Nice story sent to me by Deepika Kukreja

Vivek Pradhan was not a happy man. Even the comfort of the
> air-conditioned compartment of the Shatabdi express could not cool his
> frayed nerves. He was the Project Manager and still not entitled to
> air travel. It was not the prestige he sought, he had tried to reason
> with the admin person, it was the savings in time. As the head of the
> project, he had so many things to do!
> He opened his case and took out the laptop, determined to put the time
> to some good use.
> "Are you from the software industry, sir," the man beside him was
> staring appreciatively at the laptop. Vivek glanced briefly and
> mumbled in affirmation, handling the laptop now with exaggerated care
> and importance as if it were an expensive car.
> "You people have brought so much advancement to the country, Sir.
> Today everything is getting computerized. "
> "Thanks," smiled Vivek, turning around to give the man a look. He
> always found it difficult to resist appreciation. The man was young
> and stockily built like a sportsman. He looked simple and strangely
> out of place in that little lap of luxury like a small town boy in a
> prep school. He probably was a railway sportsman making the most of
> his free traveling pass.
> "You people always amaze me," the man continued, "You sit in an office
> and write something on a computer and it does so many big things
> outside."
> Vivek smiled deprecatingly. Naivity demanded reasoning not anger. "It
> is not as simple as that my friend. It is not just a question of
> writing a few lines. There is a lot of process that goes behind it."
> For a moment, he was tempted to explain the entire Software
> Development Cycle but restrained himself to a single statement. "It is
> complex, very complex."
> "It has to be. No wonder you people are so highly paid," came the
> reply.
> This was not turning out as Vivek had thought. A hint of belligerence
> crept into his so far affable, persuasive tone."
> "Everyone just sees the money. No one sees the amount of hard work we
> have to put in. Indians have such a narrow concept of hard work. Just
> because we sit in an air-conditioned office, does not mean our brows
> do not sweat. You exercise the muscle; we exercise the mind and
> believe me that is no less taxing."
> He could see, he had the man where he wanted, and it was time to drive
> home the point.
> "Let me give you an example. Take this train. The entire railway
> reservation system is computerized. You can book a train ticket
> between any two stations from any of the hundreds of computerized
> booking centres across the country. Thousands of transactions
> accessing a single database, at a time concurrently; data integrity,
> locking, data security. Do you understand the complexity in designing
> and coding such a system?"
> The man was awestruck; quite like a child at a planetarium. This was
> something big and beyond his imagination.
> "You design and code such things."
> "I used to," Vivek paused for effect, "but now I am the Project
> Manager."
> "Oh!" sighed the man, as if the storm had passed over, "so your life
> is easy now."
> This was like the last straw for Vivek. He retorted, "Oh come on, does
> life ever get easy as you go up the ladder. Responsibility only brings
> more work. Design and coding! That is the easier part. Now I do not do
> it, but I am responsible for it and believe me, that is far more
> stressful. My job is to get the work done in time and with the highest
> quality. To tell you about the pressures, there is the customer at one
> end, always changing his requirements, the user at the other, wanting
> something else, and your boss, always expecting you to have finished
> it yesterday."
> Vivek paused in his diatribe, his belligerence fading with
> self-realisation. What he had said, was not merely the outburst of a
> wronged man, it was the truth. And one need not get angry while
> defending the truth.
> "My friend," he concluded triumphantly, "you don't know what it is to
> be in the Line of Fire".
> The man sat back in his chair, his eyes closed as if in realization.
> When he spoke after sometime, it was with a calm certainty that
> surprised Vivek.
> "I know sir, . . . . I know what it is to be in the Line of Fire . . .
> . . . ."
> He was staring blankly, as if no passenger, no train existed, just a
> vast expanse of time.
> "There were 30 of us when we were ordered to capture Point 4875 in the
> cover of the night. The enemy was firing from the top.
> There was no knowing where the next bullet was going to come from and
> for whom. In the morning when we finally hoisted the Tricolour at the
> top only 4 of us were alive."
> "You are a . . . ?"
> "I am Subedar Sushant from the 13 J&K Rifles on duty at Peak 4875 in
> Kargil. They tell me I have completed my term and can opt for a soft
> assignment. But, tell me sir, can one give up duty just because it
> makes life easier.
> On the dawn of that capture, one of my colleagues lay injured in the
> snow, open to enemy fire while we were hiding behind a bunker.
> It was my job to go and fetch that soldier to safety. But my captain
> sahib refused me permission and went ahead himself.
> He said that the first pledge he had taken as a Gentleman Cadet was to
> put the safety and welfare of the nation foremost followed by the
> safety and welfare of the men he commanded . . . . . . .his own
> personal safety came last, always and every time."
> "He was killed as he shielded and brought that injured soldier into
> the bunker. Every morning thereafter, as we stood guard, I could see
> him taking all those bullets, which were actually meant for me. I know
> sir, . . . . I know what it is to be in the Line of Fire."
> Vivek looked at him in disbelief not sure of how to respond. Abruptly,
> he switched off the laptop. It seemed trivial, even insulting to edit
> a Word document in the presence of a man for whom valour and duty was
> a daily part of life; valour and sense of duty which he had so far
> attributed only to epic heroes.
> The train slowed down as it pulled into the station, and Subedar
> Sushant picked up his bags to alight.
> "It was nice meeting you, sir." He said.
> Vivek fumbled with the handshake.
> This hand . . . which had climbed mountains, pressed the trigger, and
> hoisted the Tricolour. Suddenly, as if by impulse, he stood up at
> attention and his right hand went up in an impromptu salute.
> It was the least he felt he could do for the country.
> P.S.: The incident Subedar Sushant narrated during the capture of Peak
> 4875 is a true-life incident during the Kargil war. Capt. Batra
> sacrificed his life while trying to save one of the men he commanded,
> as victory was within sight. For this and various other acts of
> bravery, he was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the nation's highest
> military award.
> Moral of the story? Live humbly, there are great people around us, let
> us learn from them!


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