Friday, April 10, 2009

I had to witness it too!

He is a good guy; smart, tall, pleasant, a volleyball player, a singer, a mobile dictionary of music and more. It was his last day in the company. In other words, today it is the beginning of a new era in his life.

His name is Sibi. You know him from one of my oldest posts. He was senior to me in the organization by two months. From the very first day I joined the team I experienced a harmony in his company. He is a man with a positive energy and a good sense of humour and all the boyish thoughts.

Today is the day of Good Friday of 2009. It was a working day and we were in the office with our share of tasks. After 4:15 pm, as usual, I dropped a line to Sugu asking her to join us the tea-break. Mandy, who sits next to me, was also free. The other cubicle mate was on leave. So, we three, moved towards the lift. While waiting at the elevator we sensed the absence of Sibi on the floor and nobody knew where he was.

'Hmmm… Let him come once he is back at the seat' - we thought.

The weather was hot, but silent as on every Good Friday. I remembered the times when I was at home. There were no chirps and coos by birds. Whole nature appears very calm. One of the interesting things, on this day of remembrance of the holy sacrifice only a few number of vanilla flowers bloom instead of two or more on each bunch!

For some reason, I was not hungry this noon. So I decided to have a masala dosa. After placing my order at the canteen, I dialled Sibi. After three or four seconds I pressed the end button. A missed call is enough to remind him of the tea time. The lazy mood of the weekend tempted us to spend more time in the canteen. Even after the break, Sibi didn’t show up.

We came back to the ground floor. I followed Sugu to her cube. Her cube-mate Sathi had told me that I could take the dates at his place. I sat on the desk, had a chit chat with him while emptying the dates packet. Then I found Sibi standing at his place, two cubicles away, with a blank face.

His cell phone was between his left ear and shoulder. I noticed him picking up something in a hurry. There was a guy standing next to him in a contrasting red T-shirt with the yellow one of Sibi's. I tried to recollect his name; I supposed he was a guy from the HR department. I asked Sathi whether he was the guy from HR. He was unsure. By the time Sugu also noticed Sibi in his unusual mood. She wondered why this HR guy is with Sibi now. I sensed some danger as there is no entertainment program or cultural event happening (Sibi used to be a part of the events, so he had much interaction with the HR department in connection with them). I gestured flipping my palm to ask him what the matter was. With the same plain look he pointed to the skies with all his fingers. I was in tension by now.

I approached his place leaving behind the open packet of dates. Sibi had come out of his cube, and was shaking hands of Srini, one of the former team-mates. He walked towards me, as I asked him what happened.

"I am also Shaani, yaar."


Shaani is a good friend of mine who joined Bangalore Office, right after her honeymoon. It was in the second half of February. She was settling into a new life both personally and professionally, by getting transferred to Bangalore where her husband is working. She started work yesterday, just like a normal day, and lost herself in the duties. It was unusual for me to flash a 'hi, good morning' t her name through instant messenger. But I did it to share a copy of my recent blog-post. I told her not to poke instant messenger since my project lead might be there at my place for some review. After a few minutes she mailed me to tell about the write up. It became the last e-mail I received from her official id.

Sharp at 11:37 am Shaani's chat message popped up conveying 3 lines:

Shaani [11:37 AM]:
i'm leaving the company
Shaani [11:37 AM]:
Shaani [11:37 AM]:

I was shocked! She clarified- "i'll be leaving within .5 hrs"!

Oh! My God!

After a moment I asked her where was she and rushed to her place. She was waiting at the threshold of the mighty building. A few minutes ago, she was an inmate of this beautiful building. She did not have the prestigious identity card dangling from her neck. Instead, she had a big envelope which contained some sheets, with the story of her resignation imprinted.

She explained me everything. Nothing much was there; it was very simple. She received a call from her HR Executive and was asked to meet him at once. There he explained her about the company decision to discontinue her service. On request she was told that this was based on her perfomance and was a decision from the higher management. She was speechless. She was asked to RESIGN and given the application format for the same. The application for resignation was filed, and soon got approved with immediate effect! On the top of it she was asked to leave the company premises within half an hour. Period.

I met her. Her team-mates wished her adieu and went back to the seats. One of her friends came and spoke with her for a few minutes. She also left. Another close friend (from the same office complex) called her up, asked about the happenings, said okay and hanged up. Again I became the only person with her.

"We are meeting for the second time. Aren’t we?" I asked her.

She nodded. I had met her when she joined this office.

"I didn’t expect this kind of a situation to meet you again..." I sighed.

She was waiting for her husband to come and pick her. The time was ticking. I could see some drops of tears rolling over her cheeks. I did not want to see her weeping.

"What you have lost is only the job. Everything else is fine and with you. Luckily you have lot of people around to take care of you!"

I accompanied her to the gate. She did not have the swipe card to go through the turnstile. She approached the security and showed her resignation letter. He opened the tiny gate for her. The walkway was relatively deserted. For the last time she crossed the gate as an employee.

"I don't deserve to be fired. I don't..." I could feel the pain in her sentence.

A few minutes later her husband, Sree, arrived. He had a parcel with him- their lunch.

"So… tomorrow Biriyani and day after tomorrow Pulav..!"

All of us laughed. Actually she was just being not allowed to weep.


"I am also Shaani, yaar." Sibi said. He could spoke only this much. I held his hand. And those were the last words he spoke to me today.

He went to Mandy, told him the matter in one sentence. I found Mandy getting up from the seat in a shock. He was speechless too. We followed him to the lobby. With the bag on his right shoulder, Sibi moved to the basement where the vehicles are parked. He is leaving the office without flashing his id card at the attendance recorder marked 'OUT'. The HR guy left the scene through the front door. I saw Srini’s eyes getting wet. He was a good companion. Both of us used to hit Srini badly inside the elevator!

I came back to my seat. My mind was blank. I had lost my best friend in the team. He was the only Malayali guy in our team, who always fascinated by the filmy jokes of Dileep, Innocent, Sreenivasan and Salimkumar. On the desk, my green water bottle had some water left within. He used to have water from it whenever he came there. It happened today also. It won’t happen again. What about his girl? Their life? Dreams? Plans?

We know their actual performance in their deeds. And we know how the ratings were made so. The company speaks in terms of performance figures. Only we see the lives.

I heard the reverse horn of some vehicle from the basement.

Names are changed.


എം.എസ്. രാജ്‌ said...

It was shocking, disgusting, annoying and disappointing. But we couldn't do anything. Times have changed now. But destiny could have tought it in some other ways.

Dedicated to all the victims of... whatever.

I will miss you friends!

MS Raj

Santosh said...

I am in loss of words... really unfortunate. Hope your friend would get into a much better job soon...

On the flip side, what I had seen is that - because of the hype that the IT folks had received in the earlier years, the society absolutely has no empathy towards the IT folks. I had personaly witnessed people from other professions taking it so lightly as if there is a valley for every peak... And THAT - is really really unfortunate.

Alex Xavier said...

Dear Raj,

Sorry to hear the story. And thanks for posting. I hope your friends will find some better jobs once the situation improves. It always does.

(On a personal note, it would be nice if you could use simpler sentences and direct to the point narration. It would add much more depth and feel to the posts. )


ദീപക് രാജ്|Deepak Raj said...

la escritura realmente grande, así que usted comenzaron a escribir en inglés. usted oscila

ഞാനും എന്‍റെ ലോകവും said...

ara avide spanishu parayunne

Twinkle said...

I donno what to write here. I was shocked to hear the news about her.Since Raj was with her ,atleast we got a mail from u(reg her resignation) on her behalf.The authorities are really forgetting "Driven by values".Where r the values gone when they say that "leave the campus within .5 hrs".Really disheartened :( ... Both of them will get a better wishes n prayers to them ...

Sunil Krishnan said...

Heart braking. It happens man; shit, shit happens... :( it may disastrous.. but not the 'End f world'. let's pray for a better tomorrow.

Jijo said...

Having an IT degree is not a guarantee to a secure future anymore. Or else a termination from a job wouldn't be felt such a big deal. Last year this would be just 'nine doors opening' than any thing else.

Can't blame the company, whether driven by values or trying to be a tiger, they are all driven by money. Aren't we all? Tell me one person who wouldn't join another company if the offer is considerably better.

എം.എസ്. രാജ്‌ said...

Thanks for the comment and empathising. Hope better time will come!

Alex Xavier,
They are trying their level best to make this just another opportunity. And special thanks to your constructive suggestions.

Deepak & ഞാനും എന്‍റെ ലോകവും,
Didnt understand anything. :)

Twinkle & Sunil,
We know the pain of people who are forced to walk out. Because we are their friends.

Please understand that I was not blaming the company. Either this comapny or some other company or both will do it. Leave the recession/perfomance figures/compensation apart. I was just trying to express the emotions of them who were asked to leave the organization all of a sudden. And we the people who watched the show with a shock and pain. They were not just co-workers. That's why.

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