The Lingering Fragrance
15 years. Sometimes, they feel like a lifetime. Sometimes, a blink of an eye. Many early memories of Cybage flash like a set of scattered scenes from a movie you saw as a kid. The shooting for this Cybage movie began in an old army colony apartment of ‘Salunke Vihar’. In those days, the first person to report to work used to be “Maushi”. All our innocent strategic discussions used to happen under the balcony shade of that Gulmohar tree, over Maushi’s mouth-watering poha and piping hot tea. Parties? Yes, we had one. A little dinner to celebrate my daughter’s birth, and all four Cybagians jostled to hold her in their lap!
The next several scenes of the movie were shot on the “Clover Cascade” sets of Kalyani Nagar. This time around, the first person to report to work every day was this old nameless and toothless watchman that everyone conveniently christened as “Baba”. He looked ready to collapse any second. But one sight of a Cybagian, and his frail body would magically erect into the world’s most impressive salute accompanied by an authoritative stamping of his foot! Meeting places? Most of the bonding sessions would happen on the bungalow lawns under rainbow-colored umbrellas.
What followed was the movie’s interval, and the second half unveiled a rapid “des” to ”pardes” transformation of Cybage. Fancy corporate buildings took over cozy bungalows. Nestle coffee and tea makers replaced Maushi. Professional security agencies ensured Baba’s retirement. There was no ‘first’ person to report to work as the offices were open 24×7. Meetings relocated to professional conferencing environments. Cybage has become a “brand” now. And the proud flashers of this brand are the “new” Cybagians as they mingle in the social landscape of Pune, Hyderabad, Gandhinagar, and even USA. And old-timers? They feel incredibly proud too, but they have their moments when they miss some of those good old days… when Cybage was ‘different’.
And on one such thoughtful morning, about couple of weeks back, I drove in to Cybage Towers… An unusual hustle-bustle at the main entrance broke my nostalgic trance. The fire drill was on. My car couldn’t progress further as the gate was closed. So I handed the car keys to an office driver, disembarked, entered the premises and was mesmerized by the sight greeting me… the whole Cybage CT1 was down… all two thousand plus of them! A sea of tiny huddles of Cybagians spread all over the campus–some walking, some standing, some sitting around. As I passed one group, I overheard animated project-specific discussions; with another group, it was an intimate family oriented discussion. One group even hushed up, elbows nudging as I passed by. It took no more than 5 minutes before I made it to elevators, but those brief moments were enough for the revelation to dawn upon me. It was only my perception, and not the warm spirit of Cybagians that ever changed…
Cybagians still sit around in Chai-ki-tapdis – joking, laughing, and engrossed in their own strategic discussions. They still jostle to hold new born babies of their teammates, or celebrate marriages and anniversaries, even co-walk the final journey of the close departed ones. Just because the stem doesn’t feel the presence of flowers in its proximity doesn’t necessarily mean that the flowers are not there. It means that the stem has grown into a trunk, with hundreds of branches. The flowers at the end of each branch still retain the same fragrance of the original Cybagian spirit. The only difference– our plant has blossomed into a tree. A beautiful family tree!