Sep 5, 2008

The problem...

... isn't very simple. Because it spans not one isolated aspect of life, but nearly all.

I grew up in an 'army' environment. My dad got transferred after every couple of years, and I, obviously, had to shift too. New cities. New schools. New people. New challenges. And new possibilities. Life was never stagnant at any one place for a long time. It was an exciting journey.

Cut to mid-2008. I'm in Bangalore. A city where everyone I could possibly care about, works beyond 7 pm. And everything shuts down at 1130 pm. People argue that the city isn't equipped to handle people who've had a few drinks - to become 'horses without reins' - and in the interest of 'public safety', everyone should stay at home after 2330. Also, a city which claims to represent 'India in the 21st century' - where it's against the law to dance in a 'public' place, even if the 'public' place only allows couple in, for an entry fee of Rs. 1,000 or higher. And a city that, for all the hype and hoopla, is regressing towards being a village with Taliban-esque social standards.

Screw 'nightlife'. During the day, one has to spend nearly half an hour to traverse a 5km distance. If you are driving, it's like playing a video game - nothing and no one is bound to behave in a rational manner on the road. You are responsible for youself, your vehicle, and also the idiot who doesn't understand queue or lane discipline. If you opt for public transport - you either discover it doesn't exist, or find that the fare you have to pay obeys Heisenberg's principle. It's not as simple as 4km X Rs. 7 per km = Rs 28. It could be anything between Rs 26 and Rs 40, and is skewed towards the higher end of the range.

Reach office and the chaos continues. For starters, you work with a bunch of people as diverse as possible, who aren't necessarily willing to adapt. Who are overpaid to the extent that they start believing they are so good - they don't have to fall in line with any rules or standards, that they deserve all the priviledges they have, and they can get anything and everything they want. I'm not against rapid economic growth, or evolution of social standards, or personal liberties. But I do believe that all this should be tempered with some basic discipline and sense of responsibility.

Next, you work with seniors who got sucked up into senior positions because they were the only ones available during the explosive growth phase, and not because they have the knowledge, experience and skills to handle great responsibility. I have to admit that, to an extent, this applies to me also, and it is inevitable when the economy grows at the rate it is growing. And it's not something I'm terribly pleased with.

Then, there is the 'core' work. For one, people in Bangalore work with clients across the world - who show them different degrees of respect. There are some who genuinely respect you and treat you like partners, if not experts. But there are also some who treat you like their personal secretaries, and seem very aware of the fact that you cost even less in US$ terms.

For another, the work is routinized to the extent of mindlessness. What companies proudly describe as 'processes' - are essentially efforts to de-humanize everything thats being done. Efforts to strip away our creativity, freedom of thought or action, and make everything so standardized that anyone who knows english and can read/listen and then type/talk - would achieve more-or-less the same results.

Finally, lets talk about social life. For all my life thus far, I've had friends at the same lifestage as I am. People I can relate to, who can relate with me, and we could hang out and get through days, weeks, months...

Right now, I'm stuck in an awkward place. Most of my friends are married, and not at the same lifestage. The others, who are also my age and single, usually can not relate to my professional and social life and vice-versa. And in most cases, I simply dont like/respect/trust the people I come across. Work is so hectic, there's no time to meet new people. Even if there was time, Bangalore rules/traffic/population - and Indian social standards in general - don't allow for much.

There is a sheer, and deeply disturbing, emptiness to life. Something's gotta give...

1 comment:

  1. What usually "gives" at this stage is bachelorhood.

    Life around you doesn't change, it only gets more tolerable because you have another person around to share it and bitch with.