Sunday, July 12, 2015

Banno tera BTech Laage Saxy ('She's Got the Code')

Sharing a humorous piece I wrote for Outlook magazine recently on female engineering graduates. This is what they published under the title 'She's Got The Code'. Sharing the slightly longer unedited version below, with my original (Hinglish) title.

Banno tera BTech laage saxy

Colleges offerning BTech degrees are sprouting across the country, faster than Café Coffee Days. This offers equal opportunity for girls to become frustrated engineers.

Rashmi Bansal

Once upon a time people who owned land cultivated rice, white, jowar and bajra. Then, they discovered a new cash crop. They started cultivating engineers.

The first requirement of an engineering college is a building. If you have budget, do put marble in the lobby. Air-condition the classrooms. Orange and yellow benches in the canteen. Bhai, dekhne mein acchha lagta hai!

Now you need to do naamkaran. If the college is laundering black money for the local MP, simply use his name. Another good option is a hi-tech sounding name such as ‘Hi Tech College of Engineering’. Bhai, sunane mein acchha lagta hai.

As per AICTE rules, kuch teacher log bhi chahiye. In every university there are a few good-for-nothings who have spent many years of their life trying to get a PhD - and finally succeeded. Ask them to come and warm a chair in the college.

Then find the recent BTechs and Mtechs who have failed to clear TCS and Infosys aptitude test. They will happily join you. Yes, their English is weak but chalta hai. Unko kaun si Shakespeare padaani hai.

Okay – your college is now ready to admit students. The good news is you have a super-large pool of nerds who don’t think there is any future in Arts, Science, Commerce, Fashion Design or Reading Tarot Cards. The one and only career for the honhaar bharatiya bachcha lies in Sri Sri Cos, Mata Tan and Devi Sine.

The grooming of the good son starts before he hits puberty. Engineerification starts with ‘fitji’ to hit JEE - extra classes on Saturday, Sunday and vacations.

Ek time tha when eager parents pushed only their male children towards this teenage sanyaas. In the spirit of equality, some parents now encourage their female children to pursue this joyless path.

Consequently like the tiger population in India, the rare species of girls in IIT has gone up by a few percentage points.

Now engineering was originally about learning how to build bridges, work with machines and run factories. Luckily, now it is all about typing speed on the computer. Girls have always been good typists. So naturally you will see them in streams like computer science and information technology.

The ratio of boy: girl remains 1 Zillion: 1 in civil, mechanical and any other engineering fraught with heat, dust and ziddi grease.

Now back to our air-conditionwala local engineering college. This is where you will find girls, a lot of girls. 30-50% of the student population, to be precise. The girls can broadly be classified into 2 types:

- Kaam ke liye engineers : They are sure that they want to work somewhere after graduation.

- Naam ke liye engineers: They are sure their parents will not allow them to work after graduation.

Many naam ke liye girl engineers get an opportunity to work in nice software companies while their parents search for suitable grooms. Come shaadi season and these birds migrate to New Jersey, Texas, Santa Clara and San Jose.

A lucky few find liberation in foreign lands - a license to work, study further, wear tight jeans and roam free without sticker bindis. You see, the husband is broad-minded. The unlucky ones married average Indian blokes who don’t care a hoot what degree the wife is wasting, as long as the sambhar is nicely tasting.

These BTechs can be classified into 2 types:

- Domestic engineers : Girls who are happy to be homemakers. They see ++ in every Indian recipe they learn from youtube.

- Frustrated engineers: Girls who would rather work. But visa status and vegetarian ‘hot chapati’ husband have screwed their ambitions.

You see, in Amrika, the only affordable naukrani is an educated Indian woman.

That brings us full circle, to the small tribe of working girls. Fiercely determined, hardworking and professional - yet even they often get derailed. For we may study in the same colleges, get the same degrees and have equal ability. But the work life equation is always balanced by the female co-efficient.

Juggling clients and nannies, traffic and tonsils is the woman’s ultimate engineering feat. If she can pull it off.

But to do that, the work has to be interesting. It has to be meaningful. Which brings us back to the engineering degree itself. Who in their right mind really wants to be an engineer? Just 1 out of a 1000 students out there.

Good luck to the remaining 999!

Jai mata di, jai hind, jai engineering.

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