Thursday, June 3, 2010

5 minutes

Do you agree that the future of a country depends on its youth and children?
Thus, it is our duty to educate them, to lead them, to inspire them to do great things. To invent new things & to innovate.

Given our present state of affairs, do you think we are doing justice to them?

If you think of brand names from India, the first things that may come to a normal engineer's minds are software giants Infy and Wipro. However, we fail to acknowledge the fact that the pioneer of engineering and aviation and industry in India were the Tatas. Back then, under the British rule, the Tatas created a platform helping today's youth to lead a comfortable life and we don't even know that!
Tatas have not only created jobs for engineers and clerks alike, they have also opened premiere educational institutions like IISc, TIFR etc to help the youth get a chance to be exposed to world class education.
It is the Tatas and Birlas that have made India what it is today.

We openly criticised Ratan Tata for coming up with a 1-lakh car as we feared it would increase traffic as cars would become affordable for even 'normal' people! But, we had no problem with VW opening a big factory in Pune. We have no problem with VW selling the Beetle in India for 20+ Lakhs, when it is sold in Germany for about 6-7 lakhs!
We fail to recognise the intent Mr. Tata had in making the 1-lakh car. He couldn't stand a normal Indian family of 3 or 4 riding on a scooter in the rain, tribbles n fourbles as we call it. Think of the safety of this family! Tata simply wanted to give them a chance to travel safely, at the least cost possible. This is innovation. We simply fail to recognise this intent.
We are worried that our cities will get clogged with more cars. Well thats true. Just take a moment to look at the types of vehicles in any traffic signal. More than 60% will be private cars owned by software professionals, and the worst part is that they would be driving alone. And it is this very "professional" who complaints about the unruly traffic forgetting the fact that he is occupying half the road with his newly bought Innova, Scorpio, Fiesta, SX4 etc., which he bought simply because he could afford the luxury.

Outrageous.

India produces almost 5 lakh engineers every year as compared to Europe's 1lakh and a similar small number in America.

And the best jobs we can offer these fresh and probably brilliant minds is in Infosys n Wipro where they are made to provide cheap labour to mainly foreign clients.
Our focus has to move from services to product development. we can of course provide services, but that shouldn't be our main stay, the so called "core competency".

And it is upto us to give direction to our youth.

- write up for my 5 minute talk tomo to get feedback on effective presentation skills.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Silver Jubilee and der Zukunft

What am I going to do in the Future? Is it only me or does this thought occur to everyone?

I'm almost 25 now, just 2 days short of it and when I get this question, I'm unable to find a satisfying answer! Life is such a biach! It makes us struggle from the time we've got our senses and I'm not sure if there is an end to this.

In school, we struggled to get into a good college, where we struggled to get into a good university, where we struggled to get into a good job\ post-grad school, where we are still struggling to make 'something' happen. But I'm not sure why and am equally unsure where this is leading us! And the only thing I'm sure of is that we are all going to grow old and die one day of some disease, including myocardial infraction.

I'll consider my case first... Job... I don't know what I'm doing, nor am I the best at it, but I continue to do something to keep my job. Everyday is almost the same. I get some salary at the end of every month and I seem to spend it almost instantaneously. But I'm not sure if I want to continue this for the rest of my life. I mean, where is the end to this? Is it when I would get loads of cash? or a big promotion? after that, will I be able to sit at home and watch a movie that I want on my Bose lifestyle system, with my buddies? Is this what I want? I'm not sure. But I'm pretty damn sure I want to do many other things... like play the guitar... like sit on top of Chembara peak in the rain with the boys... like learn physics and calculus... etc etc etc, the list is endless. Now I know why Swami Vivekananda said "desire is the cause for all miseries". Now I can understand why prince Sidhartha left his royal life in search of "Truth".

Two years back, when I drove on the Autobahn, I felt I'd accomplished something. Today, when I do it again, its no big deal!

I'll now consider the second case... post grad... Lots of boys and gals I know are 'sweating' it out abroad in kick ass universities. Many are getting internships under big names. Many are turning out pretty successful. But, where is all this leading? Are they going to come back, ever? And for how long? Will be able to spend time with them like the good old days? I'm not sure. I'm not even sure if I'm doing the right thing by staying back in India, where apparently there is a lack of opportunities. It is known that it is better to try and fail than to not try at all! But, when does one try? How does one measure success? Is it making loads of bucks? is it being able to go to a chaat gaadi and have masala puri without worrying about an infection? is it being able to sit in an old temple and enjoy its ambiance? or, is it being able to simply be oblivious to the fact that there is a lot of schei├če going one around!?

I feel we are all living in an artificial world. We are made to feel insecure so that we continuously do something - attend interviews, buy insurance, get degrees, buy stocks, buy property etc etc...

Globalisation they say! Why do we need Globalisation? India, as I know it, never needed Globalisation! Indian climate and location is such that we can easily get what we need most - Food! That is why the boys from Indus Valley civilisation were the first to cultivate food when their counterparts in Rome were hunting and being kaad papas eating flesh, raw. We were the ones who started making Bronze statues for time pass. The guys from the northern hemisphere had no way of cultivating crops and there were made to work hard to find a way to get things moving. That is why they started exploring the unknown. They had to fight for a living. Necessity is the mother of all inventions. If Edison had not invented the light bulb, we'd have probably slept at 7PM and woke up at 5AM instead of sitting out late nights working or studying.
With advent of medicine, the average life expectancy is supposed to increase! But in large cities, 30 year old professionals are losing hair, taking pills, running on tread mills. Is this what technology has to offer? Is this really an improvement?? We go on inventing things and later bring in laws to stop people from using the invention. We just don't know. Some day, we will realise that we should start living like the guys on Cameroon's Avatar.
Why do you think our population is so high? It is because our atmosphere is conducive to life unlike most places in the world. We have a more or less constant climate and almost same day-night. I often wondered why should one "make hay while the sun shines". Once in Europe I realised why! People here are deprived of sun light. Everything we are, we owe to Soorya deva. He is the life giver. He brings warmth, water and food. And, in Europe, most often, he gives only light and no heat, that too for a short time! I don't know if I should pity the guys here. They may be driving around in Veyrons and Porsches, wearing Armani suits listening to their Senheisser head sets. But they always crave for the sun's warmth. Come summer, they run to beaches in bikinis to get a tan, and we here turn black under the sun! Like I said, life is a biach. What fun there is if one gets what ever he pleases?

India doesn't need Globalisation. We don't need jobs from the tech savvy nations. We could have as well stayed as farmers. But no... the world wants to "improve". Do you call it improvement if you buy packed food, frozen meat and vegetables, bottled juice from a fancy super market and eat with forks and knives from a plate at 7AM and 8PM everyday, on the dot?
No Sir. Life is not about knowing what you would do tomorrow! Life is about facing the unknown. Life is about missing that bus, being late to work, soiling your hands or forks with chilly sauce, or mayonnaise if you don't eat 'spicy food', getting pissed off at traffic jams, sneaking home late and getting caught, enjoying a day out in the country side, waiting in a queue to get some forms filled. Life is so rich, we simply fail to recognise it. We are privileged to be born in a place that was so rich that over the years many people haven't hesitated to rob us! We all need to "Get a Life".

Give a thought to a 25 year old's reaction of Wanted's last line - "What the fuck have you done lately?"