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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

All sites are not heaven

Early morning around 9AM I caught an auto from my hotel. The site was in a remote village around 20km from there. I fought with the automan to get the fare reduced to 150. On the way I could see people, men and women, sitting in the road side fields to shit. There were no toilet facilities in that village where the factory resides. And the roads were hell with half of the way not well maintained. Already I was worried with the food I get in that side of Andhra Pradesh and was getting satisfied by eating Idli/Chapathi 3times a day. Now the travel in these roads(100m forward the auto will fall in 15 gutters) and the sight around was making me vomit the two idlis I ate in the morning. Finally when I reached the factory I was thinking that I should give the automan atleast 250(If it was an automan in Ernakulam, he would have taken atleast 400 for travelling to such a place).

Reaching the gate I told the security that I have to go in for a scheduled work and let them know the name of the contact person. They asked me to wait. Even after 15 mins waiting in the sun there were no signs of letting me in. I enquired about the same and now they are telling that I dont have permission and they didnt get any mail to let in any RAJEEV DANIEL!!! And after calling the contact person there and 45 more minutes of waiting I finally got the permission. But there came the second problem. I had a laptop with me. To carry it in I should go through the Material Gate which is half a km to the East. Walking in that 40 degree temperature was exhausting and getting in was like entry to heaven. I got used to this later because everyday case was the same and waiting 1hr in hot sun became a routine.

No motor vehicles or mobile phones were allowed inside the factory since its a highly inflammable gas plant(Remember gas tanker explosion at karunagappally was due to starting of a police jeep). For making any work related calls to my office I was forced to use an extension available in each floor and access to it was limited by some code to block unauthorised use. I required a factory employee with me everytime when i make a call. For travelling inside factory we should either go by cycle or by walk. And that day I think I cycled around 5km and walked around 3km all over the factory. Even availability of drinking water was scarce, only one place in a building and that too finding which floor and where in that floor it is will be like a treasure hunt game for a new comer there. Adding to that toilets were available only in the Administrative Block. Once when I required, I cycled 1km down to Administrative Block and thanks my bladder didnt blast by the time I found out one.

One day around afternoon when I was busy in debugging the problems I was facing there, an announcement came. Urgent evacuation message from control center. Everybody should evacuate and assemble in the Assembly area. This assembly area was only around 300m from the building where I was. But people were marching to Assembly area even from far away buildings by cycle or by walk. After reaching assembly area again half an hour in sun. Security was questioning all people who were not employees of the factory. They asked some questions to me also. Later came to know that it was a mock drill. Making security fit to handle emergency cases. Bull Shit.

Did I tell all this as an experience? Answer is yes as well as no. Of course that was a good experience to see such a site. But actually my intention was something different. Some of my friends also had site works. But they had it in some office abroad. Nice place to stay. Nice food. Even they will get some money from their company for doing this. But there are some people, I am not telling about me. Even worse cases are there. Like one of my friend. Staying alone in one of a unmanned substation in Orissa to complete his project. The place is remote. No good food/accomodation/recreation. Loneliness carving him there. Always he used to call me from there. Talks with me for so much time. Every time the talk ends like "When I can come back from here??". Salaam for people like these working away their lives in such places.


  1. I have never been to any sites but whenever i thought about going to sites, as u said even i had an imagination as there will be nice place to stay, nice food, work and lots of fun (and for everything company will be paying :)). Not only me but most of the engineers if you ask about going to abroad then the first thing come in there mind is touching Eiffel Tower, taking photos by standing beside Statue Of Liberty, roaming around Golden Gate Bridge and ofcourse about saving lots of money :). But after reading your blog my thought has totally changed and now i know that there are people like you who dont only think about the fun you get over there but also keep in mind that you going mainly for your work and try to find fun in many other things like exposure to the new places of the country, people, culture, environment and exposure to the real work other than only coding which we daily do sitting in office and most of the time we dont even know where it will be actually used, and many more things.
    Salaam to you my friend :).

  2. You understood me perfectly Sujata. Salam to u also :)

  3. the people who goes for site will understand really the problems facing at site...Anyway i dint have such experience(which u had) till now which all sites i had visted. But we had quarrel in the site with the staff.. anyway what all problems faced, will not come into as positive response from management. since they will give less hike ..............


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