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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tie up loose ends..

There is a phrase in Tamizh "mottai thalaikkum muzhangaalukkum mudichchu podaadhey" which literally translated means "don't tie a knot between your tonsured head and your ankles"

This could have been our wise sages saying "don't have your head up your @$$" in a nice politically correct way or there is some other cryptic reference. They must have been wise sages, because a tonsured head should be way better than a head full of hair, for said purpose. This phrase is used by granny's to convey the message "Don't try to link unrelated things!" and used by me to say "Don't insult Karl Pearson and his correlation coefficient!".

Now what loose ends is this post going to tie up? Nostalgia, IT, people and perceptions.

Why? Well, a comment on the previous post, a followup comment and an analysis of the comment by s.b., that is why!

Nostalgia for me has always been associated with something more than just reminescing or flashbacks. Often times it puts things in a different perspective. Reminds me of (oh oh! there we go again!) a short story we had as part of our Non-Detailed Text book (NDT as we used to call it). It was "The Pepper Tree" by Dal Stevens(either I do not know the correct spelling for the author or it is not a popular story because Google does not give me a link!).

In this story, the author goes back to his childhood home, only to find that the huge pepper tree that he remembered as a child is nothing impresive when he is a grown man! Can personally relate to this. The high compound wall from which I fell and got eight stitches as a child was all of 3 1/2 feet tall. I kind of felt stupid when showing it to the family on our last India trip!

Now for another nostalgic event involving IT People. My friend Suresh was visiting Boston for a conference. He was in a suburban train station where there was only one other person, another desi. Here is the conversation (as narrated to me by Suresh after his trip, as much as I can remember)

2nd Desi Dude : Sir, neenga endha Platform? (Sir, which Platform are you?)
Confused Suresh : Sir, there is only two Platforms here. One to go that way, one to go this way. I am going to Boston.
2nd Desi Dude : I mean which Platform do you work on?
Confused Suresh : What makes you think I work for the Platform? Do I look like a transit railway employee? I am a chemical Engineer!
2nd Desi Dude: Sorry Sir. I thought you were also IT!

This was 1997 or 1996 (don't remember) and it was an okay icebreaker between two Desi's to ask "Which platform?" and expect an answer like "windows" or "linux" or god knows what those Platforms are! Chemical and Materials Engineers would of course have a lightbulb moment. Still remember rolling on the ground laughing when he came back and narrated this. There were so many Desi IT dudes who descended in those years that they would generalize any Desi in the US to be an IT dude!!

Today, the IT sector in general seems to be getting a brunt of abuse by Desi's. All problems are to be traced back to the IT people! This reminds me of Raj's post on finding the right scapegoat and making it stick. That reminds me of .......

When I was a small boy we would hear on the radio, auto rickshaw mounted election campaign loudspeakers, stuff like "we will eliminate the forward caste. Down with the Brahmins." etc. etc. If you are from a lower middle class Brahmin family, you do start wondering what all the fuss is about. It was fashionable in the (A, AIA, B, BIA, C, CIA, etc. etc.. )D(M)K parties to do at least some Brahmin bashing as a forward to any election speech.

Today it is customary for people to indulge in IT bashing along similar lines.

In any case, "I am not IT people" was to tell folks that I am a materials engineer and not a software person and therefore not qualified to represent the views of "IT people".

As for IT being blamed for everything, well, Raj's post puts that in perspective. You might have to squint a little and read it to catch the perspective, but it is there!


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I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 8:57 AM, Blogger Munimma wrote...

IT folks are the new brahmins, eh? itha thaan, etho solvaangale, intha pakkamum adi, antha pakkamum adi, something like that :-)

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 9:49 PM, Blogger Sundar Narayanan wrote...

even Kollywood is subscribing to this view..in case you dont take my word for it.

go see Tamizh M.A. or even the latest Prakash Raj movie Arai Enn 305il Kadavul..

Blame it on IT it is!


I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 11:33 PM, Blogger Kavi wrote...

Insightful ! And well written. I liked the Platform connection. Afterall one goes in one direction and the other in the other !


I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 10:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote...


nice post, and glad to be the one of the causes for it :-).

a few years ago, being an nri was good, and being an nri as an it dude was better. now, however ...

my guess based on conversations with tamil friends is that it is the worst fate for an rnri returning to tamil nadu nowadays to be an it brahman! it probably is not much better elsewhere, but in t.n. is likely the worst.

- s.b.

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 12:53 AM, Blogger Girish wrote...

Hey.. even i was looking for my class 12 english books containing stevens and yesterday supise surprise, i found it in my old papers while cleaning da garage..
am gonna type it and post it on my site, do u want a copy of it??
also there was a story about a farmer who wants to plant pomegranates (anaar) in either 11th or 12th class.. do u have any idea about the name or the author.??



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