Sunday, November 27, 2005


Mid-life crisis is a well known term (and experience I guess). Some years back I happened to read about the “quarterly-life crisis” in an email, but never thought much about it. After all, I was just out of my teens and life seemed perfect. But now that I am actually there, I am thinking, maybe that email made some sense! Here are some thoughts about life @ 25 -

Sometimes life seems perfect….things look perfectly aligned and you think “Yess, I am headed in the right direction.”

Other times you get worried and start thinking whether the future is as bright as you thought it was going to be.

You want to make it big, but at times are not sure if the thing you are chasing is a mirage.

You start realizing the shortcomings of your society, culture, city-country administration and even have some solutions ready, but….

You realize that relationships change over time and that hurts you somewhere.

You realize it is difficult to meet people and make genuine friends.

You want to achieve that work-life balance but not sure if such a thing exists.

Many times you feel that you spent too much time with your books and did not realize that you left your hobbies/interests behind.

I am pasting the contents of the email here (Author unknown).

It is when you stop going along with the crowd and start realizing that there are a lot of things about yourself that you didn’t know and may or may not like. You start feeling insecure and wonder where you will be in a year or two, but then get scared because you barely know where you are now. You start realizing that people are selfish and that, maybe, those friends that you thought you were so close to aren’t exactly the greatest people you have ever met and the people you have lost touch with are some of the most important ones. What you do not realize is that they are realizing that too and are not really cold or catty or mean or insincere, but that they are as confused as you. You look at your job. It is not even close to what you thought you would be doing or maybe you are looking for one and realizing that you are going to have to start at the bottom and are scared. You miss the comforts of college, of groups, of socializing with the same people on a constant basis. But then you realize that maybe they weren’t so great after all. You are beginning to understand yourself and what you want and do not want. Your opinions have gotten stronger. You see what others are doing and find yourself judging a bit more than usual because suddenly you realize that you have certain boundaries in your life and add things to your list of what is acceptable and what is not. You are insecure and then secure. You laugh and cry with the greatest force of your life. You feel alone and scared and confused. Suddenly change is the enemy and you try and cling on to the past with dear life but soon realize that the past is drifting further and further away and there is nothing to do but stay where you are or move forward. You get your heart broken and wonder how someone you loved could do such damage to you or you lay in bed and wonder why you can’t meet anyone decent enough to get to know better. You love someone but maybe love someone else too and cannot figure out why you are doing this because you are not a bad person. You go through the same emotions and questions over and over and talk with your friends about the same topics because you cannot seem to make a decision. You worry about loans and money and the future and making a life for yourself and while winning the race would be great, right now you’d just like to be a contender!

Anybody relate with this???


“Umm….I guess the write-up was the result of a rare creative burst that happens to me once in a while,” I told my father when he genuinely appreciated something that I wrote.

“Maybe. But you should continue to write. I think you have a flair for writing,” said Dad, as always, trying to encourage me.

“I don’t know how it works, but these ideas don’t come see me everyday! They are like these friends with whom I do not hang out regularly, yet meeting them out-of-the-blue gives me immense happiness,” I complained.

Dad smiled at my analogy. “Make it point to write down your ideas WHEN they come to you,” advised Dad. “Do you remember chasing those feathery, white seeds as a child?” he asked. I nodded a yes and waited for him to continue.

“Remember, our ideas are like those seeds floating in the air. If you grab them they are yours, else they float away never to be seen again.”

Dad’s explanation made sense. Now, I keep a small diary and pen in my purse. The moment I sense an idea floating past, I make sure I scribble it in this diary for later reference.

Thought I’d share this ‘lil tip…


My two cents worth on the views expressed by Harshad Oak in his articles “Staying Alive in a Software Job” and “Recruiting like crazy”.
Do IT professionals in India have a life?
I think NOT. But this question has many aspects that need to be examined.
As Harshad has pointed out, Indian IT professionals get paid well (are able to maintain a good standard of living), however the pay is less as compared to the time they put in.
Markets in our world work on the supply-demand principle. There seems to be an ever increasing demand for quality technology workers. With markets getting competitive by the day, the cheaper you are able to get these, the better are your chances of survival. This is where India with its huge talent pool comes into picture. We must be mindful of the fact that the IT boom in India is because we are able to satisfy this demand of “low-cost high-quality technology workers”. So we could either carry on the way we are working and continue to attract technology markets or set rigid rules about time-money and indirectly limit the influx of such opportunities. I guess our technology leaders chose the first option, albeit at the expense of the tech. workers.
Harshad mentions negotiating reasonable time frames, but we cannot forget that the outsourcer will opt for some other low cost destination that will provide faster services. (Maybe few years down the line we could face stiff competition from countries in SE Asia or Russia or even Africa for that matter.) So although, I agree with Harshad on the point that we need to put our foot down when it comes to negotiating timelines, I think we need to figure out what would be best for the economy/business and the workers.
Another aspect that I would like to point out is the prevalent work culture in India. In India, working long hours is looked upon as a sure sign of diligence. Here is my take on how this came to be. Males were the working class back in the day. I guess they looked at work as an opportunity to keep away from matters at home and made “working late” a prestige issue. The trend continues today. Unlike Europeans-Americans, Indians have never had the concept of “do-your-8-hours” and then head home to spend time with your family or pursue other interests. In short, we as workers are equally responsible for the situation we are in. Hopefully, IT professionals will realize that they need to find and maintain that work-life balance and will try to bring about that change. Until this realization comes from within things will remain the same!
A thought to chew on - Are people dissatisfied with the nature of their work? If not maybe it is just that we need to ensure that people receive remuneration for the time and effort that they put in.
Harshad says that not much “Innovation” is being carried out in the Indian IT shops and attributes it to the work environment. I beg to differ.
I am not very sure what Harshad means by “Innovation”. Is it something that is the result of work done in R&D labs?
To me software development is an inherently creative activity. Of course there might be some processes or tasks in the software development life cycle that are repeatable and can be die-cast, but overall the creation of a new application or service is a task that requires creativity and innovation.
Also not everybody is cut for research oriented work and we need to respect and value that.
Again, we cannot forget that the Indian IT industry is simply doing the job of completing the jobs outsourced to them and these might not be jobs that involve doing R&D. (However if you look at MNCs that have opened their shops in India (Global Engineering Centers or Design and Engineering Centers) they do have a fair amount of R&D work going on which is of course being done by Indians.)
Some food for thought – “Is our education system making dumb workers instead of scientists/thinkers?”
Our education system focuses more on theory than practical. With majority of the Indian engineering graduates joining the IT Industry, do they ever get a flavour of what “research” is? I do not doubt the potential of our talent pool. We have it in us; that explains the thesis presented by Indian students in various fields in universities abroad and the many patents granted to Indians working abroad. How are we going to encourage and retain the scientists among us? Are we always going to wait for Westerners to carry out research for us?
What troubles me is imagining the state of the Indian IT industry say 10 years from now. Will it still be in the Bullish phase? What state would we be in were some new destinations to crop up on the “Outsourcing Map”? What then would be our strategy for survival? Is it time that we started building some core competency rather than being content with being the world’s most sought after outsourcing destination??

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Yesterday started off like every other day. I took my usual bus to work and was sitting by the window seat. It was a bright day and the air was cool, in fact the air coming through the window of the moving bus seemed a bit chilly. However, that was compensated by the warm rays of the sun that filtered through the window. I was listening to something on my walkman and idly gazing outside. People driving, a lone boat in the murky river, dwellers of the roadside slum getting on with their daily chores, some simply chatting and watching life zoom past; these scenes seemed like a familiar movie trailer.

My bus slowed and paused briefly at a small stop on the way and that is when I saw HER! Dark, short and plump with short cropped hair she was sitting on the bench at the bus stop staring blankly into space. Clad in a dirty looking saree and a full sleeved sweater, she appeared middle aged. Suddenly I happened to notice her hands and what I saw made me freeze. They were thin and shapely but appeared to have warts all over them. My gaze shifted to her face and that was no different. Her nose appeared flattened like a knocked off sand dune. I wanted to turn away and shut my eyes, but I could not and ended up staring. My bus moved and I sat there numbed by what I had seen, thoughts swarming in and out of my brain.

“Uff what an ugly face!! She should probably be wearing a burkha than showing it off!”

“Tch......what must have happened? Was that the manifestation of some disease or an unfortunate accident?”

“What kind of life must she be leading? Is she poor and homeless or able to support herself?”

“Does she have anybody who loves her, takes care of her or is she alone?”

“Is she dragging her days or has she come to terms with her deformity and the way the world sees it and treats her?”

“Wow!.....brave is she to continue to live! I would have probably killed myself…”

What started as disgust quickly turned to sympathy and ended up in admiration for the woman. May God bless her!


Just a thought….not very new or radical…but just something that we have to keep reminding ourselves…

Don’t be a ‘WHEN-er’ be a ‘NOW-er’

When will I go to college….
When will I get out of college…
When will I get a job…
When will I find my soul mate….
When will I be financially stable….
When will I start a family…
When will my kids grow up…
When will I retire and enjoy the fruits of my toil…


When I go to college….
When I get out of college…
When I get a job…
When I find my soul mate….
When I am financially stable….
When I start a family…
When my kids grow up…
When I retire …

Now is the time to do what you always wanted to do!!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Hold on to your dreams, for if dreams die;
Life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.
I was reminded of this quote after seeing Iqbal this Friday (thanks to my aunt). This was my 3rd Nagesh Kukunoor film and I have enjoyed all three.
Iqbal is a simple movie about a boy following his dream. It does not boast of foreign locales or magnificent sets like the Hindi films of today, yet it effectively conveys a very important message.
The rustic setting of the movie transports the viewer to the life of Iqbal and his poor family. This deaf and dumb teenager has only one passion – “Cricket”. What is important is that his family (minus Dad) recognize, support and even rebel for his passion. I loved the way relationships have been portrayed in the movie, especially the relationship between Iqbal and his younger sister. The movie captures the journey of Iqbal’s dream. Of course the journey has its share of bumps, but it ends on a positive note. The movie ends at a perfect juncture and that is another thing that I liked about it. Shreyas Talpade as Iqbal is brilliant; infact everybody’s performances are top notch.
I am not a movie person and need to be coaxed to go see a movie. This coupled with my notion that the movie was about cricket (a game that I have absolutely no interest in) always kept me from seeing it. Only after seeing it did I realize that this movie is not about cricket but about following one’s dream; a mantra that many self-help books talk about. Deepak Chopra in his book “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” talks about following your Dharma. What he means is that to be successful one must know what one loves and pursue the same and that is a key to success.
Thinking aloud….
  • Do you know your dream? One simple test that my friend Mike recommended is the “time flies” test. What activity makes you lose track of time? That activity could be a possible candidate.
  • Many a times people around you (family, friends) can recognize your true potential and make you aware of it. I guess it helps to listen and to have people who have trust in you.
  • However it could also happen that one is not allowed to do this soul searching and/or is expected to follow a certain path. (Like Iqbal’s father who thought that farming was a secure occupation rather than cricket. I love the dialogue that shows the conflict between Iqbal’s father and mother.)
  • It is never too late to go for your dream.
Bottomline, if you have not seen Iqbal yet, please do not miss it and most important go for your dream!! I have embarked on a journey to find mine….
Here is a song from Iqbal that I simply loved. Listen
aashaayein ...
aashaayein ...
kuch paane ki ho aas aas
kuch armaan ho jo khaas khaas
har koshish mein ho waar waar
kare dariyao ko aar paar
toofano ko chir ke
manzilo ko chin le
(aashaayein khile dil ki
ummeedein hase dil ki
ab mushkil nahi kuch bhi
nahi kuch bhi) - 2
o ho o...
udd jaaye leke khushi
apne sang tujhko waha
jannat se mulaquat ho
puri ho teri har dua
(aashaayein khile dil ki
ummeedein hase dil ki
ab mushkil nahi kuch bhi
nahi kuch bhi) - 2
gujre aaisi har raat raat
ho khwaahisho se baat baat
lekar suraj se aag aag
gaaye ja apne raag raag
kutch aaisa karke dikha
khud khush ho jaaye khuda
(aashaayein khile dil ki
ummeedein hase dil ki
ab mushkil nahi kutch bhi
nahi kuch bhi) - 2
o ho o...


Arzan Sam Wadia describes how Indians react when they come across a fellow Indian in a foreign country.