Wednesday, 8 October 2008

An Indian Revelation

I am back on the rigs. Discoverer 534. Remember that ‘posh’ rig I was on around June where I had my own room with cable TV and wireless internet access? Yahh.. that’s the one I’m talking about. I was really happy to hear I would be coming back here to work so I packed enough stuff to last 40days on the rig.. hehehe. That’s how much I love this rig. I would rather be here 40days than 2 days in Mumbai.. hehehe. I am also working with another girl and my guy Hash.. Lets call the girl Iti. She and Hash are both Indians and I really enjoy working with these guys. Firstly, Hash and I started with the company round about the same time and Iti must have started about 4mths before us. The ‘seniority’ dates are not that much so we are all still on a learning curve together. This time around Iti and I are both sharing a room.

Back to the gist of this post. I had the most interesting conversation with Iti a few minutes ago. This conversation as well as my meeting with some other Indians in Mumbai whom are professionals and don’t seem to be on a power trip like the people I was working with in my earlier experiences has really started to change my views about this country of peoples as well as the working dynamics.

Since Iti was also in the same position as myself only a couple of months ago, I started to share with her my previous working experiences here in India with engineers who were more senior than me. Especially working with female engineers and the way they seemed to put me down and push me around whenever we were on jobs. Iti explained to me that she also went through similar experiences when she first joined the company and though she was surprised, she didn’t find it as shocking as I did. Granted.. but why did Iti put up with this treatment and why did she not put up a fight like I always seemed to do??

Well, according to Iti, here in India while at university, a preconceived notion exists where students who are more senior believe it is their right to ‘Rag’ the less senior students. It is very common to find this in Indian universities and everyone seems to think this is acceptable. After a year or so, the less junior student becomes accepted by the senior ones but still, there is still that attitude that the less junior individual can be spoken to as they deem fit without any consequences. But why has this carried on to the work place I asked? Iti explained to me that she thinks this attitude is only prevalent within our company as she has friends who work in other companies and everyone else seems to be pretty professional and don’t ill treat new employees or ‘Rag’ them around.

We then went on to discuss why this is very common within our own work place only. The conclusion was that since our job is not very ‘white’ collar, we go around in uniforms(coveralls), share the same room and bathroom with your work mates, we are together mostly 24hrs a day for days on end in the middle of nowhere, then this juvenile attitude starts to creep in. The need for hierarchy starts to creep in Eg. You go on a job. You have a cell manager who is the first hand. This person is usually the most senior and has the most responsibility and experience. You have the second hand. This person also has some work experience and is quite competent. Lastly you have the Third hand. The third had is usually the least senior engineer on the job and is usually still a trainee with very little experience. This is very much like the setting which puts emphasis on seniority and hence, people easily slip into the habit of giving the trainee a tough time. Now, I could understand this explanation from Iti’s point of view as she did take her time to discuss with me these issues but this does not make it right in anyway, shape or from.

I am happy that I am starting to get more experience. I am very confident running a job as a second hand already and I am very happy working with Iti and Hash. These guys are really different from the other experiences which I have had. But then again, I guess the fact that we are much more level in terms of experiences kinds of brings us closer and does not foster any form of big headedness. That said, not everyone in India is out to get me!! I was really impressed with Iti’s way of thinking. She wants to experience working in other places with engineers from different backgrounds, culture and creed. She does not want to remain in India where there is a chance of slipping in and following the general norm. I have a lot of respect for this girl and I am wishing her the best.

So back to me..me.. me..

I am fine. I have been partying allover the place in Mumbai and there are more international staff joining the company. I have a new flat mate. She is French-Italian. My old flat mate, Angel got transferred back to Indonesia so I have been alone in the apartment for sometime now. There was a festival a few days before I came to the rig and true to Indian form; we had a day off work. I took all the newbies for a day out in Mumbai. We went on the very crowded Indian trains and then took a ferry to the Elephanta caves. From there I took them to some nice Deli place. The food was totally awesome!! I have been partying, partying, partying!! I am glad I got sent to the rig. I have been spending too much money on Sunday morning brunches and alcohol in 5 star hotels!! This is why being in town is not good for me at all. I spend too much, drink too much and eat too much. Talk about an idle mind!!

Can you guys imagine I’ve been in Mumbai 1yr already!! OMG!! I cannot believe it myself. I remember stepping off the plane at Chatrapatti Shrivaji International Airport a year ago and feeling scared to the bones. I am definitely not the same girl who stepped off that plane. I have seen things and been to places people only read of and I have felt emotions which people do not wish on their enemies. I have really survived! I am very grateful for this experience and for the chance of meeting people whom will forever leave an impression on me both positively and negatively.

So how do I celebrate my first year anniversary in India? I will go out and gaze into the ocean. Watch the beautiful sun setting into the Bay of Bengal!! I saw it yesterday and it was totally awesome!! This time I will take pictures.

9 comments:

joicee said...

Absolutely loved reading that
Wow..1 year already...stay strong

kwerekwere said...

that is just.. awes. represent. do you mind if i point my sisters to your blog?

Tolantino said...

@ Kwerekwere

For sure.. get them to check it out..

omoteedlaw said...

Hey Ajala!
Yours was the very first blog i ever found, always nice to visit ur spot. can see u r still touring and being a true ajala!
a year in India?! waoh!

pink gloves said...

Darlingggggggggggggggg!
Congrats on the one year. Uhm i wanna come to India oh. April/ May for like a week. Yay.

Crossing fingers hoping u are not on the rig then.

simeone said...

wow..stay strong o..enjoyed ur post..been here a number of times ..dont know if i hav ever left a comment..

aloted said...

congrats dearie...

hmm i guess the only thing u can do at work is to stand up and dare to be different..hopefully u'll influence others coming along.

been long i saw you at my end o...

Chari said...

wow that is truly an experience I must say...and I envy u loads mehn...chai...wish i could be an ajala myself too...

Eng Nemmo said...

Meennnn!!! I love your blog..ah..me sef I dey come India by d end of this month to work oh..readin ur blog has made me less scared(just a bit tho)...I will be workin in Pune...
Was Reading wat u were sayin abt doing making hair and etc..but d diff btw u and I is dat..I no sabi do my hair myself..I wonder how I will cope...
But welldone tho..India seems like a fantastic experience 4u..I pray it will be d same 4me as well oh...