Azaadi (Freedom)

Naukris and Chokris

More personal rambling

In March 2000, a cocky young Punjabi man studying Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania was lying on the grass on a hillock on the Swarthmore campus in South Philadelphia. He was lying down, with his eyes closed, on a beautiful sunny spring day, waiting for the suburban train to arrive. There were only two words going through his head at the time, and they were – I’m Happy.


The gorgeous Trinidadian woman of Indian descent, with that cool singsong accent, had reciprocated his feelings for her, the previous day.

And that day, he had just cleared the final round of interviews for an internship with They were offering him what in hindsight looks like a humble amount of money, but at the time was the largest amount of money he had ever seen against his name!
How do you think this interview has gone so far? he was asked, mid-way through the second round. His response: So far so good, I think. I made it into the second round, didn’t I?

In other words, he’d got a naukri and a chokri

He went on to work for, but hated his life in Seattle. Seattle, while a beautiful, beautiful city, can be very, very lonely. The young engineer still remembers those days of solitary confinement with some trepidation. Eventually, the loneliness led to misery, and the engineer’s work suffered. Add to this, some damn fools decided to ram airplanes into buildings on the other side of the country. All of this meant that after the Engineer’s OPT ran out, he would not be able to get an H1-B work visa. So he was laid off, and made his way back to India, no longer the cocky young engineer of March 2000.

In other words, no naukri, no chokri.
(Er.. the Trinidadian woman had disappeared a long time ago).

So returning to India in 2002, the young man remained unemployed for bit, but did not ever lose hope, because in the back of his mind he knew he’d get out of it somehow somewhere, sometime. He went to the gym and wrote common e-mails to his friends, showing pictures of the “New India” complete with angry rants (a pre-cursor to the Voice From A 2.5-World Country days). Then one day he got a call from HCL Technologies, they wanted to interview him. He went for the interview, and they turned him down. Then they called him back, and interviewed him again, and this time, he was accepted as a Stipend Trainee.

A Stipend Trainee?? After working for! Well you see the thing is, in India, only 6 months of work-ex, even at the #1/#2 online retailer in the world isn’t really valued…Plus this engineer spoke with a strong accent (not quite American, not quite British, but definitely not Indian), and everything he said wasn’t really comprehensible. Further, they were afraid that, coming from America, he wouldn’t fit in, and probably expected a Mercedes(Benz) to ferry him between work and home.

Why did he say ’sweet’ of products and not ’soot’ of products? And what’s up with the letter Double-Yoo? Everybody knows it’s Dubloo.

But still, one of the managers had faith in him and decided to try him out. So began a new chapter, in a new company for the young engineer.

One day at the end of 2002, he went with his sister to a book launch – some Old White Dude had released some Kama Sutra-related book. Here he met a tall thin dark Jain woman, with her English boyfriend. He blanked out the English boyfriend, and concentrated on the woman. This must have had some mystical effect, because the English boyfriend went off to Costa Rica the next day, and thus began a ridiculously long (and ridiculously painful) relationship with the Jain woman.

So in effect, he’d got a naukri and a chokri

Three years, and one “Star Performer” award later, we move to 2005. The not-so-young engineer has stagnated in his job, and his relationship. The woman’s long gone, and almost forgotten too, with a little more time. The job? Well, he quit yesterday. Two months of being unemployed before another chapter begins, in a business school on the other side of the equator. Where you celebrate Christmas on the beach, and Shrimp-on-the-barbie has nothing to do with sea creatures on dolls. -)

No naukri, no chokri!

The cycle keeps spinning…

*Naukri, Chokri = Job, Woman in Hindi


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