Mr. Vivek Pradhan was not a happy man. 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. 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.
‘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.’ ‘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.
‘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 awestuck; quite like a child at a planetarium. ‘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..