The story is loosely based on facts. Some facts may have been suppressed to bring in drama.
“Meet me now”, messaged my HR manager. I could read her exasperation in the message. Carrying a long face, I went to her cube. Seeing me, without speaking a word, she walked to a meeting room. I followed her. We sat on chairs and before she said a word, I wore my stupid smile. “Why Saeed?”, she questioned. She looked puzzled. I have reasons, I told myself.
The HR manager had to validate my separation request before the request goes to the reporting manager. She had formed a fun and activity group where I was a member. Thus, she knew me well. Facing her at that moment of time, I could hardly speak. Time stood still.
Chapter 1: Mysore
9th September, 2012: The day I reported to Mysore campus of Infosys. My first job. Thrilled and excited that I was, the feel of independence, the outlook of the majestic campus, the greenery, the people. I pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I remember walking down to the security check with a trolley with my luggage, my college mates walking beside me. We completed check in process and were allotted temporary id cards and studio rooms, where we were to stay for the entire training period, officially beginning the next day.
Hands down, this was the best 4 months of my life. The transformation from college to corporate, from a student to a professional, from a dependant to an independent. I enjoyed every day, hitting gym early mornings, swimming and playing table tennis in the evenings, movies and bowling on weekends. I loved the residential campus so much that there is not a single day I didn’t retire there. I made a lot of friends, some from my own college and some from others.
Chapter 2: Bangalore
January, 2013: A few of my friends and I got posted to Bangalore while most others, Trivandrum. Moving out of the Mysore campus was the most remorseful day of the training days. We reached Bangalore campus and I went in shock to see the campus when contrasted with the Mysore one. The contrast of the campus size only added fuel to my remorse. We met our new HR manager, our new project managers, et al in the following days. We also discovered our new home in Bangalore.
I was among the first ones to get a project allocation. I joined the team, met the project managers and spent some time learning about the project. During free times, I explored the campus, tried most food courts and spent time with friends. We formed quite a big group with my training mates for everyday lunches and outings. We partied every month and every birthdays. Time just went on and on and on.
Chapter 3: Rasta
March, 2014: Occasional trips to exotic places made my life gripping. With various groups, I travelled to Shivanasamudra waterfalls, Chikmagalur, The Western Ghats of Karnataka, Sikkim & Darjeeling, etc. to name a few. There were many more short single day trips as well. Rasta Cafe in Mysore Road was one such remarkable trip. Rasta Cafe is known for its all-night service on the highway. Two of my friends and I went for a bike trip at night to the cafe. The long rides through NICE Road was memorable. The night later turned uneventful as I met with a road accident. The accident that turned my life.
From the college times, I wanted to do an MBA degree. Never ever I prepared a bit for it, thought would get lucky somehow. Bad thought. After three failed attempts, after some second sights, I decided to prepare for it before attempting again. Preparation was in full swing until before the eventful day.
It took me somewhat three months to recover from the accident and I could hear distant sounds of my MBA dreams shattering. My future was shady. I could not foretell on any aspect. While the shade looming in my mind, I took a deep breath and made the mind clear. I pressed, let bygones be bygones. Let’s start fresh. I took a pen and a paper and made a bucket list of all the places I wanted to visit in next few years.
This agenda gave me strength. I somehow joined all the shattered pieces of the MBA dreams and started preparations all by myself. I also joined a fun and activity group that my HR manager in the company had started. The preparations for MBA and the events in the fun activity groups were gaining momentum.
Chapter 4: MBA
June, 2014: Little did I know that once a scar is made, it doesn’t heal soon. Preparations shortly went in lethargy and I couldn’t change it. I had to do something different. At this time, I had quite free time in office with its work. The lethargy plagued me entirely and I decided to move on. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to quit. A few weeks later I resigned. I had three months of notice period time and I could use that time to build a proper future. The resignation first went to my HR manager who by then knew me well for being an active member in the group she incepted.
October, 2014: “Meet me now”, she messaged. I had no words to explain why I resigned but somewhere in a corner of my heart, I kept saying to myself that I had reasons. I had to do my MBA this time. I could no longer stay lethargic. I could no longer do this job.
Discussions with her and other managers kept happening in the following days and weeks. If I got that right, neither of my managers nor did I myself wanted me to leave. I wanted to take this risk and explore other options but in any case this step was inevitable. I gave CAT (competitive test for MBA admissions) sometime then and yet again I was hopeless.
My notice period time flew and meanwhile the HR manager and our group kept organising events and I got an offer to move to Kochi where my next job would be. Time was close and I still wasn’t convinced of the idea of moving out of Bengaluru (then the city was renamed). Then came CAT results. Results were decent than I expected and I managed to secure admission to a top college.
January, 2015: I was getting second thoughts about leaving the company at that point and also was doubtful about joining the college that time. I was getting forewarnings of my career if I chose to do MBA then. My parents were retired and there was no source of finance. The dream remained shattered. Despite having options, I withdrew my resignation. I gave myself another chance. I wanted to make things right before moving on.
“Welcome back, Saeed”, messaged my HR manager the next day I withdrew my resignation. I had exceeded the time where I could withdraw my resignation and I started getting emails for exit interview. My reporting manager and HR manager somehow overrode it and helped me stay back.
I believe the decision to stay back was a fair one. I wasn’t earning anything by leaving and sure I would miss Bengaluru if I conceded. I got moved to a different project and I still work here as I write this. When I retrospect my professional life, I see a lot of ups and downs, but hell it has been an exciting one.