Today I think there was a strike or something. Buses were very few and most were state transport. They don’t have collection based compensation, but a fixed monthly salary, so no street racing and no competition to fill the bus and all related tricks. Anyway, I got on one such bus. I was having some papers in my hand, a mobile phone, had a tie on. I already had the change for the conductor in my hand – so with all these papers etc, he had to take it from my hand. He wrote the ticket, didn’t play kite with that piece of paper and carefully put it in my hand. And he gave me a smile. You won’t realize the impact – how often do you get a smile from a bus conductor? I also smiled nicely back. Then he asked me something in Kannada – I don’t know a word – even though I have been living in Mangalore for quite some time. I said I don’t know – but he is smarter, he knew my language a bit. So he asked me “do you work there?” – pointing to my office. I said yes. And then he asked me “how much do you get? 10-15000 per month?”. He didn’t mean any malice, so I did some actions to say so-so. That’s it, I reached my stop. This is a little embarrassing question due to some reasons and it is not the first time somebody asks me the exact same way.

Small incident, I didn’t write it to infer anything. Just that our common public sometimes look at our new breed (wearing this tie and all and everybody having that ID card in some black string around our necks) in a little cautious manner. But don’t even imagine that they don’t know anything about what we do. My sister-in-law’s marriage was in Jan and I met a lot of elders in the family during the function. Couple of them was retired for 10-15 years and they are quite old. They searched for me, got hold of me and talked to me. I was really surprised that they know quite a lot of software industry. They talked to me about outsourcing, whether it is affecting us, whether there is going to be legislature against it, about politics in it and all. Luckily I was reading some articles recently and I could hold my ground. Next day one of them really bowled me out. He asked about Richard Stallman’s address in Kochin University about Open Source, its IPR issues, clash with Microsoft etc. I think many of us don’t even know who Richard Stallman is. Again I was reading furiously about Open Source recently, so I said something. I was wondering why I was surprised – I underestimated them. Another interesting observation is – Really old people are fascinated by this growth of the industry, but middle aged ones who are in other industries are slightly irritated by its growth. I got an impression that they regret their not getting into this bandwagon. I am not even saying that it is great or anything. As I read somewhere, real fast, this industry is also becoming as common as others and there will be nothing out of ordinary if you are a software developer.

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