Kris went straight to Alex Samuel’s cabin. Alex was the HR chief. There was no mention in the HR policy of the company to bear such costs, Alex said after referring to the policy. It was a pity. As it is, the trainee himself would have to bear the cost. If Kris was bearing it, so be it. If there were other sympathetic persons like him, let them all share the cost, so that one single person may not have to shoulder the entire burden. When Kris asked Alex whether he, Kris, might meet Rajat Tripathy, the Vice President, Alex gave him the go-ahead. Approaching a superior authority required the immediate lower authority’s consent. That was a procedural requirement.
“What did Alex say?” Rajat wanted to know. When Kris explained Alex’s view, Rajat too expressed helplessness. The proposed expense would not fall under the purview of the existing authorizations granted by the Company Board. Payments cannot be made without the authorization by the Board.
“Rajat, do you mind if I meet the President on this?”
“Why should I? You go ahead and meet him. But don’t think he will be able to help you in this matter.”
One cannot burst into the President’s cabin at one’s own sweet will. Kiran, the President’s secretary, asked him to fill up a form. Kris wrote ‘Death of a trainee’s Mother’ on it in bold letters. The words caught Kiran’s attention and she gave the form to the President then and there. The next minute, Kris was ushered in.
Manish Mathur, the President, was a gentle person in his early fiftys. He listened to Kris and asked Kiran to arrange a conference call, over the IP phone, with Murthy, the Finance Department General Manager, and Senapathy, the Chief Peoples Officer.
The discussion took a few minutes.
The unanimous decision that finally emerged was that the company offered its condolence to the unfortunate trainee and his family for their irreparable loss, and showed its solidarity with him in this hour of dire need by ensuring, at its own responsibility and expense, irrespective of the size of the expense, that the trainee reached his home in Kolkata today itself, in time to light the funeral pyre of his late mother.
At the end of it all, the president stood up, came around his table, shook hands with Kris and said that the efforts he, Kris, had made in the matter were appreciable and hoped that, with people like him around, the company would continue to be the favorite destination of workmen.
After Pratik’s cab left, Kris went and peeped into the Induction Hall. Arindam Roy was in excellent spirits. The trainees were laughing without any inhibition. Arindam had a unique way of getting people open up and turn more interactive. It is essential that everyone talks freely and with warmth. Talking is going to be their job. Everyone here lived by talking. Though it sounded simple and even silly, calls were evaluated regularly, and very few persons managed to score one hundred percent in consecutive months. Moods affected one’s talk. The right mood often eluded most. FirstGlobal always tried hard to keep people in the right mood while handling customers.
The next session is to be taken by Rajeswari, manager, HR. It has to be concluded by 12:45 or at the latest, 1 PM. The trainees will then have lunch. Today being the day of induction, their lunch will be hosted by the company. Administration Department, arranges the lunch. There were one or two things he should bring to the attention of both Rajeswari and Admin’s Prabhakar. He went to the Administration wing and met Rajeswari first.
“I’m ready. Are you?” Rajeswari was as aggressive as usual.
“Arindam isn’t done yet. Manoj will signal you in time. I came to discuss something else. Are you free?”
“How many hours will you need?”
“Just two minutes.”
“You should stop soon after 12:45 but in any case before 1. Can you manage it?” Last time, she had taken nearly an hour more.
“I won’t last even that long. I am already hungry. I’ll get lunch, won’t I?” Dealing with Rajeswari had always been easy.
“Let’s hope Prabhakar has ordered it. I’m meeting him right away.” There was one more thing. ”Hope you remember what I said about the topic of leave.”
In the HR presentation, she would explain to the trainees all the leave rules. While on training, the leave accrues; but trainees are often discouraged to avail themselves of leave during the training period. Even a single day’s absence during training will reduce the chances of passing the examinations which frequently happen in the middle of the training and at the end of it. Eighty percent marks is the minimum requirement. Those who score less will have to leave the company. The company may have paid the consultants a hefty sum for each person recruited through them. If a trainee fails, the money spent on him will be a waste. FirstGlobal does not want to waste money.
“Of course, I remember.” Rajeswari assured. ”’No leave during training’, I will tell them. Don’t worry. ’The HR rules will take effect once they hit the floor’. Satisfied?”
“Very much. Thanks.”
Prabhakar said the lunch was ready. Kris insisted that they both go and personally inspect the arrangements. “Was the lunch very bad?” would be the first question the trainees will be asked in the post-lunch session. The question encouraged issues to come up. It was rare, though.
The lunch was ready. Everything has been properly arranged on tables. Soon after 12:45, people will start coming in for lunch. Every vessel was opened to let Prabhakar and Kris to have a good look at its contents. All the food items looked good. Everyone will enjoy it, for sure.
There was a minor issue, though.
The leader of the servers, had been intently watching Kris; he guessed Kris had something on his mind, and enquired, “Sir…?”
“Everything looks good. You have clearly displayed the boards ‘Vegetarian’ and ‘Non-Vegetarian’. It is helpful, certainly. Only one minor change is needed. You see, the non-veg items are on the same table as the veg, though at its one end. Of course, there is some safe gap between the non-veg and the veg. So that they may not mix. Still, I will be more comfortable if the non-veg items are on a separate table rather than on the same table. Because, some vegetarians will not like it if they see non-veg on the same table as veg. Could you arrange it?”
(The story continues to the next part)
The story and its characters are all purely imaginary.
‘Kolkata’ used to be known as ‘Calcutta’ a long time ago.
Likewise, the old name of ‘Bengaluru’ was ‘Bangalore’.
In the story, ‘FirstGlobal’, the imaginary BPO, is situated at Bengaluru.
Kolkata is about 2000 kilometers (1250 miles) away from Bengaluru.
One US Dollar is roughly 45 Indian Rupees. At this rate, Rs.7000 is equivalent to US$156.
In the story, “Kris” can be the short for ‘Krishnan’, a common name in South India.