Thursday, 21 August 2008

THe story of a CrAB...!!

The MSc in Finance course has nearly ended, and having been asked to read the economic times for the past 6 years has finally paid off. Reading the financial newspaper became interesting over the years. Not because I was "financially" inclined but because they started reporting on companies that interest a teenage girl ( couple of years a ago :-P ). Words like Chanel, Gucci, GAP, Christian Dior, Armani, on the pink paper suddenly made a lot of us. And the combination was splendid - the best brands on a friendly colour paper ( remember Legally Blonde ? - The pink resume !! )

After being neglected for years as a significant English speaking market - we have been spotted. We are now the hot spicy curry driving most of the balance sheets around the world. Magazines like Vogue , rock bands like the Rolling stones, U2 are all making their way to India. These companies are spending millions to make a grand entry into the market. Remember Virgin's Sir Richard Branson's stunt ? Nationally , the Tata's tookover foreign brands, Taj took over a hotel in New York, Infosys and Wipro are common names in the US now.

This blog would fail in its duties, if I forgot to mention Lakshmi Mittal. India's brand ambassador, who still holds an Indian passport and is an Indian Indian living in Britain. Then there is Zubin Mehta, Salman Rushdie, Amartya Sen ...

My question is - Would they have achieved the current level of success had they remained in the country ? (India)
It is a known fact that they have failed to replicate their success in India.

This was reported in the Times Magazine :

Some of this has to do with the mind-set of India's bureaucracy and the hangover of the old-license raj, with all its petty meddling. Then there is our traditional envy of success. Every child knows the story of the basket of Indian crabs: it did not need to be covered because every time an ambitious crab came close to the top, the other crabs pulled him down. It is no accident that many of the men who feature most often in our business magazines are nonresident Indians who live beyond the clutches of the bureaucratic establishment. But much of it also has to do with us. We are still a society that does not prize excellence and one that demands too little from our bureaucrats and politicians. Elections are still won and lost on populist slogans. Voters seldom reward good governance with renewed mandates. And Parliament and state assemblies are full of legislators with criminal records who neither believe in ideology nor bother about performance.

The crab story. This was narrated to me when I was 14 and I remember it till date because it seems to apply forever. Spend a year abroad and go back. You would know what I am talking about. The mind set of the Indian economy and the corporate world doesn't allow young Indians to break the traditional boundries. Whatever said and done, any ambitious Indian woman is "branded" before she is able to showcase her caliber. Hear the success stories of most Indian woman and you won't be surprised to hear how much they had to struggle, more than men ofcourse, first to prove a point that they have the potential and second that its not always about Women's "duties".

One thing is for certain, although I am proud to be an Indian, but I am sure that unless I am very strong mentally, succeeding in India would be a painful task. One would lose their friends, their identity, and probably forget who they originally were.

I now fear going back to make a corporate career. Will I get sucked into politics that involves talking about what I am wearing to work, to who I talk to , who I eat lunch with, who I went out with ?

I have been warned and its as follows :

know this for sure - things will be different when you get back.
people will claim you have changed, and some will also say not for the better

the fact is you will have changed, but in the end, we all do. and every experience we go through in life does change us in some fundamental way

the way forward is to defend who you are now while not forgetting who yo uwere before. and being comfortable with all of that :)

A long lost and found friend - gave me this warning, considering she has been through the same. All I have to say is, I intend to make a career in a field that involves talking, networking, speaking to random strangers etc.

I only hope and pray that the Indian youth changes its ideologies and understands one fundamental fact : the world is larger than you think and is way beyond the neighbourhood you live in.


adi said...

good one! But if you copy paste anything from Time etc, be sure to quote!

And the long lost and found friend is right..

Suri said...

nice one.. especially about the Indian women succeeding part - Soooo sooo true!!!

India sucks... yet I'm proud to be an Indian... :P