Wednesday, June 13, 2007

my first night shift

I was working in the Dye Lab those days. One of our night shift Lab Assistants resigned and hence I was asked to replace him. I accepted the task because I had heard a lot about the night shifts in production floor. Ours was a continuous dyeing and finishing plant and extra-ordinary things was expected any time during the night in the absence of resources and HODs. Anyway, that night I took my bike and started from home at 11.10 pm. The night shift started from 12.

Arvind Mills Bottomweights Plant (Trousers Division) is located at Kalol, some 25 km from the Satellite area where I lived. One has to go through a forest area and few small villages to reach the factory. That night I crossed the forests, for the first time, in pitch darkness. It was some experience. My plant looked like a glittering palace from far away.

As I entered my plant and punched my card, some of my collegues welcomed me. They told me that its my 'Suhaagraat' and I should give a party. The 'party' consisted of snacks worth 15-20 rs bought from the vendor who supplied us the 2 am tea.

I took charge from the lab assistant of the second shift and completed my activities within 40 min. Vijay Bhai, my collegue, told me that now I am free to roam or sleep or whatever, till 7 am when we would have to wind-up and hand over the charge to first shift guys. That was a shock since in day shift, one had to improvise work so as to look busy in front of the Boss.

My boss, Smarita, was a strong lady and it amazed me even now that how she managed to remain deplomatically cordial with each of the other department heads. In any production unit, inter-department friction is unavoidable and even necessary. Being the only woman on the production floor, she had the guts to even challenge the operations people.

Coming back to that first night, as I walked to the Pad-batch dyeing area, I found some disturbance. The entire floor was filled with water as some pipe had leaked. The dye incharge assured me this is nothing new and I will get used to such scenes in next few days.

The major events in night shift were the tea at 2 am and 6 am and the relieving exercise at 5 am. We had a small lake at our disposal for this purpose. From 7 to 8 am, we had hectic hours when we prepared reports for the night and kept samples in place.

In later months, I worked in other departments and even handled an entire department. Yet the charm of night shift never ended. Sleeping on a comfortable sofa and writing this blog, I can't believe I have spent months of nights in the great school of Arvind Mills Ltd.

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