From mid May 2003 till the 2nd of January 2004, I worked for a company called AspinWall, located at the very end of Fort Kochi near the ferry. It was about an hour & a half bus ride away from my then home of Thrikkakara. AspinWall, while mostly an export/import company (they have a big tourism section too), also wanted to get into different other ventures and in the wake of the call center boom of the early 2000’s, setup a small 50 seater call center in a new section constructed in their office land. I was one of their employees & joined up to trying to sell credit cards, cell phones & long distant phone connections to Americans & Britishers.
It was a small setup like I said; just 50 seats so a maximum of 100 employees could take calls in two shifts. When I initially joined up we were about 50 or so along with 2 supervisors and about 3 sales verification officers plus the tech guys. The only shift started at 10 pm Indian Standard Time and ended at 7 am in the morning the next day. So I would leave my house at around 7:30 pm and go to the pickup point at Palarivattom (about 20 minutes away). There I would board a mini-bus provided by the company and then the bus would go pick up various other employees along the way. We would reach the office by 9:15-9:30pm and chat around until it was time for us to login and call prospective customers. This shift meant that I left the office a little after 7:15 am and reached home about 8:15-8:30 am. I would always take a public bus instead of the company mini-bus as it would always wait till my colleagues finished eating the breakfast provided by the company and that took time. I preferred to reach home and have breakfast and so I would take a public bus.
I would always sleep off in the bus and always wake up at two points – this never failed to amaze me! Everyday that I did that 10pm-7am shift and took a public bus I would fall asleep in my seat and always wake up twice; once at Palarivattom, then sleep off again and wake up 3 stops before I had to get off. I worked in this shift for about 2 months and after they hired about another 50 more boys & girls and we moved to two shifts – a 7pm till 3:30 am shift and a 1:30 till 9am shift. I always did the first shift for the next 5 months that I worked there, as I preferred it and I loved riding in the bus in the night. So we would quit our shift at 3:30 am and then drink coffee/tea and board the company provided mini-buses that would drop us off at our homes. Due to the distance, I was almost always the last person to get dropped off, which would be around 4:30 am. My parents would open the door at around 4:30 am and either one or both would wait for me to come in.
My dog Shawny, who passed away in 2005, would also lie awake and await my arrival at that odd time of the early morning. I remember my parents saying that many times they opened the door earlier than usual and my dog would be waiting at the door. My parents would sit and watch tv in the living room and Shawny would be sitting near the door waiting patiently. Every time they did this, they would note that my dog would ignore ever other sound but at the faintest sound of the engine, as the mini-bus would turn the corner to the street on which I lived, Shawny would get up and make her way slowly to the gate. As the bus stopped at my gate, I would get down, open the gate slowly and get in, my dog would be there to greet me with a friendly lick & with her tail wagging. I would pet her for a few minutes and only then get into the house. This happened every time I did that shift.
This post started out as a comment on the late evening shifts that I used to do but it ended up being a tribute to the loyalty of my late dog. It never ceased to amaze my parents at the amount of affection & devotion an animal could have for their son. Ofcourse I always knew that Shawny was pretty special & adored her. It was even more eye-opening for my mom as she hated dogs unlike my dad, sister & I.
Every human’s life is rich, magical, amazing & filled with heart warming stories. You just have to be open & be accepting of the experiences and be glad that you had the particular ones that you were lucky to have.