Excerpts from my Diary called “Diary from the Hills”

9/11/2010- Roadway from Guwahati to Itanagar via Tejpur

This is the first page of my Brand New PwC daily planner and I am utilising it in my very own way. The journey by car from Guwahati to Itanagar is a long long way…it‟s about 8 hrs. The roads a nice and the sort of greenery by the road are so soothing and fresh too. This is a big project as far as we people are concerned as it‟s the first chance to start from the scratch. Now since the last 1 hr or so we were discussing just about the client and his approach towards stuff. I guess this is the time, when Arnabda is busy) talking to his “beloved” wifey and the XIMB-Ian Akash is taking a nap, when i can at least write a few lines about the roadway to this very important project (as my seniors were like expressing :P). Let me first write something about the client, who’s the focal point of our attention in this entire series of action-ables. We always had this sorta uncanny feeling about the guy, like how will it go, how to face someone of such a stature, how to interact with him etc. Though there is an underlying sense of admiration for this guy and a bit of nerves well. Right from the Guwahati airport, we are sort of discussing about this guy, who happened to be the IAS topper of this time, and now being posted at Itanagar as the Secretary to the Governor. We are excited at the prospect of meeting a person of such a calibre, irrespective of the fact that I am a fresher, a fresh Graduate from a leading university of Bengal and my colleague, Akash is a fresher in this field too. Both us are very young and it‟s (I guess) an opportunity of a lifetime to report to this man and consult him regularly or in other words- To have him as our client. We are accompanied by Arnabda our project manager, who, to our greatest advantage, has some experience in the N-E zone as well as the measure of our client. We came to know that this brilliant person had an amazingly strong personality, a determined nature, a very critical and clinical approach towards work and most importantly his trait of appreciating any new approach. Now enough of crap about this super duper brilliant guy. I guess we can deal with him later! …Now let‟s have a glance at what‟s outside..!!! Well as i said, the roads a wonderful and what lies beyond them is even more appealing to me. Clusters of huts could be seen across the greenery with the villagers engrossed in their daily stuff. The mountains lying beyond… looked even better in the background, it‟s a bit foggy today, and even at 1.30pm, the peaks aren’t visible clearly!!…Some mystery in them eh?? Well we are here for a year or so, so we’ll excavate that soon i guess! ;). There was a panic earlier that a mass murder incident had occurred near Tejpur yesterday leading to road blocks, yet we didn’t find anything as such. Man!! A group of YUCKK buffaloes near the car…Arnabda in the mean time has finished chatting with his wife. Signing off for now. Oh btw the last part of the journey is along the hills…am excited!!!

16/11/2010- Sitting idly in my hotel room @Itanagar

Well we‟d reached Itanagar at about 9 at night on the 9th, thoroughly exhausted after the 8 hours‟ journey via car. The remaining few days in between were spent in planning for the project and in turn forming the necessary implementation models, as desired by the client himself.

What‟s significant in this respect is – How Itanagar is slowly absorbing us in the main stream; a very peaceful, picturesque city (as expected) with frequent weather-changes (as NOT expected). The ubiquitous mood swings of the weather, the continuous hide-and-seek among the mountains and the cloud cover, the simultaneous change in visibility through the window panes, the long shadows extending across the courtyard, the morning prayers which could be heard from a nearby school, the pine trees and their gentle sway, the characteristic smell as we walk down the markets, the different taste of the pastries from the local Best bakery, the fluctuating mobile network connection, the quotidian levels of power cuts, the known-yet-not-really-known local accent, the very small number of items on the restaurant‟s menu card, the continuous phases of scarcity of water, the not so developed roads in many parts of the state or the countless liquor shops that we‟ve seen around- marks the assessment of the place from a CONSULTANT‟s point of view 😀 !!

As it was like advised, we don’t go out in the evening too often, though as far as I have perceived, it‟s quite a safe and absolutely fine to roam about freely. The weather is such a darling. To be honest, a perfectly charming and romantic place, yet we are here primarily because of some afflicting sorta work. Err…. dats not at all desirable. We walk along the hilly road towards the raj bhawan, every morning, instead of taking a transport. Primarily 2 reasons behind it – 1.SAVE MONEY and claim it from the office later: P / 2.Thora exercise bhi ho jata hay yaar, jo yaahan par nahi hota 😀 !!!…But the road leading us to the destination is amazing and so are the surroundings. I love the walk, which is at times a bit tiring, yet something drives us to do it.

Regarding our client- man!!! He is something!!! What‟s really impressive is that, the guy always appreciates a new approach and to be honest, his knowledge level is a few hundred times better than us. Every report we construct, every proposal we make and in short every step we take- he analyses them carefully and rejects most of the stuff that we have put into (he thinks that they are irrelevant 😛 ). His smirk, his sharp eyes beneath the shiny glasses, his coherence, and a bit gargantuan in physique marks the outer side of the IAS topper.

Work and window-looking are the major engagements in this slow-moving city, with a few deadlines up ahead, the current being the formation of state-committees by tonight. Ciao!!

17/1/2011- Feeing Sleepy

Yeah…So, I am writing after a long time. Last Friday, we guided a local officer to a remote office at Chimpu Valley, so you can well comprehend that we people possess such a wonderful ability to adjust to the toughest of conditions, the inconsistency of weather, the „horrible-st‟ of food and the weirdest of people with their amazing tongue-twister like accent. All eyes on the first phase of our project which might lead us to arguably, the coldest part of the country called Tawang. It might have been a great idea to have taken a chopper from Guwahati to the snow-capped mountains, but the recent heli-disaster of the Indian Army may just come in the way of the aspiration of such unique experience. Meanwhile, there‟s been an interesting addition to our E-governance team in form of Manas, who‟s never short of words or expression. Furthermore, our interaction with a Bengali Officer at the Planning department is worth a go in this blog. A single event should be enough in this direction. On the first day of our interaction, the guy says “Can I get a job in PwC?!”…LMAO!! He even forced us to call his son, back in Kolkata, just to make us listen to his Caller Tune. Amazing Grace!!

Well what we are learning from this project is how to purposefully delay or hasten a process, how to address people by the false recognition termed as “Sir” and how to say a tactical NO rather than a comprehensive YES.

The weather here, ummm, very unpredictable, just like a kid, its mood fluctuates in seconds. It rained quite a bit yesterday while today was very windy and cold ,considering the fact that 2 days ago, we had returned the set of blankets to the reception . I was just trying to figure out the almost-invisible range of mountains through the window, when it suddenly grew so dark that it seemed like the Sun was confused with the sense of A.M. and P.M. Anyway, in a cliché, life here is very dull and not at all happening. We need some spice and maybe the trip to Tawang is the ideal choice now. Let‟s see…!! Signing off for today…

Tursday, February 3, 2011 Kolkata Chapter 1/3/2011

I have started adoring Kolkata more than anything since the past 7 days or so and it‟s nice to be back here, to the long-known-busy-city of my dreams. Responsibilities and the management of work seem be slowly settling into a groove. This is quite an experience to deal with a bunch of people, who will quote prices for one particular job, trying to bypass the one beside, in their work-plan. A strategic approach has been adopted; else the frequent interaction with the “competitors” might be taken as a bias.

This is the first time in my life, where we are requesting someone to ask questions to whom we need to find a response: D. Just to quote a bidder “Boss, We don‟t have a query…is that okay?!” It‟s sometimes disheartening as well when you get to know that someone is not interested to get on with the proceedings. Then comes:- the marketing strategies.
Anyway, not going into the details, 2 very important dates in this huge sequence of events have incidentally landed on the Valentine‟s Day and mera Janamdin: P respectively. Amazing… Is this my first birthday outside Kolkata. Feels very different indeed. Feels quite maladroit!! Yet Job hay bhai Job!!

My colleague has been unavailable since the last couple of days which is the clear indication that he is planning to “give in” and is looking forward towards a (un) happy settled life: P . Less than a week to hell… And he is enjoying every part of it. Go Matey Go: P

Aggravation, 17/3/2011

Bam!! And we are back to the grind and this time, it’s interaction with the greedy people called bidders, who can do anything to achieve the contract. i mean literally :-P. We have been very particular to remain in the safe side each and every-time we were asked something pertaining to the project. In the mean while out luck hasn’t been helping us a great deal since our other team member, pertaining to another project, has been escalated recently and we have had a lot of work load to deal with. The weather is so very strange. It rain almost every day at 11.30 at night. Might be that it‟s a favourite “Pee-ing” time and thus accessing internet or telephone connectivity becomes quite problematic.

We have been looking for a permanent residing place for a long long time now, but the people out here seems to be running out of intent. The availability of accommodation is genuinely troublesome and the scarcity of water adds to this. The Government People have been supporting us from day 1, yet this problem is persisting.

Let‟s see what’s in store!!

Sammya Brata Mullick

Images by Sammya Brata Mullick