02 April 2009

No humility, just controlled desperation!

Sambhavna Maini is an engineer from a prestigious institution. With
over fifteen years of international work experience, she still lost
her IT indutry job and could not find one even remotely close to the
one she had. So, she has decided that it is time to try her hand at
screenwriting. Not that it is an easy nut to crack, but worth the
gamble considering no job will pay her as much as she thinks her great
script sale will fetch! It is also the sort of gamble one can take
when there's still some money in the bank, which stupidity will allow

The global economic downturn has forced a lot of people to rethink
their lives, to use a cliched term. If they had put any "think" into
their lives in the first place, a "re-think" would not have been
called into play. The IT boom ran a lot of other businesses amok and
a lot of opportunists jumped on the bandwagon which has lost it wheels
now. So, those opportunists are busy turning their attention to other
professions and vocations they know nothing about, but are forced to
try before their tanks run dry.

A lot of jobless people are questioning where they have been
spiritually, and taking up yoga classes, doing social service, and a
variety of things, as they evaluate their lives. But, let's not
mistake this for being any sort of awakening. This is what people do
when their standard of living is suddenly under threat and they want
to continue feeling good about themselves. After all, it would take a
lot for an engineer to work in the retail sector, wouldn't it? So,
enter the "awakened" soul, trying to make it in an unfamiliar world,
while holding on to some semblance of dignity.

You saw what AIG employees did when they got a US government bailout
cheque. They threw a party for US$400,000. Were they being arrogant?
Of course not! They were just being as stupid as they were that led
to the bailout in the first place. The party was just to assure
themselves that their lives were returning to "normal". It isn't
bloody normal to pay anyone seven figures in dollars, no matter how
well any company performs in the collective, unless that individual is
Steven Spielberg. Dreamworks can sell a movie for several times
Spielberg's salary, based on his name alone. There aren't very many
names worth that much to their companies, and such frivolous
exaggerations of self worth should have been questioned a long time

Be suspicious, very suspicious, of anyone claiming right now to be
changing career paths, or discovering a side of theirs that they had
not explored. Especially so if they have been in the IT industry.
Here are a few more reasons they aren't going to make very good
employees. First of all, they have been overpaid and lazy for a long
time. Such habits are bound to stick on. IT isn't an industry where
a great deal of everyday skills are developed, for instance like those
of a guy selling tea bags. But more than anything, these people won't
get their hands dirty, and not many industries can provide an air
conditioned office, comfortable furniture, a nice salary, and a
computer as the only thing to operate, apart from catch words and the

I had predicted some time ago that there will be many broken
marriages, suicides and such. We've started seeing all of that come
true, especially among our "techies" living in the USA, in houses they
can no longer afford to pay mortgages for. Many have green cards, but
can't quite see themselves becoming pizza delivery drivers, for they
have become so used to the illusion of how good they are and how
deserving they were of all the luxury they bought for themselves with
credit given to them liberally by their banks in their heydays, which
they were going to repay over years yet to come. Those years are yet
to come, but no money!

There's only one thing more pathetic than an Indian guy getting cut
down to size - his wife coming home with the same experience! The
couple who just enjoyed a double income, two car, three bedroom luxury
home lifestyle with a maid and regular holidays suddenly cannot afford
their mortgage anymore. This reality is upon us, my dears! There
aren't very many Indian guys capable of heroic deeds to reach their
dreams. Indian women who leeched on to the men of the IT gold rush
would find it all the more easy to say, "Okay, I'm now going to focus
on raising the kids! Why don't you try to get another job?" It's all
about buying insulation from true feelings, and the Indian marriage
system is brilliant at it.

At the outer edge, there are people who have moved into tent cities in
the USA. I wonder how many Indians have thought of going into the
tent business! That would be something an entrepreneur would do, not
a protected Indian IT techie. The Americans will survive and come out
of it, because they're cool with being themselves. If it takes living
in a tent, they'd do it. But that's the part Indians have not learnt
from the Americans. We have no problem living in their country,
making money, and making fun of their "value systems"! We'd much
rather embrace the silliness of our illusions rather than the reality
of poverty.

Where's the embrace? Where's the love? India is the most unspiritual
place one can find. Indians are not spiritual people! We use
religious icons, rituals and quotes when we need to, but we are the
most cut throat material people in the world. So, this downturn comes
at the right time, indeed. Let's not mistake desperation for
humility. Let's enjoy the fun. For sheer incompetence and lack of
innovation, some of our techies simply have to go! Satyam, well done.

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