LOSER – [L]IFE [O]F A [S]OFTWARE [E]NGINEE[R]- II

The Old Mahabaliburam Road or the IT express way as the government proudly calls it is the cradle of information technology industry in Chennai. The Ganges was the life source of Indus valley civilization, the Nile was the life source of the Egyptian civilization. The 20.1 km long perennial river of tar, called the OMR,is the life source of the IT civilization. At about 10km from both the ends, in the approximate centre of the stretch, on the median that divided the road into its yin and yan stood an insolent fool who thought he had the world under control. On a normal day I would have zoomed past this guy and jumped into my chaotic world of mediocrity. Unfortunately I couldn’t do it on this particular day, because that insolent fool happened to be ‘me’.

27TH august, yet another normal day in my life had turned into such a “loser” day. I, along with three other buddies stood on the median of the OMR road watching the world zoom past us. Unsurprisingly not a single soul slowed down even a bit to throw a glance at us. I wouldn’t blame them, each one had a zillion plans, deadlines and ambitions that kept them on their toes. I too actually had a tight schedule for the entire day.
9-9 30 Testing basics

930- 10 30 Meeting with team lead

10 30- 11 30- ….the list goes on and on

In a fraction of a second the company had made my entire schedule, plans for the weekend as well as the plans for my future all into, what the IT world calls, “redundant data”. The beautiful glass palace that I had built with my dreams of the future had been shattered in a single moment  with a single sheet of paper ‘fondly’ nicknamed the “pink slip”.

There are only two categories of people who would visit the ECR private beaches in the scorching afternoon sun in Chennai
Firstly the people who are ‘madly’ in love.

Secondly the people who are simply ‘mad’

Unfortunately we belonged to the second category on that particular day. On the hot sands of the beach we sat trying to dissolve our disappointments in our sweat. All four of us were lost in our own thoughts when the squawking of a parrot brought us back to our senses. At about 10 feet from us came a man carrying a parrot’s cage in one hand and bag full of crappy stuff in the other. With a mouthful of beetle leaf and eyes full of deceit he came close to us and asked, “would you like to know your fortune sir?”

“fortune teller!!” shouted one of my buddies,”macha lets check out our (mis)fortune” he continued. Somehow handing over the reins of our fate to a helpless parrot stuck in a cheap iron cage dint seem like a very smart idea to me. Before I could voice my protest my friends had queued in front of the parrot cage.

After enquiring our name list like an election commission officer, he slowly opened the cage and let his pet parrot out. The lazy parrot came out reluctantly and selected the mascots of our fate(small cheaply printed images of various deities). After glancing at the images for several minutes the fortune-teller gave us the result of his analysis

You are all in the beginning of your career (like that wasn’t obvious from our college student like faces and unmatched formal clothes)

You are facing a big problem (even Sherlock wouldn’t be able to find that from our terror-struck, melancholy faces)

After a long list of stating such obvious facts he scanned the faces of his victims. It was clear from my obnoxious expression that I was oblivious to his nonsense and he knew he had to woo me in. He looked at me closely and threw his first astra-‘money’, “sir you have the blessings of tirupathi venkatesh and you are gonna be a millionaire”.

Seeing that his astra failed to impress me, he decided to throw his bramastra-‘sex’. In a base voice that was meant to excite me he said, “sir you are gonna have a beautiful son to take your legacy forward…that too before marriage”

Though his words of ‘expertise’ dint impress me, it did not fail to impress one of my friends. After an hour-long discussion about his future the fortune-teller charged a whopping 600 bucks. When the fortune-teller took his parrot and walked away I saw a small glint of satisfaction in his eyes. The satisfaction of having successfully pulled off another heist through the most powerful illusion of ‘faith’

We sat there in the hot sun for the next couple of hours and some of the most important lessons that the fortune-teller had subtly taught us about the world of IT, dawned on me.

  • Just like the pseudo science of fortune-telling, the IT industry on the whole worked on a powerful tool of mass hysteria. It hides under the cloak of ‘white collar job’ using which it lures the huge number of youngsters into it.
  • The next time somebody in the company comes and tells, “you belong to the family now”,”you are a representative of the company’s brand”, “live the values of the company”,please remember it is all complete B.S. Don’t even believe a word of all that crap.
  • If you are under the impression that you are exchanging your knowledge and expertise in turn for the salary that you get every month in an IT company then you are ignorant. The only economically valuable commodity that you are selling in turn for your salary is your “time”. So please do not complain that you don’t have time for your family again because you have already sold your soul to the devil
  • If you don’t have the habit of smiling or wishing the security guard at the office door, please remember that he had more power, control and job safety than you do, more importantly you might need his mercy if you get thrown out someday. So play it safe

The IT world is a race that you start running the moment you enter the company. It is by law of nature that you get out-run someday…so it is all

“just a matter of time”