Pune's super five
(From left) Fahim Kamboo, Wasim Kamboo, Alishan Akbar Khan, Yasmeen Kamboo and Yasmin Alishan Khan
Thus started Project Pune. "It was a big decision for my parents to shift to Pune," says Fahim. Within the next three months, his mother, Yasmeen Kamboo, got an appointment letter from EXL on her first day in Pune and his father, too, got a job at WNS in the same month (though he has his own start-up now).
Fahim's sister Sana also managed to secure a job at Tata SerWizSol a month later (she is now married and works in EXL Noida).
Yasmin Alishan Khan, Alishan's wife, joined the company in 2005 and Wasim, Fahim's brother, joined the industry a year later. Rohit Kapoor, COO & Co-founder, EXL, says: "Families working together are the best endorsements of an organisation's work culture and work practices."
This family vouches for it.
Brothers in arms
|Chandra Shekhar (left) and Naveen Kumar, Process Executives|
"We rarely get to meet either at home or even at work," says Naveen. While Naveen works a US shift that lasts from 6.30 p.m. to 3.30 a.m., his younger brother works the UK shift, which starts from around 3 in the afternoon.
While parents back in Nanjangud, a small town south of Mysore, have been pushing Naveen to the relative comforts of day shift, that appears remote for the moment, he says.
In sync at work
Amar Jain, Pankaj Jain (in front), and Rachna Chhabra
|Deborah Ephraim (foreground), and Drusilla Ephraim|
Deborah has been working in the industry for more than four years while the younger Drussila has a longer six-year experience in the industry.
They live with their father, an ex-Air Force personnel-turned-homemaker. He looks after the house all week but rests on the weekends when the sisters take up cooking, cleaning and feeding the fish. "I like the fact that I can discuss everything with my sister and she understands it completely, being from the same industry," says Deborah. "We both like what we do," chips in Drusilla.
Being in the same industry has driven them to bond big time. "We watch latest movies at home and play indoor games and when we are not doing anything, we just sit and talk," says Drusilla. Their latest project at home? Making their father net savvy enough so that he can stay in touch with his mother living in Chennai, who is already a pro at e-mails and video chats.
All three of them live in the same city of Hyderabad and work for the same BPO company, 24/7 Customer.
They even share a common designation: Executive (Customer Service). Currently undergoing training in the organisation that they joined in November 2007, they happen to share a similar floor and shift (the last two luxuries are likely to change soon as they finish their training and, as they say, "hit the floor").
And the similarities don't end there. All three come from a teaching background and each has degrees in BEd and MA. BPO scored over a career in education as "there is better compensation and the incentives are very attractive," says Gwenderlin.
For the eldest Jennifer, the charm lies in knowing new people. "One is able to catch up with the pace of the new generation as well," she says. Or as the youngest of the sisters Muriel pitches in: "Merit is rewarded here." The three sisters share a similar accent and sound alike on phone but then, it is not an acquired skill but a natural one. That may only prove to be an added asset in this industry.
The BPO match
Like any other BPO couple, they met here and got married. Harpriya joined HCL two-and-a-half years ago, met Christopher a few months later and got married to him last year.
Last year was also the time when Harpriya's younger sister Manpriya joined the company in a similar profile.
A doting Christopher is at pains to explain how despite different timings at work, they try to spend as much time with each other as possible. "I make sure to spend some quality time with Harpriya and be there together at least for breakfast and dinner," he says.
For their part, the sisters work in different buildings and live in different houses but the weekends are set aside for family bonding.
At 44, she looks too young to be the mother of a 20-year old, but Monica Charan is not bothered.
Neither is she bugged by the fact that the colleagues of her son Noel call her by name. Noel doesn't mind it, too.
After all, both work in the same company. Monica joined HCL in February 2005 after a 13-year stint with an export house. "I knew people at my age were also going in for such jobs. I applied and got through," she says. A few IJP's (internal job promotions) later, Monica is now an Office Assistant. When Noel decided to join the industry in December 2006, the doting mother was all for it. "I had to take a year off in college and was getting very restless and bored.
That's when my mom advised me to work in a BPO outfit so that I don't waste any more time," Noel says candidly. He joined HCL in December 2006 and now it's a little more than just-spending-your-free-time for Noel, who is now an Advisor at HCL. "He is more responsible now and I am proud to say a workaholic too," his mother says. The schedules go a bit haywire but neither is complaining. Apart from the Sunday church visit and the occasional lunches on the weekends, they hardly get to spend much time together but that is not a problem since most of the days they bump into each other often-at office. "If not, there are colleagues who keep us updated about each other's whereabouts," jokes Monica. So, has life changed for her in the last three years? "I have made lots of new friends.
It's not easy being a single parent, but I don't get conscious any more," she says. What makes her conscious is the odd day when she wears western wear to office because "I get so many calls complimenting me." And that's only driving her to experiment with clothes even more.
Additional reporting by E. Kumar Sharma and Rahul Sachitanand