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Good article

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Conversation between apassenger and Software Engineer in Shatabdi Train.
Vivek Pradhan was not a happy man.. Even the plush comfort of the Air-conditionedcompartment of the Shatabdi express could not cool his frayed nerves. Hewas the Project Manager and was still not entitled to Air travel. It wasnot 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 do!!
He opened his case and took out the laptop, determined to put the timeto 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 andimportance as if it were an expensive car.
'You people have brought so much advancement to the country, Sir. Todayeverything is getting computerized. '
'Thanks,' smiled Vivek, turning around to give the man a look. He alwaysfound it difficult to resist appreciation. The man was young and stockilybuilt like a sportsman... .. He looked simple and strangely out of placein that little lap of luxury like a small town boy in a prep school. Heprobably was a railway sportsman making the most of his free travelingpass.
'You people always amaze me,' the man continued, 'You sit in an officeand write something on a computer and it does so many big things outside.'
Vivek smiled deprecatingly. Naiveness demanded reasoning not anger. 'Itis not as simple as that my friend. It is not just a question of writinga few lines. There is a lot of process that goes behind it.'
For a moment, he was tempted to explain the entire SoftwareDevelopment Lifecycle but restrainedhimself to a single statement. 'It is complex, very complex.'
'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 creptinto his so far affable, persuasive tone.
'Everyone just sees the money. No one sees the amount of hard work we haveto put in. Indians have such a narrow concept of hard work. Just becausewe 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 noless taxing.'
He could see, he had the man where he wanted, and it was time to drivehome the point. 'Let me give you an example. Take this train. The entirerailway reservation system is computerized. You can book a train ticketbetween any two stations from any of the hundreds of computerized bookingcenters across the country. Thousands of transactions accessing a singledatabase, 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 somethingbig 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 iseasy now.'
This was like the last straw for Vivek. He retorted, 'Oh come on, doeslife ever get easy as you go up the ladder. Responsibility only bringsmore work. Design and coding! That is the easier part. Now I do not doit, 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'.
He continued, 'To tell you about the pressures, there is the customer atone end, always changing his requirements, the user at the other wantingsomething else, and your boss, always expecting you to have finished ityesterday.'
Vivek paused in his diatribe, his belligerence fading with
Self-realization. What he had said, was not merely the outburst of a wrongedman, 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 bein 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 SurprisedVivek.
'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 vastexpanse of time.
'There were 30 of us when we were ordered to capture Point 4875 in thecover of the night. The enemy was firing from the top. There was no knowingwhere the next bullet was going to come from and for whom. In the morningwhen we finally hoisted the tri-colour 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 inKargil. 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.Onthe 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 jobto go and fetch that soldier to safety. But my captain sahib refused mepermission and went ahead himself.
He said that the first pledge he had taken as a Gentleman Cadet was toput the safety and welfare of the nation foremost followed by the safetyand welfare of the men he commanded... ....his own personal safety camelast, always and every time.'
'He was killed as he shielded and brought that injured soldier into thebunker.Every morning thereafter, as we stood guard, I could see him takingall 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 aWord document in the presence of a man for whom valour and duty was a dailypart of life; valour and sense of duty which he had so far attributed onlyto epical heroes.
The train slowed down as it pulled into the station, and Subedar Sushantpicked 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 thetri-colour. Suddenly, as if by impulse, he stood up at attention and hisright 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-lifeincident during the Kargil war. Capt. Batra sacrificed his life while tryingto save one of the men he commanded, as victory was within sight. For thisand 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!
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