Monday, 17 September 2007

Wipro... aka starting work at 4am !

So... its a few hours after landing in Chennai and Wipro have contacted me to say my driver is on his way....

8:30am on the dot a man in a white chauffeur's outfit introduces himself and off we go.

His name is "Anbu", he speaks pretty much no English... all I do know is he is mine for the 2 weeks !, if I want to go out at night he takes me and picks me up, if I want to go to the next town at the weekend he will take me .... when I work all day HE WAITS FOR ME IN THE CAR PARK... freaky or what... the guy has a family... he could go home and be with them rather than waiting for me... we always agree pick up and drop off times ....


We pull up at the main gate of Wipro, security check my name, check my laptop, make sure I have no camera equipment (no pictures in the Wipro office).... and through I go to be greeted by two of the Wipro Managers who look after the Pru.

The Complex is large and new / modern, it holds 3,500 staff. (Next door an even bigger Wipro building is being built... when it opens it will hold an extra 5,000 staff !).

Im in "block 1" (Not sure how many there are) if you look down on it imagine a tri-angle shape, in the middle is some lawn and a large water feature with fountains.

The tri-angle is 5 stories high, each side has offices assigned to 2 companies... that makes 2 x 3 = 6 x 5 = 30 International companies in block 1.

The Pru is on the 1st floor... as I walk to the entrance there is a big red sign out side:




Arf !...

I step into the cool office (Prudential take note... it's cooler here in Chennai than in Reading !) I have my own desk with a name plate all made up .... the Manager "shoo's" one chap off his chair and gives it to me !.

On the desk is a selection of cold drinks, Indian mini cakes and a pack of polo mints....

At 11am a "tea boy" comes and offers me (and only me) tea or coffee ... he does the same at 4pm .... I keep asking for white coffee and keep getting served lemon tea ! (the same tea boy also provides me with new cold drinks, cakes and Polo's every morning... I need one of these back in Reading !).

I look up the lunchtime menu ... 12 Rupees for lunch ... that's about 7p ... I think I can stretch that far... but no !... I get taken to an "international restaurant" (each day 3 new people from the team come with me.... turns out this is a real treat for them).

The international restaurant is free, a number of waiters greet and seat you and serve the soup of the day, after which you get presented with a big help yourself buffet of different foods followed by desert.

The people im with pile their plates high and always go for seconds ... I can only guess the food in the normal canteen tastes rubbish !.

My biggest gripe is that the last two days, half way through my meal, a gobby American woman comes in with her team... you know the type... shrill high pitched voice, rolling her R's "hiiiiiiii how Arrrrrrrrre you, like you know, what everrrrrrrrrr" ... she didnt half spout some guff from that big mouth.

I took the mick about it with the people I was with on Friday... today I get taken to a SECOND international restaurant to be away from her! ... which got me to ask how many there are... apparently there are three... its now my main mission to eat in all three !.

Its dead odd working in Chennai as my Virtual connection shows GMT and so does my Lotus Notes calendar... I have to keep remembering to add on 4.5 hours to everything.

Ive got into the habit of catching up with yesterday afternoons emails first thing the next day.

To wrap up...

Working hours are 8:30am to 6pm.
Nearly all the staff get shipped in by coach ... 3,500 staff = lots of coaches all turning up at 8:20am... hence I turn up just before they do ! (I also leave by 5:40pm to miss the rush the other way).
The meeting rooms on the 1st floor are named after planets ... twice I have been in Uranus and twice I have failed to get the Wipro guys to get the joke (... I promise that's true !).
The floors are highly polished marble ... my leather shoes slip everywhere.

On a completely different note I now have my appetite back for food in the evening ... I must be getting used to all the oil they cook with... that's a bad sign for my waist line !.

Wishing you all a happy "150 years of the WeiƟwurst"


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