Nicknames at workplace


This might not sound too good.. But I have always found the art of keeping/coining names very interesting, and more when it’s a nickname.

When I was working in TCS, I happened to meet this guy, Jitender Dahiya from a small village Kharkhoda in Haryana, India. People of Haryana are extremely blunt and straightforward, and this guy was no exception. And he had a very funny take on life. He was a simple lad who found most things, people, situations around him funny. Or lets say found humor in them all.

I met another guy Amardeep Tanwar. Who was a Delhi-ite and was up for fun most of the day and was an amazing programmer. He was my Guru along with this girl Shibha Malik who was my sort of lead in my first assignment.

So here were two people who were funny and I was the laughing hyena, fueling their humor. JD and Amar both were good at keeping names and here are some I remember clearly.

Doctor – Tanuj Mittal, the more ferocious of all the leads in the project. A big, burly, huge bear of a man. He had bloody good knowledge of the code, the project’s history, geography, civics, everything. But he had a temper. Which to my observation, came largely from arrogance of knowing so much and an innate snob in him, than from the situations or mess ups. JD called him Doctor because he gave injections  to everyone in the form of his doses of verbal assaults.

Compounder – Varun Nidhi, was a quiet, bored, brainy chap who loved playing guitar. He was new to the project and was assigned the seat right next to Tanuj. JD declared that Varun sat next to the Doctor and hence he’d be called the Compounder.

Mario – Dinesh Jindal. I have no idea what position he held in the project. But he was somewhere in between the top two people in the project. Unfortunately for him, none of the two gave him enough respect and as a result the rest of the group didn’t either. He was an extremely short guy who made it a point to walk out of the office bang at 5:30 PM. He looked uncannily like Mario. JD had a sharp eye for details like these and soon Dinesh was coined the title of Mario. 

Onsite – Onsite refers to the team which sits with the client, in a Consultant Service company jargon, and in most cases in India the client is in the US. Utsav Srivastav was the Project’s Leader and my . I started calling him US (taking the initials of his name). But soon realized it might be too obvious. But US= Onsite. And so he was given a name.

Beti – Megha Roy, was a short girl who knew two things very well. First, to act busy and worried. Second get all the gossip she could from every single possible person in the Project. Well she did work well of course. But if she spotted two people whispering or talking to each other in a low voice, she’d jump off and hop down to their seat and enquire and get the whole story out of the two souls. Everytime she came to JD, he’d say “Yo Beti ke ka badi jigyasa ho ri se….” (This little one is a little too curious!). And after the first few instance, he just started saying “Beti!!!” (With a tilted head, almost as if saying “Again??”) So that name stuck.

Sir –  I was moved into this team called Radar Factory in my project. It was led by this smart looking brainy chap called Nitin Agarwal. He had about 8 yrs of experience in the industry and was always very enthusiastic about working. He was our senior and we’d walk upto him for anything that was unsolvable by us. If anyone had a doubt and wouldn’t get an answer asking around 5 most likely people in the project, the 5th one will eventually say “Nitin Sir se puch le, Unko pata hoga.” (Ask Nitin Sir, he’ll know it) So we started calling him SIR. Because he was the guru!

Ungli (Finger) – Pankaj Sharma was the co-lead of the Radar Factory  team. He had this not so good habit of poking your side with his finger whenever he’d come to talk to you. He would come to your desk and if you don’t notice him, he’ll come and poke you to get your attention. The hindi expression for it is “Ungli karma”, which literallly (and sometimes other wise also) means “To finger”. But the english one sounds worse. Anyway.. so we used to call him just Ungli.

Gutkha (Tobacco) –  Ashish Sharma was my co-lead of the Radar Factory team once Nitin and Pankaj resigned, used to chew tobacco throughout the day! Never would he breathe of anything else but tobacco. And that from a good distance. We hence named him Gutkha.

Laal Kamal (Red Lotus) – This one defines the strength of the urge to keep a nick name. Rohitabja Halder, his first name means Red Lotus. And it’s here that the urge to NOT call one by their given name is most visible.

Miss World – Pallavi Yadav, was a snob in one of the teams. She used to dress up like she was the inspiration for most models in the fashion industry. We used to call her Miss Universe.

Govinda – Our Project manager used to be a little flabby and kround faced and looked like this actor called Govinda. He’s known for making a fool of himself more than acting on the screen. A little like our Project manager but not completely..

4:40 – This is the last but more interesting than the rest. Once me and Amar went down to the cafeteria to get a packet of chips. And we found this very pretty looking female, a rare sight in our office. And she had a butterfly tattoo on her neck. We bought our packet of chips and went back up to work. Talking about the girl obviously. The next day we came down again, this time around the same time, and again found that girl. Immediate reaction….?  No we didn’t approach her, we took down the time we’d come  the two days, 4:40 pm. Third day.. 4:38 pm. Both of us peep out of our cubicles, gestures exchanged, we’re off our desks in a second and on our way to the cafeteria. 4:40 pm.. we’re scavenging with our eyes for the eye candy! No search results found said our eyes…!

4th day, we go down again.. No search results found! Days followed and we never saw her, until one fine day Amar comes down running to me and exclaims he shared the lift ride with her for one floor! Bah.. we guys will be guys!!!

Oh wait… there’s more… Once, a couple of years down the line, I go on a trip to this place called Thanedar, a hill station in northern India. I am walking around and I see someone familiar, and the gong hits me! I run back into the guest house without saying a word. I am still a little unsure. In the evening, we all go out for a walk, and guess what, the girl is coming from the other direction towards us, and she’s with a guy. We’re 2 guys and 3 girls on the left side of the road and they’re a couple walking on the right side. We both look at each other, I immediately turn and look away. They walk past from not too far and I hear her say something to the guy, since the roads aren’t too wide. I narrate the history to the group and one of the girls in our group says “Damn! Now I know why she was saying something on the lines of “Aawara ladke” ” . And I’m left with no place to hide my face.

Some names and some anecdotes… Some people and some reactions…

Another day…

Drink me up hearties!!! Savyy???

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