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Working for Airbus, Bangalore : Some sweet and bitter memories
Thank God, I have some work today in office. Perhaps I should thank a dear friend of mine who asked me to give an opinion on my internship in Airbus, Bangalore and here I am writing a blog and using my time in the right thing. It seems some days have passed since I have been dozing off, day dreaming, reading news or a novel in my phone. Days changed into weeks and weeks have turned into months and the day which begins at 9 in the morning ends more insignificantly at 6 in the evening. I have devised certain ways (which I feel cannot be caught although these people are far too clever and yet ignoring) to escape the kind of work I have been assigned here. Perhaps I should start from the beginning rather than rambling here like the way I am doing in my final report!
These times on overstretched weekends I ponder over the days of the last semester. It was a time when majority of my class was looking for an internship due to their belief that it would help them paint their CVs beautifully and would land them up in a good job. Internship was important to everybody, perhaps the most important. I was not exceptional. Everybody was rushing with the semester rushing to its end. A dozen students or sometimes half a dozen were called up by a company every week or so, leaving others wondering why weren’t they called? Out of those dozens some got lucky and the rest got more impatient. As companies came and went selecting some and leaving others, it was the end of dejection and desperation for the selected ones and the beginning for those who were left behind. I believe there was not a feeling of jealousy but there was a doom in the closet. If not the whole ghost, at least catch his frock! (A poor translation of a famous Hindi idiom: Bhaagte bhoot ki langot hi sahi!). Well this was my case. When my name came in the list called by Airbus I was beyond happy, who would not be? Airbus is a world renowned company. I was so full of bliss that I ignored my doubts of what will they make me do? I am a Statistician and they manufacture aircrafts. But as it is said, you see what you want to see. A huge company like this would need Statistics. Indeed it was confirmed when I got the call from their office. I was in the midst of the end Semester exams, but who will miss an interview? We talked for around 20 minutes and some statistical terms were spitted out and exchanged. All was wonderful and intelligent. Within a week I got selected. My entire burden evaporated and everything looked green around.
So here I was standing with my fellow interns from IITB, looking for a cab at Bangalore International Airport. The good thing about this internship was that the tickets were sent by the company and some better things were waiting. Within an hour or so we reached to the hotel in which we were supposed to stay for the next two weeks again provided by the company. Airbus is so cool, I thought. The moment I entered into the well-furnished royal deluxe (and whatever terms you can add) room all exclusive for me, I was delighted. Those two weeks I didn’t come out of my room at all except for the office. I felt pampered. By the second week our hunt for a paying guest accommodation began. Only then we got to know the true colours of the city or may be of every big city! The Supply meets Demand, but here the demand was exploited and abused. We encountered PGs in which people were cramped like goats and chickens. If there was a scope they were renting the kitchens and the bathrooms as well. We can put a fan for you, they said. The rents diminished our stipend exponentially. But by good luck we got a nice PG at a price relatively moderate. Nevertheless the fat grumpy landlady and her brother in law were a source of trouble initially till we learnt how to deal with them. The city was teaching us. The food which was promised as complimentary was eatable; we had to eat to survive as good food was a big hole in the pocket. Other than the idli-dosa nothing could satisfy my appetite. Idli-dosa was the consolation prize which could be afforded at a cheap price here. With all due respect north is the opposite of south literally as well as culturally. I bet bananas could never disappoint, one could find ample of them in groceries too! I remember once while getting a haircut I requested a barber to be careful citing him of an accident I had in a saloon in Mumbai and how furious he got. Aisa Mumbai mein hota hai, Saab ye Bangalore hai! His words and pride silenced me lest he could have sliced me well.
I felt the huge city was made in such a way that every place had to be far from every other, with such entangled roads which were always clogged with traffic. The bus service was good but not cheap and the good weather kept our tempers down when the auto-wallas asked for exorbitant fares. A bit of advice I will like to share is never travel here at night alone, the percentage of hindi-english speaking population decreases as it gets darker and pray never to bump into an auto whose driver knows none, neither Hindi nor English. Despite of all, many people would like this place. There is a mall at every corner and at least one pub in every mall, so I guess it compensates for all the pain for majority. However I found the city intellectually hollow. There are wonderful places for sightseeing around the city but the city itself has not much to offer.
Lastly, comes this office where I am sitting right now and day dreaming. From the very first day this company has been good to me, it has given the best exposure for the corporate world. The people around are so helpful and down to earth. It has not been many years since Airbus came to Bangalore and yet it has hundreds of engineers from all IITs working for it. The work environment is really healthy with no pressure of completing targets. You got to work here for 8 hours and forget everything once you leave the place in the evening. There is a lunch hour too when you can go out anywhere! In short it was not very difficult to blend in the office despite of the corporate environment it had. Well things were good for the first few weeks. My mentor gave me a problem and I made an algorithm in R with the help of MySql to extract data in different fashions. Sometimes it was difficult sometimes easy. Handling huge datasets gave some confidence. I believed that my mentor is making me do things which he never had time to try to get something interesting. I was hoping that with coming time there would be some more Statistics oriented work and in this hope I kept making programs in R which added to my skills. Many programs were written and data extracted, data quality examined but nothing was colourful. With time I was stuck in a situation, I was talking statistics and my mentor about aircrafts and the physics behind it. It always left me with confusion, perhaps widened the communication gap between us. My mentor was a very nice man, all cool headed but I felt uncomfortable when his expectations transformed. Initially I was expected to give them programs which they could further use but finally I was expected to come out with some colourful results which was and is beyond my understanding. Once I was told to make a program which takes any data and gives a suitable analysis. I could make out that it was not even clear to my mentor how to unfold and I came to the conclusion that they don’t need a statistician but a programmer perhaps! I could only give them the results, but could not tell them why the decreasing fuel was affecting the centre of gravity or why the changing density in atmosphere underestimated certain velocities. I am a statistician not an engineer! Here I was stuck with this and there were my fellow engineer friends who were working on MATLAB(most of them) and they claimed to be learning ,though for most of the times they were found to be working for Qoura.
Since last week my work has finally converged to zero, with all interest lost and stagnation and luckily my mentor gone for a vacation due to an urgent good news at home. Now I am all alone left to myself counting my days here in this company and in this city!