Thursday, August 11, 2011

My First Job, Cappuccino and S.U.E.S!

Sultan-Ul-Uloom Education Society (logo)

8th August 2011 - I got my Relieving Order from the Society Office stating 'Miss Asra Ghouse is hereby relieved from her duty at her own request.' And I miss the Campus already. From my one and only school in India, to my bachelor's and recently to my first job- Sultan-Ul-Uloom Education Society (S.U.E.S) has given me all. Having spent 11 of my 13 years in India at S.U.E.S, perhaps it has become my most visited place here.

This is a difficult post for me to blog. It's the first time I'm using Google Chrome. It's quite a washed browser... Anyway... That included, this is a huge personal aspect of my life. I don't know why I'm bringing it out to blog by the way. So, considering all difficulties, I was stuck on the title (as usual! I mean how I'll name my kids, beats me). Finally settled on a clichéd one - My First Job!

Thinking back, I'd never seen S.U.E.S as a prospective employer for myself. What would I be doing at an Educational Institution anyway? I can't teach. Neither am I interested in managerial posts. Naah! Just not my thing. How wrong was I? Being interested in the Production Industry, I became aware of the technical aspects of manufacture. It was then that I decided to pursue a technical job. 3rd November 2010, saw me taking my Lab Technician - Pharmaceutics dept. post at Sultan-Ul-Uloom College of Pharmacy. Ta-da!!!

My first job turned out pretty cool despite my apprehensions about it. Barring the first week where I came face-to-face with dirty office politics and annoying stereotyped behavior towards a fresher employee, it all came to rest when I conducted my first technical assignment. Something related to Dew Point and Humidity Charts if I’m not wrong. And when the first salary came, well to put it simply- YAYYY! I can't show myself off in my lab, as I've grown too old to click pics. I haven't clicked one in a long time. However, I can show my lab.

Pharmaceutics Lab II

Despite having a tight schedule of conducting nine labs in 6 days, my first semester was pretty enjoyable. The procurement of chemicals, preparing the solutions, granules, tablets, etc, the rush of students, the sudden inspections by AICTE, JNTU, PCI , making the lab presentable and displaying it like a doll in a showcase, the international delegates – I saw to it with wonder and amusement. Back in my student life, lab meant only to perform an experiment and leave the lab as soon as possible. In some cases, we’d just scribble our attendance/ have it scribbled by a friend to rush off for some fun. How soon does the perspective change? The most important thing this job taught me was professional responsibility.

Machine Room (inside)
The first few months did funny things to my ears. I’d hear my juniors refer to me as ma’am. That’s acceptable I guess, for I was a staff member now. But to hear it from someone who until then was MY sir/ma’am was the most bizarre thing ever. Eventually I came to realize that I no longer was a student there, and not to be referred, as ma’am was wrong. It gave me a sense of pride in my job. (I SO want to laugh at this) Yes, my first job has given me a lot to carry with. One of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever done during my job was during the end of the first month. I’d demanded that my name must not be included in the EPF plan. Not aware of the rules, I’d made a fine fool of myself, not just in the Pharmacy block but also in the Society block. I couldn’t see the logic of everyone having to be a part of it compulsorily. I mean, they cut a part of your salary for crying out loud and they want you to be a part of it. They must’ve seen me as a reckless little stupid girl who doesn’t understand its importance. How they must have laughed at the Treasurer’s Office when I’d left, I can only imagine.

Undoubtedly, the best memory of my job has to be the one during the Examination Period. Tensed faces, tempers high made me both nostalgic and amused. Amused because in a few hours everyone will realize they were tensed for nothing and nostalgic for obvious reasons. The prime reason for why I settle on this memory as the best is: I gave the students what we couldn’t get during our student life – Air to breathe during the exams. And for that I’m happy to have been there.

‘Thank you Asra. You made my exam easy.” – Asim*
“I’m glad you were there during my exam, Asra.” – Naila*
“Thanks babe!” – An anonymous note on my desk the day after

 These and many other thank you notes reached my Facebook inbox after the exams were over. What did I do after that? I smiled.

My job required me to be present at the campus at 10:00 am, do the stuff and leave by 3:30 pm. It was after this time that I discovered another love. Cappuccino! Spending few hours at Rhapsody, playing UNO and sipping a steaming cup of coffee (cappuccino usually), it made my day beautiful with whatever it contained for me. The aroma of coffee filled me with peace. It was here that I learned of another aspect of professional life: Importance of coffee!

More than missing the job, I’d probably miss the campus. The captivating ambiance created by the beautiful gardens and the vast canopies of leaves of the huge bougainvilleas and gulmohars made it an abode of pleasantness all around.

My childhood saw me running about in these grounds, playing dodge-ball and badminton. As I reached my graduation days, the same grounds saw me sitting in the gardens, chatting with friends or reading a novel under a tree shade. Soon the grounds were to be enjoyed by just looking at them. While I worked, I couldn't roam about in the gardens. I could still enjoy its beauty by seating myself in the name of drinking coffee in the canteen.

Behind Pharmacology Lab (2008)
It is only obvious to say that I can't thank the Sultan-Ul-Uloom Education Society enough for providing me the opportunities to perform and excel and for supporting me always, in any way possible, for the betterment of the future. And before I forget... A huge thanks to all the students (in particular Batches 2007-11, 2008-12 and 2009-13) for making my job fun! 8th August might have seen my last day as a Lab Technician at SUCP, however, it is not the end of my rendezvous with the campus. I'll be back!

As a friend of mine put it once,
"We can make a movie based on your life at S.U.E.S!"
Go ahead, I say! Signing out now... Until laters...

~ Asra Ghouse

*names changed on request