Many of the early TASC team members have fond memories of our Santacruz office. Some of the reasons they talk about include:
- It was cozy and homely. That it was, because it was so small. 🙂
- It had some very nice food places around; Kandoi Haribhai Damodar, Yoko’s Sizzlers, Rama’s Sweets, the Pani Puri-walla round the corner, the moong bhajjiya walla at Santacruz station, …
- It was very accessible from Santacruz railway station.
- and and and…
While the team enjoyed the space afforded to them by the Andheri office that we moved into later, every now and then they get very nostalgic about the Santacruz office.
We had some great times there! What say, Swapna and Seema? 🙂
The Santacruz office was our first “official” office. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we began operations in a makeshift beauty-parlour-converted-to-office. We were there for about 6 months, before we began searching for an office.
The first step was to find an estate agent. So we looked up the newspaper classifieds and met a few. The one we finally worked with (and the one we continue to rely on for office space even now) is Mani Chabbra of Horizon Consultants. He and his partner Rakesh Singh were unfazed by the very specific requirements we had or by our limited budget.
When we explored many a commercial real-estate option but none would meet our requirements; most of the time because of the exorbitant rents as well as rent escalations that the landlords were requesting over the tenure of the lease agreement.
This was at the height of the dot-com boom and office rentals in Mumbai, among the highest in the world, were at new highs.
Initially, there was no sense of urgency about the search. We saw about an office a week, then I fell ill for about 6 weeks and my business partner went about the search alone, then we were busy finishing up our first technical writing contract and did not have the time, and and and…
However, at the same time we were negotiating for our first training contract and then there was a sudden sense of urgency. We needed an office space to conduct the training you see. 🙂
By this time, Mani had started to think out of the box and was showing us large garages or apartments that had been/could be converted to offices. Garages wouldn’t do (they were too small) and so we settled on looking at apartments. The one we liked was a spacious one-bedroom apartment in Khira Nagar, Santacruz.
The first meeting to discuss terms and conditions involved the patriarch of the family that owned the flat, his wife, his son & daughter-in-law, and his daughter & son-in-law. One our side were me, Suvarna, and Mani. What was to be a 30-minute meeting went on for a couple of hours, but we could not reach an agreement. 😦 But Mani worked his magic the next day and we got the office we wanted.
We got possession of the place within 15 days and started converting it to an office; complete with a kitchenette, training room, a cabin for us business partners, and a nook for the receptionist-cum-accountant-cum-office-manager.
Seema should have fond memories of this nook. She spent several years in that nook. 🙂
We had just about 6 weeks to complete the renovation before the training started. But our trusted team of Bablu Bhaiyya, the general contractor; Shindeji, the electrician; and Mevalalji, the painter; had it ready in 4 weeks. As soon as they finished, in came the team from Ark Computers led by Rizwan Khan and Navid Zakaria to set up the networking and computing infrastructure in a day.
All these people and their teams remain partners in our success to this day!
We were in that office for about a decade and it was the site of many a success. 🙂