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Year : 2008

Scene : In Mumbai branch office, sitting with the Branch Manager AD. I was a Management Trainee working on a sales project in Mumbai for 2 months. This was our last stint before we were informed about our final sales territories and had the manager shadow stint.

AD: So there is only one week left in this stint. Is there some part of sales you want to know before you report to the head office in Gurgaon?

Me : I have worked in metros (Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai), in upcountry (Hoskote, Trichy, Kolar, Kolar Gold Fields, Bangarpet), in Modern Trade. The only part uncovered is the sub stockist operation.

AD : Ok. Off you go to Ahmedabad then.

Sub stockist operations (in brief) – It isn’t cost effective to cover villages and very small towns directly so FMCG companies appoint a super stockist in a big town, example Ahmedabad, and he/she sends the products through local transport to sub stockists appointed in these towns

I was at Khushi’s house during this stint at A’bad when the new MD (Managing Director- it was a very, very flat organization in 2008) called to inform me that I was being given a new role in the head office in Gurgaon which could be for 6 months or 2 years depending on how the role evolved. Unlike my colleague D who assumed this was a prank call because which MD calls Management Trainees and abused him (Yes, he abused the MD and no, he didn’t get sacked); I was calm.

S and I were given a role in the head office while N was to join her role in HR, the rest of the gang, 6 others, was allotted territories in different parts of the country – Punjab, AP, Kerala, Orissa, UP etc. Gurgaon in those days was very different – there was no metro and no autos. The only way to reach Delhi was in cabs or shared cabs of call centres. The only option was to stay close to office but I would have to stay with a flatmate. The search began and I had no leads and no friends. Mom wanted me to stay in a PG but I had done that during the summer project in Chennai and was scarred by the experience.

N had married her boyfriend who was working in Punjab so living with her was possible except her mom in law would be staying for a few weeks every month. My only option was S who was male. What would parents say or maybe I shouldn’t tell them at all. S was in because he couldn’t find a flatmate either. We started house hunting and zeroed in on Silver Oaks, DLF Phase 1. It was 5 mins from office, the flats were decent; the rent, when split between us, was affordable and there was a big market across the road. I had to defer the shifting by a week because I told my parents I was shifting with N and mom had come to Delhi for some work. My strategy is simple- am going to do what I want to, if lying about it makes my life easier, so be it. S and I moved into the flat and that is how I fell in love with the complex and have always stayed there.

Except now. We have moved farther away- where there is no sign of democracy but KC’s friends stay here and he will have company when am gone. Also, Silver Oaks is the oldest complex in Gurgaon and it shows- the buildings are old, flats are smaller than those in other areas but the rents are sky high. Hopefully, there will be market correction in the next few years.

We have finished unpacking and setting up the house. The boxes which are packed are ones I will be taking with me to Mumbai in July. Things I still need to do:

  • Get wifi. My regular service provider made me call him 4-5 times. Finally, I asked him to fuck off and have called Airtel. Hopefully, I get it tomorrow or on Tuesday
  • Gas connection. Need to get a connection in KC’s name so I can transfer mine to Mumbai. No hurry for this.
  • Hire a maid. Hate this part.
  • Hire a cook. Rather, check if the hired cook can actually cook.
  • Get the minor issues (too many of them) sorted out with the broker and owner

I am glad am going on vacation in 10 days. I need the break, desperately.

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