As a part of the course, internships/ apprenticeships were compulsory for us. My classes started at 2.00 p.m and it continued till 8.00 p.m, six days a week. We had two classes everyday – a set of two classes stretching for three grueling hours.
I thoroughly enjoyed a few classes – especially the ones in Creative taken by Mr Sujit Sanyal, we never looked in our watches no matter even if the class stretched beyond 8.00 p.m. But that was not the case always, our craving for bunking classes were at its highest when we had our Market Research or Statistics classes. And it was simple to do that. Our classrooms were on the ground floor and the windows had no iron grills or railings whatsoever. So what we did was when we had a stats class at the 5.00p.m-8.00p.m slot, we’d attend the first half i.e. from 5.00 p.m to 6.30 p.m – after which we had a ten minutes break to freshen up. In this ten minutes we did stash our bags out off the windows, go out and before anyone could get a hold of a thing or two we were as free as birds!
Our mornings were kept free for our apprenticeships.
I remember my first assignment. Someone form the Indian Express Group came over to brief us about the Company and explained us what we were required to do. The publication had some sets of tabloids (the Business publication division) which were not on the stands for sale but one had to subscribe those – example there was one called Express Computers, then there was one for Hotels, one on beverages so on and so forth. So our job was to get subscriptions for these tabloids.
We were handed a kit with a bunch of papers – a track sheet to keep a list of people visited, daily sales record, daily traveling expenses and a pack of visiting cards with the Indian Express logo where we had to write our names ourselves in the “Represented by…………………….” space.
I was elated. My first job, so what it was just part time termed as “Apprenticeship”. When I called home and told my people they couldn’t believe their ears. Just two months in Delhi and I have a job with such a renowned publication…
So every morning I would take out the map and read the Connaught Place carefully and then make my visits – one day it was the Barakhamba Road, the next day it was Kasturba Gandhi Marg and the next was Janpath - it was here in Janpath that for a moment I lost my interest towards my job and the lines of shop – be it clothes, accessories and all the jing bang which lured me! And I decided that the next Sunday that was on its way would be spent exploring the beauty of Janpath – of the shops, of gorging on the road side veggie burgers and cold coffees and yes indulging on those aromatic essential oils and perfumes…
The Indian Express work continued till our classes ended for the Diwali break. I got ready to come home after five rigorous months of living on my own.
It was the last day before our Diwali break, when our Dean surprised us by handing us chocolate boxes when we all anticipated she would give us our 1st term mark sheets as well as a dressing down! The icing on the cake was when we all received our pays, a cheque of HSBC bank – the sum was nominal – it was around 2800/- but its worth was more than the figures it reflected.
It was after all my first pay cheque!