Mistaken Identity

Travelling has always amazed me. I enjoy solace in loneliness. It may sound absurd to many but it is freedom to me, so as I sit at marine drive looking at the sky high buildings stretching from Navy Nagar to Raj Bhawan mingling together with heritage and modernity, sense of knowing Mumbai impulses me. Suddenly all the roads, trees, and even rocks edged at the Marine drive looks familiar, this feeling is contrary to the first visit a few months back when I had to stall Lonavala trip in between and set my journey towards Mumbai for a not so pleasant reason (that’s altogether another story). Everything seemed alien then, from honkers to a passerby, but now a sense of belongingness prevails inside me. Though my stint with Mumbai is going to be short-lived, 10 days to be more precise, I feel this city has owned me. Not because I love paying hefty rent for a 200 square feet room shared by 6 people or have fallen for some local delicacies but because I love the sanity and the eeriness’ masked by the chaos of this city.

Internship period could be relaxing as well as frustrating. When I look into the preferred lobby of HDFC branch filled with many relationship managers, I feel every person sitting there is overqualified. Why on earth one need to take 20+ years of education in order to learn how to register a complaint and solve a query! But then I realise the time crunch which makes the banking job really challenging, there’s hardly any technical skills or expertise required but customer satisfaction being the priority days are gone when banks were nonchalant. Recent development initiated by RBI allowing domestic players to merge with the foreign banks and relaxed entry barriers will definitely make the banking sector more challenging which is already operating in the red ocean. The entrance of giants like DBS, syndicate have already challenged the operating module of ICICI and HDFC Bank which held number 1 and 2 position respectively for long in private sector bank category. In order to appease the customer, managers go way ahead offering lots of lucrative promises which holds significance only on pamphlets, add on to all the hidden and manipulative charges which customers have to bear with in order to avail these services. Thus, Customer grievances become a regular fare and managers working overtime proving the tag of “corporate slave” right.

If you thought sex and wine make people happy, probably you have never seen a manager’s face who have successfully generated and closed the lead. The whole circus is about the two jargon LG (lead generated) and LC (lead closed) which apparently no marketing book talks about but every joker have to play in the ring in order to appease the master (boss) or earn some extra meal (incentive).

One day while taking a toll of the regular industrial estate, “catchment scoping” to make the work look more sophisticated on the same line as sales person referred to as BSO (branch sales officer), I met a sales guy who looked exhausted but offered me the cold drink which after some initial reluctance I obliged. I never thought sharing a drink will make us bond so well and even exchange numbers. He quipped “Aap bhi MBA kar rahe hain!, maine bhi 4 saal pehle kiya tha“, I was left speechless not because I had never heard or read of engineers and MBA graduates being unemployed or taking not so worthy jobs but because it was the first time I was witness to such hardship which I only read in stories. Here is a sales guy with an MBA degree which cost him 8 Lakhs a few years back with a bag selling DSL! As we spoke our heart out on many diversified topics from market to sales, Bihari & Marathi linguistic differences, politics to cricket, time took the beating and we realized it’s already past 5 and he has to report to the office. He regretted not being able to create a single lead today and this may hamper his monthly rating which allows only two months of backlog and then put into the red zone. He bid goodbye and promised to meet again if fortune permits and vanished amidst the lane.

Such instances make you humble and somehow wipe out the difference between white and blue collar jobs. So, if on a pleasant sunny day as you lay on couch drinking your favorite smoothie and hear someone knocking at the door offering a certain product or service, before banging the door on his face exchange a courteous smile and excuse for not being interested or maybe offer a cold water, this won’t cost you any but will surely lift his spirit to work harder and go next door with a cheerful face.

Shivaji Singh | PGDM 2015-17