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DSS – Desi Support Systems.

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If you have been following my blog, which hasn’t been updated in quite a while you would have been surprised at the childish outburst of mine involving homer’s characters. But I might as well break the surprise and go and announce what I’ve been holding for weeks. I will officially be a graduate student of computer science from January onwards at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Yes, no more anonymous doormat in a public sector organisation, no more ‘IT professional’ badge and primarily no more living in a third world country with first world comforts. My world has been turned upside down. Henceforth, I will be living in a first world country with a third world lifestyle. But this post is not about me, but about what I have come to call the Desi Support System (DSS for short). What prompted me to write this post was when I was browsing casually through a book on algorithms and to my surprise found these lines.

Suppose, for example, that your friend Raj has just accepted a summer job at a large telecommunications company CluNet. A few days later, the small start-up company WebExodus, which has been dragging its feet on making a few final decisions, calls up Raj and offers him a summer job as well.

Now what was that about these lines that prompted me? It was in a book written by two authors who work in Cornell, their main demonstrating example seems to be Raj, most definitely an Indian. I’m sure that they didn’t decide to name him after shooting darts at a world map. I guess its the ubiquitousness and the success of Indians everywhere, especially in the US, in fields of computer science and mathematics.

Many say its in our genes to be smart, but thats bullshit. Its probably because of the intense competition, the pressure to succeed, an almost ruthless determination that puts most of us where we are, but I’m sure thats not all. There is more at play here. A strange, subtle, almost intangible sense of common identity, a feeling of fraternity (or sorority) that we seem to share. A weird commitment to certain core values and all this is expressed in what I would call the Desi Support System.

From a friend in Belgium who assures me that she can make sambhar and fish fry, desi style all sourced from local stores to the heartland of Hollywood there is an invisible network of desis, of all colors and creeds and with a unifying love of cricket and a sense of common identity. Its amazing how helpful they are. Whats more, its amazing how ubiquitous we are. From helping me circumnavigate the Bradley terminal to making abysmally silly movies like Signs, we seem to be every where, Computers, Engineering, Mathematics. Its amazing that how we somehow, are able to find rare bonds in an alien land, which we wouldn’t realize in our home lands. Its mind blowing that you mention IT or Computer Science and you probably would find an Indian silently lurking behind, with a benign smile, and probably helping out others. It is these intangibles that make us succeed almost everywhere. The invisible threads of friendship, or rather kinship that gives us a head start. A support system that we can fall back on and that almost always and universally available.

Science works by standing on the shoulders of giants. Indians work by standing on the shoulders of others, all part of a giant pyramid.

Signing Off,
Vishnu Vyas.


Written by vishnuvyas

December 11, 2006 at 10:49 pm

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