It's been a long time since I posted two accounts, both related to my father. This month of Ramazan/Ramadan brought back some memories from my old office, so felt like sharing it here. So, here it goes.
I spent last 15 years of my professional life with a German multinational in their IT division. It is household name worldwide so needs to further introduction. They have a big presence here in Calcutta. I was reflecting on the decade and a half association with them, which brought back memories some really interesting times I had in their offices in Munich, Frankfurt, Ulm, Melbourne, Delhi/NCR and of course here in Calcutta. I left that organization few months ago.
Their office in Calcutta has very ordinary and old fashioned layout. Four floors, each with two wings separated by a common area.
So, you have a West wing and a East Wing. As you move from West wing to East wing, there is closet with houses the power distribution panel, A/C control panel and fire fighting equipment store. Then there is a open space with staircase on left and lift on the right. Move further East we have the ladies washroom followed by the gents washroom leading to the East wing floor. Parallel to the washrooms on the right are the pantry (each floor has one), network switch rooms and IT store (old servers and PCs). The office was built in mid 90s. I used to sit in the 4th floor West wing with my team.
So, back in summer of 2014 we were running a project from Calcutta. The project was deployed somewhere in the Western Europe and in the initial days of the project we used to stay late to support deployment and testing, owing to the timezone differences.
It was end of Ramazan/Ramadan i.e. The day of Id. So, it was holiday. No housekeeping staff, no pantry staff, no official transport, just the minimum security staff. Outside the office, even the restaurants were shut, barring a small kiosk selling tea, biscuits and cigarettes.
We were in the office since 10 in the morning without any break, forget about lunch. So, at 7 PM we decided that a break is well deserved.
One of the developers in team say M, bit elder than me, a nonsense type gent, asked me whether I'd like to accompany him. I told him to proceed and said that I'll join him and others in few minutes after completing a conference call. So, the entire gang split into two. Six - seven guys headed downstairs to go out of the office to the tea kiosk. But M and another guy called K decided to relive their bladders first.
I decided to make the conference call later and was about to get up when these two guys came back with a frantic pace, looking confused and worried. They said, they will accompany me downstairs.
Didn't seem anything peculiar. So, once outside these two guys announced that they will use the public urinal across the road. Now I was getting irritated. Weren't these two guys just been to the washroom before we came down? I asked them what was the matter.
Then M told me what happened in the office. As they were passing the ladies washroom, they decided to enter the pantry just opposite to it to check if the coffee machine was working or not. While fiddling with stuff there, they heard someone weeping in the ladies washroom. As they listened it seemed like someone was in great pain. This was when they simply headed back to our work area where I was still seated.
I had a hard time believing this and decided to check. As we headed back into office, we decided to check the manual entry register. Usual working day entry procedure is you swipe your proximity card and push the turnstile to enter the area beyond reception. On holidays a register is also kept beside the turnstile to mark in and mark out the time in office.
Well nobody was there in the register except my team. We went back to work, finished, and left by 9 PM. Fast forward to Saturday during the same week. On Saturdays there are people in office, but the crowd packs up 6 PM latest.
It must be around 8 PM when there was a commotion around the common area near the staircase/lift/washrooms. This time 3-4 of the other guys heard someone sweeping the floors (broom from sticks of dried coconut palms/leaves used in rural India make a typical sound). The ground floor to be precise, around the reception area. The security guys would have none of it, but our guys were adamant that they heard correctly and wanted the security guys to take a look.
It was then I, M and K had enough and we summoned the head of the security detail. The head of security heard our case, disinterested and told us something interesting like "Sir, we here such noises every night. Sometime we hear desks or iron cabinets being moved and then find no one. Some we hear doors being opened".
Now the doors cannot be just opened like that. They are held by electronic latches which are released only when we swipe our proximity cards.
So that's the story.
There is an unconfirmed information that the office land was bought at a very cheap price and the land used to be a Muslim burial ground.