Working in an information technology company is sometimes rewarding. You get a chance to go to places where you have never gone before. It is usually an adventure of sorts when you start preparing for the visit.
Apart from the visa, tickets and forex which are a terrible chore themselves, more challenge lies in other aspects of the visit. You have to book your hotel and plan your local travel to and fro to the client locations. A cab on demand is a good solution until you find out that the cab would set you off by a minor fortune and the gross margin goblins have laid out well thought out rules on saving the moolah. It is a quite a challenge to figure the mode of travel unless someone else has done all the homework and have made a ready-reckoner of sorts.
These are the times you wish some local who could help you. That is where tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, yahoo groups help you. Posting a message – “I am in Sinzig for a week. Anyone there?” in the social media network usually helps.
Along with good news you should be ready for some nuisance as well. A few friends will reply asking where Sinzig is. Some wise crack will request to know what zingy sins you can commit there. I was better off in that respect. I was only enquired about where is godamthing was. After sifting through the mass of messages you come to a sad conclusion that no one is actually there when you are present in Sinzig. A week later , a month before but not on the days you are there.
With trepidation you make the visit. A dark wintry entry in to Sinzig with the coat tightly wrapped around you and the ubiquitous passport on hand to proclaim your innocence if required takes you to a cheerful hotel. After exchange a lot of gestures in Anglo-deustch-franco with hindi-tamil mutterings to yourself, you check in to the room. Hot water beckons you to a good bath.
A night compleat with tossing and turning and a scientific expedition into the mysterious working of the heater you wake up fresh. Going in for breakfast you have to honour your grandmother and tell the hotel representation that you are vegetarian (but can tolerate eggs in a pastry). So you say “no moo, no oink, no baa, no cluck” and then you hear the rep say “vegetarian?”. Grab a couple of apples – who knows whether you will have a lunch worth having?
The client honours your visit with tuna salad, sauerkraut, iceberg lettuce, fried mushrooms, and roasted huhn. You manage with diet coke and finger chips – little realizing that it has been deep-fried in fish oil. Late evening when you are ready to drop off, you are a bit horrified about your dinner. You come into the hotel, walk to the reception, ask for the keys, turn around to accommodate someone who is trying to check-in. Then your face brightens like the morning sun. Standing in front of you is Singaravelan your old classmate from Cumbarsum Pettai. Exactly like what Wooster felt when he had the patented Jeeves pick me up.
A godsend relief! You hear him speak the local lingo with ease and then you realise that life is worth living after all. Please take two minutes to salute all the Singaravelan’s in your life. Without them there would be nothing for you to share with your grandchildren on those rainy days or long winter nights.