Saturday, June 27, 2009

Social Imbalance: How much is IT industry responsible

Two facts, radically opposite to each other have only one in common, just the mere figure. The amount, I pay as rent per month is the same amount earned by one of my close relative holding a decent post in West Bengal govt, not to miss he is 6 years older than me in terms of professional experience. I am supporting my family and so is he and he has two kids, too. Socially also we don’t have hell and heaven status difference. There are for facts, things which I can afford, if need be but he may not.

For those, who are finding it unfair to compare a Govt. employee to an “IT” professional, let's consider one of the topper from either of Electrical/Mechanical/Production engineering dept. (I will tell you later why i am handpicking someone particularly from these backgrounds) from any reputed engg. college, who had chosen not to join the IT industry like the rest of us and went to one of the organization who does their respective core departmental work. I am sure, in most cases one working in those organization having same experience does not earn as much an IT guy does with the same work experience working in an equally good S/W company. I have not even considered millions of other people, who are from different professions and many of them, without earning even closer to what an IT professional does, are still happy in life. And not to forget, there is not much difference in talent between a student from ETCE/CS background and the one from the other backgrounds I mentioned above, the later ones might have just missed answering a question worth only 2 marks in the engineering entrance exam, which is the starting point for the ultimate race called life.

Have you ever thought of the difference of lifestyle between these two categories of people, the "IT"ans and the "rest". I am sure getting loan in time of need is not that easy for the "rest", they don't get frequent calls for credit cards; they don't dine out at McDs/Subway that frequently, watching a movie in a multiplex is still a luxury for them. And even if I turn a blind eye to these trivial incidents pretending as if there is no wrong doing because they don't earn so they don't get to spend, simple!!! But could we still be ignorant to the problems they face when it comes to basic amenities. Haven’t you realized the primary criteria to get a house for rent in any city today has to be your IT background, where will the “rest” survive? To have your own flat before you are even 30 is not only a dream for them, it is beyond that.

I sincerely agree and appreciate the economic growth IT has brought to India and to the world in larger context, it has obviously created a greater job opportunity for so many people, it has given that financial independence to the Indian youth, specially to the young women which was non-existent before. But have we ever thought how many of the IT projects are actually making our life better? What good is it doing to people’s cause? I don’t find too many assertive answers there & I don’t seem to have enough reasons to be optimistic. There is a growing tendency to categorize us as being “IT” people. Even though this “IT” tag is working in our favor today, is actually isolating us from the rest of the society and that is not good, even dangerous.

Even though it is not prominent today, but is not our progress and development in the areas of science and technology getting affected because most of the top brains are opting for engineering as getting an engineering degree is the easiest choice today to get a job and that too in the earliest stage possible in your life. A mediocre student, who would have otherwise struggled for his entire life to to survive, is leading a comfortable life whereas a brilliant Ph.D student from science background is not even making his living before 30, life is unfair correct? Some would say what’s wrong if IT is helping us to get better life which no one else could, my argument would be no one should enjoy what he is not worth of. How would a bright young be encouraged to opt for science/literature, when there are easier and probably better (at least in monetary terms) career opportunity in front. Would we still be able to see same quality and quantity of contribution in the fields of science and literature 10 years down the line compared to what we have today and what we had 10 years back?

During school days, I dreamt about getting that dream job of an IT engineer, wearing suit boot, working in an AC office, traveling all over the world, a pay cheque to start which was even more than what my father got at the time of his retirement. But today I feel I am suffering from lost identity. Barring your own circle consisting of friends/colleagues mostly from the same industry, who recognizes your position to its true value, for the rest of the society, you are just an “IT” guy, no matter what you do, which organization you work for and not even what education background you have. Anyway, it was my choice, and even though I failed to envisage the bigger world, I shouldn’t complain.

Neither do I have any ill feeling towards the IT industry nor do I question the talent of all those working in this industry. I am concerned about the social equilibrium getting misbalanced; I am worried about the difference getting larger between “us” and “them”; I am even horrified just to think how our life would be in future without any good book to read, without any soothing music to listen. I hope I am exaggerating the fact and I am proven wrong. I would be the happiest of all then.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Turning point of my life

I have been thinking for quite some time as what should I write in my very first blog. Should it be something related to my profession, or rather should it be something personal to me. As a human being, I have always listened to my heart than to my brain whenever I am in double mind and I chose to follow the same protocol here, too. I have finally decided to write something which is very close to my heart, an incident which I consider to be the turning point of my life.

I was in 6th standard then. We were a family of four including my parents and my younger sister and living happily in our moderate house. My father was suddenly trasferred to Dhanbad for next 5 years, he would come to meet us but that may be once in a month or even lesser than that. We would not be seeing him everyday leaving for office in the morning and coming home in the evening. As a kid, I always stayed with my parents, so I was not sure how to react when I first heard this. And I did not realize the pain until the day my father left for Dhanbad.

In the afternoon, I was sitting in my study room, trying hard to concentrate on my studies but I was unable to do so. I was trying hard not to cry, at least in front of my mother, but mothers are from a different world. They understand everything, even if you don't tell them. She consoled me, tried to convince me that 5 years is not a big time and it would pass by just like that. And at the end she told me with firm voice "Don't hard and be a gentleman. People should not get an opportunity to point finger at me(to her) and say that I could not do your upbringing properly because your father was away from us". I could use her words within quotes as these words still keep mumbling in my ears.

That was it for me.I might not have understood everything she said at that time, but later when I came to my room and was going through those words again and again in my mind, I gradually came to realize what was actually meant. Of all the expectations she had from me, I was very clear on one thing from that day onwards that I should never let my parents down, be it whatever. Even today whenever I find my self at the cross road of good and bad, I try to remind me those words of her and follow the right path.

And as a student, I was mediocre. My target in the school exam used to be to be among the top 20-25. I never thought of being in that "Top 10" as I never thought myself that talented and I kind of accepted it. Life was going like this for me until the Durga puja came and we all went to Dhanbad to stay with my father for the next one month. As I had nothing to do, no friend to play with, nowhere to go, all my time which earlier was spent in activities other than studies, is now being spent only in studies and surprisingly I did not find studying to be boring , rather it was interesting ( I know lot of eyebrows would be raised, but this is fact). I used to go to a neighbour's house to see the cricket matches being played in Sharjah and Aquib javed did that infamous hat-trick, I remember I came home crying and never went to their house again. I think it was blessing in disguise, that I did not waste any more time in watching cricket and concentrated completely on my studies.

As a result, I was among the top ten (precisely 7th) in annual exam for 6th standard and I never looked back. Earlier my target used to be not to rank below 20-25, now it had become not less than 7th. As I grew and improved further, my target used to also climb with my progress. To many people it would be just "another" story, but to me that one month along with my mother's expectation from me changed everything around me. Had this not happened, I believe I could not come even closer to what I have achieved in my career. And being religious, I had begun to believe whatever GOD does for us, it is for our betterment only, however painful it looks temporarily. Even today, when I go through bad patch in life, I remind myself that my father used to cry so much in those days as he could not bear the unbearable pain of staying away from young kids, but he hardly knew that all his pain is actually making the future of his son. Who knows, may be if I was destined to reach where I am today, I might have reached here by some other means, had my father not been transferred, but I don't know what did not happen and what could have happened. I only know what has happened and that's why I consider this as the "turning point" of my life.
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