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Archive for January 22nd, 2010

Cubicle capers

All in the field of Info. Tech. must have had some or the other fond memories of their cubicles.

I have changed about 2-3 companies by now and innumerable seating locations.

Met some amazing cubicle mates and some not-so-great ones too.

BUT , the one and only cubicle , which is still close to my heart, which I still miss, is cubicle C-15.

It was in my current company when I had first joined it (yes, I’m one of those useless people, who quit a company.And then rejoin it again. Not just once, but THREE times!!).

It was in C-15 that I spent some of the best time with some of my best friends (I refuse to just call them colleagues. They are far more important than that!!) There were three of us who were permanent members, me , Salil (Sallu) and Shripad (kaka).

The remaining locations were shared by many other people. Amit, Shweta, Srihari, Shailesh, Mrunalini and Prabha Tai ( We had these really large spacious cubicles and when the team strength grew and seating locations became limited, the management took the wise(?) decision of adding another workstation to the cubicle. So we then had  5-seater cubicles).

Me and Sallu used to discuss practically everything under the sun. Shripad would then chip in with his valuable comments. We had our pre-defined roles. I was the vocal-feminist-at-large. Sallu was the funny-guy. And Kaka was the wise man who would solemnly spout a line and have us all in splits, practically falling out of our chairs 🙂 . There were times, we used to laugh out so loud that we got shush-ed by people in cubicles across the work hall.

Early on, Srihari was a member of an all-girls cubicle. This guy used to put on his head-phones in the morning and immerse himself in his work. We rarely ever got a word out of him. So when Amit left our cubicle, we urged Srihari to come and join us. And boy, were we glad that we did!!

Srihari was the fountain of wisdom. He would break down our arguments in his cool methodical way. There was this regular activity we had. All of us would be working hard on our machines. Suddenly, Sallu would pass a comment. It would rankle me and I’d retort back on it. Kaka would add in his thoughtful one-liner. Srihari would contradict me. And within minutes, all four of us would be in deep discussion, our backs to our machines and debating on the issue at hand.

So profound were our arguments that it drew people from the other cubicles. People flocked to our location to see who wins the debate. Kaka, usually used to side with Srihari. Sallu would be the third angle of the debate. Shweta would ALWAYS agree with me. Simply because we are girls 😀 (this used to rankle Sallu BIG time 🙂 ).

Kaka and me used to mostly discuss on philosophy and spirituality. With Sallu, it was mostly about sharing a pun, or coming up with witty one-liners. Srihari, as I mentioned before, was the real leader-of-sorts of the group. Sometimes intiating topics just to see our reaction or arguments.

Aahh …Those were fun days indeed.

Apart from the talks, we were also the most resourceful. I had a fruit basket on my desk. People were free to help themselves to fruits whenever they felt hungry. We had a jar of saunf, fruit squash in little bottles, loads of tissue papers. We also had squeezy balls to play with. Sallu had his fitness equipment (those hand-held thingies (looking like a large iron spring coil with the two ends bent and covered with the plastic handle)  which you squeeze with all your might to strengthen the wrist and fingers). It is a testimony to Sallu’s strength that he actually broke those things in two. With a casual flex of his fingers 😐 . We didn’t dare take any panga with him after that!!!

We were like the proverbial flowers which draw the bees to them. I don’t remember any instance of any of us visiting other friends in different cubicles. All of them came to us. Though me, Sallu and Kaka were more or less the permanent members, there was a lot of demand for the fourth and fifth location. We had immense fun with whoever came in. Because invariably, the new-comer would imbibe the vibes from us :). Alas, my only regret is that Prabha Tai joined the cubicle after I left.

But whenever I think of good times, I can’t help but think of C-15. I may not have been able to express myself completely . There are many instances, fun times, which I don’t have the right words to express in. I think it was best described by Sallu in this post.

While in Bangalore, the company there did not have 4-seater cubicles. It was more open-plan with two people sharing a side. Sharath was with me those days. It could have been fun if only we didn’t have the Project Manager sitting right behind us!!

I came back to Pune and rejoined my company. I got the chance to share a cubicle with three bigots. Guys who didn’t hesitate to call me a ‘Pakistani’ on my face. Who didn’t blink their eyes when asking me whether I celebrated Pakistan’s win in a cricket match against India!!

Well, well, it takes all kinds  to make this world, I guess.

I moved through many cubicles after that. In different work locations. It was fun most of the time. But that spark which was there in C-15, was missing.

Even now, I try and search for it . Try and interact with my cubicle mates to get at least a whiff of that essence. Searching for Sallu, Kaka and Srihari in my current cubicle mates.

Sometimes, it feels futile.  

It may just be that all of us in C-15 were meant to be there. To get together our different personalities, idiosyncracies and nuttiness to make that time special. Make it worth remembering.

I dedicate this post to all my friends who have shared their space with me. To all the good times we had together and the bad.

Here’s to friendship, wherever we go. (Clink)

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