TCS Split Wide Open - Part I
This post is about TCS - Tata Consultancy Services and my experiences with the company.
Before I elaborate on life at TCS - I would like tell you all (I still seriously doubt how many people would actually be reading this!!) that I worked in TCS for less than a month, so you may be right when you think that I have no right to talk about my association with TCS considering the very little amount of time I spent in TCS - but still, I feel sharing my experiences with you all would surely help you. And before you also begin to wonder why I left TCS - it's nothing personal - I quit TCS because I am going for higher studies. For most of you (I really don't know how many!), TCS must be the first company on campus and most of you had to stick to TCS coz your college did not allow multiple placements. Sometimes, I feel India is not a democracy yet!! And folks I belong to the same category - first company TCS and no multiple placements.
It was nothing less than a shock that I got when I got an email from TCS on May 5, 2006 - I was asked to report for the ILP on May 25 at Trivandrum. It was at a time when none of my friends, nor me were expecting it - I was actually looking forward to a long vacation till September - but all dreams were shattered. We had no idea about the documents that were required, no availability in direct trains from Visakhapatnam to Trivandrum - in fact, we were not at all prepared to go for the ILP. One of my friends got his posting at Bhubaneshwar and my other two friends got it at Trivandrum - both of them backed out - one got it postponed and the other was going for his MS. That left ME alone. After a hectic last minute packing, I was off to Trivandrum on 22nd May - in a journey that would not allow me to sleep because I had to change two more trains.
The journey to Trivandrum could only be worse if not worst. I missed my second train - waited for four hours in the morning from 2 to 6 in the railway station. I reached Chennai on 23rd and had to wait in the railway station for another 4 hours for my next train to Trivandrum. Travelling on long train journeys - that too alone, with no one to give you company - sometimes makes you go mad and it was madness that I endured until the morning of 24th May, when I woke up in the train to look at the beauty of God's own country - Kerala. It was raining heavily and being a first timer to Kerala - I fell in love with the greenery and blue back waters at first sight. It was so serene and peaceful and for the first time since I started to Trivandrum - I felt happy to be coming to TCS.
Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum was quite unlike many cities that I have been to. People in this place don't mind rains - even if it rains throughout the year. 100% literacy rate in Kerala means that everyone knows how to read and write Malayalam - and all of them can put in their signature. The autorickshaws charge for both to and fro - if you travel from A to B, then you need to pay double the amount given on the meter, so if you want to come back from B to A - you need not pay anything more. The buses have no numbers and everything everywhere is written only in Malayalam. Everyone in Trivadrum knew about Technopark - that's where TCS is situated, and I later realized that Technopark is the only place famous in Trivandrum apart from the beaches. I was asked to report at the TCS Executive Hostel which is about 18 km from the railway station - and when I reached Kenton Leisure (that's the actual name of the executive hostel), the place was teeming with people. I was alloted Room No. 318 (I don't know why I'm goinf into the tiniest of details!!) and my room mate was Sridhar - he was from GCT, Coimbatore - but in an hour I had to change my room because Sridhar's friend Mohanbabu from GCT wanted to be in room 318 - so I had to move into 319. And my room mate was missing - I could only find his baggage in the room - he had apparently gone out. Now, one small clarification - you cannot change rooms at will in the hostel - it so happened that myself, Sridhar and Mohanbabu were in the same batch.
TCS Executive Hostel has around 150 rooms - each room is furnished with 2 beds, 2 study tables, a cupboard for 2 people, a dressing table, 1 plug point for mobile phone charging and an attached bathroom - believe me, the accomodation can't get better than this. The hostel has two outdoor shuttle courts, a gym (not many facilities in the gym though), a recreation room with a TV, carrom board and Table Tennis table, a common TV for each floor and a restaurant that can seat around 200 people at a time. Each floor gets three newspapers - The Hindu, The Indian Express and ET. There is also a browsing center which charges Rs. 25 for an hour of browsing (half the computers don't work most of the time though), a small utility shop for buying things like from pencils to badminton racquets, two STD booths and a laundry service (called Al-Khobar Laundry service; charges are exorbitant - Rs. 13/- for a pair of shirt and trousers - washing and pressing). The only bad thing about the hostel is the restaurant - the food served is not great - and the fact that the hostel is located in a village and there are few places to go to around the hostel - you do have a number of small restaurants outside the hostel at walkable distance - recommended ones are Hotel Chennai and Veg World.
The hostel rent is Rs. 110 per day, so you need to pay Rs. 3300 every month from your HRA. Technopark is about 1 km from the executive hostel and TCS is about 2 km from the hostel. Technopark also has other companies like US Technologies, IBS and many unheard ones. Technopark has other things too - it has a hospital called Ojus, a State Bank of India branch, a SBI ATM, a small departmental store, a place for junk food, a courier office, a dress showroom, an internet browsing center - these are the things that I can remember.
Day 1 at Trivandrum went on well, slept a lot to gain on all the sleep i had lost. The next day - May 25, 2006 was my first day at TCS - we were provided with vans and buses to reach TCS - the transport cost is Rs. 17 per day (to and fro) - which is to be paid at the end of the month from your Vehicle Allowance.
First day at work - in part II..........