Thursday, 25 September 2014

Are You Obsolete?

Welcome to a world where novelty is the new obsolete , fast is the new slow, more is the new less and unconventional is the new usual. A world where every new trend is a benchmark in itself, where the word novelty is a misnomer and where you will find yourself an outdated person unless you are faster than the fastest.

“AS-400? You mean like COBOL and CL? That green and black screen ? Your life is doomed dude! Get out of there as soon as you can !” I looked visibly defeated as a senior colleague of mine tagged the technology allocated to me as ----
“O.B.S.O.L.E.T.E. Its over. You want to save your career? Then bolt! Or one day the Java guys will swallow up your jobs like sharks gulp down little goldfishes and don’t even realize it.” I mustered some courage and enquired about a technology I had been given in another MNC. “ I can sympathize with you.” The pompous looking person with two years of experience said to me as if in mock sympathy. “You have some rotten luck... Mainframes? India does not have companies that can afford to buy those smoking hot mega machines , which,sadly, are not so hot anymore.” On hearing these final words of his, I was sure that my career was over before it had even started. I consoled myself somehow saying that at least I have a job, while all the time avoiding to think about those of my friends who were well-placed and many others pursuing higher studies.
As I crossed the road to enter my office building, I was about to punch my access card into the premises when a voice shook me from my reverie.
“Hey Aashi!”
“Oh hi Meeta! What are you doing here?”
“I am joining today. WOW! We will be together after such a long time! Its like a dream come true !” Meeta gushed. 
My spirits rose. As a matter of habit , I blurted out, “Which technology did you get?” Meeta pulled a long face and said ,”Java yaar.” 
“What is there to yaaaar about in this? Java is cool.” I shot back , stung.  She fired away, “There are so many Java pros today . Every second person is a Java person you know. There is cut throat competition.” It struck me that once upon a time, it was said that every second person was an engineer. Today, every second person is a Java pro. Are people growing up faster now? ‘You cleared the competition babe. That’s why you are here. I am not even in the competition.’ I thought bitterly, not able to bring myself to tell her about my “OBSOLETE“ technology.
As if Meeta had read my thoughts , she said .”Java is like OBSOLETE you know. It’s the age of python programmers.“
“Yeah I know. You can swap variables in a single line, something for which you required at least three lines in C”, I replied. And I am far behind C. I am slightly above the assembly level that tells the computer how to add 2 and 2. My thoughts had gone down a bitter lane. Waving my new-found-old friend goodbye, I walked towards my workstation, stomping and muttering under my breath. I fished my tiffin from my bag, ready to pounce. As my office buddies fell hungrily on each other’s food, stories were exchanged and gossip floated about. “Jinping is a clever son of a biscuit. The NaMo-Jinping alliance is a thing to watch out for! ” someone piped in.
"I thought the name was Abe. Shinzo Abe.” I don’t know why I had decided to show off my GK all of a sudden.
That someone laughed at me. “The Japan PM has visited and gone. Its old news Aashi. Its Xi Jingping now. Which age are you living in?”
Yeah, I live in an age of black and green screens, an age of no backspaces and no backups. I thought sarcastically.
Someone else picked a new thread. “Did you hear what happened to Mani?”
“She came half an hour late right?” It was certainly not my day and yet, I had no hold on my tongue.
“Babe, she came late last week . Yesterday, she was caught talking to her boyfriend for half an hour on her Cisco phone. Her manager sits on the same floor . You are turning obsolete, babe.”
That word was getting on my nerves now.


I packed up to leave for home, my mind ringing with the word OB-SOL-ETE.
It was as if the "Secret" had come into operation. “Nice phone!” a fellow colleague complimented me. “Thanks! I bought it two days ago”, I smiled, happy for the first time during the day . Then he said again, “Although Motorola has stopped selling MotoG. You could have bought MotoG2 . It came out 4 days ago. MotoG is obsolete compared to MotoG2.” 
My temper had been on the surface all day and now it had reached boiling point. I somehow brought it down, calming myself , telling myself that the word was probably jinxed and it was just a bad day.
But perhaps it was not about the day at all or about the word. Perhaps it was about the era that we are living in . Things become obsolete as soon as they are invented. Phones age before they can celebrate their first birthday. Age is cracking its whip on us faster than ever. Not even Botox and liposuction seem to be able to put a fullstop or comma to it. It seems even the best technologies are failing. The more technologies we invent to make things last ,the faster they are replaced by newer technologies that claim to outlive their predecessors.
After dinner I sat down to write an application that dad wanted for some bank purpose. When he saw me writing, Dad said, “Are you fond of doing double work? Why don’t you just type out the letter? Writing on paper is like...obsolete!”

That was the final stroke . I said ”Yes dad ! Didn't you know my middle name is obsolete? ,” and I started penning down my woes on a piece of paper. Obsolete that I am.

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