[There are some people – who on departing, leave their near-and-dear ones filling buckets and buckets of tears ! And then, there are others – the mere news of whose departures spark off such wild, fervent, celebrations that Woodstock, in comparison may be mistaken to be a low-key funeral !!! ]
When Shankar aka Passhan decided to go back to his roots in Bangalore, it had come as quite an unexpected shock ! For this was the guy, who in the past 1.5 years here in Bristol, UK; had been a pivotal part of our onsite team. Sort of like a 1-man army, he had steered many of our most complex and demanding projects through, and had even forged a Fevicol- bond with the clients ! It was hard to imagine how we could go on without him here. A huge void would be inevitably created ………To think of it, our onsite team minus Passhan would be more like a ‘Masala dosa’ without the masala !!!
Anywayz, somethings in life (or at work) just have to happen and Passhan had his own personal reasons for going back! However, why he intended to keep this such a closely-guarded secret initially, was something that I couldn’t quite comprehend. Apparently, I had got the information that he was leaving, officially from the Managers back in India, and just when I had spread the news to about 96.7 % of the world and was contemplating on how to effectively reach the remaining 3.3 %, did Passhan actually send me a message on Google Chat informing me that he wanted to keep it a secret !!! [ Yeah, such are the pathetic social effects of technology on our breed ………that 2 idiots, sitting back-to-back in the same cubicle in a software firm, have to resort to (of all things…) online chat to communicate with each other !]
Neverthless, to extend Shankar a good farewell and to show him how we really felt, our team decided to throw a send-off party at a nearby pub on the last day of his stay in UK ! Our Brit clients were invited too, and thus, on the 12th of Jan, Hari, Roopa, Shankar, Srivatsa, Ravi, Bharat and me left office a little early and met up with them at the ‘Black Sheep’ pub here at Bradley Stoke ! No one dared miss the chance of a lifetime …..after all, its not everyday that you get to pour down a few pints of ale on-the-house and send the Passhan packing home !!!
The beer was super-AWESOME …..It had been ages since I had tasted some great draught beer, and Carlsberg did truly live up to its name ! With the pressures of work (……. and all inhibitions) quickly fading away, we found ourselves indulged in the usual ragging and pulling-legs that go with any party, but for once, Mr.Passhan had no choice but to be the bakra !
One thing I must shamelessly confess at this juncture, however embarrassing as it might sound, is that in my 3 months here in England, that was the first time I had visited a local pub !!! Yeah, I had cut down heavily on booze after arriving here …….and whatever few pints of beer I’ve had, had always been indoors with friends! For some reason, I had never really felt the craving…….or rather, I had never really been myself !
Except for our table, the ambience at the pub was surprisingly mellow and peaceful…..quite contrary to the pubs back home in Bangalore – where you couldn’t expect anything but dark, crowded, smoke-filled rooms blaring out deafening music ! Here in England, pubs are quite literally (not just geographically) miles apart ! In fact, this is where pubs originated and these are the true pubs – with its unique homely set-up and an ambience where in, you can actually have a conversation with your mates ! After all, pubs [short for ‘Public houses’], historically had started out as modest watering holes set-up in country inns, serving travellers ale – straight out of the barrels ! Interestingly, most of the pubs here in England are centuries old, and still maintain the same kinda interiors and environment that possibly, Tony Blair’s great-great-great-great grandfather-in-law would have enjoyed at his bachelor’s party (assuming he had got married ) !!!
‘BlackSheep’ though, was no ancient pub…but there are a lot many right here in Bristol itself, that are centuries old …..in fact, the board outside the pub right next to the Bus Station in the city centre, claims that it was established sometime during the 17th century !!!
The evening was great fun and I had never seen everybody so cheerful and happy ever before ! Perhaps, it had something to do with the fact that Passhan was finally going back, never to return……….. and the bright future that it would leave us with ! 🙂 In fact, when we asked our clients on what good words (if any) they had to say about Shankar, one of them immediately responded, “He’s going back !”
[ Reminds me of the scene from “Ace Venture: When nature calls”, where the otherwise calm and composed Budhist monks, burst into unprecedented celebrations when Ace finally decides to leave their monastry! ]
[Shankar flanked by our clients at the BlackSheep pub ! Really had to say who looks happiest at the prospect ! ]
There was a major party scheduled at #3, Woodlands Court – Shankar’s home, that night…..but I couldn’t make it as I was off to London to meet Ganesh and a couple of his friends who had come down from Trivandrum.
Jokes apart, Shankar’s departure is sure to be a major blow…..Not only would this mean that his pending tasks and responsibilities would get dumped on Roopa and myself, but would also imply that we’ll lose a very important onsite resource- a technically sound one at that, and who cooks some great sambhar as well!
Last year, at around the very same time back in Bangalore, Shankar had handed over to me a project that he was involved in and fled to UK, leaving me out in the cold – unarmed and unprepared …….to what turned out to be some of the roughest and worst times of my fledgeling software career ! Even to this day, the thought of that project gives me nightmares …… waking me up in the middle of the nights, sweating and screaming out loud !
And now, sort of in the very same fashion, Shankar is fleeing the UK and going back to India, leaving me with the custody of one of his seemingly complex projects 😦
Well ……this is one history I really wudn’t fancy being repeated ! The only difference this time around is that, our roles are reversed ……he is the offshore guy and I am the one on the greener side ! Hardly matters at all, I’ve recently come to learn …..’cos when u’re screwed – u’re screwed ! Doesn’t matter whether you are in Bangalore or Bristol !
Its gonna be tough or near impossible to fit into his shoes [….not ‘cos they’re too small!’, as he – well known for his quick wit, had once remarked; but for the simple fact that some things in life just cannot be replaced ! ]
Wonder what he has to say to this, now !