veiled truth

August 2, 2007

A couple of days back, a conversation with an acquaintance somewhat went like this:

Me: Where do you work?
He replied, with his head over Mt. Everest: I work for Google

Me: awesome, *how* did you get that job? (my emphasis could have been on “you” but my curiosity was on the “how”)
He: actually, I work on their payroll system, which they had outsourced to Oracle, as Oracle 10g was being used

Me: oh ok, so you work *for* Oracle, right?
He: nope, Oracle has this subsidiary, called [cant remember the name] to which they entrusted the project.

Me, getting tired: phew, so thats the company you work for?
He: aaaand they contracted the project to someone else who..

[after a long loop]

Me: ok, let me get this straight.. you work for a company called LKB Consultants, who got the project through WTF Inc, who are the contractors for OMG systems, who seem to work on a *particular* part of the payroll system for Accenture/Deloitte who were sub-contracted by Google, and you claim to work for Google. Basically, you are a consultant. Right? What I meant by “who do you work for” is who gives the paycheck. Why are you shy to admit who your employer is, or what your salary is? You are doing fine, and I dont understand why this..
He: ya right, whatever. What is YOUR job?

Me: I am a billionaire.
He: huh?

Me: well, not technically, but you see my boss is a lakhpati, whose boss is a karodpati, whose boss [a looong chain] is a billionaire. So, I am a billionaire, going by the same logic.. and before you ask, I am married to Katrina Kaif. You see, my wife has a friend whose classmate commuted the same local bus as Katrina’s best friend’s sister’s cousin used to. You get the drift..

Not to belittle desis, but such an attitude is highly prevalent among us. The main driving forces seem to be:
1) societal pressure, which some have not been able to cope with
2) and insecurities (inferiority complex), which one cant get rid of

Sometimes I wonder what else could be the reason for this larger than life advertising and pompous mentality. Where are the desis who are extremely talented and yet remain behind the curtains? Nothing wrong in drum-beating one’s powers (when they are true), but in that noise, many chimps seem to echo in their own cacophony which towers the genuine candidates.

One might think that this might be a case of sour grapes, and that I am jealous, but just look around once and such shallow behavior is all pervasive. It sometimes gets nauseating with this “Dont ask, Dont tell” policy. If innocent questions like who do you work for get veiled answers as in the above case, that day wont be far when verbal conversations would have footnotes and disclaimers like “opinions expressed and info given may appear larger than what they really are, conditions apply”.

Veiled truth is that gray area between truth and lies that is like a fantasy, trying to convince you to believe into something that has stemmed from a very lose (and weak) base.

Examples:

  • My son brought a house for 1 crore rupees. Hmmn, good, it being around $200k, that isnt astronomical. Hell, some flats in Mumbai (New Bombay: CPT area), Hyderabad (Cyberabad area) and Bangalore (Jayanagar/Malleswaram?) are around 80+ lakhs and middle-class is buying it. What is the big deal? And out of the 200k, a huge part (say 150k) is taken as loan. But these caveats arent conveyed, creating a crore-pati image in India.
  • My son’s job takes him to places, it requires extensive traveling. He is doing extremely well as he pockets a salary of more than $120k. Translation: He is a consultant whose projects are short-lived. Job-hopping is part of working under a consultant, and the pay is definitely in that range, but reduces substantially by the time it makes through the various layers of consultants to his hands.

I hate to burst their bubble (when parents share their thoughts with such fervor), but I would really like to know the reason why that same super filthy rich son doesnt invite them to his “mansion” before he gets married? Their trip to US suddenly becomes indispensable when a kid is born.

Twisted interpretations, veiled truth and denial of reality only lead to a “supposedly” happy life. Get me one person (desi) who would happily admit that he works for a startup for a dismal salary, but the project is pretty interesting and he sees a bright future for it. Not that they dont exist, just that I havent met one.

I ran out of any more venom to spew.

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15 Responses to “veiled truth”

  1. Saagar Says:

    Is it just me or is it a fact that in showing the light of events in a funny way, you try to satiate your urge of ridiculing people and their ways in such a way that people won’t point fingers at.. There is a hairline gap between being funny and being sarcastic and I guess you would find that before you get too carried away by your “urge”. good luck Pal

  2. Pavan Says:

    Saagar: yes, I do have strong urges to ridicule (some) people, and who doesnt? If it is justified, why not? I poke fun at myself many a times. My so-called humor has strong shades of sarcasm, and that is my nature. Is it wrong being sarcastic when the underlying point holds good? Anything remotely funny *has to* have a victim, and my rant wasn’t baseless (atleast from my limited exposure).

    And I don’t mind people pointing fingers at me for this, after all, I tagged this “apun bola” for a reason.

  3. Vasuki Says:

    Haha…I also keep wondering about the same thing!
    Everyone is working for a fortune 500 company or serving fortune 500 companies or at least serving the clients of fortune 500 companies! :))

  4. Cinamon Says:

    Pavan, its something taht starts at a very early age in life. When i take my son who BTW is 11 months old to his doc, people there are compaing notes

    “how many teeth does he have?”
    whats his weight? Oh then what was his birth weight?
    Does he chew solids?

    comeon gimme a break. its not a rat race. But, parents make it one right from the time they are born.

  5. Sudhakar Says:

    Very valid point .

  6. Anisha Says:

    so true :(…this guy I know keeps reminding everybody around a/b his “status”
    like the other evening,his family and I went out for dinner…
    he:eat properly kids, dont put ur finger in the bowl, I wont take u to Bahamas next week

    children: cudnt care less!! πŸ˜›

    he: now! children! if u shout once more, I wont take u to Bahamas..

    children: again, cudnt care less..

    he: looking at me, sighs!…these kids are junglees..wat wil I do in Bahamas, with them….

    me: in my mind!! (WTF? i know u r going and every1 in the restaurant knows!!..we sympathise with the kids :P)

    the manger walks by…

    he: shouts at the kids, dont do that! and the manager comes to the table.

    MANAGER:”is everything OK?…

    he: we are going to Bahamas next week, and ther we will go to fancy restaurants, how will I manage with them……………….. 😦

  7. Pavan Says:

    Vasuki: glad that I am not alone facing this πŸ™‚ As you said, in the near future, each of these Fortune 500 would have a list of 500 clientele so that every employee can boast “worked for Fortune 500 company”

    Cinamon: exactly, imagine babies comparing notes “dude, my diapers are better than your cotton langots”.. situation is getting out of control

    Sudhakar: thanks!

    Anisha: wow, simply wow.. hehe, sometimes, kids behave more appropriately than their parents! Now sit back and wait for this uncle to flood you with pictures/videos from Bahamas so that you can spread the word for him.. pure advertising!

  8. shark Says:

    As cinamon rightly pointed out, guess it starts with Parents… and surely but steadily the children catch up!

    On the other side of the world… in Bangalore to be specific, it’s dangerous to boast of working in a top company!

    My company is in the papers every other day boasting of some profit etc.. and people are under the impression that “I” am making all that profit!

    Now imagine going out for a family dinner… none of the others even offer to pay for the bill… after all I work for such a big company, I am supposed to pay for all…

    I don’t mind treating at all… but I want to do it only when I want to do it. Not when I am forced to do it 😦

    That was not exactly in line with the topic… but then wanted to spew some venom from my side too πŸ˜‰

  9. Srikanth Says:

    I used to work for a “very small” company, as a “contractor” through a mid sized(not very well known) company
    This “very small” company got taken over by a “very big” company, and over night I became an employee of a “very big” company…
    I miss the charm of the smaller one, and I still am comfortable being associated with a mid-sized one than the “very big” one.

    Apart from what Shark says, people try to judge what would be your pay/position/role/job etc by the company you work for.

    I can be working in a defunct business unit of company X which is excellent, but I may not be really doing great things other parts of company does.

    I might be working on rocket science sitting in a relatively unknown place.

    Its all in perspective.

  10. Mysorean Says:

    True Pavan. Very true.

    There is this friend of mine, in fact there are many but for this purpose one is enough. He once sent a mail to our engineering classmates’ yahoogroups:
    ______________
    Hi,

    I am moving on. I have been offered to join as Analyst – [some dept I dont remember] of [a top business research company] India. I will be based out of the Bangalore office for 10 days a month and will be traveling across the Globe for the rest of the month.

    Cheers,
    [name]
    _______________
    Can you guess the subject of the mail??
    Sub: Analyst – name of the top business research company

  11. Maverick Says:

    pretentions i believe stem frm insecurities, insecurities where one is afraid to be oneself. But that is so human, and if parents exaggerate abt their children, i totally understand. I think this comes more out of the intution to elevate the people whom we really love.


  12. Aamir Khan is ahhhlmost my blood relative. His second wife’s second cousin’s cousin is my cousin’s wife. Not all that bad, huh? πŸ˜‰

    Pavan, nice post….you have hit the bull’s eye.

  13. Celine Says:

    I know a down-to-earth guy who happily admitted in almost those words that he “works for a startup for a dismal salary, but the project is pretty interesting and he sees a bright future for it.” I knew him when his salary was about 15K about 2 years back, and now his salary is almost 100K. Alas! He isn’t a ‘desi’ anymore. He’s been sent temporarily to work in the USA.

    I enjoyed your posting including the shades of sarcasm. Spew more venom:P I’ll come back to read more. πŸ™‚

  14. Susmitha Says:

    I agree to an extent that the rat race begins from the parents, but sometimes they are forced to an extent to think in such terms. Imagine a situation where in my son’s birthday party, my so called friend suddenly decided my son is not tall enough for his age. After all, the little guy is only four. And she started asking loudly if he is growing up properly and if all kids his age are the same height etc etc.
    I have had even comments from them in the past that he is not chubby, but then hey, look at me. I am slim so my so would also be slim. I almost felt like blurting out one day, look at the size of you and look at your daughter. There is this saying’ kaaki pilla kaaki ki muddhu’ which holds entirely true.
    hmm…what can we say about ignoramuses like this? People like this feel jealous when they see a working mother. They also got to the point of saying that because I work, he is thin. ha ha Does it mean that I dont cook or feed him? Stupid people anyway, who wants people like this for friends?

  15. lakshmi Says:

    Hey guys,

    Having lived in the US for quite some time, I cannot help commenting on this subject….

    Here I see that people are a lot less concerned about where you work..like working for”google”(direct employer) or consulting for google as an employee of a lesser known”xyz” makes little difference…you get respected for your own merit..the experience and knowledge you have gained so far..thats very imp..and ofcourse the bottomline is you make good money wherever you sit or whatever you do….

    and here in the US, consultants make excellent money by working on hourly basis…i know a lot of people who make much more than regular salaried employees in these so called giant cos…

    infact a lot of techies opt for the former just to make better bucks…..


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