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BPO Journal

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Shake a bottle of champagne for one hour - huh?

"India Rising: One Billion Reasons to Care" - this ABC video has caught the fancy of many. This commentary is dated but when I got what was probably the tenth email from a friend with a proud link to this video, I could not resist.

Boy, is this one a hyperbole!

The video begins with a brief introduction to the world of outsourcing - "Do you need to touch your customers? Does your job require handshakes and eye contact? If not, there is an Indian, perfectly qualified, who would do your job at one-tenth your salary and who'll work six days a week, twelve hours a day, and there are more English-speaking Indians then there are Americans, and most are wired in more ways than one".

Then, the reporter wanders off to explore the country that fills us with equal parts of "pity, wonder and awe". First encounter: a woman in a Mumbai slum. When asked how long she's been living there, she replies "many years" which is promptly translated and voiced as "twenty five years". Really? Following this, the reporter is puzzled by the impoverished state of the country. Diversity and democracy quickly explain paradoxical poverty. But, alas! nothing explains the "150 million peaceful Muslims". Subtle. Peaceful muslims are almost an oxymoron, aren't they? The cliches don't end there. No sire. While "stepping over rats", the reporter discovers shanty with Pentium III. CK Prahalad promptly chips in "This is a metaphor for India: what you see on the outside is not what it is on the inside".

And when drama abounds, can Friedman be far behind? What's that you clamor for? A metaphor for India's pent up aspirations? Well, now's when you read the title of this post. Friedman warns against getting in the way of the cork of that champagne bottle. Text polls on Radio Mirchi only confirm what ABC's always known - with the malls and McDonald, India's youth don't want to leave the country. They're staying put.

Don't get me wrong. I do believe that India'll be a force to reckon with in the new century. What I wasn't ready to accept was the death of honest and balanced reporting.

If you're still denying your boredom, read no more.

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