Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Out of chaos.....

In an article published three years back, TIME magazine had analysed the reasons behind India’s success with IT and software. “How did India gain superiority in this field alone” it wondered “ while China remained a non-entity, struggling to get its bearings right?”

After looking at possible answers like “ India has the advantage of having a large English-speaking population “, “ the accident of time zones of India and the USA being such that a seamless 24-hour working could be ensured, “ and so on, TIME concluded that while the Chinese were extremely good with tasks that called for discipline, strict adherence to rules and instructions and conformity to standards- as required in manufacturing, mining, construction, etc, Indians had that uncanny ability to thrive in chaotic conditions – which equipped them to take on the type of challenges that IT and programming posed.

I agree. Indians love disorderliness and revel in chaos. Take a genius like Tendulkar. He picked up all the rudiments of the game in Shivaji Park, where on a typical day twelve different matches go on simultaneously with about 250 fielders running all over, and the same spot on the ground can be gully position for one team, mid-on for another, deep square leg for yet another. If your skills have been honed in these conditions, scoring a century at Lord’s with all its tranquility is child’s play.

I don’t know why the same logic doesn’t work with Narain Karthikeyan. Perhaps, he has frittered away his time at the racetrack during his learning days. He should have practised on the Indian roads instead, where millions of people effortlessly navigate their vehicles through narrow roads, alongside pedestrians, thousands of cycles, rickshaws, bullock-carts, fish-carts, trucks, cars, hundreds of two-wheelers, all honking and hooting and moving in different directions and velocities. Traffic lights and other signals exist just to provide some comic relief. The whole atmosphere is lively and jolly, if you see my point. Brownian movement, if you get my drift. Once you manage to survive on these roads, you can take on the Grand prix events blind-folded, with or without a Formula 1 car.

Raman Roy, the founder of Spectramind, is quoted in an interview as saying that when Wipro first won a contract from Amex in 1991 for some back-office work, they couldn’t locate a dish anywhere in Delhi. They had to run from pillar to post to get the necessary licence. So, they went in for cables. One day, the system collapsed mysteriously. It took them a few days to realize that somebody had dug into the cables to steal the copper. Against such odds, they managed to deliver and get Amex to move the entire operations here. On the other hand, the Chinese programmer would have got the Govt to provide the connectivity, power connection, running water, etc but would not have had the wherewithal to write a line of code, under such perfect conditions.

If the Universe tends towards chaos following the laws of thermodynamics and entropy, Indians are bound to rule this world. Let's hope for such conducive conditions.


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Maru Marauder said...

How true....Indians thrive on choaos...too bad the most chaotic place around - the parliament house - doesnt seem to get much work done...

sv3 said...

I agree, our politicians thrive financially on the chaos, but the country itself doesn't. Still, you're right. Indian expatriates are known to perform well in chaotic conditions. Just try crossing the road at Ballygunge Phari while typing an SMS to your mom.(Done that already!)

Anonymous said...

good blog.. we indians do thrive in chaotic conditions and do have the brains to work wonders when everything is perfect!!

"On the other hand, the Chinese programmer would have got the Govt to provide the connectivity, power connection, running water, etc but would not have had the wherewithal to write a line of code, under such perfect conditions."

I beg to differ here.. I've had a lot of chineese frds/acquaintances at study and work.. they're extremely hardworking and intelligent inspite of their poor (not so poor these days) accent.. they have tremendous self-confidence, which is backed by brains!

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