It was about an year ago that we were in Hyderabad pursuing our Initial Learning Programme (ILP). I had heard a lot about TCS ILP earlier. Some said it was very tough, some said they learnt a lot, etc etc. We also tried to find out from seniors about the training by mails, scraps etc.
Our joining in TCS was 28th August, 2006. There were lot of formalities to be done for which I had to go home from Bangalore (where I was for the past 2 months after college ;)) Joining date was a reliever as some people had said that joining dates in TCS were very late. After completing the formalities I set off for my first job to never-been-before Hyderabad. Amresh, my college yaar, was with me with similar hopes and ambitions!!!
Even on the train we met a surd who was going to Hyderabad for his job joining at Hyderabad. We curiously asked him about ILP. He said he did not have much problem although he was a mechanical guy. He mentioned some percentage which he scored in the test. We then exchanged a no-reason-why smile.
We reached Secunderabad Railway station. Lot of luggage. Discussions with porter. Arguments with Autowalla. Finally we agreed to hire an auto after the senior we met finalized a deal for us. We reached the hotel in which our boarding was arranged. But unluckily we had to part as amresh had to go to the other hotel in which his boarding was arranged. We tried to convince the authorities there for staying together but in vain. I was alloted a room and obviously a roomie. The room appeared quite okay with a TV and no AC. My roomie was from Bhagalpur and soon we found out that we had a common friend. The common friend told him that I was a very good roommate. I knew my roommate was going to be disappointed but I couldn't help :) So the first thing I did was to hunt for the mobile connection with the cheapest STD calling rate and I had it by the end of the day, a Hutch Connection. I also took a top up for Rs 110 which was the first of the infinite recharges that I made in Hyderabad. I took pride in flashing my new mobile handset Nokia 3250 which I got as my b'day gift from my father 10 days back at home. I had planned all my experiments with Bluetooth as I had my lappy also with me. This was the first time I was having a higher end mobile. So I made sure I don't leave anything untried before I leave the place.
The First Day
So the big day was there. 28th of August 2006. We were informed the previous day that the buses will leave at 7. So we got up early at around 5:30. There was so much of noise in the corridor. People hunting for ties, belts, documents etc. Some confused faces asking what all things we can take there. I think I appeared the coolest and the quitest of the lot. I left my room just in time, after completing the morning round of phone talk, only to find a big crowd standing in front of the hotel waiting for the bus. I immediately found out some familiar faces from college. I went and tried to be with them rather than being alone. Everybody looked fresh and new eager to find out what will happen in the day. The buses took us to an undefined location called CMC, the place where our training was supposed to take place. We had our paid breakfast.(I had thought that food will be free for us :( ) I hunted for few more closer friends and ofcourse Amresh.
We then went to CMC classrooms. The classroom number was very different from the ones we had in college. We met the lady over there who was the head of ILP programme and an HR employee of TCS. She had a peculiar smile "all the time". Her smile was so misleading. You would always assume her to be in your side but she was NOT most of the time. She was Indu Nair, the name which was going to be very familiar specially during allocation and reallocation. The document submission part was the most boring one (till then). After which we were transported to some auditorium in Hyderabad University to witness several TCS and TATA documentries. We saw it with interest for the first and the only time. After that we demanded movies when we wanted to sleep with lights off. There were several speeches made by people from TCS. I was impressed at the non-advertising nature of TCS then. Things are quite different now :) Then there were so many essential activities like batch formation, CR election etc conducted by one and only Indu Nair. I was in Batch H-15 with Gunjan and Pandey, the people in my branch from college. Gunjan was a friend and I knew Pandey. At the end of ILP guys in our batch were not ready to believe when I told them that I had never talked to Pandey before ILP. We also had our first and only good lunch at ILP Hyderabad. The food provided here was pure South Indian with some dishes being heard for the first time like the breakfast item "Pesarattu".
We ended the day with some more non-descript items and finally it was time to head back to the hotel. I did not have close friends in my hotel. So I preferred to spend most of my time on phone.
Daily Routine at ILP
The daily routine at ILP was not much different from the first day. We had to get up at 6 and assembled in front of the hotel. Missing the bus was a headache coz CMC was a bit far and the autowaalas charged a bit high. The bus was a luxurious one with FM playing all the time in Telugu. Some sentences by RJs had become familiar though we understood little. Bus journey was too formal because of presence of girls. Everybody acted as to be the most decent one on this earth. Things changed a bit by the end. I usually did not talk except a few welcome greetings to the people I know. Breakfast items were a nightmare. As a result there was a big crowd at Juice corner. Juicewala was overgenerous to the girls. One day I would have hit back at the Juicewala there but I controlled myself. Pandey detested South Indian food so much that he ate very little. He was fond of juice. Then we went to classrooms after my first round of phone conversation.
Classes were usually boring and we generally slept except that of Shradha's. She was our Life Skills faculty. She was very popular coz of her looks and nature. Guys used to be awake with wide open eyes in her class ;) We loved the discussions between Begu and her. Begu was from our college and I knew his name from before. He was a genius. There was nothing in this world that this guy didn't know about. He was very famous for his slow speech. By the way his real name was Ankit Abhishek. Then we had Abhay Sood from our college who was the CR. I don't know how I did not see this guy at college. He was amazing at his activeness and convincing skills. We could not have had a better CR. I generally used to be with Gunjan and Pandey with Begu and Abhay sitting behind/beside us. Gunjan was the AC operator of our batch :) We all got chilled by the overeffective AC but he was the one who always took pain and brought AC remote from somewhere to raise the temperature up. Gunjan and I used to listen to what the teachers said and Pandey fully relied on us both for notes and waking him up if the teacher notices him sleeping. Sometimes Gunjan took the full responsibility of both me and Pandey :D All thanks to Gunjan.
Among the girls in our batch I knew Arpita beforehand as I had met her somewhere in college, I did not remember where... either Java Class or IMS Class or French class. We talked few more times after that in ILP I being very busy with either class or calls :)We are very good friends now in Chennai. We were together in the same Project for 6-7 months. She is very nice as a friend having core Friend and Family values. She has a heart of GOLD. Her caring for others is simply awesome. I came to know a lot of things about ILP from her after the days were over. She told me about my reputation there that I talk too less. Guys... I talk a lot after the ice is broken :) She also told me about her and I was really startled after knowing about the only couple of our batch post ILP. All the best to them!!! And yeah she finally got where we met. It was neither Java, IMS, or French class. It was at the Personality Development Workshop, conducted by Raj Rodrigues of our college, that we were in the same batch :) This was yet another example of her sharp memory about nondescript things :)
To be Continued...