Tuesday, January 27, 2009

India... Developing?

Let me start this post with a disclaimer. This post comes from an ignorant Indian, who barely knows about Indian history, who barely understands Indian culture, who barely follows Indian politics and in short, who has barely looked outside his own life. However, I am an observer and some things did catch my eye, and being a human being, just like you, I have every right to judge my fellow beings.


People across the globe are crying about how work is getting outsourced and how they are losing their jobs and money to Indians. We are boasting about the progress we have made and our rapid economic growth and our glorifying and booming IT sector. Then there is a disappointed, disheartened and to quite an extent, disgusted me!

I have been quitting jobs as though I am some special being, who is so much in demand that I shouldn't worry even one bit about where my next monies will come from. Well, frankly, it is cause I am disgusted with the reality. It is cause I choose to not adapt and become one of them.

The way we work:
1. Set unrealistic deadlines.
2. In order to reach them, collect data from some other website. Morals and ethics were never a part of business anyway. And do we even have principles these days?
3. Take a celebrated site, or an accepted design, collect elements from there, and create your "own" design. Ta-daah! We are creative.
Seriously, it is so pathetic, at one of the places, where I used to work, the "creative" director used to just send me link to some websites with a message "the site should look like this, take all the elements you want from this website". The next place I worked was worse. It is one of those big companies, where the creative director, obviously had a bigger [thieving?] mind. He used to lift the entire website [screenshots, along with the individual elements] and place it in the mail stating "make a webpage using these elements". The fact that he kept winning the "employee of the year" award for 2 straight years left me speechless.

C'mon people, just take a look around. There are no beautiful things here. You tell me one Indian logo which is magnificently designed and has won international praise. One Indian movie, which was so different and artistic in nature, that it went on to win awards. We are supposed IT leaders. Well, one Indian website which has won awards. I am registered on most of the forums and blogs which discuss the best designed websites and give away weekly or monthly awards on the basis of votes. In 3 years, I have just come across 5-7 Indian names which were amongst the nominees on these sites and just 1 website, out of these, which was made by an Indian, living in India. [None of these ever won an award. But to get nominated is itself a huge deal]. Unfortunately, it was his portfolio site and it wasn't made for any corporate. Reason is simple, no Indian corporate will give you more than 2 days to design their websites. Ridiculous! Look at the ancient Indian art, look at ancient sculptures and monuments. Were they built in a day?

I can well imagine the conversation between the project manager and his team-members, if the Taj was to be constructed in this age.

Project Manager [PM]: Build Taj Mahal in 3 days, here is the copy of Pyramids, even they used to bury kings and queens over there, just lift those stones and build an original monument like these Egyptian tombs. It won't take time. We have better technology than people back then, so it's possible.
Lazy Team-member [LTM]: Sir, it's not possible to build the Taj in 3 days, even with the available technology. We'll never get time for testing.
PM: We don't need to test. Look at the Pyramids. They don't have any bugs. If we follow the same procedure, we'll end up making similar original structures of high quality and there won't be any bugs. Besides, look at our technology.
LTM: 3 days is too short. Please talk to the client.
PM: I understand it's a tough schedule. But I talked to our Sales head and he said the client won't understand.
LTM: Sir, it's already 5.30 pm.
PM: I know. I hate to do this to you guys always. But even I am getting jacked you see. We have to deliver this project in 3 days. So guys, let's work together and kick ass. The CEO has promised us a raise if we deliver this in 2 days time. So get on with it. Shah Jahan is a big client, we can't let this contract slip away. Anyway, I have to rush home as my wife is having her in-laws for dinner tonight. I need to buy some alu and gobi.

2 and a half sleepless days later:

LTM: Sir, it's done. Ready to deliver.
PM: Good job. Shah Jahan will be proud. Oh wait, here are a list of minor modifications. Won't take you much long. Good for you, you still have half a day left.
[LTM takes a look at the minor modifications and nearly dies.]
LTM: Sir, this is just not possible. Now you want the monument to look like Qutub Minar! We'll have to completely change the design and code.
PM: I know I should've told you earlier, but I know that skilled and talented people like you won't find this a major hurdle and change the design from Pyramid to Qutub in matter of minutes. It's just geometry anyway. Anyway, I won't waste even a minute of your time now, get on with it. I have to rush home for some urgent work. Wife is demanding chicken pulav for dinner tonight, so I have to get some chicken. You know how tough a life of a husband is, being a husband yourself.
LTM: Sir, even I want to go home early today.
PM: Coolio! Finish off this project and off you go. I won't even ask. Tadaa!

The next day
PM: The Taj is still not ready! You morons! I gave you 3 whole days. Why is it still getting delayed!
LTM: Sir, we found some bugs in the code. There were some mistakes in the calculations.
PM: Arghh! There goes our annual bonus. Get it ready by today evening.

The next day Taj is delivered. 3 days later PM gets list of minor changes from Shah Jahan.
PM: Seems like you didn't do a great job LTM. Client is not happy. Here are his suggestions.
LTM: How much time for this?
PM: 3 hours.
LTM: But everything will change. Now it should look like the Colosseum. It's not possible.
PM: Good. Make it possible in 3 hrs. Shah Jahan is waiting.

5 hours later, Taj gets delivered and 2 months later it meets the dust. PM gets promoted and a raise while the LTM gets fired. No one knows how and why. People blame it on the US policy and recession.


A learned friend of mine, who has keen interest in politics and who is excellent with numbers and other useful information in the field raised a point of how the culture of my/our [Maharashtrian] community is threatened, thanks to some other community's ego. How adamant this "foreign" community is in adapting to Maharashtra and it's language. How we are forced to speak "their" tongue since our school days and how we then start communicating with everyone in "their" language and not "our" language and how only we are forced to adapt and how they lead an easy life, in spite of their adamant nature.
1. Is this so-called "my" culture, so vulnerable and so fragile that some "foreign" community will just sweep it away, to the extent it becomes non-existent?
2. Has it caused any harm to me or anyone for that matter, when I was forced [as he put it] to learn the "other" language? Hasn't it instead, given me an opportunity to learn more about that "other" community, which itself boasts of so many scholars and artists?
3. If someone's ego isn't letting him adapt to another region and it's people and isn't letting him pick up another language, isn't it depriving him of an opportunity to learn something more?
4. Is there really a problem at all? Isn't this confusion just mindless and unnecessary? Is it just me or is it really that our so-called leaders give a damn about our country, our culture and they just intend to instigate people against each other?

He had 2 points:
1. If 10 Maharashtrians are talking and one "outsider" joins them, he'll want them to speak in Hindi, than trying to understand Marathi and adapt. So we speak in Hindi and he isn't at loss.
My point: What do I lose when I speak in Hindi? In fact, if I wanted to plot against him, I can do so in Marathi and he'll never understand a bit of it. His loss?

2. This "outsider" will never reach the South, since people do not speak his language over there. Although Bangalore and Chennai are equally developed, he'll choose Bombay [frankly, I hate to call it Mumbai].
My point: Isn't Bombay like the US? There are only immigrants here. People from all over the country have settled here. If they don't go to Bangalore and South, don't you see, the egos are not letting two different cultures mix? I would love to learn and understand a South Indian language someday. If they don't want to learn mine or any other, it really doesn't bother me. Imagine a person from other country coming to India and not understanding a word of Hindi or any Indian language; he gets duped anyway, but if he is still adamant to not learning an Indian language, he'll face a horror of a time. He will never understand the country and it's people, however long he stays here. Who is at loss?


Unfortunately, I am not too smart to argue and I barely know statistics and figures to fight back. But then, I am also thankful that I don't. Ignorance allows me to be fair. Ignorance allows me to not develop any prejudices against any of my fellow beings. Ignorance lets me hate everyone equally.


heh? ok said...

oh i know all about minor changes. poor LTMs, all of us.

another brick in the wall said...

yeah.. these darn jobs

Divs said...

If I were on the edge of a cliff n read this LTM conv. it would make me fall from there.

For now.. this made me reach the edge :|

P.S :Toatally unrelated - Bangalore & chennai.. no comparison. I've lived in both the cities. Bangalore is totally cosmopolitan. I found chennai to still be on the conservative side of things.

n someday.. I would like to learn marathi n bengali too.....:)

another brick in the wall said...

but why would you wanna jump? c'mon yaar.. we are fast progressing :P

oh and even i wanna learn bengali :)

Anonymous said...

I can give a lesson or two on Marathi and learn myself in the process. :D
I speak horrible Marathi.
Ah, and by the way, I'm an expert gaali-giver in Marathi. I have these very insulting and mutated forms of gaalis I invented over the years talking North Karnataka Kannada and Marathi. :D
Just call and ask if you want to learn some real cool shit.

Divs said...

@virus - alright. i've decided to bug u once a week. coaching classes begin tomo. :) :P

another brick in the wall said...

virus - teach me too