Do you remember when you were young and had dreams? Dreams to become a pilot or an astronaut or an artist or a dancer maybe? We all do. And so do we remember the time and date when we chose not to follow our dreams, but instead, we followed the herd. The herd following was a result of many factors, which I won’t delve into, but the foremost was, and always will be parental/peer pressure. Talking about herds, you must know of the engineers-boom that has happened/happening in our country. I am sure everyone who has not been living under the Earth’s inner crust knows about it. Adventures of an Indian Techie by Nipun Varma is a compilation of incidents from the life of a software engineer working in the vast Indian IT sector trying to fit himself in between the big shots and the nowhere while trying to manage the big Indian family.
The unnamed “Techie” works in an IT company in the Technopark, the hep, and coveted destination for all things technological. There, he explains, work two kinds of techies, the 1 gram techie who pretends to know the technology, and the 961 techie who actually knows. Needless to say, our protagonist falls under the former category. Walking under work pressure, crawling under client demand, and burying himself under the yearly appraisal is his second nature. Not to mention, the Boss who is his life’s Komolika. Also, navigating the IT minefield without stepping on the embedded 916 techies is a task in itself. As our 1 gram techie juggles work and the constant grilling of his extended family, who torture him with questions like “Do you know Mr. XYZ?” or “What position are you at? My relative’s relative’s relative is a big shot.”, he manages to find humor and some romance in his life. After all, it’s better to have the best gold than low-cost diamonds.
Written in simple English understandable to all, the narration is a mix of dialogues and background information, though I think it could have been better with a little more detailed editing. It’s a breezy read, I devoured it in just about an hour. The author draws highly from Indian life. The adventures are littered with comparisons and metaphors, smart and stupid alike. Bollywood is a major part of the narration and quite relatable. In fact, the similarities are so eerily similar, that it feels I know the protagonist! You see, my husband, my cousin, my friends, all work in the IT industry. The situations the protagonist finds himself in, be it the urgent client demand or the highly perplexing multi-layered yearly appraisal explanation by the boss or the “Can you fix my computer?” by a naive neighbor, it all gives me a sense of deja vu. Having heard these instances with a different sufferer each time, I think I could have written a book myself!
On another note, the hilarity of the anecdotes in the book undermines their seriousness. The pressures of work trickle down to personal life and vice versa and only a handful of the affected are capable to cope. For the rest, it’s work-life imbalance and depression/anxiety. As much as we’d like to make fun of such things, it was and will remain a serious issue. It’s good to have such books around, lightening up the mood and the workplace and indirectly bringing the problems to light.
Should you read this book? Definitely, not only because it’s a fun read and someday might be made into a sitcom, but also because it reinforces the statement “When life gives you lemons, grab tequila and salt.”