This is a story of an extraordinary journey of an ordinary Videocon 20 inch TV. It was back in 1999 after college, when I joined my company as a trainee in pune. We were a bunch of 11 folks, 9 of them from the same college and we all stayed in one big 3 bedroom rowhouse enough to house starters like us. With a beginner level pay package, this house turned out to be economical for all of us and with a strength of 11 there was no lack of enthusiasm. Even if one person was enthusiastic about an idea, the whole gang would start agreeing to it, an ultimate group dynamics. Our adventure in the kitchen started off with me and two others buying a small single burner gas stove. The rest of the group watched us while they continued eating food outside. But it was only a matter of few days that they were dragged towards the idea and very soon we organized a full fledged kitchen and had nice home cooked dinner every day. It was awesome, since the strength was 11, everyday was like a marriage feast. It was this kind of initiative that led us to buy a Television for ourselves. We bought a normal 20 inch colour television that did not even have a composite audio/video input. It turned out to be cheap when all of us pooled in money. The motivation for this buy was to watch cricket mainly and since we had a big living room, other folks from our training group who lived nearby started coming too. It was absolute fun to watch cricket match as a big crowd, next best thing to a college hostel common room. We had a great time with this TV, Everyone owned this yet nobody considered it as their own.
But life goes on. The training period was only a few months and we knew that we had to face this soon – The separation. No one knew at that point that, even though we are destined to move on with our life in various directions, the first TV that we bought was about to start its amazing journey. It all started when 2 of the guys from the gang were transferred to Bangalore on a different project. We settled their portion of the money for the TV and we continued to own it in Pune. And then came a storm, out of the remaining 9 fellows left out, 7 of us were transferred to Bangalore with me one among them. It was really hard for us to leave 2 of our close friends back. We didn’t realize how close we had got in just a few months. We took the TV to Bangalore and then it was just 7 of us in a house and a busy Software Engineer life. Our world was at work (‘at work’ … not work … so other than the 2 hours of actual work during a day, the rest of the time was spent in browsing, chatting and more browsing) and when not at work i was at home watching TV. That TV had become so special because we couldn’t do anything without it.
And so the life went on with our work and the TV…
After a few months, the onsite mania started haunting each of us. We were exploring options to argue with our managers to help us land in the United States. It was crazy days, no one liked to do maintenance type of work and most of us felt awful. So, we were hoping atleast that we could get an onsite for a few months and earn some money, come back and blow it on a bike!
Finally, there was a gold winner. It started a winning streak of onsite opportunities. So many things changed within a few months that 3 of us got an onsite assignment, out of which 2 of them left and 1 was in transit. We had to shift to a smaller house with members becoming less. Things were changing very fast around us and each day was a thrill at office, to know or not to know if there is an onsite opportunity. The TV was probably the only thing that didn’t change and was with us all the time. At last it was my turn. I had to leave for an onsite assignment and I was all excited awaiting a new life in a new place. It was a phenomenal experience, where I got to learn a lot of life lessons.
From a total of 11, we were down to the last person. He joined a few of his friends as a roommate but cared to take the TV with him. It was amazing that even when we were down to the last person, no one really decided or took a step to sell the TV, Until one day. It was only a matter of time for the last man standing, to get an onsite opportunity. The TV was left behind in India at his friends home and then it was forgotten. It was let go. There was a few mail conversation in the group and then no one cared. The thing that entertained us all the time was one day, water under the bridge.
Months passed, and a couple of us went back to India. There was a sweet surprise awaiting them. The TV had changed several hands in the “last man’s” friend’s circle. Sold …Bought …Sold again … The last person who owned the TV found out about us, traced us and gave the TV back to those 2 guys who went back to India. It was unbelievable but true. The TV which journeyed everywhere, changed every possible hand, was back with us. When I finally went back to India, after a few months of nomading at few of my friend’s places, I found a permanent place. The TV came back to me after one of that friend joined me in my place. Destination arrived. I had good time with the TV for a few months and then I got married. I used it even after marriage, It was amazing to see the TV performed so well all these years. A value for money, and an exciting journey that will not leave our memory forever.
December 2004, I came back to US and the TV is now in Madurai, entertaining my father. I did a vacation back to India in Nov 2007 and it is now serving as a second TV in the first floor of our house in Madurai, still lit up bright.
I don’t know what the future holds for it, but it sure got away from us once but managed to find its way back like a Genie Lamp!
I dedicate this piece of memory to all my friends who were a part of this.