Daily Winner for: – 17th August 2013
Weekly Winner (Editor’s Choice) for – 16th Aug – 22nd Aug 2013
Name of the intern: – Aditya
Institute: – Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur
Organization interned with: – Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited
2ND MAY 2013, THURSDAY, 12.30 PM
My fourth semester final exams get over with ‘Programming Paradigms’ paper. I pack my things from my hostel room, and within two hours, I’m back at home-sweet-home, lounging in the comfort of my favourite easy-chair. GF texts me a ‘:-*’ (kiss) for surviving fourth semester and returning home victorious.
7TH MAY 2013, TUESDAY, 1.30PM
Still lounging in the comfort zone of home-sweet-home. ‘Liked’ our class topper’s Facebook Status update: Off to IIT KGP for the summer. See you guys!
16TH MAY 2013, THURSDAY, 9.30PM
And still lounging in the comfort zone. Mercury is kissing the 40 C mark. Disgusting, non-evaporating, sticky sweat prevails throughout the day. GF’s ‘:-*’s have turned into ‘:-(’s because I’m too lazy to hang out with her in this heat. By now I have liked almost 15 different status updates of people going to IITs, NITs, ISIs and everywhere else possible on earth. Meanwhile, all my applications to different universities, companies, professors, and so on, have been rejected. Daddy comes home from work, and sees me sitting idle with my laptop open in front of me.
“Nothing will ever happen to you if you stay like this. All of your friends are going to the IITs, and look at yourself! From tomorrow, no sleeping till 8 AM. I’ll wake you up at 6.30 and you’ll go for 5 rounds of morning-jog around the block. Twenty four hours whiling away in the internet! Becoming a couch potato! I won’t allow it in my house!”
17TH MAY 2013, FRIDAY, 9.30AM
Me snoring away in bed, having watched ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ till late night.
20TH MAY 2013, MONDAY, 2.30PM
Family lunch is in progress. Suddenly daddy’s phone rings.
– Hello, is this Aditya speaking?
– No, this is his father.
– Oh, hello. I am calling from the ONGC Kolkata Office. Your son has been selected for the Summer Internship Training Programme. His appointment letter has arrived. Please ask your son to come and collect it at his earliest convenience.
Forty five minutes later saw us, father and son, at the ONGC Kolkata office, opposite Birla Planetarium. We completed the proceedings and got to know that my training centre would be at the ONGC Regional Computer Centre at Majherhat (a god-forsaken part of the City-of-Joy), bursting all my balloon-sized hopes of interning at the exotic ONGC Academy at Dehradun. I called up my mentor, one Mr. B. B. Dutta, and he asked me to start from 22nd – the coming Wednesday.
GF texted a single ‘:-*’ on getting the good news.
22ND MAY 2013, WEDNESDAY, 11.30AM
I arrived at the ONGC Regional Computing Centre, P-32, Transport Depot Road, Kolkata – 88 (henceforth referred to as RCC) and realized that this is one of the toughest places on earth to get to. The nearest bus, auto and cycle rickshaw stop (along with the main bus-route) is about 1.5 kilometres away from this office. The only transport closest to it is the Majherhat Rail Station – a 5 minutes’ walk along the rail tracks from the RCC Main Gate – and one train every forty-five minutes.
The RCC building looked like a dilapidated warehouse at first sight. However, the insides had a different story to tell. My ‘office’ was an air-conditioned room having 5-6 desktop PCs and a large server machine. It was the ‘EPINET’ department. I met my mentor, Mr. B. B. Dutta. He explained that I had to work using Microsoft’s ASP.NET framework, and my work would be overseen by Mr. Dibyendu Sen. Soon Mr. Sen arrived, and he directly delved into the nitty-gritty details of what my project was about. I had to build a website, with user registration and login features, that would automatically generate lithology plots of the soil-profile of oil wells. I understood very well what I had to do, but didn’t have the faintest of idea how to do it. To me the .NET framework was something I had to install 3-4 times before, when I was trying out a new PC game or loading MS Office Suite 2007. Dibyendu Sir gave me a beginner’s-guide PDF (which was definitely not for beginners) and instructed me to get familiar with Visual Studio 2012.
I was completely at sea, nay, the Pacific Ocean…
25TH MAY 2013, SATURDAY
In the last three days, I downloaded about 500 MB worth of eBooks on “Beginner Tutorial to ASP.NET”, “Idiot’s guide to ASP.NET” and “ASP.NET for dummies”. I have also downloaded 2.74 GB worth of three different versions of Microsoft SQL Server software, not knowing which version was right for me (the help section in the Microsoft website helped a lot to increase my confusion). I executed all the setup files and clicked the “next” buttons at random, hoping for things to work out magically in the end. Surprisingly they did, and my joy knew no bounds.
Scanning along the front cover of the eBooks at random, I found a name cropping up more than once. Microsoft WebMatrix. I Googled it and le et voila! Microsoft WebMatrix is a VERY light version of Visual Studio, with only the Web Designing features, specifically created for noobs like me. One thing led to another, and soon I was diving into the super-easy, step-by-step, chapter-wise tutorials at www.asp.net/web-pages/tutorials.
I had a date with milady today. Went to see ‘Gippi’. Gave her lots of cuddly moments and made sure Her Highness is bribed enough to let me concentrate on my work for the coming week. Parents thought I was visiting a certain professor in my university for getting ‘additional help’ for my internship.
28TH MAY 2013, TUESDAY
My ‘discovery’ of WebMatrix is a huge success. All the PCs in my ‘office’ are running it now. It is the top favourite of both my mentor and overseer. In the meantime, I have managed to create a basic registration and login system.
Till now, I am the only intern in my department. Dutta Sir told me that a group of 4-5 students will be joining next Monday, after their college exams get over.
I have started getting free lunches. The food quality gives my hostel cooking a run for its money.
However, the travelling kills me. Waiting for half an hour in the sun, for a jam-packed train, with a 3.5 kg Dell XPS laptop strapped to my back, isn’t rewarding at all. I was getting bathed in sweat every time, before entering my office.
31ST MAY 2013, FRIDAY
Dibyendu Sir is awesome! Usually when I talk in computer jargon to someone, I usually have to explain everything in plain English. But this guy grasps everything that I say in real-time, leading to meaningful conversation. He has taught me to handle databases effectively, and taught me some subtle concepts that get things going inside a computer. His attitude and sense-of-humour is very similar to Robert Downey Jr., and that makes me more fascinated about him than half the girls in this planet are for Robert Pattinson.
3RD JUNE 2013, MONDAY
The gang of five has arrived. Four girls and a boy. All are in third year, hence my seniors. Amongst them is Priyanka Dutta, the fair daughter of my mentor. She and her friends are interning under her father only. Their project is about creating a visitor-management system for ONGC.
Soon I was summoned by her to teach them ASP.NET basics. I wanted to be in the good books of both my mentor and his daughter. So I used a lot of jargon to explain simple things and sound impressive. Finally I gave them the 500 Megabytes of eBook and the link to the ASP.NET tutorials and came back to my seat.
After lunch, Dutta Sir, my mentor, asked me to install WebMatrix and SQL Server in his personal laptop, so that his daughter can continue the project work at home. I did as asked, and additionally deleted some junk files, deleted some unused processes and services and uninstalled some applications. This made the machine run a tad bit faster. The look on Dutta Sir’s face when he saw the performance speedup told me that I was in his good-books by now.
4TH JUNE 2013, TUESDAY
Yesterday I had kept a backup copy of all my work done so far (registration, login, restricted view of sensitive data, and a dummy version of the lithology plot) in the computer at my office (I have been doing the work in my laptop all this while). Today when I came, I saw my site, my files, and my code, being edited and modified by Priyanka-di and Co. Yes, their project also needed a registration system, a login system and also restricting user access to sensitive data. End result: my two weeks’ worth of coding from scratch served as a well-built template for them.
I was mildly amused. I thought I had impressed Priyanka-di and helped their project getting kick-started. I texted this news to my GF. She snapped back “Don’t impress too much. I should not hear of any Aamir-Kareena-3 Idiots romance.”
7TH JUNE 2013, FRIDAY
The gang of five are plain-breed parasites. They won’t write a single line of code, or try to understand anything. They will only copy chunks of code from here and there and paste it in their pages and run them in Chrome or Firefox to see results. If there were any errors (which most certainly were there — 99% of the time) I was invariably summoned to solve it and write the correct code. I had no option but to comply, for the sole reason that the person calling me was my mentor’s daughter.
Whenever I went to correct their code, I had to sit in front of their PC. While the other girls and the lone boy remained on my left and back side, Priyanka-di alone was on my right. Soon, the others started teasing me, linking her with me. The official atmosphere lightened, and I felt as if I was back in the college life masti.
The frown on my girlfriend’s face was tightening.
8TH JUNE 2013, SATURDAY
Today I realized that a whole week has gone by and I haven’t made any significant advancement in my own project. I have wasted most of my time correcting their code, and the rest in chatting with them. Conscience pricked me. I sat down to ‘work from home’ and cope up for the lost time.
9TH JUNE 2013, SUNDAY
I had worked up to 3.30AM last night, almost completing the graph plotting process. For the first time in three years, I forgot to send the love-filled good-night text to my better half. The lady did not take it lightly.
10TH JUNE 2013, MONDAY
Seeing my work progressing so smoothly, Dibyendu Sir was pleased. He asked for an additional feature. He gave me 19 MS Excel tables, containing technical data related to oil-wells, and asked me to import them to the database and display them via the website. So users (ONGC Employees) who logged in would have two facilities now: (1) search and view the technical data in tabular form, and, (2) view the lithology plots of the different wells.
The task was easy, but downright monotonous. Copy the same set of code, 19 times, in different files, and change the column names in 3 places in each file.
Priyanka-di (though by now I got to know that she is actually one year younger to me in age) asked, ordered, pleaded and begged me to come over to their table and correct the errors in their code. I turned a deaf year to all her pleas.
When my little lady got to know of this, she sent a ‘:-)’ and a ‘:-*’ in reply.
I was tired after making 3 files only.
12TH JUNE 2013, WEDNESDAY
I have completed making the 19 pages for viewing technical data. The lithology plotting page is also running smoothly. Both Dibyendu-Sir and Dutta-Sir are full of praises for me, and Dutta-sir rebuked his own daughter for her copy-paste attitude and not wanting to actually learn anything. By all probabilities, my project will be finished tomorrow.
At home I modified my site’s CSS files to make it look as close to the actual ONGC site (www.ongc.co.in) as possible. I used the iconic brick-red ONGC logo, made the headings and hyperlink text red in colour, and used the same background image of a refinery rig.
13TH JUNE 2013, THURSDAY
Dibyendu Sir is not that awesome as it seemed at first.
Today my project was viewed by Apala Ma’am – a senior geologist. I came to know that the project I am working on was actually given my Apala Ma’am from the Geology department to the EPINET department. The EPINET department, by means of Dutta Sir and Dibyendu Sir, had entrusted the work on me.
Apala Ma’am took one look at the site and said “Sheesh! Why is everything so red? I hate this ONGC red colour. I want something in green… maybe Apple Green… or sky blue.” I suggested that changing the colour scheme would hardly take half an hour, and it’s of tertiary importance, so we should concentrate on seeing the features of the site first.
She nodded in approval on seeing how my plot-display page worked, but when she saw the data display pages, the nod changed to a big “No”.
“Dibyendu-da, this is not what I asked for! I want that when someone chooses the name of an oil well, the user should be able to see all the data that is associated with that well. Instead, he has made the application as data-specific, meaning, when I choose a particular category of data, I see those data for all the oil wells. That is not what I wanted at all!”
Dibyendu sir tried to save the situation, but miserably failed. It seemed both he and Dutta Sir had been mistaken in the first place. Dutta Sir politely asked Apala Ma’am to leave. Before leaving, she said to me:
“You plot-display page is good, but it only shows the plots for the wells whose data are available in the database. But that alone won’t do. I want another system, where a user can upload an excel file and your site will draw the lithology plot immediately using the data from that file. Ok?”. Dropping this bomb-shell, she left.
There was pin-drop silence in the room. Everyone realized that due to the mistake of my overseer, 75% of whatever I had done in the past few weeks were worthless.
14TH JUNE 2013, FRIDAY
Yesterday itself the three of us – Dutta Sir, Dibyendu Sir and I – had discussed upon a recovery strategy. Some changes needed to be done in the database at the back-end, and the web-pages in the front-end. Then we would be able to somewhat meet Apala Madam’s demands.
I have taken a leave today, and working non-stop since 9 AM at home. The database modification is almost done. It is almost 12.30 AM now.
My cell phone rings. It’s wifey.
– Hello Shona!
– What are you doing?
– Working on my project Shona. Why?
– Are you sure?
– Yes! Why are you talking like this?
– You have forgotten to wish me good night! Again! (Shit‼) Tell me the truth? You are chatting with Priyanka-di isn’t it? On Facebook?
– Na Shona, that isn’t true. I told you I had got a major setback in the project. I’m trying my best to recover it. If I work like this tomorrow also, I can somewhat rescue my project.
– Tomorrow we were supposed to go for ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’. Or have you forgotten that also?
– I knew it! You do not love me anymore. Fine. Don’t have to go. You do your project, I’ll sleep.
– No Shona no! Please, please, please don’t be angry. OK, I’ll definitely take you to ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ tomorrow! Promise! Please don’t be sad. I’ll make up for all my mistakes. On God!
Saying so, I texted her 150 kisses, distributed over three SMSs. The angered goddess seemed to calm down a little.
15TH JUNE 2013, SATURDAY
I am probably the only Indian (besides my girl) who has left the cinema hall at half-time while watching ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’. No, no. Ranbir Kapoor did his best to hold the audience back. I didn’t… Well, not for my girlfriend anyway.
A sole confession of mine, during the interval, from days long past and half forgotten, changed everything. After listening silently for 5 minutes, she just got up and left the movie theatre. I did not have any other option but to follow suit.
Whole day long she refused to talk to me. I sent her countless texts without getting a single reply. I tried to work on the project at evening, but everything started showing ‘Compilation Error’ all of a sudden. Dutta Sir called me up in the evening and asked how I was doing (with the project, of course). I carried on the conversation in monosyllables. He sensed that I was not all right, and maybe felt guilty, that because of his colleague’s mistake I am having to suffer. So he offered to pick me up in his car in the morning, from a common meeting point, and drop me off there in the evening, as compensation.
The idea that my mentor was offering to drive me to my ‘office’ filled me up with immense positivity. I rang up my darling. To my surprise, she received the call. After a 90 minute, emotion filled conversation, with my cell phone balance dropping below zero, and my dearie’s happiness going sky high, we kissed each other good night over the phone and slept peacefully.
22ND JUNE 2013, SATURDAY
One week has passed. My recovered project is running smoothly. Both my mentor and overseer are happy. Can’t say the same about Priyanka-di and her project partners. Their site has the exact same look-and-feel as my site. (They copied my CSS files. Again! And I had to relent because Dutta sir intervened this time and asked me to “help” them a little.)
Next week Dutta sir will be touring abroad, and Dibyendu sir will be going for training. So a week-long holiday for me. I will be working from home and finish off whatever I have left.
5TH JULY 2013, FRIDAY
The entire site is finished. Today is officially the last day of my internship. I have come to RCC to submit the website. Both Dibyendu Sir and Dutta Sir congratulated me on successfully completing the site. They asked me to submit a report within mid-August. For ‘helping’ her daughter, Dutta Sir gifted me a small trinket he had brought back from his foreign-tour.
14TH JULY 2013, SUNDAY
Internshala sent me a newsletter with a link for the article “Last Day at an Internship: Must Do’s”. Immediately upon reading it, I sent an email to Dutta Sir asking for a recommendation letter. My college had reopened from 8th July, and fifth semester was in full swing. I somehow managed to complete my project report. Next Tuesday I will be going to submit it.
16TH JULY 2013, TUESDAY
Today is the “actual” last day of my internship at ONGC. Dibyendu Sir had still not returned from his training. Dutta Sir greeted me warmly. I submitted my project report – a moderately thick 64 pages of colour-printed A4 pages. My mentor was surprised to find that I had put so much effort in creating it. He said that normally ONGC returns the project report to the intern, as that was the company policy. But since my report was “exceptionally well-written” he would be sending it to the ONGC headquarters at Dehradun for keeping it in their central library.
I was told that my certificate would be sent to my university department. I again reminded Sir about the recommendation letter. He said he would send it to my home via post within a short time.
Priyanka-di was alone today. She thanked me profusely for letting her copy my code. I was given a mini treat by both father and daughter at a nearby confectionery. After the treat, they offered me a ride and dropped me near my house.
* To make up for the ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ experience, milady and myself went for a morning show of the super-flop ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana 2’. As expected, the hall was deserted except for the two of us. But what happened afterwards isn’t a part of my internship experience!
** I did not use any real names. All other details are correct.
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