In times like these whom do you turn to but friends who’d understand and empathize with you? Sitaram and Karthik were right there for me, and I for them. Regrettably, I was first to make an exit out of Segorsoft after having just put in a year of service. Unfortunately, I had no other option, I had to move on. Perhaps, I could’ve stayed back and clocked a couple more years, at least for the sake of my beloved colleagues-turned-friends Sitaram and Karthik and yet they, I knew, would never have approved of such a thing. May be, one must do what one thinks is best but as for my decision to go it was damn hard to take.
On the contrary, they’d entreat me to move on if there’s a better opportunity available for me elsewhere. Decisions taken based on emotional attachment could go wrong; they’d simply say that to put some confidence in me. Besides, just another look at that good-for-nothing scumbag of a project leader called TP Cheddi would have anybody scampering off the job place for good!
The day when I had resigned Sitaram was visibly hurt and upset even. Surely we would miss writing software codes day in and day out on the same computer we worked on huddled together. Now those days are all going to be over.
Delphi and Visual Basic software tools became a part of our daily staple on which we lived and persevered throughout our tenure at Segorsoft. What’s more, it was actually Delphi that we enjoyed using more than VB and was more compatible with InterBase – a back-end database handler. VB was good enough, but Delphi took our breath away. There was something special about it that we never could do away with entirely. Both Sitaram and I eventually had to learn Visual Basic on the job and the fact that it was mostly similar to our favourite tool Delphi in its usage we automatically became experts in just over a month. Therefore in that sense it was hardly a big deal.
Our Mutual Friends
Sitaram looked as if he was wounded and displeased at the same time when I first told him about the new job prospect that was coming up and was seriously thinking about it. I knew he and Karthik would vehemently disapprove of my looking out for a new job. Because it was tantamount to no less than a ‘betrayal’ when someone from your friends group is actually trying to get out, I did not have the necessary courage to be cheesy and tell the very people who mattered to me the most during my one year spell at the company up front of the new job prospect that I was considering.
The point of the matter is that a year at Segorsoft had been enough especially for three of us guys to make pledges of friendship to last a life time, and beyond so to speak. So why should there at all be any question of breaking away from the bond we shared at the workplace? Bonding with them was the most profound part of my life in Segorsoft (other than that it was work though, for obvious reasons). Work anyway had to be done but at Segorsoft its share of space and time always came after our precious friendship. Having said that, it really doesn’t mean that work had to go through some kind of delay or it suffered due to the profound solidarity of our friendship.
After I came away and joined the now-defunct Satyam Computer Services and completed about a year there, I got a phone call from the charming Sitaram saying that Karthik too gave up his job at the Segorsoft to join a software company dealing in online learning and software development concerning e-commerce and stuff. Just then I knew that in all probability he too was harbouring dreams of his own to make it to the US. I was mighty pleased for Karthik knowing that he had finally left Segorsoft for good even as a couple of other colleagues of his too had begun giving prior notices one after the other. This is not to undermine Segorsoft as a software development company, what with all its extant learning opportunities and project work it could provide us, but let the truth be told: what it did not however offer us young guns was a learning ambience and cheerful project leaders, who would pilot the team and channelize its latent energies into becoming competent professionals. That was not at all hard to expect from individuals in charge there. Apart from that fact all else was going good for this upstart software development company.
Yet, my heart ached for Sitaram: one of the rising stars on the IT firmament, who, once upon a time, had decidedly taken his own sweet time before he thought it fit to call it quits from Segorsoft.
Sitaram, a Kumar Sanu look-alike, was ostensibly looking for the bigger picture! He wanted out surely, but US of A was also his ‘ultimate ransom’ he had an eagle-eye out for to be able to seize his chance. Good for him. In the late 1990s, that was every budding software engineer’s dream destination. I too had dreamed of going to the US and so did the adorable Karthik Krishna, an Adrian Brody look-alike. It was a big-time necessity for us young software engineers to be able to fetch the ‘hindering’ H1-B visa stamped on our passports and then, as they used to say, “Push off to the US” for good.
Some youngsters went to the US on account of parental pressure or some kind of societal show-off exercise, or even the kind you get to see most often – making hay while the sun shines! Of course, like always, there were exceptions; at least Sitaram and Karthik come from the group of associates who think of ‘professional sustenance’ rather than bide time to push off to the US while it still is possible for them to do so. I can vouch for the fact they were not the types who would bask in the reflected glory of others or believe in easy pickings. Like the people who believed in themselves, they too worked hard just like a conscientious person who prefer taking no ‘short cuts’ but learn it the hard way to attain his goals.
Such “Pushing off to the US” kind of people who wrote software codes is no surprise really if you ask me because in those days it was perfectly normal to dream to go there, it is okay even now. But it came so out of the blue from Sitaram Boinapally that I and Karthik Krishna had to take a bow and gladly give an echoing round of applause for him. Sitaram was not known for harbouring such what he called ‘colourful ambitions’ but he did after all and we realized that, eventually, to our much relief. At the end of the day, he did exactly what he thought was capable of. He had earned his jackpot after he got married and left for the US and never returned. And that’s another story for another day.
Thankfully all those years of life’s centrifugal forces and the push and pull of one’s own personal ambition towards achieving career fulfillment – as today Arindam is enabling himself to see, loud and clear – have been summarized into one big synopsis, unedited yet manageable for posterity’s sake. That probably sounds self-importantly sky-scraping in its feel, if you’d know what I mean. But still, of what Arindam got in the milieu of his own life’s bargain is not what he always sought to have as he had later found out to his utter amazement the reason of his not making it to where every software engineer worth his salt went.
The ‘software engineer’ tag that had fastened a proverbial noose around his neck during his heydays and that which, as a matter of fact, was supposed to be a big-ticket to IT glory, was never easy for him to have it plucked out or gotten rid of just like that. Never mind the sticker of ‘consolation prize’ he thought he would never really come to such a pass to deserve, and the prize stuck, overpoweringly or naturally, to his long professional work history like a parasitical leech that never let go.
At least Sitaram Boinapally is doing fine and constantly winning his life’s battles in the US of A, but alas! Karthik, our sweet little adorable Karthik is no more. Karthik departed this life; he came back to India not as someone so full of life and verve but as someone who spoke not a word or two… He said he would come back and then we all would celebrate his coming. A good year and half passed by and there was no sign of him, even an occasional email or two from him had stopped completely, and it kept me wondering why the emails I sent out were never replied. What’s taking Karthik so long to reply?
Just like last time when he made news by quitting Segorsoft, it was Sitaram who happen to visit my Satyam office to share news about his ‘American’ whereabouts. He was an ever-alert buddy. This time too it was Sitaram again who gave me Karthik’s whereabouts albeit in the form of sad news of his sudden death in a car crash in the US in the year 1999/2000.
End of Part 1.