I , Gijo. Vijayan would like to share some of my experiences to you regarding my professional career. I passed out from MA College of engineering , Kothamangalam in May 1996, after working 2 small companies I got job as an apprentice in Kochi Refineries Ltd. Later I got job as a management trainee in “Reliance Petroleum Ltd-Jamnagar, Gujrat” as “Graduate engineer Trainee” . I joined “Reliance” on 31st January 1998 along with 106 other trainees from all over India.
In the reception , I met a very smart Marathi boy named “Shrikant Samrat” who became my friend instantly. But I am sad to say, my dear friend is not alive today, this still saddens me a lot. I cracked some Malayalam jokes to him while waiting at the reception, we were laughing all the time. An old man who came to Join “Reliance” was smiling at both of us. He happened to be Mr.A.G Dawda, who was the construction head of “Reliance Jamnagar Oil refinery project”. We came to know about this only later.
Jamnagar was a sleepy town in Gujrat. But this city is famous for its brass industries, there are more than 4000 brass foundries in Jamnagar city and adjoining places. Reliance refinery project was a massive one, with estimated cost of $ 5 billion US dollars, area was 25 square kilometers or 7500 acres. When I was working in Kochi refineries , I though it must be one of the biggest factories in India, but Jamnagar was at least 25 times bigger. At the peak of construction we had more than 100,000 people working on the project. At the project gate, there was a board, “Jamnagar Refinery- Lifetime opportunity”. Only few people understood the true meaning of this. No one had seen such a huge project in their lifetime like that of Jamnagar oil refinery project. I am proud to be associated with such a massive project in my lifetime, It was a wonderful experience. Dhirubhai Ambani saab – founder of Reliance group is my icon and role model, I worship him in my heart, he could execute only what others could dream of.
We were called “GET’s”. After joining Reliance, I was given accommodation at “Ekta apartments” in Jamnagar and daily we commuted to the oil refinery construction site , about 30km via buses to and fro. Life was fun at “EKTA apartments”. I was the Only guy in my flat, who was a Malayali. Others were, Rakaesh Masurkar, Mahesh Rajput (osho maharaj), Kausthub Das Gupta (now IIT Gauhati professor), Pulin, Firoz Lkhani, Aslam Juvale, Shailendra srivastava. I learnt to speak Hindi well after living in ekta apartments. People flocked around me to hear Malayalam stories and some non-veg jokes , in which I was a undisputed king, due to my special training in the past. After leaving Reliance, after 10 years, now also I get calls from my friends in Jamnagar, that is the bond I am keeping with my friends in Reliance now also.
Life in Jamnagar was cool, lots of friends, no worries and opportunity to work with the best talented people in engineering and construction industries. I was placed in QA/QC department and my immediate boss was Mr.A J Vyas. I was given charge of inspection of pipe spools – paint shop. I was given an “Elcometer” a device to measure the thickness of paint on pipe. Pipes were sand blasted and then painted with zinc silicate/zinc phosphate. I am proud to say, all the painted pipes in Jamnagr refinery passed though my hands with QA/QC sign. I was sitting in cabin shared by Sanjay Mittal sir Jagadeesan sir and Desai sir. Sanjay Mittal sir was a tough manager, we were very close to me, and from him I learned the trick of executing any task in time and with efficiency, Jagadeesan sir was from Tamil Nadu, he was kind to me and very sober person. When I was down with jaundice he used to prepare food for me and give me, he had two small boys and wife, who was also very kind. Jamnagar Refinery construction took place at very fast pace, hundreds of white guys also worked in the project. It was really massive and something to be proud of. What I like about Reliance management is the tough line of command like that of military, a task once assigned will be executed as per plan in time at any cost, without delay. There is no question of excuse or inefficiency and we had the best people to execute even minor tasks. There are hundreds of incidents which I want to write about my life in Reliance, but due to lack of time, I am not doing that now.
The Reliance Jamnagar refinery project was commissioned and work was over. Then came Reliance communication project. Now I had a chance to go to Kerala, which I accepted gladly. I was happy to be near my home. We had to lay optical fiber cable all over Kerala. By this time I got promotion and became assistant manager. My boss in Kerala was Mr.G N Nair, with vast experience in construction. Life is now in the open field. I was given an Ambassador car and driver and 2,3 contractors. We have to dig along the side of the road and lay optical fiber ducts for Reliance telecom project. My contarctors were Mr.Mayagen and Mr.Devasia. My driver was ASHOKAN chettan, who was once driver of Malayalam actress Unni Mary. When we landed in Kerala from Jamnagar, 4 huge trucks carried all over goods for living including 14 tv sets, mattress , pillows and furniture. I was given the task of unloading the huge trucks (In Malayalam – Pandi Lorry), without knowledge of trade unions.
From Childhood onwards, I was very good at underground works and negotiations. Even a very tough person will have some soft corner for me, when I deal with him, this happen naturally by god’s blessing. With the help of local guy, I unloaded 3 huge trucks, by just paying Rs.1500/ per truck and some gifts, but when the fourth truck came, communist head load workers from nearby junction came running, shouting and busing us. I was called by the local communist party leader and scolded left and right for not informing about the arrival of truck. I had no answer. I was destined to be scolded by an illiterate communist trade union leader. For the forth truck, we had to pay Rs.4500/ and the matter was settled.
My friend and small time contractor Mr.Bobby Titus was with me in Jamnagar. He earned and spent all the money in food and drinks and merry making. Once I gave my tape recorder to him, but while driving his jeep overturned and tape recorder got crushed between jeep and road and he handed over me the device as junk, but I did not complain, we are good friends. Bobby reached Kerala bankrupt and I helped him again with contract in Reliance, in digging work. Now is leading a luxurious life. Times change, but our friendship remain.
After one year of digging road side I was fed up. In between I was sent to Chennai for 3 months on deputation to work there. Mr.Dalton Eddy was the chief of Chennai circle. I was given a huge “ HDD” Machine and asked to dig all over Tamil Nadu. HDD machines are used for trenchless digging and laying of cable ducts. I refused, and then followed a big fight. Mr.Dalton Eddy called up Mr.G. N Nair and asked, what kind of horrible person you had sent to us, and later I was deported back. In Chennai my best friend was Mr.Murugan , who was a security Manager, he uased to call me “ cheecho”.
Again back to digging, digging and digging, day and night by the side of road. I started feeling that I may one day end up in the trenches dug by me. It was time to escape. It was my personal decision. No one else was responsible. How long can a person keep digging roads? It was natural. I decided to run away. So from 2002, January 1 onwards, I did not report for job. My managers were frantic. I later went Munnar and enjoyed my life all year in 2001. Munnar was a beautiful hill station near my home , kothamangalam. In 2003, I took some big risks and went Singapore, but things did not work out and I came down like a fallen tree in 2003 end. By 2004 I came to Bangalore.
After lot of struggle, I found a small job in a consultancy. But another disaster was waiting to happen in the form of a “LOVE ATTACK”. I fell in love with a very beautiful girl, but she got married to another guy due to uncontrollable circumstances and I was heart-broken. She was from “Jharkhand”. I lost my mental balance for some time and wandered in Bangalore like a mad guy.
I became very thin and lean due to depression, and life was miserable. Then god sent and angel in the form of “Sumit Kumar” who is from Samastipur in Bihar, in August 2005. I am with him till now. This is how I reached Bihar from Kerala, 3000 km away.
Special Note: My Reliance colleagues are special to me. Reliance bosses “ Mukesh Ambani sir” and “Anil Ambani sir” you are special to me, sorry for running away from the company , but I feel I am still with Reliance family.
To all those poor guys running around beautiful girls/women – look at me and learn from my disastrous life and learn, else you will also suffer in the days to come. Now day’s beautiful women never attract me, once bitten twice shy…hehehehe
Life is a long journey……sometimes – a violent journey………my story will continue……………
Gijo. K Vijayan