Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Read On...

***warning:Long post ahead***
Usually, I dont blog forward mails. I love reading them and I do ask my friend to keep sending me forward mails. But blogging, I beloive, is a place for me to express myself. 

But this mail was so much different, that I had  to simplyy blog it. Many tims, we do lose sight of the hardword other put to make our life easy. When we work hard, cutting the deadlines, delivering the project in the stipulated budget, when we let our job guide our benchamark of hardwork, we lose sight of the amount of hardwork other do, and we tend to drive home the point across every one who care to listen that the work we do is the most strenoues work. 

I can say from my heart that I dont think the work I do is strenous enough - yes yes, it is all true about the 'we use our brains, not muscles, it is not a matter of writing just few lines' part, and I agree with it, but that does not make the hard work of a daily labourer any less demanding. But I have often seen manyof my friends looking down at people who are not in IT, and saying, they dont know how tough our life is. well, this forward os for all those who think so. 
A real story  ...A gossip between a Solider and Software Engineer in 
Shatabdhi Train .........An interesting  and a must   read! 

Vivek Pradhan was not a happy man. Even the plush comfort of the 
air-conditioned compartment of the Shatabdhi express could not cool his 
frayed nerves. He was the Project Manager and still not entitled to air 
travel. It was not the prestige he sought; he had tried to reason with the 
admin person, it was the savings in time. As PM, he had so many things to 

He opened his case and took out the laptop, determined to put the time to 
some good use. 

"Are you from the software industry sir," the man beside him was staring 
appreciatively at the laptop. Vivek glanced briefly and mumbled in 
affirmation, handling the laptop now with exaggerated care and importance as 
if it were an expensive car. 

"You people have brought so much advancement to the country, Sir. Today 
everything is getting computerized." 

"Thanks," smiled Vivek, turning around to give the man a look. He always 
found it difficult to resist appreciation. The man was young and stockily 
built like a sportsman. He looked simple and strangely out of place in that 
little lap of luxury like a small town boy in a prep school. He probably was 
a railway sportsman making the most of his free traveling pass. 

"You people always amaze me," the man continued, "You sit in an office and 
write something on a computer and  it does so many big things outside." 

Vivek smiled deprecatingly. Naive ness demanded reasoning not anger. "It is 
not as simple as that my friend. It is not just a question of writing a few 
lines. There is a lot of process that goes behind it." 

For a moment, he was tempted to explain the entire Software Development 
Lifecycle but restrained himself to a single statement. "It is complex, very 

"It has to be. No wonder you people are so highly paid," came the reply. 

This was not turning out as Vivek had thought. A hint of belligerence crept 
into his so far affable, persuasive tone. " 

Everyone just sees the money. No one sees the amount of hard work we have to 
put in. Indians have such a narrow concept of hard work. Just because we sit 
in an air-conditioned office, does not mean our brows do not sweat. You 
exercise the muscle; we exercise the mind and believe me that is no less 

He could see, he had the man where he wanted, and it was time to drive home 
the point. 

"Let me give you an example. Take this train. The entire railway reservation 
system is computerized. You can book a train ticket between any two stations 
from any of the hundreds of computerized booking centres across the country. 

Thousands of transactions accessing a single database, at a time 
concurrently; data integrity, locking, data security. Do you understand the 
complexity in designing and coding such a system?" 

The man was awestruck; quite like a child at a planetarium. This was 
something big and beyond his imagination. 

"You design and code such things." 

"I used to," Vivek paused for effect, "but now I am the Project Manager." 

"Oh!" sighed the man, as if the storm had passed over, 

"so your life is easy now." 

This was like the last straw for Vivek. He retorted, "Oh come on, does life 
ever get easy as you go up the ladder. Responsibility only brings more work. 

Design and coding! That is the easier part. Now I do not do it, but I am 
responsible for it and believe me, that is far more stressful. My job is to 
get the work done in time and with the highest quality. 

To tell you about the pressures, there is the customer at one end, always 
changing his requirements, the user at the other, wanting something else, 
and your boss, always expecting you to have finished it yesterday." 

Vivek paused in his diatribe, his belligerence fading with self-realization. 
What he had said, was not merely the outburst of a wronged man, it was the 
truth. And one need not get angry while defending the truth. 

"My friend," he concluded triumphantly, "you don't know what it is to be in 
the Line of Fire". 

The man sat back in his chair, his eyes closed as if   in realization. When 
he spoke after sometime, it was with a calm certainty that surprised Vivek. 

"I know sir.... I know what it is to be in the Line of Fire......." 
He was staring blankly, as if no passenger, no train existed, just a vast 
expanse of time. 

"There were 30 of us when we were ordered to capture Point 4875 in the cover 
of the night. 

The enemy was firing from the top. 

There was no knowing where the next bullet was going to come from and for 

In the morning when we finally hoisted the tricolour at the top only 4 of us 
were alive." 

"You are a...?" 

"I am Subedar Sushant from the 13 J&K Rifles on duty at Peak 4875 in Kargil. 
They tell me I have completed my term and can opt for a soft assignment. 

But, tell me sir, can one give up duty just because it makes life easier. 

On the dawn of that capture, one of my colleagues lay injured in the snow, 
open to enemy fire while we were hiding behind a bunker. 

It was my job to go and fetch that soldier to safety. But my captain sahib 
refused me permission and went ahead himself. 

He said that the first pledge he had taken as a Gentleman Cadet was to put 
the safety and welfare of the nation foremost followed by the safety and 
welfare of the men he commanded... ....his own personal safety came last, 
always and every time." 

"He was killed as he shielded and brought that injured soldier into the 
bunker. Every morning thereafter, as we stood guard, I could see him taking 
all those bullets, which were actually meant for me . I know sir....I know, 
what it is to be in the Line of Fire." 

Vivek looked at him in disbelief not sure of how to respond. Abruptly, he 
switched off the laptop. 

It seemed trivial, even insulting to edit a Word document in the presence of 
a man for whom valor and duty was a daily part of life; valour and sense of 
duty which he had so far attributed only to epical heroes. 

The train slowed down as it pulled into the station, and Subedar Sushant 
picked up his bags to alight. 

"It was nice meeting you sir." 

Vivek fumbled with the handshake. 

This hand... had climbed mountains, pressed the trigger, and hoisted the 
tricolour. Suddenly, as if by impulse, he stood up at attention and his 
right hand went up in an impromptu salute. 

It was the least he felt he could do for the country. 

PS: The incident he narrated during the capture of Peak 4875 is a true-life 
incident during the Kargil war. Capt. Batra sacrificed his life while trying 
to save one of the men he commanded, as victory was within sight. For this 
and various other acts of bravery, he was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the 
nation's highest military award. 

Live humbly, there are great people around us, let us learn! 

Lety me finish this post with a snippet of comment i nicked from Prasanth bhai at Veenzies blog - "carry on living !!! its great :)"


Winnie the poohi said...


I loved the story.. its like reality check... isnt it ?

Anonymous said...

ohh God! my eyes are moist :)

It doesn't take us a minute to go on blabber abt our hardships and problems.. :(

this post coupled with Aner's post... you guys got me thinking BIG TIME!

thanks buddy :)
- for sharing it ;)
- and putting my name on yur blog :D publicity ;) :D

~ ॐ ~ said...

I have read this one before !!! I am all respects for the Indian Army for what they did !!!

I had visited the Drass Sector and the Kargil Memorial in 2006, and it was beyond imagination, how the soldiers survived that war !!!

A straight climb of 6 kms where the dushman, could just point and shoot without much effort !!!

oh Boy !!!

Oh, and thanks for the link at the end :) makes me feel good :)

Tys on Ice said...


that was lovely...

lavender tulips【ツ】 said...

I can't help it...I cried.

ck2 said...

War is always nasty and never the answer.
But nothing moves me more than the life of a military person.

Mustang said...

indeed moving. Most riders who get to leh come back with a renowned respect for the jawans up there.

They know how to make us realize what patriotism is all about... not the nicely clad politicians.