December 2, 1996. A cold winter morning in Calcutta.
I walked into the corridors of the beautiful 30 Bondel HTA office, with a heart full of dreams and a head full of ambition.
A warm smile from Lizzie, at the desk made me feel a little less nervous.
But the butterflies still fluttered and how.
Was shown my desk- tucked away my stationery proudly in my drawer, gave my name for my first visiting card.
A sweet girl, who went on to become a close friend, Abhiruchi, took me around the office.
I gazed in wonder at the sheer number of people, nervously smiled at Monideepa from creative, managed to peek into Srirupda's room, shook hands warmly with Rupenda, Samirda, Ashimda, Indranidi, Sabby,Kishoreda, Shyamolda, Tonmoyda, Toponda, Shibuda, Uttio, Chire, Suman, Rahul, Sugato, Dola, AD, Anjani, Abhijitda, Nasreen, Shubro, Kaushik, Mrinalda...
Sat on the edge of the sofa in Anita's room, as she welcomed me to HTA.
Smiled at Mita. Checked out the beautiful terrace, the conference rooms, Avikda and the av room.
Walked into Rohit's room , was inspired as well as worried- what if I don't live up to expectations....
Saw the dark room with the TPs and bromides under the able charge of Sumonda.
Ventured into the huge studio and all the huge workboards, paintbrushes, bromides, logo prints, manual artworks....
Said hi to Nirupda...
Had my first canteen lunch of fish curry and rice.
Was alone when Suman walked up and asked me to come to her room.
Carried my lunch into her room.....
Was walked through my first brief on Bata.
Went through the guard book on Modi Telstra
Helped identify some competition for a Boroplus presentation.
Evening. A Bengali girl called Kusmi came with some churidars for sale.
Given my dire necessity to replenish my wardrobe, I quickly bought one.
Had pakoras and chai from the canteen.
Strolled into the media department and chatted with Indranidi .
The day was over.
As I sat in the autorickshaw on my first ride home from HTA, I looked back at my first day.
I was happy.
Felt I belonged.
Fourteen years later, as I write this today, the feelings have not changed.