Friday, June 27, 2008

Googled! :) :)

The utopic vacation has ended. But the memories remain afresh in the mind, vying against each other to take prominence. So it was about time I got my nostalgic butt off the floors of Google and documented the whole thing while it stays in the forefront. So here begins the journey of a twenty year old teenager from her very pink room to the colourful office of Google and back to that very pink room.

The Beginning: The flight to Hyderabad: An absolutely normal flight journey with no hijacking/turbulence/lost luggage/lost interns made up the beginning of the journey. We landed in the very glassy airport and I was so awestruck by the enormous glass marvel that I almost forgot to gloat over the cabbie standing near the arrivals holding a sign with my name and the Google logo! I was wondering if he would give me that sheet, but he took one look at my luggage and gave me a huge frown so I politely changed my mind.

Week one was characterized by training and acquainting ourselves with the office. We felt at home the moment we got our IDs. That gave us the freedom and access to every nook and corner of the office! And the fact that most of us photographed really well for the ID made us show them off all the more! We gelled really well and would stay up chatting beyond midnight from the very first day. Before we knew it, the weekend arrived and we decided to go to Salarjung Museum. We walked very confidently into the office to take cabs but were greeted by an empty basement instead. So our brilliant alternative came in the form of 127K, our equivalent of Cinderella’s Chariot for the rest of the internship. We got off at the last stop and took a share auto till the museum. 12 of us were piled into the same auto…which is probably slightly bigger than a normal auto! We were literally falling out when we got caught by the cops as well! A while and a bribe later we reached the museum, just by paying 7 bucks per person! By far the cheapest and most adventurous mode of transport!
The museum was magnificent. The veiled Rebecca is still imprinted in my mind..the delicate carving and attention paid to detailing the statues transports one to another world altogether. The only thing that interested me in museums were the overpriced canteens and Mughal exhibits. But this museum captivated my attention for most rooms, right from the renaissance art to glassware and watch works. Our return trip was courtesy the Knight-in-not-so-shining-armour bus, 127 K.

Sunday brought with it a plethora of possibilities. A whole new city was waiting to be explored and we had 5 more weeks to do it. We decided to go where most tourists go in Hyderabad. Not Char Minar, but Snow World! This exceedingly popular place is actually filled with artificial snow and has people queuing up just to pelt each other with snow! We were pretty skeptical to begin with and walked in rather delicately after adorning ghastly and oversized coats, boots and gloves. We were blinded by the whiteness of everything and suddenly became little kids by pelting snow at each other! We had snow wars, danced in the snow, played basketball and finally went on a sleigh-go-round in the snow! We then formed a huge train and went all around the area hooting! Once we were literally thrown out, we warmed ourselves with the most welcoming cup of coffee. Once out, we realized it was 9 and we were starving. So we began the trek to Eat street, on the banks of Hussain sagar lake. Once we were done with satisfying our bottomless pits, it was 11! The task of finding autos for 25 of us at that time was quite an interesting experience. But we finally reached home, late and exhausted, to begin a week of work.

Week 2 was characterized by work and only work. The weekend was welcomed like a gust of the cool breeze that suddenly envelops you in Hyderabad. We lazed around most of the Saturday, deciding to finally use the pool. We tried playing a rather funny game of catching and tossing a cricket ball by sitting on the edge of the pool.
We then showered and after a gulping of lunch, we went to Shilparamam, this heritage place very close to the guest house. It was quite nice, actually. Although there isn’t much for a large gang like ours to do there, except maybe shop. But we were one enthusiastic bunch with 3 cameras so we made the most of the picturesque surroundings and turned models for the most hilarious snaps! Before we knew it, the sun had set and lights were switched on for a concert where the lady was wailing for dear life. After mocking her for quite a while, we decided it would be polite to walk out instead of being unceremoniously thrown out for disturbing the aura of fine music!

The Sunday was more promising than the Saturday. We decided to cover more of Hyderabad that day. Sure enough, we set off quite early (which would be 11, by the IST – Intern Standard Time) to go to Birla Mandir. We just made it as the doors were closing. we were rewarded with a final glimpse of god and blistered feet after walking on heated marble at noon! even glasses of ganna juice that we downed after this scorching pilgrimage didn’t help! We lunched at Sukha Sagara (only for the air conditioning though!) and set off to Char Minar. Char Minar was….a huge disappointment. The hype around it, the beautiful pictures shown on television and newspapers had us painting a beautiful picture of it. Char Minar, standalone, is quite breathtaking. But you hold your breath in disgust when you see people messily eating right inside it and littering it. We went around it and then walked right into Chudi Bazaar. We were greeted by the most gorgeous colours and shimmery sparkly bangles all around us. After over two hours of shopping, we finally left the place to get back home. We dined at this nice Rajasthani dhaba, a stone’s throw away from Home. We hit the bed right after reaching home to wake up to another week filled with exciting events.

Week 3 went off in a tizzy of work, projects, meetings and sessions with the various Googlers. So before we knew it, the weekend descended very benevolently on us. We spent most of Saturday morning sleeping. Late afternoon we decided to go to Golconda Fort. Complying by our usual IST, we actually made to the fort by 4. There we began the trek upwards, stopping for a dozen pictures at every nook and corner! The view from the top was breathtaking! The atmosphere seemed so serene despite the crowds thronging there. For a split second (or perhaps longer), I forgot the existence of everything else and just took in that splendid view. But we were jerked out of our reverie as we had to get back early to catch the IPL semifinals (The Chennai crowd was the majority amongst us). So we ditched the sound and light show and went back by autos and bus. After a hurried dinner at the Rajasthani dhaba, we went just in time to see the Chennai Superkings win the match. Since they were in the finals, the program for the next day was already decided. Sitting at home and watching the match.

So Sunday began on an extremely lazy note. It was pool time again so we went down to play that tennis ball game, along with tossing a coin to let the guys find it. The game was going on rather peacefully until the guys decided it would be a hilarious joke to dive in right beside us and shower us with chlorinated water. Joke was on us until we got hold of their clothes and tossed them just as precisely as they tossed themselves in! Aah, the cry of horror at seeing their clothes flying in the air towards the pool was one of the most melodious sounds I have heard!! :D Morning soon gave way to noon and we ate a late lunch and lazed around until we decided to get into the spirit of cricket earlier than the match. We got hold of a bat and a ball and played cricket at the basement. The most hilarious game of cricket since half of us didn’t know how to hold the bat and the other half didn’t know how to bowl! We somehow managed to collect a few runs apiece and decided to just go out for a walk after the game. After the walk, we returned for the match. The match seemed tailor-made for us! It had a lot of excitement and suspense until the last ball. Despite the unfortunate loss, we proudly wore the Chennai Yellow on the next working day! :)

Week 4 was a long weekend because of the Hyderabad bundh. Friday was spent in the office playing foosball and TT. Saturday was a little more productive as we went to Paradise (Hyderabad’s answer to Biryani). It is a building filled with Biryani! For us veggies, the options are only limited Veg biryani, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of teasing those who turned carnivorous! After several impromptu renditions of Happy Birthday Abhiskeks (in the eternal hope that the Paradise people may give us cake) and a slo-oo-oow lunch, we were literally and not so politely escorted outside! After this we decided to spread a little more of our intern sunshine and joy in Hyderabad and went to Lumbini Park for the laser show. Half of us decided to walk the 5 km distance ( 2 kms of which is around the Hussain Sagar lake). It was the most refreshing walk that burnt calories and the guilt of pigging out too much at the office! After reaching the venue, we scoffed at the more delicate ones who chose not to walk. But we didn’t push it because they had the tickets to the show! After another round of photography, we went in and watched the show. The laser show was quite spectacular and the musical fountain was well timed and choreographed (if that’s what it is called). We came out of the show singing one of the songs played there. It became our anthem henceforth and we would burst into the song every now and then to break the long pauses at office, outside or at home.

Our song went like this: Old Citeeeeee………old citeeeee (echo)
New Citeeeee………new citeeee (echo)
Great Citeeee……….great citeee (echo)
I love you Hyderaabaaaaaad!!!!!!

The mozarts within us awakened and we gladly performed a rendition of the song to everyone who asked us how our weekend was!

The Sunday morning was spent in debating whether or not to go to Ramoji Film City. We decided against it as it was already a late start to the day. We went instead to Sarkaar Raj, the movie. 3 hours later, we emerged with Govinda Govinda resonating in our heads! The movie was nice, but the whole experience of having watched it with such a huge crowd was nicer. The rest of the Sunday was spent playing the same games at office and we decided to see what our terrace looks like. The sight was a marvel! Not only did it drizzle lightly, we got the fortune to see two rainbows! We were awestruck by the sight and spent most of the evening at the terrace clicking a million pictures of the rainbow and us with the rainbows.

Week 5 was payback time. To compensate for our Friday holiday, we had to work on the following Saturday! :( So the entire day was lost in work. The Sunday however, was our last Sunday at Hyd. So we decided to spend it in a place called Secret Lake (a small unknown lake tucked away in the interiors of Hi tech city). We went trekking there, boating (both motor boating and peddle boating) and played the most hilarious game of Chain Chain! We kept giggling and breaking the chain and falling on the ground. It was the best possible way of spending a Sunday! We ended the day with dinner at this really nice place called Ginger Court.

Week 6 descended upon us with an air of melancholy as it was our last week. We had a desi day. Went out to watch Sex and the City, late night show. Went shopping. And finally made it to the Friday which was mostly spent in trying to mentally capture every moment of the stay. Saturday came as fast as the 127 K bus and we indulged in good byes and group hugs and tears of both joy (at having met such special people) and sorrow (of having to leave them all).

The internship lasted six weeks. While we were living those six weeks, the days went past slowly and we savoured every moment. But when I look back on it now, it all seems to have gone past before I could say ‘Google’! All of us are back home, back into the usual routines of college, assignments and other activities. But those six weeks were like a dream come true for everyone. I’ve made some great friends in the trip. I’ve done the craziest things, played the craziest games and worked like crazy as well. Although I am extremely Google-sick right now and don’t want to wake up into reality, I also want to create more memories with these marvelous people. I hope that we stay in touch and continue to be as close as we became in such a short duration. Cheers to Google, Hyderabad, and the most wonderful set of people I have come across! :)