Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Corporate Politricks - 3 (chapter 1)

Prior episode

A recap of the main characters who have appeared till this episode:
  • Vignesh (Vicky) - Team Lead. Hoping for promotion; competing with Karthick
  • Bob - Vicky's client
  • Gokul - same team as Vignesh; Senior Software Engineer; married
  • Merv - same team as Vignesh; hired by Karthick; Associate Software Engineer
  • Karthick (Sir Karthick) - Team Lead

(THE PAST continued)

            The following morning Vignesh was restless. He was someone who was late to bed and late to rise on weekends but today was different – he woke up early and was anxious. He struggled to eat cornflakes and kept checking the time frequently as if that would make it move faster. He had messaged her a few times but for three hours didn't receive a reply. There were a couple of times when people had rejected her saying she was dark or saying that she was too lean and he couldn’t believe that people could say such things to her. There was no one to disturb Vignesh since his roommate had gone to Bangalore for the weekend. Vignesh didn’t know what he wanted: one side wished that she would get married soon so that he could move on in life while the other side wished that he was the one for her. 
Finally there was a ping sound from his laptop.
gud news

Those two words were enough for Vignesh to guess how the morning went. Everything was finalised – marriage was within a month and they had even booked the marriage hall.
Vignesh: congrats

He thought over the months that had passed. Damn.

She messaged again.
u shud come 4 marriage. im booking ur time now itself

He had no idea how he would attend her marriage. The more he thought of it, the more angry he felt.

How could I see another guy holding her hand? Damn; it’s unfair. Two years mad about her has come to this. And the London guy did it through a webcam in ten minutes.

He was unsure if he was angry on her or on himself for having lived in an illusionary world, dreaming that someday she would change her rejection to acceptance. Or maybe it was anger for having been defeated – defeated in ten minutes. Thinking of defeat reminded him of his meeting with his manager yesterday; even there he had been defeated.

Vignesh was happy that they were chatting online. Even on phone one could guess the other person’s state but online it was very difficult to pick the signs.
chk his photo.. i sent u now..

This was one of the rare occasions where she hadn’t shown him the photo before the meeting. The guy was a little chubby with a nerdish look because of his round frameless glasses. Vignesh knew that she liked both those features and he had neither of them. Vignesh was skinny, average height, no spectacles and a slightly protruding waistline.
Vignesh: looks gud
Vignesh: hey I got to go now. Catch you later. Enjoy your duets in wonderland

There was nowhere to go but he had a fear that the longer they chatted, the higher the probability of him saying something inappropriate. He told himself that he had to move on in life. Sometimes it is choices that create confusions. But no matter how he tried to console himself, he felt hurt. He felt life was cruel to deal blows like this one after the other.

            Merv cheerfully wished the security guards in office as if it were a regular weekday. He was the primary support person for the weekend. Everyday there was a batch cycle that ran during the US night time. The cycle consisted of a sequence of steps or jobs. In case any job failed, the support person had to resolve the issue so that the cycle could resume. Due to the time zone difference, the Friday night cycle in US was effectively a Saturday morning cycle in Indian time. The time zone difference was one reason for US companies to outsource to India. Merv didn’t mind being the primary on weekends since he was anyway coming to office every Saturday. And weekend support earned him an extra allowance. He could have availed the cab service as well but having moved within a ten-minute walking distance of office, he considered it as indulging in excess. Office was already providing him a lot of perks: free Internet, unlimited drinking water that was the best water he could get, electricity without interruption while the rest of the city had daily load shedding and central air-conditioning to beat the Chennai heat.

Merv headed to the second floor of DC3. Their area was a secure area – only people working on projects for the client Lestitude Financials were allowed to enter. Certain clients who were worried of data security demanded such areas. There was a mini-lobby with a couple of security men who searched bags: backpacks, laptop bags and plastic bags were always inspected; no personal laptops or memory cards were permitted. Merv had a friendly chitchat with the guard before flashing his card against the turnstile to enter the secure area. The Lestitude Financials secured area was a little relaxed compared to other clients who didn’t even permit camera mobiles.

After picking a cup of coffee from the pantry, Merv went through his emails and checked the online dashboard where he could view the cycle execution. Saturday was when he caught up with the huge number of unread forward emails in his inbox. Many of them were pictures of actresses from different woods – Hollywood, Kollywood, Bollywood, Tollywood etc. There were some jokes while some that claimed to be life-saving tips were actually harmful tips that could kill a person.

Gokul came to office in a bright orange t-shirt. Though married, he was a frequent Saturday visitor and on Saturdays he always sported flashy colours. His wife hadn't woken up when he was getting ready and so there was no restriction on what to wear. Her waking up late on weekends was a constant complaint from his mom.
“Hi, how’s the cycle going?”
“So far so good.”

Gokul found the peace in office comforting than the commotion at home where his parents and wife kept nagging him. Either his parents wanted to go out or his wife wanted to go out; he was tired of driving within the city on weekends and the constant pestering at home.
“What forward are you analysing?” he asked Merv.
“The one on heart attacks.”
Gokul took his seat to the left of Merv in the same cubicle. “Ah; rub your heart while driving to save yourself.” It was an email that Gokul had sent.
“It works only for a specific type of heart attack; not all.”
“If it works, it’s good.”
“Yeah. People will keep rubbing instead of going to the doctor!”

These were the forward emails Merv spent most time reading on weekends – he’d research the information online, find sources that claimed it was false and then reply back to the sender as well as his group of friends highlighting the mistake. Merv felt obliged to reveal the truth.

A few minutes later the dashboard was flashing in red.
“Oh damn; first job down for the day.”

Over time Merv learnt that whenever a job failed, the first thing to do was rerun the job and hope it completed successfully. It sounded a ridiculously simple solution but that’s what worked often.

He called the system services team in the US which was part of the client’s IT workforce.
“Hi, good evening.” It certainly wasn’t evening for them but he couldn’t start the conversation with a good night. “Can you rerun a job?” He gave the job details and in a minute the red changed to yellow and then green.

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