – it was an information overload.

Before I say more, it’s good to get an introduction of why all this actually happened.

I’m in a B School, and we do a corporate interaction project during our summers as part of our course curriculum. I was selected to do my internship in a very prestigious company based out of Mumbai. The 2 day induction program at their Mumbai based headquarters was part of this exercise. It was intended to make us a little more appraised with all the businesses of the company, and also get a chance to meet the other summer interns at the place.

Day 1 consisted of a LOT of information. On their mainstay groups to begin with, and their newer businesses post that. My project is in the automotive sector, so I was looking to get a sense of the fit of the SBU in their business. My feeling is that I’m no closer to understanding the business now than I was a few days ago; only that I can talk a lot more about the company now.

I spent a lot of my day today recouping from an injury that I sustained a few days ago, courtesy to Mumbai’s famous Railway Network. I fell at the Railway Station and seem to have sustained some muscle injury… nothing serious I assured myself, and the doctor reassured me. I spent a good part of the first half in bed nursing the foot, and more time in the evening repeating the exercise.

What I really need is a feel of a holiday – a long lie in, movies, popcorn, some movies, friends, more movies and a good time out in Mumbai (minus the heat, of course). I spent some time guitaring today… it makes me feel a little happy and almost like I HAVE something to do. I’m barred from any exertions to my foot, so I can’t even do something like exercise, or run, or jog. Confined to my home, I’m limited to blogging (which I’ve already done enough of), some movies (which I’ve already watched), songs (which I hear a lot of), videos and TP (which I don’t particularly like), the guitar (which I’ve done quite a bit of in the last few days) and sleeping (which, as an MBA student I don’t particularly enjoy that much).

My next touch point is Pune, where I’ll be spending the next 8 weeks working on my Summer Project. I hope it’s an experience I’ll have something to write about. Talk about, Think about even. Do SOMETHING about.

 

April 13th 10:00 am

Waiting at the Pune office…

For anyone who’s not been to Pune via the Mumbai-Pune expressway, it is a must visit. Great views adorn the whole road, with the majestic view of the Ghats on one stretch and a beautiful barren stretch. The road itself is a great pleasure to drive on… neat, clean, well laid (unlike many of the Mumbai roads I have had the misfortune of travelling on).

Leaving at 6 50 a.m. was a task in itself. If you know a B School student, you would know that we do well with late night, but early mornings are a big scare for us. We can stay up till 5 a.m., but if you ask us to WAKE up at 5 a.m. a sizable sigh and a frown will follow. Nonetheless, I still managed to wake up around 5:45, and get dressed and packed by 6:45. After an initially slow stretch over the outskirts of Mumbai, we hit the Pune expressway. The new road is, without a doubt, beautiful, both to drive on as well as look at (exactly how you describe a road as beautiful you might not understand till you LIVE in Mumbai and drive down such a road). About 2 hours on the road, and we took the exit for Lonavla, and joined our good old NH-4.

A word about good old National Highways. They don’t look good; at all. They look old; very old. They were built very long ago and not used to handling the kinda traffic we see on the roads now. The stretch of NH4 that we were using connected Lonavla to Pune, passing thru Dehu Road, Pimpri and some other places. It passes hilly terrain in some regions, and it goes without saying that the road is not very well managed in most spots. Toll plazas are placed every 20 k.ms or so, and they are highly ineffective and time consuming, with the most ancient mechanisms used to collect toll amounts. And the most irritating feature on this stretch is the trucks. Not that you do not see trucks on any other road… but I’d give you anything if you can drive behind 2 lanes of trucks (it’s a 2 lane road this…) and NOT curse someone. The trucks simply BLOCK the whole road and, unable to move fast themselves, don’t let you move at a decent speed either. We lost almost 30 minutes on this stretch and, needless to say, in the heat, this time really made a difference to us.

Having reached Pimpri, where the office location is, I used some time to quickly freshen up, eat and get geared for office. Thankfully, I had some transportation to get to the site office. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the guest house where I live, but in the heat I can easily say this is about a half hour, because it certainly feels like it. Reaching the office at 10 a.m. I was all ready to get into the groove in the corporate world.

Only to be greeted by the receptionist and informed that my guide is a little busy in the first half on the day and will not be in till almost the lunch hour.

This leaves me with plenty of time to report the occurrings of the day, mainly the drive, the guest house and the wait. Hopefully I’ll have something better to note towards the end of the day. I’ll use the time I have to read… at least THAT’S something I can do without a guide.

 

2:50 p.m.

I finally HAVE some work to do, but as Murphy’s Law goes, something always seems to be getting in the way.

I finally met my project guide around noon. Thankfully he realised that he had kept me waiting quite a while, and explained his own position to me as well. I used the time I had to read (Artemis Fowl makes great reading while waiting for work to arrive…).

My meeting with him went quite well. He explained to me the complex structure of the organisation and the project that was involved. It goes without saying that I’m expected to achieve a lot in very little time; but the best part is that it can probably be done.

My project will involve (and since I can’t divulge any specifics here) drawing up a phased implementation roadmap for a certain system that needs to be put into place here. Primary issues arise from the complex holding structures in the company and the kind of allocations that need to be done, from a more accounting perspective. I don’t really have to implement the system; just draw up a plan for HOW it can be done.

Day 1 would involve understanding, among other things, the processes that the company undertakes. For a company its size, the processes would be fairly complex, and I think the major challenge therefore lies in UNDERSTANDING the current system and segregating it into systems that we management kids are more used to.

At 2:50 p.m. I’ve had lunch, read some more of Fowl, played some, typed some and done some of all that over again. In short, I’ve had a lot of time to waste, and I think I’ve wasted it well. I hope to get some work started today… so that I can at least claim that a thousand bucks a day is worth it for me. After all, management students or not, our self esteem can still not allow us to earn by doing nothing. And I do intend to earn my worth.

 

April 14th 9:30 p.m.

Back from another day in the office… and I don’t really have any more to report today that I did have yesterday.

The morning began around 8:30 a.m. I woke up, showered (and THIS is an achievement for me) and left for office, hoping to be of some use in the office today. As it turns out, yesterday repeats itself, and I’m left jobless again, and worse, without a place to sit in. Somehow, I managed a spot to dock myself, and discovered that NOONE that I was on the project with was expected to come in today. I spent about an hour hounding various people in different departments for access to the internet and hit paydirt somewhere around 11 a.m. With net access, I was invincible; well, almost. I had access to most business sites in the least, so at least I knew the news and stuff. I was unable to access any really useful sites, since they are all banned for some reason. But hey, just the site of those green dots flickering in the network connectivity brings a smile on my face.

Skip to lunch, which was solo today, and not that great either. I think the plain reason for lunch alone is that I’m a kid in that place… and the uncles and aunts in the office wouldn’t want to be caught dead lunching with a kid. So yea, I had lunch all alone, and then went back to my spot in the bay.

Post lunch I was basically browsing a bit, reading a bit, and working on an outline of my presentation a bit. Got a little boring after while… so I switched to some light fiction and caught some entertainment for myself.

Turns out that I won’t have anything to do this whole week. Audits are keeping the whole bunch of people busy, and so I, the little kid, will have to use the net access as a lollipop and stay satisfied for a while. But hey, I’m not even complaining – I doubt that anyone in the whole batch gets paid to go to office, surf the net, read fiction and eat; AND DO NO WORK ALL DAY!!!

I utilised the evening to go shopping for some stuff… fruits, juices, munchies. Turns out that shopping in Chinchwad aint fun at all… the people give you weird looks in the store if you’re standing in one place too long (and not the why-don’t-you-get-moving look, the dirty why-are- you-in-this-store kinda look). Still, I braved the dirty looks and shopped for some essentials and got back, in time for dinner and this post.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a more fruitful day. Maybe I can discover some other sites to browse. Maybe I can even get a temp mail id for myself. Maybe my OWN id will get activated. Maybe I’ll get a spot that I can call my own. Maybe I’ll get a phone to go with that spot. Maybe I won’t be the kid in the office anymore. Maybe I’ll have company for lunch. Maybe I’ll have fun shopping. Maybe, just maybe, it’ll be a day I’ll be happy with.

 

April 19th 12 noon

I’m back home for the weekend, and I’ve surprisingly had nothing to do over the weekend either… 😉

I arrived home late Friday night, and I’d taken the bus from Chinchwad to get here so a note about that journey. I rushed from office to get a bus into Mumbai leaving Chinchwad at 7:00 p.m. Now, since it’s a non-AC bus, it’s generally cheap and I did expect it to stop at every junction to pick up ppl. But, it turns out, that it doesnt… it went straight from Chinchwad to the next scheduled stop at a dhaba on the way to Mumbai (now this isnt a Punjabi style dhaba… so dont get ur hopes up much).

We arrived at Lonavla around 8:10 p.m or so, and it seems our driver was so frigging scared of the ghats that he slowed down substantially, and decided to let even trucks overtake us at times!!! So nehow, wat was normally a 2.5 hour journey extended well into 3.5 hours, and I finally reached home.

Saturday was spent lazing around. I woke reallly late (10 a.m. is realllly late even on a weekend for an average Indian household). I spent the rest of the day ENJOYING home made food, and just listening to the antics at home. My grandma and my Mom can argue incessantly on such mundane topics that it’s almost entertaining in its own little way. Yesterday I caught them arguing on whether the AC shud be set at 4 or 5. I couldnt spoil their fun by telling them that it barely makes ne difference at all… and so I let them have a go at each other, while they brandished arguments like “4 means less and 5 means more cold” and “4 saves more power and 5 consumes more power” and, this one’s really good, “everyone else I know keeps the AC at 4”. 

Today, I’m hopefully gonna meet a few friends from college for coffee in Town (nething souch of Dadar is termed as Town in Mumbai… ne Mumbaikar would think u crazy if u called that area nething BUT Town). I’m gonna be meeting them after a very long time, and we have sooooo much to talk about that it’s unimaginable how coffee is gonna serve the purpose at all. Nonetheless, that will probably be the highlight of my day, so I’m gonna look forward to it.

Tomorrow is Monday. Beginning of week 2. A new landmark for me. A week in which I hope to get some work started and give some shape to my project. A week in which I hope to lose some weight (Hey… ANY girl can make that wish :P). A week in which I hope to report more in this journal that the mundane ravings of a jobless student.

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