Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Yes. Those were the days.

If you are thinking that this is going to be a nostalgic post about the college/school days, recounting the adventures and misadventures of the youthful life, well, how may I put it?
You cannot be more wrong.

This is about a life after that.
Think about this for a second. All through your college life, you have had to listen to these sermons from your seniors and well wishers alike, that the time spent at college is going to be the best time of your life. Reminding us over and over again, that once it’s over, it indeed is over. The good times that is. This leads to the creation of some lingering questions in the minds of every graduating student.

What happens after these “happening” college years?
How would my professional life be?

Well my friend, your quest for the elusive answers comes to an end here.
 Let me enlighten you.

If you are amongst those lucky (or unlucky) few who got “placed” into some company (IT, of course) during the course of your college years, then this is “THE” post for you.

The Life and Times of an IT Employee

Being a proud alumnus of Kerala University, the guiding philosophy of “Pointers giveth thou marks” has got engraved into my psyche pretty deeply. (Knowingly or Unknowingly)
So this brief synopsis of the corporate life would have to inevitably be split into a few points.
Each points being expounded upon in subsequent paragraphs.

From the experiences that I garnered over the years in this industry, (Yeah right!)
I have observed a professional life that is always in a state of flux. Particularly in case of the lower rung, just-out-of-college, ordinary IT employees. It tends to follow a pre fixed set of phases.

The various phases being,

1.       The Induction phase
2.       The phase of Fun Times
3.       The Cribbing phase
4.       The phase of Goodbyes

Phase 1: The Induction

You go in with a lot of expectation. You might have already got a fair bit of info on the prevailing work culture from your college seniors working there. But nothing beats the excitement of going for the first day at workplace. You are then invariably put into a training program to align your technical skills with the requirements of the job profile. Most of this is pretty useless anyway.  But on the plus side, you do end up making a lot more connections. Being the naive fresher that you are, you would be particularly prone to impressions. Mind you, these impressions do play a major part in your future career choices.

The Induction phase is the shortest of the lot. It can typically range from weeks to possibly months, depending on which company you got into. The longer this phase gets, the better it would be.

Phase 2: The Fun Times

Life could not have been any better. You have no exams to worry about, plus you get (quite some) pocket money as salary. The much needed financial independence is finally upon you. You start loving the glitz and glamour of your sexy new corporate life. The meetings, the status updates, the occasional trainings, the birthday celebrations, the team outings and lunches, everything becomes a part of your life. You come to the conclusion that all your seniors and well wishers were wrong in assuming that the good times end with your college life.

The importance of socialising becomes way more apparent to you. You end up being gutsy enough to talk to that cute looking girl. Depending on your luck, she either starts spilling all her guts to you, or stonewalls you all together. Either way, the probability of you finding a girlfriend at workplace comes down to the basic question of which end of the spectrum you are in.
 *spectrum = cash available in hand

If you happen to be in the wrong end of the spectrum, all those spilled guts would count to nothing. The deep pits of friend zone would be awaiting you. So you better start saving early. Consider it as an added incentive for your prudent financial planning.

This phase may last from a few months to a year at max. Under exceptional circumstances, like getting a blockbuster appraisal review, this phase may extend to more than a year.  Broadly speaking, one year should be a safe assumption.

Phase 3: The Cribbing

This phase typically starts at the end of your first year performance review. You don’t feel the initial enthusiasm any more. Your honeymoon with this corporate life is all but over. A feeling of dejection ensues. It does feel bad, when that bonus you were so looking forward to, just remains a mere illusion. You start cribbing over the much hyped and nonexistent onsite opportunity. Those sleepless nights at office, toiling away in front of your workstation, those countless weekends when you were forced to stay at office and work, all start taking a toll on you. You find it extremely hard to deal with the office politics being played by your reporting heads. Hell, you even start questioning your own judgement.  Before you even realize it, another year has rolled by, and it’s time for your next appraisal review. May be those seniors were right.
May be your good times are well and truly over.

This cribbing phase is one of those unpredictable phases. You won’t be able to clearly define a time period for this. It can typically last from years to decades. At the end of this phase, you have good chances of getting “fired”, or on the positive side, may be get hired somewhere else. But then again, the choice is completely up to you.

Phase 4: The Goodbyes

All this complaining and cribbing leads you into finding an alternate path. A lucky few does indeed manage to find the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Even these lucky few have to go through the so called corporate red-tapism in order to find a way out. You get to know how much a pain in the ass the service level agreements can be. You never realized that the documents that you so- gleefully signed at beginning, could come to backstab you now. A carefully deliberated and protracted negotiation follows. If you are tactful enough, you could end up steering the outcome in the way you wanted. It’s not as easy as it sounds though.

At the end of it all, the realization dawns upon you that you are finally getting out. You start preparing your final goodbye mail. Apart from the deliberation and negotiation part, these final few months would turn out to be the most memorable of them all. Everyone starts being friendly to you all of a sudden. Even that girl on whom you had a mighty crush on, the one that used to avoid you all the time, gets interested in you, all out of the blue.  Everything becomes surreal and you even start questioning your decision to call it quits.

This phase of Goodbyes can last from two to three months, depending on the notice period modalities of the specific company you work in.

These phases are cyclical in nature.
In case you are joining another company in this same sector, the probability of these phases getting repeated is almost a certainty. The only variable would be the time period.
Focus on extending the phase of Fun Times as much as possible; your career growth would depend a lot on its longevity.

So that folks is an insider analysis on the Life and Times of an IT Employee.
Hope you found it interesting enough to warrant a comeback to this corner of the internet again.

The phases and scenarios described in this blog post have no connection with any particular corporate entity, or with any person living or dead, for that matter.
In case you do feel a connection,
My Bad!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Life is nothing but a series of choices.
There are these individuals who cross your path in this journey of choices. These individuals influence you so much, that they change you. Forever.
Not all choices are easy.  You would inevitably have to make some choices that would lead you to another path, leaving behind these individuals at the crossroads. All you can hope, is to meet someone like them again, in this journey called life.
This is dedicated to one such special-random-someone.

An ode to you

This unending cycle of despondency, 
But to what avail ?? 
This repeated playback of our shared memories, 
Our late night conversations, 
Our cute little secrets, 
Haunt me day in and out, 
Refusing me sleep. 

I was your best friend, 
You said. 
And you were mine too. 
But life gets cruel at times, 
And things did fall through. 

You've left me in limbo. 
A place in no man's land, 
With all but nothing, 
But some sweet memories. 

Memory is all that is left. 
Memory it will remain, 
Something I will hold on to, 
In times of dire need. 

We might meet again,   
'Cos the world can't be that big. 
Promise me this, 
My friend, 
To give that charming smile, 
At least. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Howdy gentle readers ,

The last time that I wrote about a serious socio-political issue was way back in the August of 2011. It's about time that i come up with something new. This being the sole week in the year when all Indians turn patriotic, let this be a small contribution from my side, as an add-on to this overall patriotic fervor.

India - 68*

PM NaMo had delivered a bodacious speech at Lal Quila on the Independence day. Our vibrant media has indeed left no stone unturned in analyzing each and every single word that was uttered by him in that hour long speech. So most definitely, I'm not getting into its nitty-gritties. The wider point being that, most of these media houses did give a big thumps up to his speech. On a personal level, it did feel good to see the Prime Minister deliver an extempore speech, which was so refreshing, compared to the dull and dreary speeches we used to hear from the former Prime Ministers. This is not to say that the speech was flawless. He did  miss out on some important issues ( corruption for example ). At the end of the day, speeches are all about perceptions, and perceptions have everything to do with the listeners. Considering the popularity of NaMo in the country, it would be safe to assume that the number of people who found fault with his speech would indeed be a minority.

1947 - 2014

A Brief History of Time

( Nope. Not related to Mr.Stephen Hawking )

Lets go back in time, shall we ? To the time when the likes of  Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose & Bhagath Singh  lived. No discussion about nationalism and patriotism would be complete without paying tribute to these noble men. They fought for the idea of India, for the future of its citizenry. The wars that they waged, the struggles they went through, the countless sacrifices they made, all will stand the test of time. These men epitomizes Patriotism for me. Herein comes a set of cliched but very pertinent questions.

Are we, the future citizens for whom they fought for, upholding their values ?
Are we giving them the respect and admiration that they truly deserve ?    
Are we, as a society, forgetting the fallen martyrs ? 

"Lest we forget the fallen soldiers of yesterday"

This is the context in which we must analyze the trajectory that India took, after its hard fought independence from the British-Raj. Immediately after independence, the freedom fighters turned politicians, began to set a course for the future of India. They imagined an India free from poverty, an India where every citizen enjoyed equal rights, a prosperous and self sufficient India. The course was set and the journey started. Thus began the story of Modern India.

The initial decades after independence were the foundation years. Democracy began to flourish in India, albeit with difficulties. Growth was sluggish, but the people were optimistic. Back then, world economy wasn't as integrated as it is today. The government had tight control over most of the economic activities in the country. Decades rolled by, slowly but steadily India moved forward. By the late 80's situation had changed dramatically. India could no longer afford to be isolated from the world economy. Out of utmost necessity, India finally embraced liberalization. Growth began to pick up. Foreign and home grown business conglomerates began investing in India. Economic activities increased. From being an under developed country, India soon acquired the tag as a 'developing country'.

This sudden influx of money, and the ensuing economic hyperactivity had major impact in our developmental ideologies. Crony capitalism took over the minds of rich corporates and the ruling politicians alike. Development was no longer about poverty alleviation and social equality, rather it became a mere number at the hands of politicians and their economic advisers. The people in the lower strata of the society were the most affected. The very Government they voted to power, began neglecting them. Development became synonymous with growth rates and balance sheets. The ideals of our forefathers and the freedom fighters were forgotten.

The situation has come to such a stage that the number of poor people in India is much more than that of the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa put together. Is this the India that our freedom fighters fought for ? Even the common people are turning a blind eye to the plight of the poor. How can we, as a country and as a society move forward, if we maintain this collective apathy to the people in the lower strata of our society ?

There are no easy answers for these questions. There needs to be a complete overhaul of our mindsets. The speeches given by our politicians and leaders on poverty alleviation are nothing but empty rhetoric. A country would never be able to move forward if a huge chunk of the population doesn't even have a basic sustenance for living.

The Road Ahead,

Vision 2020 or Mirage 2020 ?

There is this book, India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium, written by our much beloved former President, Mr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam. The vision, as envisaged by him, is to make India a developed nation by the year 2020.

 A little too far fetched, a tad too improbable is all i can say to him. 

It was a vision, a dream and it would remain just so. A fairy tale dream. I don't want to sound too much as a skeptic, but reality can hit you hard. 2020 is too small a time frame for achieving such large a dream. We'll have to put decades of effort, if we ever are to become a truly developed country and society. Just wishful thinking won't do anything to change the status quo. The change will have to begin from us. Yes each one of us. Nothing short of that would do.

Inclusive Growth - The One and Only Answer.

India is the largest democracy in the world today. Many Governments have come and gone. So have the Planning Commissions and their five year plans. Did these successive governments serve the purpose ? Did these "five year plans" get executed as per the plan ?

If you consider corporate profitability as the sole criteria for measuring the success of these governments, then yes. They were highly successful. In all other respects of social justice, it just doesn't hold up. The need for the day is inclusive growth. Of course, it is the buzz word among the political class, used just to earn political brownie points. If only these ruling class and their economic advisers sit together and devise a proper strategy to bring about an inclusive growth, paving the way for a much needed social revolution, will India be able to truly become a global super power.

All hope is not lost. The wind of change is definitely blowing. People are increasingly getting frustrated by seeing poverty all around them. There is a palpable change in the attitude, particularly among the youth of our country. This will surely push the government to take concrete steps towards poverty alleviation. Let's just hope that the people in power would give as much importance to poverty alleviation as they are giving to Special Economic Zones and Industrial Corridors.

Jai Hind.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Resurrection

This was just another weekend. . .or was it ??

Weekends are time to sit back and relax. Doing nothing, or anything. Basically any stuff that you want to do. A break from the busy and monotonous schedule of  the daily grind. How life has changed. *Sigh

Speaking of life, three years ain't such a small time span. My last blog post was almost three years ago( 2 years, 9 months, and 3 days to be more specific ). Now that's something.

-Was it writer's block ?
-Writer who ??

It was just like any another day. Randomly going through the News Feed and continuing with the interactions, when all of a sudden it struck me. I don't remember the name of my blog anymore ( The very blog that i used to so passionately care about ). How hard can it actually be ? Did i get so much busy with my life that i don't even remember the name of my blog ? ( *Self Note - What the hell happened to you man ! )

This prompted me to do a self introspection. When you keep a personal blog, introspection becomes much easier. A glance through the blog, the old blog posts, the comments. It was like a peep into the past. This was all started back in 2009 with a simple post. Initially it was a platform to vent my feelings. The anger and frustrations of a teenage boy. Later on, it began changing into something else. My take on society at large ? May be ?

Things have changed in the past three years. I had gone through some deep shit, and some unbelievably good times. But i'm happy to report that the good times far outweigh the bad ones.

Life has turned into mad rush of project deadlines, status updates, daily meetings, appraisals and what not. I wish i could go back in time and be that "frustrated -just out of school- teenage boy" yet again. As it turns out, no one has invented a time machine till now.Till that happens, guess i'll have to wait.

*Those guys at CERN should be making a time machine, rather than going after the God particle.  Right ?          

Back during my early teens, me and my gang of goofs were really into this band Linkin Park. Mike Shinoda was our guiding philosopher. Okay i was kidding, there was neither a guiding philosopher nor a philosophy that we used to ascribe to.  We were just a bunch of normal teenagers, doing normal stuff. 

You must be thinking why i dragged Mr.Shinoda into this right ? Well there is this lyrics that he wrote, which has got some deep philosophical connotation.

"Time is a valuable thing
 Watch it fly by as the pendulum swings
 Watch it count down to the end of the day
 The clock ticks life away"

That effectively summarizes my past three years. It just flew by. Just like that.
Best three years of my life ? Yes. Hands down.

So coming back to my question, was this just another weekend ?
Of course not ! If you are an Indian and you replied to that question in affirmative, then shame on you. It was in this very week that  the heads of state of SAARC countries were invited for Narendra Modi's swearing in ceremony. Never before has such an invitation been sent out for a PM's swearing in ceremony. Wasn't it a diplomatic master stroke ?

I don't expect my gentle readers to really care about it, unless of course it somehow manages to remove the potholes on our roads before the onset of monsoon.

Jokes apart, personally, this is not just another weekend for me. I'll come to that.
But before that, let me do a quick survey.

Have you heard of a brand called Kohinoor ??
If not, then let me enlighten you. It's a brand of condoms available in India.
*Don't know about it's international availability.
And no. This is not an endorsement of Kohinoor condoms.

What caught my attention was it's tag line. It goes something like this,
"Create a spark,
Ignite the Passion"
Real neat right ? I love that tag line. But guess it's copyright protected. Hence i'm gonna do a little bit of tweaking and pass it on as mine.

Coming back to the pertinent question, why is it not just another weekend for me ?
Because, i'm writing a new blog post after a gap of almost three years and i hope it would create that spark in me, which would reignite the passion for writing again.

Hope to see you soon.

Peace Out.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

                                               THE  ‘ANNA’ EFFECT

Bribery and corruption are common words for most of the Indians. It’s such a menace in the Indian society that corruption has been permanently imbibed in the psyche of common people as a way of living. The recent 2G scam, Adarsh scam, CWG scam etc only helped in reducing the confidence that people have on our democratic system.

There is a long history behind this corruption. Our fore fathers chose the path of democracy over communism to give each and every Indian equal rights and the power to decide the future course of our great nation. The first four decades after independence were very crucial for our country. We had to establish ourselves on the world stage after more than 150 years of systematic plunder and looting done by the British. Most of our wealth had been disappeared by the time we got independence. So our leaders had to prioritize and bring up strategies to elevate the poor and to usher in the era of development. In that context we must appreciate what our great leaders have done in the past. To protect our domestic market from global competition the policies were mainly on the swadeshi lines which aims  to make our country self sufficient and not depend on any other foreign nation on any needs. It helped in protecting our rural small scale industries although our gross domestic product remained much below than what it is now during those times. The policy decisions with regard to our economy began to change in the last decade of 20th century. As the cold war ended the global economic equations changed. So to keep up with that change, our markets were opened up. But the core industries still remained under governmental control. This shift towards a capitalistic ideology was received with a lot of criticism and skepticism at first. But that move proved to be a boon to our economy. Our growth rate doubled. Industrial output & Economic activity increased. India thus began to attain global recognition for its impressive growth story. Our development thus began adding momentum. So our growth rate started to increase on yearly basis.More foreign investments began to flow into the Indian markets. More and more rich domestic entrepreneurs came up and began floating their companies.

All this development translated into the tremendous growth and increase in the Indian middle class. But this development still couldn’t get trickled down adequately to the rural poor of India who constitute the majority Indian population. What this essentially meant is that all this development was one sided. Small scale local industries were not able to withstand this sudden inflow of foreign investments and the competition that ensued effectively sealed the fate of such small rural industries.

This unraveling scenario of huge increase in the Indian middle class provided more and more opportunities for corporate companies to increase their market foot hold. So in order to get higher share of market access and get more concessions from the governmental agencies these market giants began influencing our economic policy makers. I firmly believe that corruption first began at the highest levels of governmental agencies. This paved way for chain reactions. More and more people began to know about this and started giving bribes in order to get unfair advantages and concessions from the officials. This process began to trickle down even to the lowest levels of officials who implement the policies taken by the government. As time went by the acts of bribing became a normal procedure. Even the poorest people of our society have to pay bribes to get things done in governmental agencies. None of the so called intellectuals in our country tried to change this situation because one way or the other they too were involved in corrupting the governing system.

It is in this context that we must view the ongoing struggle against corruption that’s been happening in our country which got particular media attention over the past two weeks. At the time of writing this post Sri: Anna Hazare has entered his sixth day of hunger strike. Nobody knows if the issue will be resolved any sooner. All he is asking for is the parliament to pass the Jan Lokpal bill (Citizen Ombudsman bill) and not the weak Lokpal bill proposed by the government which accounts for only 5% of the total governmental work force. The UPA government obviously disagrees with some of the provisions in the bill, rightly so because most of the irregularities and corruption charges are being accused on their members. They have been launching counter arguments and trying to foster support against this movement saying that such a protest is undermining the whole democratic and parliamentary system in India. According to me that argument is pretty lame. No law can be framed in the parliament without the popular support from the people. Also we must change the system into a participatory democracy where civil society representatives also get a say in framing of important laws such as the Janlokpal bill. This movement has now struck a common cord with most of the young people who wish to see a change in the state of system. So whatever be the counter offensive launched by the government or by any other political party may be, none would halt this renewed sense of change and responsibility that’s sweeping across the country. There would be many people who would find fault with what Anna is doing but none of those critics do anything productively to change the system other than talking against Anna’s peaceful protest. The actual work is being done by people like Anna Hazare. If it were some political party doing this, they would have easily called for a strike or hartal thus disrupting the daily life of people. Nobody would have questioned that. But when an eminent social worker like Anna does something peacefully against a social evil such as corruption everyone tries to find fault with it. 

I just hope and pray that this anti corruption movement doesn’t fizzle out or end without a strong anti corruption bill being passed by the parliament. Such a bill would help in strengthening and restoring our confidence in the democratic system. So I urge all the critics and also the common people to join this historic movement lead by Anna Hazare and help bring about a positive change in our nation

Follow Living_Legend47 on Twitter
By TwitterButtons.net