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Thrugh the Looking Glass

by Homer

I am old. For perspective on my age, when I was in the flush of youth, the pager was the new status symbol. If you had it, you flaunted it. While the rest of us looked on in envy.

I am also an Engineer ( notice the capital E). A B.E (Comp Sci.) to be precise. Whose starting salary, fresh out of college, was Rs 7500 (gross). Both points are salient for the rest of the narrative.

When I first visited India after emigrating to the US, the words "BPO" and "outsourcing" were yet to be conceived.. Variants of outsourcing had been happening when I was a part of the Indian workforce, but had yet to capture the public imagination.

By the time of my third visit to India, BPO was the in thing.. Kids barely out of junior college, and some still in junior college, were working in call centers, handling back office operations for a lot of the biggest multi nationals around.

With starting salaries of Rs 10,000 or more.

Imagine that!

Kids who did not even have a college degree were making more money than I did AFTER I had gone through the rigors of Engineering and secured myself a job. And what did these 16-17 year olds know about fiscal responsibility anyways? It is mighty dangerous to give so much money to one so young, they do not know its value.. Its all easy come, easy go for them.

And dont you know, because of the easy money on offer, these kids will have no ambitions. Why would they want to become a Doctor or an Engineer when they can make so much money so easily? What will become of our future generations?

These were but a sample of the arguments I forwarded decrying the existence of the BPOs and the "easy money" kids were making.

And there was another. Look at these kids sitting in swanky offices ( in air conditioning).. At the same age, we would be lucky to even have a ceiling fan in the room...We are pampering this generation and making them soft!

Whish is not dis-similar to the arguments Karan Thapar, Anand Vasu and scores of others are making about the "youth brigade" and the IPL.

But there is a flip side to this.. Call center workers, despite their age and the monies they make, face stresses unheard of in my growing up years.. Sleep disorder, depression, heart problems and relationship issues are some of the documented ones.

Fact is, every generation pays a price for its success. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Which is why, Manish Pandey who "now refers himself as a celebrity, boasts about his lifestyle", finds that more than the stray man and his dog are interested in his performance in the Ranji. At the age of 18!

Which is also why Ambati Rayadu (24) and Shikhar Dhawan (24), along with Mohammed Kaif (29) and Robin Uthappa (24) find themselves becoming the forgotten men of Indian cricket!

With the exception of Tendulkar, did any of the others from his generation come anywhere close to the stresses and pressures the "IPL" kids face?


straight point said...

one other point which is getting overlooked is the fact that not everyone can play for india however good he may be coz the end of day its going to be 15 odd players who can represent india... but now they can hope to rub shoulders not only with best international players but even their deeds are seen and scrutinized at international stage... the world is taking note of them... this has given hope to those who somehow can not make it to the team india (not necessarily coz of lack of talent)

they have been attended by best coaches... facilities they are receieving inputs from cream of international players and they are experiencing how the real time pressure cooker situations being handled so next time they will face similar situation they will not only have the confidence to do it but will know how to do it...

but not i think we should concentrate on bashing modi which is easy... effortless... less cumbersome and almost comes natural coz you can do it in sleep and don't have to bother yourself to scratch...

Poshin_david said...

My time at castrol cricket with Harsha Bhogle.

Anonymous said...

wonderful Q&A Christopher.. Thanks for sharing :)


Homer said...


The IPL does a lot of good things.. But in begrudging the players for the money they make,people tend to overlook the sacrifices they made to get to where they are and the sacrifices they continue to make to stay there.

Nothing comes easy, a point most journos fail to understand.


Tifosi Guy said...


You didn't need to ' reveal' how old you are :-)

What you have raised is fair points - I haven't faced the scrutiny or pressure the present day early 20 yr old's face. So I don't quibble if they make more than what I did at their age !

Btw, in that interview with Lalit Modi, Karan Thapar has come out looking like a dopehead, either that or he's got such a thick skull that nothing gets past it.

Mahek said...

Karan Thapar is a jackass anyway. He thinks he's some big shot lawyer and the guy he's interviewing is the worst criminal the world has seen.

Homer said...


Thapar is the classic talking head - so much in love with the sound of his own voice that he wont listen to anything else :)