Friday, September 26, 2008


Scene 1: 1998, in a small town in India
Father to Son: Have you got the application form for B. Sc in the National College, make sure that you apply on time, well before the last date. Also remember to get the application for the PSC examination coming up for UD Clerks examination.
Wife to husband: I have been asking to repair this TV. This black & white TV has been giving blurred pictures over the past one week. Please call the mechanic today.
Son to mother: Mom, I am going for tuition. I will be late as I have to replace the cycle’s bell, and also have to get groceries from Ramu’s store.

Scene 2: July 23, 2008. The same family, relocated to the nearest metro.
Son to Dad: I will be reaching San Joe by 3rd, when you and mom reach there by 20th, I will arrange to pick you up, as I will be traveling to New York. I will get my apartment furnished and cleaned by the time you come.
Dad to son: Ok, but have your friend agreed to take care of the car till we are back? Also we have to talk to the Apartment owners association as we will not be here for 6 months.
Mom: I am yet to get the masalas and pickles that we have to take. Also I have spoken to Mrs. Sharma about the alliance for our son. As their daughter is also working in the nearby city, may be we can have our son meet her when we are there. We can also see and talk to her. I want him to get married by this year.

It might get into the dictionary, may be. A term used in US, to convey that the jobs there have been cut, and moved to India. Many there lost jobs, many here got jobs. The difference - the cost to the companies. The companies put it as the intellectual capital available, the quality of work, and the list goes on. ‘Bangalored’ is a term used in US, in a slight negative manner to indicate the job cuts there, which still keep happening. Now, I would like to know how this term impacted India.

If you look at a bigger picture, the Indian family has got transformed tremendously over the last decade. I remember, 10 years back, same time, nobody (I mean the ām Junta) had not heard about Infosys or TCS or Satyam. The term software was just taking the rounds. Computer languages were just being introduced. Well, it was there, but now it was getting more popularized. Youth who just passed out of college, who did not manage to get into a PSU or Government job, students who wanted to know more about computers (since from somewhere they had heard that Computers is the next big thing), all joined for these courses. Admission to Engineering which was considered a tough stream till early 1990s were getting (at least, feeling) simpler, with more and more colleges opening up.

Come 1999, and the software bubble burst. The few IT companies which had recruited some graduates delayed their joining; many IT professionals lost their jobs. But to the common Indian it did not make a difference. Silently he was getting ready for the next joy ride. Indian companies, by then had learnt the marketing techniques (projecting the cost factor to clients, and projecting the quality factor back home) which got them more and more business. A wave struck the IT sector in India, which was very dormant till then. Companies started recruiting heavily. Anybody from an engineering college could get into some IT company. And what it did to the āām Junta in a few years….

The early movers in IT got experience, moved up, fresh people were recruited heavily. Indian IT firms got more and more clients, in turn more and more money, in turn wanted more and more employees. Students were pushed, pressurized, brain-washed, compelled by parents, friends, relatives, ‘well-wishers’ to take up engineering, and if they were not able to get into any engineering college, to take up courses in IT from private institutes which advertised a pan-India presence and boasted about placements.

IT was tempting for the middle-class crowd, a relatively high pay packet which was not offered by any other sector for their experience, seemingly good working atmosphere (when compared to some engineering companies, in mechanical, civil or electrical streams). The IT crowd got bigger and richer. Many of them got chance to go ‘On-site’ (read US & money-minting). This economic growth of the IT crowd and IT companies pole-vaulted them into the top slots.

IT companies touched the US$ 1Bn mark in record time, which no other company in other sector could dream of. IT crowd (the so called middle-class Indian) could afford and started buying things which they could not even dream of a few years back. They bought house/houses, car/cars. Marriage market value of ‘Software Professional’ sore high touching unimaginable levels. The lifestyle of middle-class household began to change. The pressure on the students started increasing to join Engineering, or any IT company. They could not choose for a finance stream or a science stream of their choice. IT and Software became more popular terms than politics and corruption. Infosys and TCS become the topic of conversation among the parents and superseded the priority the PSUs had.

Money started flowing, and the value of money came down. The upper-class remained rich, the middle-class became richer, the poor became poorer. The economically weaker section was the worst hit due to this change in lifestyle. They could not afford things since inflation was sky high. The other sections managed to live through.

The BPO story is also similar. But the difference is that it was seen as less glamorous as compared to the IT scene. If you really look at the IT and BPO sector, both are same. It is just that the nature of work is different and skill sets required to do that job is different. Both jobs came from US or other regions. Both are outsourced. No difference. Just that the clients give more money to Indian companies for IT work than BPO work, which in turn results in more salary for IT guy then a BPO guy. Otherwise it’s all same.

I don’t know how this will go on or what is going to be the end. People have lost interest in other fields like R&D in Science, Economics, and Statistics, to name a few. Students who take jobs in those streams are looked down upon. Recently I happened to see a few programs in Discovery channel where a few of the people interviewed had jobs like ‘Elephant Researcher’, ‘Wildlife Activist and Photographer, ‘Wildlife artist’. The social scenario in India does not allow an Indian to take up jobs like these and follow their passion, their interests. Students are taught art forms like music and dance to add market value to them, not because they have passion for that. Nobody is bothered to develop artistic talents in them, all are in a rat race to gain, I don’t know what. May be money, power, social status, fame.

This is what Bangalored has done to India, both good and bad. But I hope someday in future the people realize what they have lost and have been losing in the process, and work towards restoring the Indian culture, to respect and value each individual irrespective of his background, financial status, job, position. Some day it will happen.