June 15, 2005

On the Origins of Outsourcing ....

There was an Engineer (Uncle SAM) working for Enron and taking a cool pay packet of US$ 10,000 per month. The work was hectic, even if it was for 8 hours per day for 5 days a week. He thought for a while and found out an Indian Engineer of similar profile in Bangalore, and recruited him to do his work for Rs 10,000 per month, and got all his work done by this person whom he paid from his salary (US$ 250). Thus, he made a cool take home of US$ 9750 per month and had all his time to play golf. He then got greedy, and took up yet another job with EDS (moonlighting?) for US$ 10,000 per month and subcontracted another Indian from Bangalore (using employee referral of the first Indian he employed in Bangalore), at the same salary of Rs 10,000 per month. This enabled him to play golf and earn US$ 19,500 per month. He continued this until one day, he realized that he had deployed hundreds of Indians from Bangalore on hundreds of his jobs and he made millions of dollars.......the rest is history.

Looks like this concept is catching and everyone is out to outsource his/her job to others so they can play golf and take up alternate assignments on side and grow.......

June 13, 2005

FivePointSomeone(or Something) - Chetan Bhagat

I struggled through this novel because it was referred to me as an introduction to what life in an IIT is all about and ofcourse the subject of IIT is always interesting to me. Unfortunately I came away with a dim, dark view of what I have always considered to have been the best part of my life.

The book is a crashing bore, there is neither action, nor fun let alone anything profound and sometimes I wonder why publishers print such books and why readers buy them. I suppose publishers have to publish that is their raison d'etre.

Coming round to the book itself, the protagonists of the novel Hari, Alok and Ryan somehow managed to spend four years in IIT without finding ANYTHING of any value. The teachers are bad, the courses are bad, the food is bad .. their friends ( other than the trio that is) are bad. Everything is bad. What utter nonsense.

Unless things have changed dramatically since I left KGP (in 1985) or unless IIT-D is significantly different from the other IITs ... I am left with the impression that this book is an extremely wrong portrayal of what life is all about at IIT.

What about SpringFest ? What about Hall Days ? What about the Interhall rivalry ? Perhaps these are KGP specific stuff but I am sure that the other IITs would have something equivalent.

Perhaps the professors could have been better but they are not the demons that they have been portrayed to be ( with the exeption of Veera). There were bad profs but then there were so many good and venerable teachers as well.

Finally, the 'episode' that they have described is ludicrous. The tendency to do a bit of cheating at exams is always there .. but the monumental scheme that they mounted ( and then crashed ) to steal a question paper is insuferrable. So is the ease that our hero picks up a girlfriend (with whom he gets into bed as well ) ... I know for sure that the one thing that most IITians lack ( and miss ) is the girlfriend. At least in our days .. when we used to say that KGP is a desert and the residents of SN hall ( girls hostel) where like cactuses in the desert.

Net-Net : a desolate and inaccurate novel about IIT that sees only the thorns in a rosebush. Why did I struggle through it (even though I thought as much after the first 100 pages ) ? Well .. IIT (at least KGP ) has a special place in my heart and if someone from IIT can patiently use MS-WORD to churn out so many words, the least that I can do is to read it .. before I criticise it.

June 05, 2005

13 to 39 in 9

You may be puzzled at the title of this blog so let me explain. Yesterday we were in Lolegaon where the temperature was a cool 13 Celsius when we started on the journey home. 9 hours later we were in Calcutta, via Siliguri & Bagdogra and the temperature was a sizzling 39 Celsius. That was indeed a very steep gradient indeed.

Actually we had a very nice vacation in the hills. We took off last Saturday on the Uttar Banga Express, arrived at New Jalpaiguri next morning and took a Maruti van to Lava. Next we changed into a 4WD Jeep and climbed all the way up to Rishap. This is a rather primitive place but the service that we received at Pal-babu's Tourist Centre was fabulous. So was the room with the view (a rather cloudy view, though) and the overall ambience of the place. Best of course was the huge variety of exotic flowers that grow naturally there.

After two nights in the quiet tranquility of Rishap we travelled to Gumbadara, a tiny village between Lava and Lolegaon with a good hotel ( Salakha Guest house ) but atrocious service. Weather was cool and fine and the walk through the pine woods heavenly. We saw a massive golden Buddha statue at the local gumpha. Next day we travelled to Kalimpong (rather crowded, to be sure) and bought a wonderful Bhutanese carpet.

After Gumbadara we moved on to Lolegaon. Extremely beautiful place but terrible hotels and even worse service. What to do ? Kuch Paya Kuch Khoya. The lovely thing about Lolegaon ( in addition to the standard and heavenly pine woods ) is the heritage forest and the hanging bridge. Some anonymous PWD engineer has created a wonderful experience out of a simple forest. Creativity at its best. Lolegaon was also the place where we shot some beautiful 'chitrahaar' style videos.

And then of course all good things come to an end ... 13 to 39 in 9 hours. How miserable.


Couple of facts for the future :

New Jalpaiguri to Lava : 3 hours / Rs 1200
Lava to Rishap : 1 hour / Rs 400
Lava to Gumbadara : 20 mins / Rs 200
Gumbadara to Kalimpong and Back : half a day Rs 1200
Gumbadara to Lolegaon : 1 hour / Rs 500
Lolegaon to Bagdogra : 4.5 hours / Rs 1900