Vivek Pradhan was not a happy man.. Even the plush comfort of the air-conditioned compartment of the Shatabdi express could not cool his frayed nerves. He was the Project Manager and still not entitled to air travel. It was not the prestige he sought, he had tried to reason with the admin person, it was the savings in time. As PM, he had so many things to do!!
He opened his case and took out the laptop, determined to put the time to some good use.
'Are you from the software industry sir?' the man beside him was staring appreciatively at the laptop. Vivek glanced briefly and mumbled in affirmation, handling the laptop now with exaggerated care and importance as if it were an expensive car.
'You people have brought so much advancement to the country, Sir. Today everything is getting computerized.'
'Thanks,' smiled Vivek, turning around to give the man a look. He always found it difficult to resist appreciation. The man was young and stockily built like a sportsman..... He looked simple and strangely out of place in that little lap of luxury like a small town boy in a prep school. He probably was a railway sportsman making the most of his free traveling pass.
'You people always amaze me,' the man continued, 'You sit in an office and write something on a computer and it does so many big things outside.'
Vivek smiled deprecatingly. Naiveness demanded reasoning not anger.
'It is not as simple as that my friend. It is not just a question of writing a few lines. There is a lot of process that goes behind it.'
For a moment, he was tempted to explain the entire Software Development Lifecycle but restrained himself to a single statement.
'It is complex, very complex.'
'It has to be. No wonder you people are so highly paid,' came the reply.
This was not turning out as Vivek had thought. A hint of belligerence crept into his so far affable, persuasive tone.
'Everyone just sees the money. No one sees the amount of hard work we have to put in. Indians have such a narrow concept of hard work. Just because we sit in an air-conditioned office, does not mean our brows do not sweat. You exercise the muscle; we exercise the mind and believe me that is no less taxing.'
He could see, he had the man where he wanted, and it was time to drive home the point.
'Let me give you an example. Take this train. The entire railway reservation system is computerized. You can book a train ticket between any two stations from any of the hundreds of computerized booking centers across the country.
Thousands of transactions accessing a single database, at a time concurrently; data integrity, locking, data security. Do you understand the complexity in designing and coding such a system?'
The man was awestruck; quite like a child at a planetarium. This was something big and beyond his imagination.
'You design and code such things?'
'I used to,' Vivek paused for effect, 'but now I am the Project Manager.'
'Oh!' sighed the man, as if the storm had passed over,
'so your life is easy now.'
This was like the last straw for Vivek. He retorted, 'Oh come on, does life ever get easy as you go up the ladder. Responsibility only brings more work. Design and coding! That is the easier part. Now I do not...