Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hope lies beyond the border...

My mail box is flooded. Seems like it is placement time in Kerala colleges. Words like Tata Motors, Accenture, Infosys, Maruti is floating around my Inbox like happy confetti. These are joyful mails from my cousins announcing their placements.

In this happy cacophony there is one sad note...of a cousin sister who is placed at a leading IT company in Trivandrum Technopark. When my mother called her to congratulate, she burst into tears. She is the only one in my family who has been placed in Kerala. The rest are all leaving to Mumbai, Bangalore, Gurgaon, Pune etc.

This year itself there are nearly 12 students from my family alone who are leaving Kerala. So you can imagine the volume of freshers leaving Kerala this year. These people have counted the days to finish their college and leave. They love their State, town, language just like you and me. But as educated thinking adults they can sense that the present "political culture" will not change for a long time and they are in no mood to be willing victims of a system when they have a way out. They are fed up of the closed mentality and the humiliations and helplessness of belonging to the silent majority while the powerful minority of goons rules the roost and the throne. Escape is the only way.

Soon they will join the "reminiscence" crowd that misses the carefree days of college, life in Kerala and naadan cuisine from the safety of Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi etc. And the cycle will repeat itself every year.

Best of luck to you all !!! Do well in your professional and personal lives. I hope and I pray that when you guys are ready to hang up the boots, Kerala would have changed and you will be making a beeline to your true home and hearth that God willing would have earned the sobriquet "God's Own Country".


Jayan Mathew said...


Very nice post.

mathew said...

Quite interesting post which you could have delved in more detail..
It has its good points and the drawbacks as well..

Just reinforces the adage that Kerala is a nice vacation place.. But a sorry work spot..

On the bad side I sure cant get a job back home with my skill set for the same pay..But this survival instinct has helped the people to adapt to any foreign conditions... admitting to all fuss about the accent… oily hair… and “Paaraveppu”…folks deserve a pat for fighting the odds…

But I must say the situation is not as bad as 10-15 years back. Attitudes are definitely chang-ing. People don’t squirm looking at a PC any more!!!

P.S long comment apologies..

emmanuel said...

can't say whether i agree or disagree with u........i'm also confused about this phenomenon as i'm also one among such an kerala, we have seen that gulf boom (better example of escapism!!) happened in seventies and malyali was programmed from then on, not to be inside their own's just the same simple question......what job i'll get there??? with my educational qualification, if i can get more money and better work, why shud i stay inside my home state??? we can find this attached to every sector in industry, not confined to IT....last time when i went home....there was a family.....the husband is working in Peenya Industrial Park....i think the woman was not working and they had a small kid....who wil grow up as an NRK.......when i came back.....another couple.....guy worked at Peenya...mechanical engineer.....lady worked at some IT company as HR....the funny thing was her father worked in her studies were at Delhi and now her job is in Blr........

there are options inside state which are limited and nobody takes up that too.....because the ones outside are anyway better.....hope that Smartcity, Transhipment terminal etc. may come.....i can't hope that they will definitely come and jobs may get created there..............i can just hope that they "may" come and not that they "will" come........and some of our generations get jobs inside Kerala itself........until then.....political pendulum swings in one's favour at one time and to others with an interval of five goes on.....we'll just remain as the No.1 consumerist state with ever increasing suicidal rates, sexual harassments etc.......our poilitics is only to exert power, unlike creating jobs and do that 'something' for people even though high levels of corruption is still there in many of the other states.....i feel that once a day will come when Malayalis can definitely claim and can protest by calling for a 'hartal' or 'bandh' to make Malayalam the official language in Bangalore, Chennai, Bombay etc.... ;)

mathew said...

Apology for long comment withdrawn!! ;-P

Rockus said...

To be frank many people or so obsessed with the entry level salary that they get...its very true that it is on the lower side in Kerala...but it is certainly not true about the quality of work...I work in an IT company in Kerala and I can safely say that I have done more meaningful and fulfilling work than almost all my friends working outside the state...I do get a lot of frowns about my pay (believe me its quite decent!) when people start comparing with what others get...With good enough experience better career opportunities will be there...after all we are not going to stop working in 5-6 years!

There is a lot of development happening and 5 years we will be seeing around 4-5 times the number of companies and jobs that exist in the IT sector with the heavyweights pitching in...
well...these are my thoughts :-D

ap said...

I hope that happens !!!! But right now I like Bangalore...May be in 10 years and when all my friends are back in Kerala, I will move back !!!!

Alexis said...

It is better to leave Kerala and get work somewhere else in a good company. I don't see any hope for Kerala.

Forget about jobs and industrial development, here the politicians, ministers and other people's representatives and government officials don't have time to even save lives--the number of people dying due to the various variants of viral fever are increasing, but nothing is done to prevent or at least control the epidemic.

All they do is to raise and defend allegations of crores of rupees. So whoever has some sense, leave the state and save your life and career.

Rockus said...

@alexis: I have strong reservations when you predict such a doom. What does the governments failure to curb the viral fever got to do with the IT development? If your hypothesis is true, then I gather that people living in Karnataka, TN and AP are extremely healthy and eat 3 full meals a day! Corrupt political system is a bane of the entire nation. They exist everywhere. Those with will and wits has and will fight the system scoring victories.
btw thank you rekindling my passion to blog.

Jiby said...

Well what can i each his way...i have had my stint outside was a mistake bcoz i underestimated the power of my soul to overrule my materialistic side...but i had to go through this long loop to realize it.

i learnt a lot, my personality changed thanks to a global exposure...i am coming home sometime soon...ofcourse the pay will be less...but i have realized after some years of mindless gold-digging that more than entry salaries knowing what your heart really wants is all that matters.

to be young is to be ambitious. But what forces a vast majority of kerala's youngsters to leave is not ambition, it is money...there is a difference. Very few of our youngsters have a real ambition. It is all about money. If you had an ambition nothing in kerala or anywhere in the world can stop you.

well our society/educational system is so narrow that ambition for most is synonymous to getting a job in an IT company in blore, marrying, buying flat...ambitions like entrepreneurship, creativity, public service is never encouraged.

good post yo...i dont know if what i wrote makes any sense. you spoke of conventional wisdom and i find no wrong in that...if there are youngsters reading this blog as i am sure there will be, i wanted to offer another viewpoint to them.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm an exception. I was placed in a leading IT firm in one of the metros... and I demanded a transfer back to Trivandrum. :) Although that decision had little to do with the political scenario in the state and more to do with wanting to be near my family, I would agree with Rockus and say that things are definitely not as bad as they seem. Yes,there are problems, but they are there everywhere.

I suspect the desire of most of the youngsters to move outside of Kerala has more to do with living in a 'cool n hep' metro and having fun, rather than genuine concerns abt the attitude of the government to development and the problems it poses to their career advancement. I think u overestimate the maturity of a fresh out of college kid... :D

Nice post.. :)

Pradeep said...

The big problem of Kerala is it's not exposed to the outside world. You get to see this "frog in the well" attitude to most of the things there. It's one island out there!

silverine said...

Jayan: Nice to see you here and thank you :)

mathew: Bad pay etc is the very reason the present generation is leaving the place. Situation may improve but till then we will see an exodus even if jobs do come up in Kerala, due to the political climate.

emmanuel: Good observations. My cousin sister dreamt of a life free of female oppression in a metropolis like Bangalore/Mumbai which is why she cried when she had to stay back. She wanted to live without nosey neighbours and whistles and catcalls.Pradeep has summed it up really well in his comment.

mathew: LOL!!!

Rockus: It is not just salary but life free of bundhs, threat of violence from unions etc. In short people leave for a better quality of life. If people were optimistic then the exodus wouldnt happen.

ap: I hope too because my parents would like to go back too :)

Alexis: Exactly!!! That is exactly what my cousins were telling me. They are alarmed by what is happening around them!!

Jiby: Off topic: The other day I was having a conversation with my Dad and he was comparing India to a labor colony where people are born and bred to work for a big conglomerates like automatons!! If we lack ambition it is because the system is built like as we have to fend for ourselves finally. There is no dole waiting for us if we are unemployed.

chips: Well I have to disagree here :) Most youngsters I spoke want to leave the place for its claustrophobic atmosphere.

Pradeep: Spot on! And this is the root of most of our problem.

The Overclocked Fragger said...

Here is my viewpoint.

I work in the same IT giant as Chips and I work out of Pune. When it comes to work, I say that having work to do in Trivandrum/Cochin is better than sitting on bench for 5 months in Pune which I had to, unfortunately. Since there are lesser people working in the IT giant offices in Kerala, the bench period is lesser compared to the metros.

Forget the bandhs and crap. People in Technopark are expected to and also turn up for work even on bandh and hartal days.

The people in the IT industry are smart and the politicians who havent even passed 10th standard will have to do a lot of head scratching to figure out how to stand in our way.

"If there is a will, there is a way, otherwise, we simply use a bulldozer." :-)

I also totally agree with what rockus and chips said.

And I know many people (mallus) who joined Pune with me, but desperately tried and got transfer to Trivandrum, Mangalore, Mysore, etc.

With the better quality of air, water and food in God's own country, the lucky ones who get to work from their home town might live a few years more.

Of course, being in Kerala means no pubs, discos, no skin show PYT's, etc and of course, living at home means no weekend booze / hookah and , which sadly is what most young people seem to be interested in nowadays.

In the end, it depends on what people want. I do meet many mallus here who wanted to come here and live the "Pune life".

Unfortunately, the high rent and cost of living makes living "Pune life" the club/disco/booze/hookah way very very difficult. :-P

The current generation needs a lesson on how to live life without the rampant consumerism and apeing of what they see on MTV and Channel V.

My $2.00....

kickassso said...

Yup. Working in kerala sucks. We are in constant fear of our communist overlords. In fact, did you know that all the buidings in technopark are painted bright red to humour them? Minorities like christians have near total control of the education sector , and a disproportionately large number of ministers also belong to that minority. Seriously, minorities should not be allowed to play a big role in any state.If only the majority could take the law into their own hands and subdue these minorities, we'd have a much more peaceful state.
I just hope i can escape the threat to life and limb (not to mention all the organized crime ) when i eventually get posted to a big city like mumbai

I hope that eventually kerala will get rid of this sickening retrograde village mentality be a hip and happening place, and it will be just like any other big city

Yup, cant wait at all :-)

Jeseem said...

i hav to say i am one of those fortunate escapees from kerala.

going back after 10 years.. hmm wonder why should we go back. we are a mix of cultures and that is a good thing. we shldn't give it up for a single culture that is dominant part of us, no matter how good the culture is.
keralites have always left kerala from way back in 60s, so don't think thats gonna change. why shld it change anyway ? what wrong with people leaving :)

MC said...

excellent post..even on the DOC survey..more than 50% keralites outside kerala dont even want to come back to kerala ever..its not just about the money or the work..but its definitely the mentality and attitude that sucks..i spend half my time in kerala..and i can see it almost everyone..its disappointing..but giving up..we can change it surely..and some day soon i am sure it will definitely be a better place :)

Jiby said...

wow...very good discussion going on here...nice to see such a variety of opinions.

b v n said...

hey, being a little objective here, first I wud agree with what Jiby said. It gets really really personal.

I have been wandering around a bit, and now I'm based off kochi. Almost all IT majors in india have setup shop in kerala. TCS, Infy, Wipro, CTS - they have massive expansions happening in Trivandrum and could have done a look up on what is the actual scene in kerala.

Quality wise these companies esp TCS and Infy have all their major verticals sourced out of kerala.
Anybody who wants an IT job in kerala, will get one in kerala and as an active member of the Trivandrum development front, the volume of investments and the current scale is very impressive.
its not so grim, i wouldn't cry.

then some people don't come back because they can't anymore. for others being away means no responsiblity, which is really nice. I always wanted to come back and lo I'm in. It is a choice. I've set foot, I have a nice pay hike and I'm smelling that southern air. As you once said "land of the living". It is raining in kochi btw :)

b v n said...

@kickassso -"If only the majority could take the law into their own hands and subdue these minorities, we'd have a much more peaceful state."

There is one, its called Gujarat, you have to travel north from Mumbai. There you can actually kill the minorities. promise.

silverine said...

the overclocked fragger:"The people in the IT industry are smart and the politicians who havent even passed 10th standard will have to do a lot of head scratching to figure out how to stand in our way." I really hope this is true and if it is then I will heave a sigh of relief :) Thanks for the comment. Very interesting and a different scenario you have presented here.

kickasso: :)) I can undersatnd your angst about education being controlled by a minority. But that is gonna change very soon as Education has become big business now and there are a lot of players in the arena.

jeseem:Nothing wrong with people leaving, but they should have an option not to leave too.

MC: You know every post I write here is a reaction from real incidences and not spun out of thin air. And therefore I am not surprised at the survey results at DOC.

Jiby: :)

bvn:I hope the TCS, Infy etc are allowed to function without political interference. Only time will tell. If things are changing then I for one am really happy about it.

bvn: Well said!!

Anonymous said...

Things are changing .. OF course there are bandhs and hartals... but then , none of the IT companies are affected.. The govt provides the necessary security and see to it that the IT company folks can reach office.. ITs fun on a hartal... We go to office.. as a convoy...escorted by police jeeps and stuff... THe pay is good, the work is good (depends though) and the cost of living (read acomodation)is less...
Since the rents are less u live in a luxurious way when compared to ur counterparts who get paid the same and live in crammed up rooms....
However an issue I ve faced is the brand image... When u talk to ur neghbours or frens they ask... U working at Kerala/tvm?? U probably didnt get a job elsewhere... And I was one of the first from my college to be placed....

wanderlust said...

i agree with rockus and chips. things are not as bad as they were a few years back. and the change is not just in IT sector. it is happening in all the sunrise industries too.
used to work in the telecom sector 7-8 years back. even then, hartals and bandhs did not affect us. we were expected to be in office, come what may, or else, consider it as leave.
around two years back, was in Bangalore for about two months and just couldn't stand it. got transferred to kochi when my company started ops here and been enjoying it thoroughly. the work culture is really good, the exposure is tremendous. but one thing i've noticed and concerns me is the attitude of the freshers. it is just money for them, work exposure be damned and many of them have absolutely no clue about what they want from life, and mind you many of these are qualified CAs.
but those who have been outside the state and then back are a different story altogether.
yes, things, they are changing.

silverine said...

Anon: Well from the numerous comments it looks like people work even during bundhs. But isnt it ridiculus that people should work under police cover? But I do agree that quality of life would be better in Kerala :) Anyways things may improve but not for this generation and that is why they are leaving.

wanderlust: I see a lot of blame being placed on the new gen who want to move out :) I wouldnt say that they all want glamour and glitz. The people I talked about had other reasons for moving out than just Malls and PYT's :)) I guess things may change in the future, but we live in the present and these kids are reacting to the current scanario.

ToOothlEss WOndeR! said...

I've worked in tiny, small, medium and large cities of India and the world. Kerala included.
And everywhere I've had a chance to work with some ungle or the other.
Here's what I infer:
Put a malayalee in Kerala, and the world is screwed. Take him out, he's happy, and so is the rest of the world.

ToOothlEss WOndeR! said...

PS: The vice-versa also applies.
Let the vacation-wanting-it-blokes go to kerala, and change it. Attitudes I mean. We'll watch them.
And then when they're done vacationing, we go back there, and put the things back in place, for the better.

Anonymous said...

@BVN: Kochi is much better compared to Trivandrum. Come to Trivandrum where I work... it is so grim you will cry.

Anonymous said...


I come to Trivandrum every week. I don't know what you are talking about. Hope you do :)

- B V N

naveen said...

Hmmm..... I work in a Big SW company in Mysore, and I feel that the present scenario in kerala will change.. But my only concern is comming up of Special Economic Zones(SEZ), because of which, work will come, but not enough quality work.. :-( But kerala do have a good future, atleast TVM has...These politicians cannot stand in between the economic growth of kerala and IT ppl. And, I wld luv 2 go back 2 TVM, but the only thing stoping me from doing so is quality work... So, as of now, TVM is not tht good...But in 2-3 yrs. It will be as good as any other city...

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