A parable

"It is a tragedy that our youngsters are deserting scientific and technical fields and rushing headlong towards more lucrative careers in management. Why? Don't our youngsters have any passion towards technology? Why?"

I'll tell you why, cupcake.


We zoom in to the haggard engineer in an MNC, as usual completely disillusioned in life about his job. Though his salary isn't anything remarkable, he's paid far more than the value he thinks he is adding and so has the consequent guilt complex built on everything from him feeling underused, to feeling like he's cheating someone, to a sinking feeling of becoming more and more worthless and chained to his present sinecure every passing day. It's also been two days since he took a bath, because the commute every day to the industrial ghetto at the other end of the city is so fucking long that all life is sucked out of him by the time he's back.

He's listening to his auntie or mom - always an elderly female authority figure in all versions - going on about her neighbour's boy, who went to IIM, getting married. The engineer, of course, is not married even after about 400 'unofficial' attempts by himself and about 3 and counting official ones by his parents (the latest one turned him down because he didn't give a concrete enough reason for not going to/staying in the US, and the one before that because his company hadn't given him a laptop; the piteous checking of company email on weekends on his desktop, over a VPN on a net connection he paid for, obviously meant that the company did not believe him to be executive material).

The auntie continues - The IIM chap is "well-settled" in Singapore, Hong Kong, London, New York or some such world center of trade, and earning about 5 lakhs per month - note, it is always helpfully presented in INR per month. The wifey is earning an appropriately smaller but still respectable 3 lakhs per month, usually (actually, preferably. "these days the woRRRld is so flat no?") in a different world center of trade.

Cut to flashback scene where the Engineer had actually Facebook-stalked the IIM chap many days before the auntie's narration. Fish eye to show we're in the engineer's memories. The marriage is one perfectly made for Facebook, and all manner of ABCD and DCBA cousins carrying DSLRs ensure there are 3000 high-quality pics of every ritual. Each album and Charcoal-filter photoshopped picture receives an appropriate number of 300 Likes and 250 comments, most of them (rather accurately, to the Engineer's dismay) say 'oh u 2 r so cuuuuteeeee!!!!'. Just clicking on the commenters' profiles provides more opportunities for bird-watching than what an entire month of his regular life does.

He remembers their marriage web page - it had a cool AJAX form for the RSVP that didn't work with his 750 a month BSNL connection, and it didn't automatically start playing corny music like the other marriage pages did. There was even a live Twitter feed by an uncle of the bride who is a web 2.0 evangelist. His uncles, in contrast, did little more at marriages than complain about the ever-declining quality of the nadaswaram. He remembers making a mental note to expect a joint blogging 'experiment' to begin anytime, starting with an oh-so-hilarious attempt at making chocolate cake (with pictures), which will have 120 Likes; next of course would be the intolerably poignant notes from their eco-friendly honeymoon to the Seychelles, where the wifey would be impressed by what a softie the hubby is when he gives a dime to a beggar boy, and ...

Both the bride and the groom are around 26-27, and judging by their career growth so far, are all set to jointly start the next biggest Africa philanthropy foundation in 20 years. The biggest worry plaguing the young family right now though, is that the boy has bought a 2000 sqft house in Singapore, girl has bought a 1800 sqft one in Hong Kong, how to manage?

The auntie then leaves. The Engineer then thinks back to his fate - that salary he draws looks very measly now. Also, it's made up of about 3.6 bazillion allowances of which he claims only 2 - who the fuck cares to keep their petrol bunk receipts or commute bus tickets or telephone bill (non-internet only) component receipt? His company tells him it's all to save tax, but he suspects it's a regular CTC-whore tactic to fuck him out of his allowances and essentially pay him only his Basic, which by the way is below the Nation's taxable limit, praise the DTC.

He once again imagines the shitty, smelly lab he has to go to every morning, and all the beakers he has to wash because his boss believes that doing low-quality work builds character. The wedding invitation from a few days ago is still at his desk, and the paper used is of a gauge that even his highest degree's certificate can't match. The Engineer in a fit of impotent rage then takes the acetylene cylinder lying there, and turns the knob anti-clockwise. It tightens. Arrggh you won't even let me die in peace you bitch. He turns it clockwise.

The end.

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