Address : 5 Commissariate Road, Hastings, Kolkata.
Assemblers of Salora Television.
Tenure : 11 months
It was a very friendly atmosphere. There were 2 other girls as well. All my male colleagues were very elder brotherly towards me – all of them were married actually – so they were all very pally and nice.
My designation was : Public Relations Officer .
My duty was to take complaints from the customer/ dealers and allocate the address (Job Sheet) to the Senior Mechanic (Guha Da) – and he in turn used to distribute it among his subordinates.
I was also to take calls and pass it on to others – it was a single long hall kind of room with no cubicle – just the boss’s cabin was separated an had AC. In boss’s absence , during summers we used to go in (Me and the other girl – with the excuse to setting the files in order – but actually to relax in cooler air – as during the summers it used to be very scorching-ly hot – the office was on first floor – close to the ceiling.
Some stray incidents :
I sat on a broken chair on the first day
When I went in for the Interview – I was ushered to ‘take a seat’ – and the seat had a wheel broken ! and I almost fell – did a loud vocal ‘OUCH’ to everyone’s amusement. Till my last day there , my colleagues used to make fun of the incident !
Mr, Pradeep Kayal took my interview. He was very tall and thin and his enclosure was smelling heavily of cologne . The very first thing that he asked me was ‘ You live so far away – how will you commute?’ – and I had promptly said – well the place where I reside is basically the suburbs of Kolkata so anyways I’ll have to come to proper Kolkata to work – I’ll get dropped by a charted bus at Dalhousie and from there it takes just 10 mins to reach Hastings by a Mini bus here.
Sir must have been very impressed by the reply – he nodded very approvingly at my reply – thought that I must be so very street smart and also I had replied in English – keeping the Kolkata standards on mind – my English must have sounded like British English !
Anyways he said that he will interview a few more people and let me know by the weekend.
He also asked me about how much I was drawing previously – I said Rs. 1000/- plus incentive. He must have smiled in his heart knowing very well about the Incentive scenario in Kolkata.
The very next day he called up and said that I have been selected and my salary would be Rs. 1600/- . Wow ! I had thought – an inhouse job – not to loiter around in the sun selling some product etc. was a great news for me !! I joined on around the 7th of January 2004. I was very happy.. .for I had got an inhouse job afterall !(gosh! I was so happy with so little !!)
The Golaghata Consultant came to take money from me after one month.
As a contract I had to pay the Placement Consultant the entire salary of the first one month. In the mean time I had heard cases that some Placement Consultants are frauds and cheats and they place a person in an Organisation with a prior understanding with the organization that after making the person work for one month – just kick him / her out – so basically she/ he will be made to work for free – as the 1st month’s salary will go to the Consultant. This had made me very clever – moreover the previous experience with my 1st job was enough to make me understand about this world – so I told him that I will pay in 3 installments as Rs.600/ +Rs500 + Rs 500.
Hearing this the Placement Assistant had told me that a few more people like me and the entire Placement Consultancy will fall apart – he must have thought of me as a shrewd & clever Lady ! Anyways – he used to be there without fail , to collect my hard earned money from me for the 1st 3 months !
My Travelling in Taxi / cab fear exposed and eradicated !
One day my chums started in office and folks ! the moment I come to know that I have become “Her Highness” (this is our code word) – my entire being refuses to work and induces me to sleep cozily on my bed under warm bed sheets.
So it was around 11 am and I was not prepared – anyways my stomach started to ache slightly and I told Chandra da that I must go home and then I started lamenting the fact that when I will get the bus – will I get to sit etc. when Dilip da frowned and said – ‘why not catch a cab?” – to this I told him that once my sister’s friend’s friend had told them about an incident in Kolkata , where 2 girls were kidnapped and murdered by a taxi driver. Therefore both of us sisters had decided never to catch a cab when alone .
Hearing this Dilip da had a good laugh and said very expressively with lots of arm movements – that Taxi drivers are human beings like us who have wives and children – they are very poor – kind of living hand to mouth – where will they keep me when they already must be having so many mouths to feed ! – this logic came as a welcome thought to me !
So I took a cab that day– alone …and even slept off in the cab ! The driver , when reached BT College (my stop) started calling my name softly “didi – oh! Did” where now – BT college has come” – I woke up and said –“oh ! yes”..and then directed him to my home. That was the day when my fear of Taxi drivers totally evaporated !
The Farce called Kolkata Durga pujas – in the words of Dilip Da.
One day when the pujas were nearing, I asked Dilip da that he must be an active participant in his locality as he had a lot of leadership qualities in him. To this he said – well yes once upon a time he was but a certain incident made him change his mind for ever. The incident was as follows :
He was asked to collect money from a certain area and according to the records – the maximum amount that could be raised from that locality was around Rs. 500/- or so. Keeping the previous year’s record on mind, he started collecting and to his surprise he collected some RS. 4500/- from the same locality. To his utter amazement ,he went and reported this to the Puja Leader and he warded it off laughingly saying – Its okay – the rest of Rs. 4000/- is for us to enjoy – we can booze , have fried rice and chilly chicken etc. amply among ourselves .This infuriated Dilip da a lot and he left the entire Puja arrangement from that point and never even goes to the pandal as he knows that the common man is being cheated by their kith & kin !!
Beauty Tips and the Red light area girls
As girls are always waiting for their soul mate / handsome prince – they often buy the latest Fairness face pack / crème etc. that is available in the market – also we discuss among ourselves what exactly to do in order to look fair & beautiful – so that Mr. Right will not miss us by any chance…and chances of meeting the dream man is obviously in having a fairer complexion and shapelier body etc.
So one such day I was discussing with my another Lady Colleague about face packs to look fairer when Titoo da (T2 da as he signed) intervened . he had been listening to us for a long time and suddenly blurted out thusly :
Madams your endeavors will fail as anyways you have to commute by buses and trains so basically whatever cream you use will be swept out in perspiration and the dust of bus and roads will take good care of your pimples and acnes – they will never take your leave. Therefore if you want to maintain a good complexion – you better be seated at home and go on doing beauty therapies…and then he went on to add this : the Courtesans & other call girls do exactly this – and they are so beautiful that by chance if suddenly they come out in the roads – people stand still by looking at their complexion – so utterly fair and smooth – hair is thick and beautiful – in fact everything about them is just groovy ! He was mentioning about the Call Girls near the Barabazaar area.
Both me and my colleague were surprised at his expression. This even he noticed and remarked – I know madam – Truth is very bitter – but it’s a fact. Your complexion will also glow if you sit at home for a couple of days doing facials etc !
Later at home I thought – Yes – so true was his statement ! The crèmes worth Rs.200 to Rs.300 that we buy cannot be used during summers at it melts away and during winters – fairness creams are rather dry !!
I used to travel (while returning) by Train..
One day I was relating an incident to my colleagues about how difficult it was for me to travel by trains – after office hours – so crowded it used to be and that some Lady Thief was trying to snatch away my bag from me etc. when one of them suddenly said – Why do you not go back by charted bus ? – I said Charted buses are available only in the morning ! To this all of them laughed and then directed me to the Dharmatala- KC Das stop where buses leave in a row ! – Boy!! I was so immensely glad to hear this news – I used to go home – seated (in the Driver’s cabin which is less crowded) and got out of that SICK Sealdah Station where my traveling companions were the uncouth, smelly vegetable mongers, fish sellers, sweepers and loud mouthed , frustrated ugly women (sometimes thief women!) ! You see folks , this is how gradually I became street smart ! I slowly began to understand the shortest possible and comfortable path back home !
Amusing complaint handling situations :
Customers in Kolkata have a tendency to believe that they are Kings ! So when someone used to give a complain – they expected their TV set to get corrected on the very same day ! Anyways I was very poor with the Kolkata locations and addresses – but working in the office I came to know of many locations – atrocious silly sounding along with the near location/ I had become like a Directory during that period as people used to ask me the exchange code etc. of different locations as they knew that I will be furnishing them with the right kind of information as that is what I do all the time.
3 lates equals one absent !
We had to reach by 9:15 maximum – the person responsible to mark late etc. had developed a grudge against me and Shraboni as we had found out that he was having an affair with the telephone operator (she was tall, dark and voluptuous…not anything great to look at – well according to my standards – but men would find such women very sexy…) so he used to mark us late even when we had already reached the office premises within the stipulated time – one minute late was equal to one late. This act of his was getting on my nerves and I was also planning to report to Sir !
Provident Fund and ESI Form Incident
One day we were asked to fill up a form regarding ESI nominees etc. where there was a question on ‘ Nature of Job’ – so I wrote Officer. But Dilip Da intervened and said – yours is not an Officer’s job – its clerical – write ‘Clerical’ as a reply . To this I argued that my designation in PR Officer ! To this he said Aparna – Wake up – no Officer draws a salary of Rs. 1600/- only. What shame you have in writing Clerk ? Clerks are also humans.
Well reluctantly I wrote ‘Clerk’ – despising my state at that point of time. I had a personal dislike for terms like clerk and secretary as I always thought it to be lowly jobs – as most movies showed these characters as losers who could not do anything else in life !
Boss had a great collection of cologne
I used to be the Telephone Handler as well – kind of operator along with being a PR Officer. Actually the phone used to ring for complaints only – so mostly it was my phone.
Sometimes Boss used to come out to take the call – in case the inside phone was out of order / or engaged etc. When he finished speaking and left one day , I happened to pick up the receiver and wow! What a lovely smell he had left on the receiver. When I raved about the lovely smell coming from the phone , my colleagues told me that Boss spends ¼ of his salary on colognes !! Anyways he definitely had a great collection.
Khandelwalji and his Paan Parag
There was one Khandelwalji who used to constantly chew paan parag – his phones used to come and my colleagues had told me categorically to keep a kerchief ready to wipe the mouth piece once he is over with the phone ! I used to meticulously wipe the mouth piece right in front of him – even he used to act purposely that he spitting on the phone to irritate me. He had a very subtle sense of humor and it took us time to understand that he just joked. A very funny character indeed. He was a Hanuman Bhakta and had presented me a small booklet of Hanuman Chalisa . I used to read it in office. I used to sing that song a lot which was the title song of ‘Krishna’ serial that was shown on Sundays during that time. Khandelwalji suddenly used to sy “SILENCE” – Madam is singing and swayed his head as if enjoying the song (bhajan) very much !
One day I had told him – Khandelwalji – I hope you brush your teeth before going to your wife?
Why? – he asked me.
I am sure you don’t kiss her with the paan parag full mouth !
He was astonished at my remark – they used to treat me like a kid actually – he never thought that I could say such a thing …anyways he quickly replied the typical Indian Male way : she is my wife – I can do whatever I like – no one else should be concerned.
But I said – I will be – she is a woman and every woman should be treated well.
To this the entire male genre started yelling about what women are all about , how they have been given so much liberties but still want more, utterly confused creatures, mad-caps etc…and I had to quiet-en up quickly !!
Conclusion : These males are a very well knit society !
Me Lords (the readers) – here is the proof of my stay at Salora.
Notice the signature of the Manager – his name was Singh Ji – thats what we called him – and he is the one who called up my father and …spilled the beans – the fact that Somnath had come to meet me twice ! You see folks, Hastings was an Army Campus and there were Bunglows of Brigadiers etc. – Singh ji had commented one day: your father was a Brigadier when he retired?
Yup ! – I had said.
So you must have also lived in such Bungalows ? – Uh huh – I had said.
Later when he had rung up my father he had said : Sir, we know the kind of circumstances you have lived in and the kind of upbringing she (me ie.) has had – so as a well wisher I suggest that you take your daughter away from this place and do something so that her illusion does not materialize !!
Well today …after 12 years or so I am rather thankful to Singh ji for having done to me – what he did to me !!…or was it all my Destiny?
In fact Somnath never ever said ‘I love you’ to me – Never! When I had asked him – he had said – “one needn’t say such things – are to be understood…..also he had said – what you think of us – our togetherness…will never materialize…” He knew a lot of things beforehand actually – in fact just before I got caught – he had casually asked me – Your parents are not looking for a groom for you – I had said – Yeah – and also a bride for my brother …to this he had said – oh! your brother – He’ll have a love marriage !! – and that’s what happened !!