My first day at work I reached the office by 10:18 am and I found myself knocking on the door. I was then let in by one of the office assistants (or peons as they are referred to in India) who were certainly not expecting someone this early. Office hours are 10:30 am to 7 pm, which is going to take some getting used to – believe it or not I preferred the 8:30 am to 5:30 pm hours better. At around 10:40 am a fellow designer walked in, looked at me strangely and then asked me if I was the new guy – I said yes, she then called the director up and I was then briefed on the project and asked to wait.
The first hour was spent cleaning my desk, twiddling my thumbs, brief introductions and then at 11:30 am I was introduced to the designer I will be working with on my first project. Once settled she came over and briefed me on the status of the project in exactly 35 seconds. I was informed that the following week we have a design presentation to our clients in Calcutta, following which we were out on our way to a reprographics and printing place to get some visuals colour corrected before printing which are going to be crucial for our presentation. I was impressed by the set up at this place – they had rows of men sitting behind Macs working diligently colour correcting images for Femina, Elle and many other publications. The only thing peculiar here was that besides the receptionist there were no women working at this place.
On my second day I reached the site at Tardeo at 10:25 am as I was to accompany a coworker to her site to observe an active site in Bombay. The project site – a 5BHK located on the 39th floor of the Imperial Towers at Tardeo. Shapoorji Pallonji & Co Ltd./SD Corporation’s twin towers designed by Hafeez Contractor, stand sixty-stories tall and are one of the tallest residential towers in the country. The security is tight here and the building complex is guarded like a fortress. The base of the building was buzzing with activity and I observed the clamour and stream of workers as they made their way through, clients were waiting for their architects/interior designer and real estate developers.
When my coworker arrived I jumped into her cab and we climbed the ramp up to the entry level. We took an
elevator to the 5th floor lobby level and then another dedicated elevator to the 39th floor. The hallway was dead silent, we rang the bell and soon we were engulfed by the chaos and commotion that ensued. The site is nearing completion and is in it’s finishing stages. The electrician and automation personnel were performing tests, painters were readying walls, carpenters were installing casework’s and door panels. I made my way past the workers towards the deck to a hazy view of the city below and the Arabian sea beyond. The second day definitely began on an exciting note.
In the afternoon I reviewed plans and tried working on a section to make sense of the architecture for the Calcutta project. Also got some time with the director to get some understanding of who the client was and their needs. The day ended on a high note as in the evening I headed across town to Colaba to meet up with Amishi, Amrita and Emily. I was running late as I was caught in the rush hour traffic. Since Emily was visiting from Boston we decided to go to Cafe Mondegar (Mondy’s) a popular hangout for both Bombayites and tourists. The walls are covered in cartoons painted by a Goan artist and a jukebox that sits in the corner has a selection of jazz, rock, pop and Hindi songs. At Mondy’s we drank pitchers of Kingfisher. Emily and I wished that there was a dance floor close by. A group of college students or may be high school students were singing along to a Bryan Adam’s song that blared from the jukebox. Many dull looking men had their eyes on Emily that evening at Mondy’s. After about three pitchers of beer or so we headed over to Bademiya.
Bademiya’s, an open air street-side vendor that has been serving kebabs and rolls to satisfy the late night hunger pangs for the past seventy years. This place opens at six in the evening and is open till the wee hours of the morning catering to hungry bar hoppers that flock here after bars close to grab a bite before heading home. We called for their butter chicken rolls(wraps) that were as the name suggests buttery and delectable.
The remainder of the week was spent working on drawings and preparing for the presentation which now has been postponed and is yet to be rescheduled. The week ended at work in a meeting with a luxury bathroom designer products and accessories vendor who introduced me to some opulent and some well designed products – that ranged from 55k to 8 Lac rupees.
My first week at work was busier than I expected and I certainly was not prepared after my six-month vacation. However it was an action-packed week and I cannot wait to make a splash.