Musings on IT Life

An edited version of this article was published in The New Indian Express.

Stepping outside the closed corporate offices in this software park, one gets to see a different world. The view from the building where I work, is an expanse of trees all around with just an outline of the sea beyond the lush green hills. It looks especially enchanting at dusk when the lights of the offices dotting the campus and the lamps on either side of the winding road are lit up. Like most of the inhabitants of this world, I have seen this view at all times of the day, during tea breaks in between late and sometimes early hours of work. It looks beautiful at any point in time.

There is something simultaneously magical and pragmatic about software development where a client’s need is transformed from a single vision statement through a sequence of well-defined steps into a working system that would automate, speed up and simplify life and work in some part of the world. Sometimes I think software development is like poetry, as both involve communication between minds through a common interface. Only, software involves exchange and processing of data while poetry transmits thoughts and emotions.

Working in a software project team is an intense learning experience. It is experiencing the feeling of belonging, of being an essential part of an integrated whole. Teamwork is analogous to system integration. The various modules of the application must function independently, as well as in a group. A group of people comfortable with each other and committed to a common task can achieve just about anything, with adequate resources and within a realistic deadline. There is a great deal of interdependence in this world.

The five-faced clocks in the meeting rooms help to synchronise meetings and demos with the client’s time zones. Anyone who works here becomes a citizen of the world that has shrunk into a conference room just across the monitor.

This corporate world with its subtle grey overtones has its own palette of colours that paint the yearly fests and feasts, the monthly get-togethers, the regular team lunches and casual teatime conversations. There are the occasional special moments when we share slices of time with less privileged children, taking a small but significant candle of laughter and joy into their worlds.

Life in a cubicle is as organised as the development process itself, each step adding towards the next phase in the lifecycle, towards the final solution. It seems that even the goals of existence would be easier to obtain if the strategies to develop software were applied, along with well-defined action plans, implementation processes, verification and risk-mitigation plans and regular audits.

Working in the IT industry is being reengineered into a way of life where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection, and also attains it.

Sometimes the feeling of being aware, alive strikes
Deep during routine moments. Like a view of newly Afforested scenery.
The sight of people tiptoeing beyond glass walls,
Eyes frowning and brimming with self-esteem, lips simulating smiles.
Or sitting amidst a team, before a bored auditor chewing project files.
Mundane moments revealing unknown states of mind.

Some of us hibernate at various levels, fall dormant and wake
Transforming either overnight, or through a longer time. We take
Decades sometimes. To shake out from sleep and adapt
To a changed, strange new habitat, takes a while.
Yet the night is worth all the more, to feel the light of morn.
Good to sleep, better to die, best never to be born
The bards have extrapolated such axioms for long.
It is wonderful to wake, even to the everyday song.

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