Eight years ago, when I joined Engineering, I used to leave home early in the morning to catch the college bus. On my way to the bus-stop, I used to see with pride and respect, a blue bus bearing the name InfoSys going by. I always used to consider people sitting inside the bus to be highly intelligent and most respected. They belonged to the cream of the society. They were the ones who uplifted the nation, the economy and brought forth world-wide recognition.
Four years later, I least expected myself to be leaving home early in the morning, with tie and formal shoes, to catch that same blue bus. It was (and still is) the period when InfoSys was on a hiring spree, as was most IT companies, and hence, it rubbed off some of the prestige that I once held about InfoSys and its employees, but yet, it was a great honour. Just as how any cricketer treasures wearing the Indian cap when he is out on the field, so was the InfoSys badge to me.
People looked up at me. They recognized the brand name. Even without the connotation to the pay packet, InfoSys was a world famous company, known even in remote villages thanks to the company’s IT-training projects in rural areas. Layman started looking at me in awe, as if I had climbed the Mount Everest!
Two years later, came the period when anyone I meet was bound to say, after exchanging the customary greetings, ‘My nephew also is in InfoSys. His name is xxx. Do you know him?’ Every family had at least one person within InfoSys. In fact, I know a family, where all brothers and even one of the brother’s wife – all are in InfoSys. True, InfoSys considers all its employees as one big family. But, we now have ‘actual-blood-related’ families within the ‘Big Family’!
Then came the time when I started getting forwards degrading companies like InfoSys and its likes. People then started blaming InfoSys for giving lack of respect to Kannadigas, and exploiting Bangalore. Sometime then, ‘awe’ got replaced by ‘disdain’. Articles started coming in the newspapers about how IT professionals were being murdered just for the mobile phone, laptop, credit card and the iPod that they are carrying. Terrorists with AK-47s started coming from across the border and from small villages to gun down InfoSys employees, amongst others!
And today, due to work, I came back from office late in the last bus and reached my stop at 10 pm. It’s a 5 minute walk from the bus-stop to my home, and the thought never leaves me that there might be someone there lurking who can kill me for the worldly items that I possess. So, I removed my InfoSys badge, hid it in my pockets, and stealthily walked, looking carefully hither and thither and safely reached home.
Technically, there was not much difference between me and an Al-Qaida terrorist.