Dear old Finishing School was where we – MKCL software development trainees – got the finishing touches to our technical expertise. We were moulded from freshly baked engineers straight out of college or in some cases, from jilted employees switching from their unsatisfactory previous job, into thorough IT professionals. With a quarter and more in ICC now behind us, I can sense the easterlies that blow around the building breathing down our necks. So much about us has changed that a quick A-Z survey is the need of the hour.
A for “ab toh aadat daal leejeye”: This is what you tell a complaining colleague when they fret about how they aren’t getting time to go out and have fun. In sharp contrast to the combined groans that echoed in FS when a lecture stretched a minute beyond lunch break.
B for “bore ho gayi hu yar”: The fixed one liner issued each time you have an afternoon with no task assigned. Strangely, an assignment less practical lesson was a much sought after treat not many months ago.
C for “chodo na yeh sab”: Long conversations long being out of vogue, this is what you shut up a former friend with when they plague you about how you are being too short with them.
D for “do teen din baad chalte hai na”: You can tell a colleague this when they say they want to go out for a movie and you have no intention of ever turning up.
E for “ek aadh ghante me ho hi jaayega”: Gone are the days when you could complain about an unreasonable submission date and say the assignment could take weeks to complete. Now every unfinished task, no matter how huge, needs to be done within the declared ek-aadh hour.
F for “factory thode hi hai hum?”: You ask yourself this when you keep getting bogged down by task after task and are expected to deliver right on time.
G for “gyan prapti chal rahi thi yar”: Gyan prapti, or Knowledge Transfer in other terms, is what takes up most of your late evenings. Other than the reclusive lot, most TLs ensure you get a piece of their experience cake.
H for “haan sach me” or “haan kya hua?”: If someone rings/pings you, this should be your counter question. The former works for answers you don’t want to give and the latter is best suited for phone conversations. The caller will get a clear picture of just how busy you are.
I for “intezaar bhi karna tha kya?”: A nonchalant face combined with this straight-hit of a dialogue and bingo! You have silenced anyone who expresses displeasure at your leaving them behind. Can be applied for lunches, tea breaks and evenings. Works like a charm.
J for “jaldi me tha yar!”: Accusing faces? Questions about your moodiness? Tell them this and you are done. Its queer how this never came up back in FS. No reason seemed major enough to go home alone or without a random few words with the people you call colleagues.
K for “kya fadak padta hai!”: Someone isn’t talking to you? Something is amiss about a colleague? No matter what the grievance, this is your eternal companion – it even becomes true after a while. You really stop caring.
L for “lo aisa kab kaha maine?”: When you want to deny something and want to save face as well, this helps. Gone are the days when you could say anything and get away with it. Each new day reminds you you aren’t in college anymore.
M for “mujhe toh pata hi tha”: When you are surrounded by geeks, you have to be one too. Or pretend to be one. No matter what the context, pretend to be part of the inside circle. And give demeaning looks to the ones who don’t know the tricks of the trade yet.
N for “nahi aa sakta yar”: Check D for reference. Add on some excuses about room cleanings, shopping and sleeping just to be sure.
O for “one minute please”: This can be stretched to last an hour at full expansion. It works for colleagues who need help or friends who are here to ‘waste your time’. After an hour, they quit asking you at all.
P for “pagal ho gayi ho kya?”: If someone is being too inquisitive or making too many absolutely correct allegations, this is the retort to fire. This way you make it clear they are either being insane or assuming a nearness with you that never existed in the first place.
Q for “questions kitne puchte ho tum!”: Translated this means – Yawn, I am bored. Can you stop talking to me?
R for “raat ho gayi hai yaar…”: Bring this up when someone asks you to stay back in office. Nights just started falling by 7 nowadays. Some celestial splendour this, for earlier they didn’t descend till after 9.
S for “saath me hi toh rehta hu”: You are bound to your desk all day, coding module after module. You turn up on weekends in order to avail compensatory offs later. Forgetting all about the world around you, you can still claim to be normal by the magic potion – “saath me hi toh rehta hu!”
T for “teen dino se handle dhund raha hu”: You can say that out loud to a stunned audience over a rare tea meet. If you feel like it, you can proceed to elaborate the complicated PDF generating tool you built. Surprisingly enough, others will recover and shoot back with their JQuery plugins, validation nuggets, memory leak plumbing and the like. The jest and jokes about being married to work are fossilized back in FS.
U for “upar jaake kya karenge yar”: The ICC cafeteria up there in the terrace had a charm that lasted about a month. Now, even when we overburdened creatures make it up there some odd blue moon, there are morose faces, bored expressions and a general self-sacrificing air to witness. I wonder what elaborate games used to ensue in the terrace earlier…Casual evening conversation seems to be out of vogue as well.
V for “venue bahut dur nahi hai?”: Landladies just got stricter. Days just shrunk. Birthday treats seem formalities meant to be fulfilled somehow, in the nearest restaurant possible. Go, dine, return. And yes, don’t miss out on the compulsory “Thanks. I had fun!”.
W for “wah kya baat hai”: This assumes multiple meanings based on the sincerity of the speaker. But most often this means – so you’re through with your nursery rhyme, can I now please CODE?
X for “eXit, eXtreme,eXhale”: Rather too harsh for us new to the corporate world, but when too troubled, we don’t shy away from using the X words – I am extremely tired of you and need to exhale so can you please exit?
Y for “yeh kya keh rahe ho?”: This is basic lingo and stands for – I am busy. Why don’t you buzz off?
Z for: Well, Zone Out. That’s how I usually react to this new alphabet soup. Somewhere I know, some part of me still wishes for the innocence and simplicity of the days back in FS.