I reached home and opened my laptop. And as I clicked on the second mail in my inbox, I froze. This was not expected there. This can’t be possible. I expected a mail, an appreciation mail with some good news. Instead I got a mail that said I am fired. There is ought to be some missing link. I re-read the mail carefully.
“Dear Kunal Khanna,
This mail is to inform you about your termination from the Senior Developer role at TechSol Pvt Ltd. You are being removed from your official duties with immediate effect. Your terminal dues will be credited to your account within 15 days. Thanks for serving our organization with full commitment. We wish you all luck for your further career.
M P Joshi
Chief HR Manager,
TechSol Pvt Ltd”
The sender was the HR department and a copy of the mail was marked to my boss, Anuj Sahni. So, what was happening? All my way back to my apartment, I was overjoyed after the meeting in the office two hours ago where the Regional Head confirmed my promotion and my transfer to Unites States. Now a calamity has struck in these two hours. I was shattered. The meeting was so, so good. So what went wrong?
It was not an emergency meeting. The notice about this came back a week back. I was happy. I knew one of the agenda in this meeting will be my performance. And I completely believe I deserved it. I have slogged my ass off for last 6 months since I have joined TechSol in Bangalore.
Coming from a middle class family from Indore, it was a tough job to convince my father to get me admitted into an engineering college. Since when I remember, I always wanted to be an engineer. To make my father sure about my engineering dreams, I studied hard to stand 3rd in the state in my +2 examinations. But jaundice before IIT entrance ruined my chances and I could not score enough to secure an IIT seat and had to be content with government college seat.
After graduating 2 years ago, I have switched 2 jobs and finally stopped at TechSol. My preference for job always depended on one thing- whoever pays more. TechSol was paying me 5 times of what my first company at Pune was paying.
Coming to TechSol, I always liked the place. It had challenges to offer me, to make me a more skilled developer and I knew if I stay here, I can surely have a chance to work at one of their offices abroad in 5 cities in US and Europe.
And this was the day. The Regional Head appraised my performance and recommended me for the unit at Los Angeles which was certain. This was a dream come true. And now, two hours later, I find myself fired. I certainly deserved an explanation.
I ran to Anuj’s office. His secretary asked me to wait in his cabin. Waiting there, I thought whether Anuj did it. Was it possible?
I never talked too much with him. He was a very different kind of boss you will find in MNCs. Never interacted with his subordinates more than what was required. I also had only a formal relationship. Initially, I thought I was doing something wrong. I liked making relations and getting along with Anuj was difficult. But then I came to know that he was kind of reserved. I did not mind it.
In between all this, Anuj entered. He had a bouquet and a gift with him. I think I saw his smile vanishing as soon as I saw him. After exchanging pleasantries, I asked him what I so wanted to ask.
Me- I think you have received the mail.
Anuj- yes. I am very sorry for that.
Me- Can you explain me the reason? To be honest, I am shocked. I never saw it coming.
Anuj- It happens, Kunal.
Me- The reason, Anuj; that is what I am looking for. I can’t find one.
Anuj- Everything does not have a reason, Kunal. You have to move on.
I was angry. I wanted to say a lot but I guess Anuj won’t have answers for it. And who does not know the corporate sector in India? Things here do happen without a reason.
I left without saying anything. As I came out, I met Manish, one guy about whom I can say- the best friend ever.
Manish- well, I did not expect you to see you here after the termination notice. Nice of you to come and congratulate the boss.
I was taken aback. Congratulate- for what?
Me- No, I came here for……wait, why congratulate him? What happened?
Manish- Don’t tell me. He is going to LA next month. He has been promoted.
I almost had a trauma attack. So, that is why I am out of this organization. That is why Anuj had flowers with him. That is why he did not have a reason. I have to confront him.
I banged his door and shouted- so, you are the one. Now, you have to give me a reason for this. And don’t say any bullshit. Give me the REASON.
He did not react much. I think he assumed I will come to know of the news sooner or later. He calmly leaned back into the chair and lit a cigarette. With the same calmness, he answered-
“I said few moments ago Kunal, everything does not have a reason. Move on with life. These setbacks happen.”
Me- I told you give me something that I find reasonable. You have no idea how angry I am. This can be really catastrophic for you.
He- I have nothing else to say. All I can say is that I needed that foreign posting more than you. And I very well understand you have given your all in last 6 months here. So, I am writing the best possible recommendation for you that will surely help you in getting a better job. If you want, I can even talk to some of my contacts in the industry. They would very well accept a hardworking employee like you.
Hardworking employee- my foot. And then they will ditch me at the last moment. I wanted to hit Anuj that moment, something which I have not done in my entire life. Luckily, better sense prevailed and I realized it will do no good. I will only end up getting into legal trouble.
I left TechSol mansion like office. Dejected was a small word for me at the moment. I wanted solitude. And I ended up landing at Drinkers, the bar where I was often found at weekends.
It was not a new place at me. The waiters recognised me well and I was served what I always drank. And I again went through the possible consequences which were buzzing in my head since I first read the mail.
Since moving to Bangalore, I have not had much opportunity to save money. All my salary went into adjusting things in 6 months. With this promotion and transfer, I had planned many a things. Taking my parents to the States, proposing my girl with this offer, bragging to my friends and then settling there- everything was on my agenda. Now, everything looked like a distant dream. Starting again will be tough, if not impossible.
Three beers down and I was starting to feel dizzy. But I had no plans to stop. I lighted my 5th smoke of the night and was disturbed by a familiar voice- Kunal?
I turned around. It was Manish again.
“Go away, Manish. I am in a foul mood and that can come down on you.” I said rudely.
He- don’t worry. Nothing’s going to happen. Let me order a beer too.
His beer came and we said nothing for 10 minutes. Then I broke the silence. Almost in tears.
“tell me Manish, where did I go wrong? I worked with full commitment, gave my all, ignored my leaves, my personal life and this is what I got? Termination on the very day, very moment when everything was in my one hand. You give me any explanation Manish but trust me, I won’t buy it.”
He- I totally get you.
Me- you can’t and you won’t. It has happened with me. You have no idea how much I needed that transferred. It was my dream. He took away my dream.
He- He had to, Kunal. He has swapped your dream with someone’s life.
Me- you better be clear Manish. I can’t handle riddles right now.
He- lf you can listen, I will say.
I listened and what he told me was something I never imagined.
It was right that Anuj took away the job from me but he had a reason behind it, much bigger than my dreams of settling in US. His wife was suffering from pancreatic cancer and doctors in India have advised him strongly to pay a visit to the America for better treatment of his wife. In India she stood no chance of surviving. He tried every avenue so that he can ask the TechSol people to allow him to visit US for the treatment but the company policy did not allowed him. This was one reson why he was all so quiet. The only way out was official transfer and now he can take his wife and get her treated. He always knew that I will be recommended and he knew what he had to do to kick me out. Working here for last 5 years, he had enough contacts to manipulate reports of employees 6 months old.
Manish paid the entire bill and left and I was with all the thoughts. I did not feel bad at all now and came out. The air of Bangalore felt cooler. I tried but can’t find more reasons to be sad on this issue. I have switched jobs before; I can very well do it now.
I decided to take it as one more mistake of the great Indian corporate culture and as Anuj said, decided to MOVE ON.
And made a mental note of logging to job search sites. Living in Bangalore without a job is not easy, after all.