Friday, January 11, 2013

The blue pill - 5

(This is the fifth part of the short story The Blue Pill. You can find the entire story here.)

Dr. Roy had been to Los Angeles before but had never actually stayed there as a resident. Things were very, very different from his Kolkata home. In a few weeks the Roys settled into their home. Dr. Roy took a month off before he would join Babylon officially. Of course, he continued his work from home, working on the models, working on papers and thinking a lot about how he would like to take things forward on the device within Babylon.

Dr. Roy had ensured that most of his old team was also absorbed by Babylon. This was in the company's interest as well because having the same team would make sure that work on the device did not slow down. In all, eight people other than Dr. Roy joined Babylon. They would all join about a week after Dr. Roy.

The day of joining finally came. Dr. Roy drove down to the Babylon's R&D center right next to the building that housed the headquarters. He was welcomed warmly by Kanwal Nambiar who had also moved to Babylon's headquarters. Nambiar took Dr. Roy to his office and asked him to settle down. He said the CEO wanted to meet with him in about an hour.

Dr. Roy had heard a lot about Babylon's CEO. He had never met him though. Karl Torrance was a flamboyant person who changed the culture of the company from being very serious and matter-of-fact to one where having fun at work was encouraged. Torrance believed that if employees had fun at work, they would be more productive and especially in a heath-care company, the joy would actually rub off on patients as well who would associate the company with a place where they could forget their problems and be with people who are smiling.

When Dr. Roy was led into the CEO's room, he was quite surprised. Despite all he'd heard, he did not expect the CEO to be so young and clad in a T-Shirt and jeans. The men shook hands and Torrance asked Dr. Roy to sit.

"Pleasure to meet you, Dr. Roy!"

"Good morning Mr. Torrance!"

"Karl, just Karl, Dr. Roy."

"Sure, Karl!"

"Have you settled down into your new place?"

"Mostly. Was a little difficult. I was so used to my Indian ways! It will take a little more time to feel completely at home."

"I can totally imagine!"

They chatted about the difference in the way Indian and American medical industries operate, about how politicians are the same irrespective of where you are and about the differences in taxation laws.

Torrance then said, "I will be spending a lot of time with you Dr. Roy. As you can imagine, the work that you are doing is extremely important for us. It is a high priority item for me and let us work together to make sure we take it to its logical conclusion."

"Yes, definitely!"

The meeting ended. Dr. Roy was very happy with the meeting. He walked back to his office mulling about how his life had changed so much recently. He went back to the time he had come across the information about the new material that was engineered which he finally used in his device that actually made most of this possible. He thought about the challenges he faced in doing anything, the amount of money required to do anything meaningful. He shook his head in disbelief reminiscing all the pain he had been through trying to develop the device. He was very clear. He would not have been able to bring this device to market had it not been for a third party like Babylon.

One thing that he could not figure out was - why had Planet Renal not reached out to him at all? Was it because they had already bought something else recently?

Anyway, he was happy the way things had begun and was all excited about getting to work on the project again. In a week his team would join and he could get kicking right away!

No comments: