Ave, Duci Novo, Similis Duci Seneci

They say the more things change, the more they remain the same.  We’ve crossed the border, if not the Rubicon, but some things are exactly the same as before. Some of us still roam around wearing shawls and windcheaters (and threaten to bring parkas); and some of us keep asking why the air-conditioning is turned off. The amount of time it takes people to reach office has apparently gone up by anything between half an hour to forty minutes, but the moment of arrival or departure for most people has barely changed by four minutes here and there. And despite having everyone on the same floor, some people are never to be found at those ‘Stop Press’ moments!


But there are some things that we did leave behind, when we left the old (dis)Functional Industrial Area. There are those who have called 482/483 fie a quirky office; but quirky doesn’t begin to describe it really.  


When an office occupies two buildings, getting lost is almost inevitable. An ex-colleague wandered into a Very Important Person’s office on her first day at work because she forgot which floor her department was on. She was most courteously redirected of course, but was thereafter so embarrassed that she soon moved to a different continent.


Another colleague would regularly climb down to the basement, and instead of turning right to enter the hr domain, would walk straight on and only stop when she realised that she had reached the absolute nether regions of the office (read, Finance).


From the reception on the ground floor, it was perfectly possible to spot someone on the first floor, but since the first floor connected to both buildings, it was equally possible that said person would have utterly vanished by the time one toiled up that inordinately steep flight of stairs.


Oh yes, avoiding someone you didn’t want to meet was only too easy in that labyrinth. Finding conference rooms, however, could be more exciting than the quest for the Holy Grail; especially as people who had been there for ages often gave absolute new-comers directions like, ‘Oh X hall is in the basement’, and conveniently forgot to mention that they meant the basement of the other building.


As I said, quirky doesn’t cover everything that office was. For example, the thing I miss the most about the old place is the (wash)room on the roof.  On our floor, there was just one washroom. And to get to it, one had to step out onto the terrace and take a dozen steps or so. I know this may not sound eccentric, or exciting, but consider this. If it was a summer afternoon, the terrace would be a cosy 40°C; if it was a winter evening, then there was a nip in the air which was not quite pleasant; and if it happened to be raining, well, the choices ranged from being patient to making a dash for it. There is this to be said for the new office—with all its well-planned amenities, it does seem unlikely that I’ll ever need an umbrella to visit the loo.  


But this office has its own share of…umm…interesting features. For one thing, one mustn’t forget that this is a green building, which the old one wasn’t. Which is a surprising claim in a way because the old office had veritable hanging gardens whereas the only significant greenery on these premises is the grass. And yes, the power generators are painted a deep green. But if they say it’s a green building, who am I to argue?


And of course there’s the daily excitement in the parking lot. In the old office, we had a solitary, rather benign looking parking attendant. He took the keys from one in the morning, with a look of calm assurance, and when he returned the keys in the evening, you knew your car had been in safe hands. Here there’s a whole fleet of parking attendants whose single-minded devotion to their duty would have been most touching, were it not for the fact that their duty consists of telling people to move their cars one foot to the right, or three inches to the left. The idea of course is that if one maneouvers one’s car three-quarters of an inch to the left, they will be able to provide parking space for the people in the other offices in the building. Did you ask, what people? Never mind.


These days there’s the added pleasure of being told, after one has wooshed into an empty parking space that one will jolly well have to woosh out and park the car in reverse. Apparently the building will lose its coveted green status unless every car in the parking lot faces the same direction. And if you try pointing at another car which is also parked illegally, as it were, you will, in all likelihood, be told that the driver is a novice who doesn’t know how to reverse his car. Oh, how glibly they perjure their souls for the sake of beautifying a parking lot!


But of course the latest happy news is that in a short while the little antics of our parking lot attendants will cease to matter to many people in the office because they won’t be parking their cars on the premises at all.


There are a couple of things about this new office which are really quite amusing, if you have the right perspective, of course. For one thing, the work stations are perfectly designed for a bpo, with enough space for a desktop (with the keyboard) and a phone. Never mind the editors; they just imagine that they need a lot of space for half a dozen reference books and four page proofs. Who needs proofs and reference books anyway? And now of course there’s this. So first we have the office in a place where the only reasonable means of transport is a car, and then we don’t have a place to park said car. Nice planning.


Delirium, once Delight


Post script: I can never resist the chance to tell a story; no matter how indirectly related it may be. When I was in college, I spent two years in the same classroom. No, I didn’t skip a year; my class refused to move out of the room. The third year, we were forcibly shunted out. And a professor philosophically (and not a little irritably) told us, ‘A classroom isn’t made up of four walls and benches, it’s about the people d****t!’ This post wasn’t about the new office at all; it was a long-overdue elegy to a place I was before.

World Environment Day 2009 - "Your Planet Needs You - UNite to Combat Climate Change"

World Environment Day which is a world-famous event was founded by the UN General Assembly in 1972. Nearly, 100 nations around the globe celebrate this event. This event commemorates every year on June 5th.

The World Environment Day Celebrations will be held on Friday, June 5, 2009.

Hosted in Mexico on 5th June, 2009 World Environment Day theme is 'Your Planet Needs You-UNite to Combat Climate Change'. Mexico is one of the major partners of UNEP's Billion Tree Campaign.

Everyone must fight with weather change to protect flora and fauna.

The main theme of celebrating the World Environment Day is “Reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect flora and fauna, and save the Earth”.

All the People, government and non-government authorities, societies and young groups, commerce and trade, the media and other organizations will conduct many social activities such as cleaning campaigns, tree plantation, rallies, bicycle parades, green shows, essay writing and photo exhibition competitions in schools, and recycling processes to renovate their commitments to protect the environment and society.

Pearson TERI environment Day Events

Pearson Longman in collaboration with TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute), a non profit organization for environment awareness in India are celebrating this day by organize Environment day event for School kids like Green Quiz and Painting competition at Oxford Bookstore Statesman House Connaught Place 148 Barakhamba Road New Delhi and Odyssey, Shipra Mall, Indirapuram, Ghaziabad on Friday 5 th June 2009. We will also display and promote the Environment related TERI Green Books which deals with various environment issues like climate change, greenhouse, pollution, waste recycle and natural disasters like floods and Volcanoes.

The new office

I was hoping to get more reactions to our contest on the new office, but right now there are only two entries, so it looks like I will have to toss a coin to see whether it's Gargi or Gitesh..unless some of you want to try your hand over the next couple of weeks.

Here are my thoughts about the new office:

1. I hate the commute. I knew it would be longer than Patparganj, but its added more time than I thought. But I am hoping that within a year or so, with the widening of NH24 and with a Metro station planned 400m from the office, it will be a different story.

2. I love having everyone on one floor. I can walk around and see everyone, and figure out what's going on in all parts of the company. Since practically everything I do is with other people, just a quick walk around the central block reminds me of things I may have forgotten to do, simply since I see the people I have to do it with.

3. I think having everyone together has to be good for internal communication. Anindo was complaining the other day (only half in jest) that the workload on his team has gone up. Since they are in plain sight, they get more queries and more issues that need resolution than before. If that is true, and it happens across our departments, this will be fantastic.

4. I think we can do a bit more for having fun, and improving communication. Ranjani is organising a notice board in the Bunker, where apart from official stuff you can post individual notices (if you need a house mate or are selling a car) and Dipankar is trying to arrange a table tennis table in our unused expansion area.

The one area which still seems very under utilised is the informal breakaway in the midst of all the editors (the purple chair place). Any thoughts on what we should do with it? Being patient is always an option!

Vivek Govil
Sent from BlackBerry® on Airtel

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This blog is for all employees of Pearson in India . We hope to share updates - both personal and professional - from the worlds of education and publishing.