Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Corporate Politricks - 4 (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)

            As the Saturday progressed, so did Vignesh’s depression. He took a bus to Express Avenue, one of the biggest malls in Chennai. Given the large area, Vignesh wandered aimlessly – to a casual observer they would have thought he was window shopping but he was filled with thoughts about the girl he had been mad about. Whenever he saw a guy and a girl walking hand-in-hand he was pained by the sight. It was 2pm when the amount of walking took a toll on his body; the sight of a KFC counter made him pause. For many months he had avoided junk food as much as possible due to his girlfriend because the effect of such food would immediately reflect on his physique. But today he hoarded on fries, chicken nuggets, potato wedges and a glass of Diet Coke to wash it all down. Feeling satisfied with the food he looked around at the people on other tables. The feeling of joy was instantly forgotten at the sight of guys in the company of pretty girls. He immediately left the mall.

The skies looked threatening but he didn’t care. Even if an earthquake were to strike he would not have cared. He walked for more than thirty minutes in the direction of a movie complex on Mount Road. This was an underrated multiplex – except for the congested parking, the seats and theatre was as good as any other in the city. The first sight that welcomed Vignesh was a couple standing in the queue buying tickets. The guy held the girl’s right hand at the counter; he held it firmly and refused to leave her hand even while pulling out money to pay for the ticket. Vignesh looked away and waited till the happy couple moved out.

“Which movie sir?”
“For which movie now do you have tickets?”
“How many sir?” the lady asked him as if this were a normal request. For Vignesh this was the first time he was walking into a movie theatre without booking beforehand.
There were a couple of movies – one was an English comedy and the other was a Telugu one. His aim was to kill three hours and didn’t care how.

    The hall was only half full; but since it was running for more than a week he thought it must have been a decent movie. There were two words that he understood other than the regular usage of English mixed with Telugu.
“Ekadda?” the hero would ask and a friend would give him directions on where to find the heroine.
And there were instances when the characters would suddenly shriek, “Enti?”
This was supposed to be an action thriller but not knowing the language, Vignesh just went through the motions. For once he didn’t mind the loud jarring songs since they drowned the cries of his heart. A group of youngsters in front of him were laughing all through the movie; they were obviously making fun of every move made by the hero while one person in the group was trying hard to defend him. Everyone around was talking in Telugu. During the interval Vignesh realised that he had forgotten his mobile at home. He bought a small cup of caramel coated popcorn that cost an exorbitant Rs.150; people watching movies didn’t seem to mind spending money. 

And why not when you have your love with you? 

The boys in front obviously knew the sequence of scenes because even before the item-song started, they began screaming and howling. The skimpily dressed model was dancing in a bar; the audience in the bar and the audience in the theatre were whistling and applauding every move she made. The model was supposed to have been paid a crore for this song. It was quite a provocative dance and there was a mother in the audience who was uncomfortable with her young kid watching the so called dance steps. She took the boy outside and as soon as the song ended she returned with the boy gleefully licking on an ice-cream cone. The item-song certainly made everyone happy except Vignesh who was unimpressed. Item-songs had become mandatory in Indian films; some called it vulgarity while some called it art – in the end it was a simple case of catering to the demand.

    The staircase leading to the exit was crammed with people and moved very slowly because of the rain outside. It was 7:50pm when Vignesh stepped on the street wearing his jacket. He was greeted by a strong increase in the intensity of rain. The gully road connecting to the main road was flooded with water till knee level. Vignesh placed his right hand on a compound wall while wading slowly through the water by placing one foot ahead of him to test for open manholes. Open manholes had consumed many a life this year in the city. Till he reached the main road he had the hood of the jacket over his head. Once on the main road he wondered, ‘Why am I so worried of getting drenched in the rain? Is rain a bigger worry?’

He pulled off the hood wondering why he had even taken the jacket in the first place and why he was worried about manholes. If the earth wanted to suck him, he was fine with it.
He cursed himself for having believed things would change; he cursed himself for the way he behaved; he cursed himself for having cared for her even after being rejected.

Was it because of caste that she rejected me? Or was caste an excuse? 

He cursed the caste system. But he reasoned that if she really loved him, caste wouldn’t have deterred her. He knew people who had married across castes.

Why did I believe that she liked me? What’s the point of life?

            Gokul and Merv had lunch in the foodcourt and then played snooker in the second floor. Gokul said, “I’ve not defeated you even once.”
He envied Merv; not because of him being a better player but because of his independence – a bachelor who could do anything he pleased at anytime.
Both of them played till 3pm when Merv’s phone vibrated.
“Oh damn.”
Gokul teased, “Your wakeup call.”

When the red light started flashing on the dashboard, depending on the criticality of the job an automated message would be sent. The expectation was that the primary person should respond to the alert within five minutes. If they didn’t, then the alert would be escalated to the secondary and then their manager.

“Got to go.” Saying so he dashed down the steps and ran on the stone path to DC3. To his surprise there was no red box on the screen. In his hurry he hadn’t even checked the message. The dashboard had an orange box. Orange meant an unusual delay in the job. He had seen a few oranges in the past but they would disappear on their own. He hoped the same would be the case today.

Gokul received a call from his wife. He wanted to ignore it but finally decided against it because otherwise he would have had to put up with her lecture at night.
“Ok ok; I know.”
His wife was explaining which type of banana she wanted. Her shrill voice sounded like an opera singer on the phone.
“I won’t forget.”
Immediately after he disconnected the call, he got a message from his wife with the same information.

Merv was a little worried. The job was already 35 minutes late.
“Not solved?” asked Gokul getting up from his chair.
“Check if there was some code change.” There were instances when problems happened because of some goof up they did in the development team.
“Nothing in one year.”
“Maybe there is more data to process,” Gokul suggested.
“Input is smaller than last time.”
Andrew, from the system services team, messaged him on their internal messenger.
Andrew: Any idea about the problem?
He began typing Andrew but then changed it to Andy. He didn’t know why Andrew was always called Andy or why Robert was a Bob and not Rob. In fact he was told that a Robert wouldn’t like to be called Robert.

Merv: Andy, I’m not sure. The code’s not been changed
Andrew: Okay. Let me check where it’s taking time
Merv: Ok

Gokul took a look at the issue but didn’t have any clues. He suggested, “What about Vignesh?”

The phone kept ringing till it was replaced by a recording, ‘The subscriber you have dialled is unavailable. Please try again later.’ He tried again three times but to no avail. The next person he tried was Karthick, his boss. Unlike Vignesh, he responded immediately and connected to the network from home. Merv hoped Karthick would have some ideas.

Karthick: run the job in dev region
Merv: k

It took him an hour to setup the job and in 15 minutes it completed. He relayed the message to Karthick. He suggested to rerun the job in production. The production job was now running overtime for 150 minutes. Gokul had disappeared.

Merv: Andy, can you rerun the job? We ran in dev and its fine

Andy didn’t respond for a long time; he was unconvinced by the approach. Even Merv was unconvinced but not having any ideas of his own he thought of giving it a try. Rerunning worked whenever a job failed; but this job hadn't failed.

Andrew: Okay

Merv hadn’t done much for the day but he felt tired due to the unsolved issue. Since they would have to wait a while to know if rerunning would magically solve the problem, he stepped out of the secured area in search of friends. 

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