I’m from a remote village about five hours from Udaipur, not far from Bhilwara. My father used to farm. We had cows. The financial side of life was precarious; my mother worked hard to earn by offering tailoring skills to other villagers, but it was a daily balancing act to get by. The village was isolated and poorly served, and electricity was intermittent. But we did have a government school, and there I met Rekha ma’am, who inspired us with her news about life beyond the village. She mentored us about all the options open to us in life, if we worked hard to improve ourselves. When I was 17, to pay for my 12th class studies, I started offering tuition classes at home. It wasn’t long before I was running classes for fifteen youngsters every night. Their families also had little money and I earned ₹ 750 a month. It was also my duty to milk the cows each morning and evening.
I had a fire in me to improve my chances in life and moved to live with my maternal uncle’s family in Udaipur, took a part-time job as an office sales-assistant, and funded myself through a BA. Meanwhile I floated my CV on an online portal, to keep options open. During that period, Lakshita from Secure HR called twice to discuss possible roles here. I didn’t have a technical background, I had zero English and I’d never even heard of Secure before. Frankly I didn’t give her calls too much thought. When Lakshita called a third time, this time to tell me about a six-month trainee position, and asked me to please apply, explaining that I would be given every opportunity to learn and improve my skills with Secure, I decided I could at least try.
I arrived for my day-long interview at 8.30am (one hour early). People at the security-gate were remarkably courteous and warm. I watched the rush of Semsites arriving and felt the positive atmosphere. My first task was to observe Moksha as she handled the reception desk for some hours. I noticed a senior-looking fellow coming and going several times. Eventually he stopped and asked Moksha why I was sitting there for so long; had I been offered water, did I need any support? Moksha explained my interview was in process. His next question was to me: are you eighteen? Twenty I replied, and satisfied, he went on his way. Moksha explained he was VP of Quality. What is VP, I asked.
At lunch time I was shown to the canteen (food impressed me). On the way, I noticed Rada-ji’s place and asked about it. I made a quick prayer and promised to use my first salary to offer prasad, if given the chance. At 2.30pm I was interviewed formally by Mukesh sir, Head of Admin at that time. The art work on the walls of the corporate wing, and the design and the cleanliness, made me wonder – was I in fact in a hotel! After the first few words of introduction, I’d exhausted my knowledge of English and switched to Hindi. But Mukesh sir wasn’t having it, we switched back to English, and he corrected me continuously as I tried my best to make a little sense.
Somehow the people at Secure saw my potential, and before long I was sitting at reception next to Moksha, fielding calls. I had to learn a lot extremely quickly – such as how to understand and converse with British, Australian and Swedish colleagues. Under Moksha’s guidance, I listened to You-tube videos and English radio programmes every night. After learning the ropes on reception, and being groomed carefully by the attentive admin team, who offered constant feedback for my growth, I found myself dreaming about a future role in HR. I had observed HR activities in an earlier organisation, and knew it would suit me. I decided to pursue a post-graduate degree in HR alongside my reception duties. Mukesh sir did everything he could to provide flexibility, so I could manage full-time work alongside my studies. Today I love my job in HR. I find it a complete pleasure to bring new people on board and to track their development. My peers and seniors in HR and my friends at Secure are family.
One day recently my father, who continues to live in the village near Bhilwara, gave me a call. News had finally reached him about this company called Secure. Earlier he wasn’t much convinced of my progress. Finally he has understood, his son has actually succeeded in landing himself a comfortable position. I am 26 and got married to the love of my life this year.