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Review of ‘The other end of the line’

August 16, 2014

Not happy with the sitcom ‘Outsourced.’ Normally I don’t watch soaps but the Indian interest in this one makes me watch the series in ‘Comedy Central.’ I was determined not to watch the piture ‘the other end of the line’  until the producer name (Vijay Amritraj) jumped on me. Heroine was Shriya Saran, one of my favourites who has done her role sans make-up.

From ‘outsourced’ to this picture, one feels, there is a deliberate image creation about outsourcing job done in India with specific impetus on ‘call centers.’ The truth is, there are dozens and dozens of youth today who I know, some from our own extended family who are employed in the software & hardware industry and not in call centers. Call centers in India are for the lowest level of workers. Only those who cannot make it otherwise settle for this kind of job.

For instance my nephew is in microchip designing but works closely with clients in US delivering tailor-made solutions to their needs. This is an area where you have to thoroughly wrack your brains to deliver. The company also caters to Indian clients. One of my cousins is in hardware maintenance and routinely tours Europe to offer his services. None in our circles to my knowledge works for call centers in the city. CCs are usually for like freshers/college drop-outs without tech qualification and even for these guys the call centers are a mere stepping-stone. But what the sitcom ‘Outsourced’ and what this picture aim to convey is that, entire Indian software industry is about call centers only which is a highly misleading notion. My nephew in chip design is a MTech grad who also works at tandem with those in America, Germany, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan. At times when they have an issue, he is sent to fix the glitches. Indian expertise is that valuable. Said he after a jaunt in Taiwan and later in Singapore, the kind of work the guys were doing in these places was child’s play for Indian IT professionals. For this reason he refuses the ‘onsite jobs’ meaning posting overseas except in America because he says the quality of knowledge, experience and tech know-how you gain and learn in India is unparalleled. India’s greatest strength is our human resources.

The truth is, while India could be the back-office of the world with its network of call centers, the call center percentage in Indian software industry cannot be over 10%.

http://specials.rediff.com/money/2009/mar/04slide1-worlds-first-six-core-microprocessor.htm

http://www.livemint.com/Companies/jSn3LQSxE5SlZKufwfNohO/Jaypee-plans-18000-crore-initial-investment-in-microchip-f.html

Indian Multinational corporations like Infosys and Wipro and TCS are software solution providers to the world, not only to India. Infosys became the first Indian company to get listed in NYSE creating history. There is also no dearth of foreign software giants in my city/India like CTS, IBM, MS, MindTree etc.

There has ofcourse been a terrible braindrain especially in software arena and thousands of our experts have moved over to the Silicon valley, US. So the Vinod Khosla of Sun Microsystem and Sabeer Bhatia who invented ‘Hotmail’ are now more like Americans over Indians. Never mind Satya Nadella now heads Microsoft taking over the reins from Bill Gates. Proud of our guys but all this also means the US and India will always stay connected via tech transfer. But where is reference in any hollywood film showing us Indians as the ‘bosses.’ Forever for westerners, it looks like, we seem subservient. Which we are not.

During the 2007 world markets crash, the Indian companies in middle-east received a volition of applications from the west for employment, where employees were willing to work for Indian wages. I can name a dozen Indian companies in the gulf that are pre-qualified for bids/contracts. Our reputation is good, we are leaders in many fields. Jaguar is now owned by Tata group and our Mahindra Scorpios (SUVs) and helicopters built by HAL are exported worldwide. Who is Sanjay Gupta in US?

A baby in our family got infected in the womb with a deadly virus and the symptoms became apparent only in post-natal stage. When referring to US doctors who are are family & friends we came to know that the screening procedure, treatment etc of the said rarest of rare virus is the same in India as in the US.

A doctor friend of mine from US got a medical procedure done in India for cost reasons, even if she is now a US citizen. She affirms the cardiac unit in Chennai hospitals and Cancer care are comparable to those in US hospitals. Which is why mine as well as some other cities of India are on the world medical tourism map. My city ranks high in all transplants and knee, hip replacements, cardiac surgeries of all kind, key hole surgeries etc etc. A top medical tourist destination. So are we really as pathetic and call-center centric as these sitcoms and pictures portray us.

But the west would rather like us to be one, oh what a super change of scene  from the image of a nation of snake-charmers.

It was irritating for me to watch Shriya Saran fly all the way to the US to see this dream American guy in the film. Girls in India are not dying to meet or forge affairs/life with westerners. How much ever we adore Brad Pitt or Richard Gere, I have also to say that most of us don’t find the goras that magnetic in appeal. We connect with those with whom we share common grounds, culture mainly. Personally I could not even come to like the chinese in south east Asia that way. We Indian women feel the same way with Arabs in middle-east. They could all be charming exotic princes in shining armour with oil wells and all, but for average Indian nari, cultural orientation and desi values are very important. Sorry we can never connect with foreigners the way we can connect with south asians. No adrenaline rush in our veins howmuchever physically imposing these great guys of the world could be. They just are not ‘our type.’

In contrast, its their (goras’) women who keep falling for our Indian men (coming to that soon).

Yeah I do now understand why the same way our men are not caring to stare at triple XL size African or western women in airports even if they are clad in briefest of clothes. Why our men aren’t even gawking at other asian ladies like syrians or turkish or chinese. Makes me understand now why we desis have come to bear all the brunt even if we are so diminutive, petite in size and shape. I guessed so early but this picture made me reflect from experience. We women get a smile and nod wherever we go from the men from that part of the world we belong. I used to loathe these men earlier but now I get the logic.

True there have been some cross-cultural marriages in my own relative circle. A boy who went for higher studies to Australia returned with a french girl. A girl who is studying in America has wedded a caucasian american. Its more shocking because both the boy and girl are typical madarasis – with short, rounded looks. But both have brilliant minds – oh what a loss to the nation. The french bahu was such a contrast in wedding reception hosted for the couple in the city. Frankly speaking  we don’t know how long these marriages will last. The boy and the girl in these 2 different cases are from good families where marriages happen only once in one’s lifetime. The parents are already heart-broken.

Hahaha I have a son waiting to go abroad for higher education. My nonstop advice to him is, ‘let it be a hindu girl and let her be atleast one day younger to you!’ (Some more like ‘keep away from gays hahaha and my son shrieks ‘Maaa!’) I know Indian men are prized catches for the only reason, they will never so easily divorce and they take their commitments seriously. They are less spoiled, way too innocent compared to some other cultures which makes them attractive propositions. A boy last year, a friend’s son went to UK and married a white brit. The parents came to know of the church wedding through Facebook. I only hope as a parent, I am spared such an ordeal.

I  have nothing against other races but its not easy to make outsiders understand what we are. Only someone with our gene composition can get it. Only someone who shares similar values and culture can see it. Well, with rare exceptions…

One more local boy who went for a mere one month internship to Germany returned with a finnish girl. So where can we send our children safe today?!

‘The other end of the line’ atleast reflected the anxiety of Indian parent(s) in the shape of Anupam Kher, who played his best as usual.

Shriya longing for this american guy wanted me to give her a tight slap. It is so demeaning. The love for onething lacked depth and was not convincing enough. I have watched ‘Bride & prejudice’ starring Aishwarya Roy and some other Indian films where they show Indian girls falling for Americans and its always the same with each and every story. I don’t find the love convincing, romance exciting enough. The plots  look so superficial.

Looks like in real life or reel life, the average Indian Nari has always to be the giver, never the taker. Makes me kind of sad. How much everyone takes us for granted. We are betrayed by local film makers, we are betrayed in foreign films, everywhere. Excuse me, this is not the way we are, kindly  listen!

So dear Hollywood producers, please give us Indian women a break. Just because we are friendly and outgoing inspite of being traditional, it does not mean we will fall for anyone with fair skin & dashing looks. It makes me livid with unspeakable rage.

Girls in India are smart, highly educated and well accomplished in their chosen profession. There is no need for any of us to compromise ourselves in this way and make a fool of ourselves. The film though ends on a happy note like a fairytale wedding, which was predictable.

Indian call center guys & girls are depicted like very crass & shallow people in ‘the outsourced’. These americans surely overrate themselves. All of us women seem to be falling only for goras, what nonsense is this. And each of us seems to be specimen of a kind. In one full length film by the same name, an Indian girl offers herself to this lofty american boss. What an affront to Indian women.

Daughters are precious in our families – and that in spite of rising crimes against women that is. Let not the rapes reported in media give anyone a false impression. Women are the Lakshmis and Saraswathis of our homes. When a daugher is born in the families, we say, the Lakshmi has arrived. When a daughter-in-law steps into her husband’s home, we again say the Lakshmi has arrived. We are celebrated as daughters, wives, mothers, aunts, nieces and grandmothers at each and every stage of our life. Women aren’t cheap in this country. Wherever we go we earn the respect of international community. May be I am not worldwise or well-traveled like some, but my limited mixing with some international communities gives me a fairly rough idea of how much we Indian women are respected for our cultural roots and academic and professional accomplishments.

I am middle-aged, I am playing chess etc online with men including from the west, its the men who are asking my phone no and postal address so they can send me cards. I have never done that. I have zero feelings for men from the west sorry.

That these goras think we are all waiting to be rescued by them from this miserable hell of ours is downright insulting.They seem to think they are all God’s gift to us Indian women… Sic.

Vijay Amritraj, please do not make pictures like this anymore. I find ‘the other end of the line’ to be a great affront to my womanhood. There is nothing sweet or innocent or romantic about the film. And India is much more and larger and real than these small cubicled call centers. India is a knowledge powerhouse, give us credit where it is due. We needn’t have to explain ourselves to anyone, our actions speak louder than words but cinema has a larger impact on audience, so cinema has to be responsible to an extent. Is it so difficult to refrain from portraying cliched images and scenarios that an average american mind might conjure up when it comes to India and Indians?

 

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2 Comments
  1. While I understand your angst, you need to understand that the entertainment industry makes its money by peddling tired-old stereotypes. Think about how South Indians are portrayed in Hindi movies or then North Indians in South Indian movies. Better still how ‘goras’ are portrayed in Indian movies.

    If you consider the serials and movies as a benchmark of any culture, you are in trouble. 🙂

  2. Sure Aruna I did get carried away. I wrote the review a couple of days back immediately after watching the picture. Still that does not change anything. If you are watching ‘outsourced’ you will note that there is not a single respectable, dignified Indian character and the guys are all portrayed like jokers and dimwits. If there should be one smart Indian girl, that girl will be rooting for her American boss, no less.Films/serials are not bench mark, just getting tired of this stereotyping of Indian women.

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