Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Changing Face of India

The sixties:

Son rushes into house jubilant and excited.

Son:   Mom, I have good news! I have graduated with top honours in my college. I have also got a job as a Junior clerk in Seth Makhichand’s firm. I will be getting a salary of three hundred rupees a month.

Mom:   God Bless you my son! If only your father was around to see this moment. He would have been so happy.

Son touches mother’s feet and takes her blessing. Mother bursts out into tears and hugs him. Overall, it’s a highly emotional moment.

The Seventies:

Son walks in the house, depressed and dejected.

Mom:   Any luck getting a job son?

Son:   No mom. There is no hope. You need a special recommendation to get a job. You need to be the son of a minister, industrialist or someone with high connections. Without that, I don’t stand a chance. I have roamed around the whole day, from one office to another. My slippers are torn to shreds and my feet are bleeding. They want people with experience. And how does one get experience without starting somewhere? This degree and my entire education have no value at all.

Frustrated, he throws the file containing his qualifications to the ground.

Mother:   Don’t get unduly disheartened Son. You will find something soon. Have faith in God and yourself.

Saying so she hugs her son. Once again, the atmosphere is heavily loaded with emotions.

The Eighties:

Still the same old scene. Son walks in dejected, a file in one hand and a bag of vegetables in the other.

Son:   Mom, here are the vegetables you wanted.

Mom:   Any luck son?

Son:   Still the same old story. There’s a huge waiting list for each job. They are asking a bribe now even for getting a chance to sit at the interview. I wonder why I ever took up studies. There is no value to this degree at all.

Saying so, once again he flings the file with disgust to the floor.

Mom:   Don’t get disheartened son. I have something for you. I spoke to Seth Makhichand the other day. He says there is a vacancy for a junior clerk available in his firm. I will request him to give you the job.

Son(Getting angry):   How can you even think of that mom? I am a graduate Engineer First class with honours. After doing engineering, how can you expect me to take up the job of a clerk?

Mom:   Why don’t you realize? We need some money to run this house? We have to get Chunni (younger sister) married. Where will the money come from? You have to take up this job, whether you like it or not.

Son gets dejected and hangs his head down while the mother bursts into tears. Once again, an emotional moment.

The Nineties:

Son walks into the house excited and happy.

Son:   Mom, there’s good news. I got a job in the new foreign IT company which just started its’ operations in India recently. The salary and perks are very good.

Mom:   That’s good news beta. I am so happy for you.

Son:   Yes. Thanks to the new economic liberalization policy of the government, foreign companies are investing in India. They have started new factories and offices. New jobs are coming through. It looks like our bad days are over.

Son and Mom hug each other in a … once again …. Emotional moment!

Dawn of the new Millenium:

Son walks in with laptop and travel bag in hand. His mother is waiting eagerly.

Mother:   How nice to see you again son. You should take some time off to meet me often from that hectic work schedule of yours.

Son:   Mom, I have good news. I have three job offers in hand. But my current company didn’t want to let me go. So now they are sending me to Europe on a long term assignment. It will take four to five years.

Mom:   Such a long time? What will I do without you?

Son:   Don’t worry mom. I will visit you once in a year. We can also be in touch via Skype.

Mom:   But son, you are already coming of age. What about your marriage? You need to settle down in life.

Son:   Oh c’mon mom. Don’t bombard me with your soppy emotional sentiments. I can’t afford to miss this opportunity. It will be good for my career. Marriage can wait.

Son touches mother’s feet and walks away without even looking back, not noticing the tears she is shedding. A totally one sided emotional moment!

And after the First decade of the millennium:

Son walks into the house screaming abuses in the cell-phone. It is evident from the wrinkles and warts on his face that he is going through great stress. He cursorily stoops to touch his mother’s feet, not really looking at her.

Mom:   How are you beta? Where are you wife and kid? Haven’t you brought them here?

Son:   No mom, they couldn’t come. Wife is busy with her job. It’s a critical period.

Mom:   What about my grandson?

Son:   I have left him in a proper day care centre. He will be occupied all day. The centre has excellent facilities.

Mom:   But why should she (your wife) also work? Isn’t it enough if you work alone? The kid needs his mother’s care.

Son(angrily):   Now don’t start that again Mom. Prices are rising. We cannot afford to survive on my salary alone. Do you know how expensive it is to buy even a small 2BHK these days? You have no idea.

Mom shrugs and sighs helplessly. Son keeps ranting on the phone oblivious to his mother’s presence. A moment totally devoid of any emotions.

Present year:

Our hero is lying on the sofa, animatedly chatting with someone on the cell phone. His mother walks in.

Mom:   Still here? Are you not going to college?

Son(laughing):   College? What are you talking about? I dropped out a long time ago.

Mother(flabbergasted):   WHAT??!

Son:   Yes. I and my two friends, we’re starting an online real estate business.

Mom(angrily):   And all this time you fooled me telling me you were going to college. Why did you lie to me?

Son:   Because I knew you wouldn’t agree. You always try to discourage me.

Mother:   I just want you to be safe. Can’t you at least wait till you finish your studies?

Son:   What for? I mean what’s the point? There’s never been a better time to become an Entrepreneur. The government has launched the new ‘Start Up India’ scheme. There are a lot of angel investors out there. The time is ripe. We must capitalize. Now, who would waste one’s life studying and sitting behind a desk and cubicle in a mundane and boring nine to five job? Ok mom, I have to be going. I will be back late. Have your dinner. Don’t wait for me.

Son walks out and mother is left behind shaking her head in disbelief.

© Srinivas Pavan Addanki

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