It was nearly 20 years ago when I was about to enter my college, that I spent two months working as a ‘Door-To-Door’ sales canvasser selling a ‘6-month-subscription’ offer for a local English newspaper in my hometown – Pune, India. It was a part-time job for 4 hours in the evenings (the Decision Maker would be at home to write the cheque) and I spent hours cycling around as we targeted specific localities in the city.
I was paid a princely sum of INR 1200 as my monthly salary and earned INR 600 -800 as incentive. (1 USD was about INR 30 in those days).
I used to maintain a diary even in those days and so want to narrate some of the fun & ‘bitter-sweet’ memories that I have of my first job.
I had a flat cycle tyre today and a friend dropped me to a customer’s place. It was rather late and he could not wait for me to complete my work. His parting advice was, ‘Don’t worry – just hitchhike.’ I decided to try my luck and saw a bike approach.On account of the bright headlight I could only see the rider in the shadow and did not know that a young girl was driving it. It was a unique predicament and I started to apologize for having stopped her. To my surprise she just gave a shrug and asked me to hop on. Well that’s a modern Lady for you. I thanked her profusely as she dropped me to my ‘Meeting Spot’. I told Bhandari about my unique experience and we had a hearty laugh about it.
Met a Doctor who liked my presentation and asked me to come back later when he had finished with his patients. I returned and we completed the formalities. He realized that he had left his cheque book in his car. He went to fetch it. By the time he returned a few patients had arrived. I gave him a smile and said that I will wait. He took a while to finish. He called me in and ordered for a round of Coffee. It is nice to meet someone who is so courteous and polite – quite often Salesman were not accorded much respect. When we concluded the deal, he gave me a referral as well. He end it on a great note saying that things will often work out well if we learn to respect each other’s priorities.
Shaunit is our star campaigner – by nature he is very gregarious and just loves the challenge of winning a competition.He is a fun guy as well and cheers up the team with his antics. Like today he went to a home where a religious Puja was in progress. Wanting to make a good impression he prostrated elaborately in front of the deity. And pop came out his Cigarette packet. He maintained a straight face and quietly retrieved the same. He then narrates another anecdote, ‘He once entered a house where things were a bit helter-skelter. He learnt that they were trying to catch a Frog that had escaped from the collection being maintained by a girl who was a wild-life enthusiast. Not to be outdone he joined them in their effort and they finally cornered the Frog.’
Met a young working couple who are Engineers and have just moved into Pune. They have joined an IT company and want to know about the city. I gave them a 5 minutes presentation of the paper and its various supplements and special offers for the readers. They listen quietly and wait for me to finish. They exchange a quick glance and agree to take the offer. I do the paper work and wonder why they are so quiet. Finally the husband shyly let on that they have studied in a vernacular medium and cannot converse fluently in English. They like the way I can talk so well even while I am still to enter a college and feel that the developing a habit to read the English paper may help them improve as well. I expressed my gratitude and wished them well. Fluency in English is indeed a great asset and for once I was thankful that I had it.