Monday, March 12, 2007

The World is Flat...

Indeed it is. I read Thomas Friedman's "The World is Flat", which is one of the most fascinating books of our century. It is as the cover says, A brief history of the twenty-first century. A century that has just started but one that will shape the world for the future. We all know the forces of flattening because if you are reading this post then you are part of the flat world. Its the reason why you have broadband in your house or the reason why Indians are earning more than ever or the reason why Indians living anywhere in the world are connected to their roots. We have all been either part of these forces or heard about them. Outsourcing, offshoring, blogging, wikipedia, googling and the list goes on. If you are part of any of this then you are living in a flat world. But these are just the dots that we know about, the book does a good job of connecting these dots and painting us a picture, how these are all interconnected. Its one book that every person of the flat world should read to integrate the rest of the unflat world with itself.

I will not review the book but answer two questions that Friedman asked everyone who he came in touch with, Where were you when the world got flat? When did you notice you live in a flat world?

I was on my way to Canada when the world got flat. The world got flat in 2000, when I had just finished my degree and could not find job in my Automobile field and thus applied for Universities in Canada and Germany. I eventually choose Canada but I had 6 months before I could start my degree and so to pass the time, I joined one of the first call centers in Delhi. I was working with a subsidiary of K-Mart, an American retail giant. At that time I didn't knew I was stepping onto a flat world. I left that company and moved to Canada. It was around 2001 when most of the world went flat but it went unnoticed from where I was because I was adjusting to a new country, a new lifestyle, a new University and new friends. Next year also passed in a blur because I was working 8 hours a day, studying and sleeping the rest 16 hours. I didn't had time to notice the world around me.

It was in 2003 I realized that I was living in a flat world. I came across a blog and read how anyone can create their own content and publish it to the rest of the world. I started blogging but remained anonymous. I would mostly write reviews of books and change my blog everytime I wrote a new post. I would get some comments but that was the extent of it, until I wrote about a murder case of an Indian girl in Canada. Suddenly, people from all around the world came and commented and wanted to know what happened and so I started updating the same blog. That blog ended with the case but I had just realized the power of blogging and community. I then wrote another review of the book of short stories, Seventeen Tomatoes and kept updating it and rest as they say is history. I made some amazing group of friends from all over the world and we all blogged on number of issues but I think that was just the beginning. As a blogger I have now matured from just writing everyday happenings of my life for strangers to collaborating with my blog-friends on personal, social, professional and political issues. I sorted out the people I connected with and have made life-long friendships and some beautiful relationships.

Ironically, a shift happened when I left India, suddenly the world realized that India is a place to be. I started hearing a lot about outsourcing and the anger among American public about it. But for me outsourcing is a great opportunity. The NRIs that came before me and worked in traditional jobs in US/Canada/UK had no future back home but for me there is an opportunity to work anywhere in the world including India. Infact, if you had asked me 4 years ago, "Will you go back to India and work?", I would have said, "I prefer not to" but if you ask me the same question today, I will say "I hope to" . And that's what flat world has done. It has given Indians and Chinese opportunity to work from their own country and still earn all the benefits of Western world. Although, I don't think lines for US visas has decreased but it certainly has made it less desperate.

One theory that Friedman has proposed makes lot of sense to me. The theory says that any two countries that share a global supply chain will never go to war against each other. I had already thought about this before reading this book and I think this theory gives a chance to India to improve relations with Pakistan. Currently, all seems well between the two sides but it can destabilize anytime with some random act. I think the only way to prevent future wars is to intermingle the two societies and India could and should take leadership in this. I envision a day when Pakistani students can apply for IITs or any Indian University, a day when Hindi movies are played in every Pakistani theater, a day when Pakistani cricket players can play in Indian clubs like in county cricket, a day when going to Nanaksar (a sikh pilgrimage where Guru Nanak Dev was born) is as easy as going to Amritsar. All this will do is make people realize that we all can gain from each other much more than lose by fighting. I think the current status quo is not very stabilized because even though India has progressed a lot to create world-class companies, Pakistan has not progressed as much because of their political scenario (or non-political scenario). It is in India's favor to have a stabilized and progressive Pakistan that gives hope to its people like India is giving. All this is highlighted in the last chapter of the book where Friedman talks about India and how even though India has the second highest Muslim population in the world, it is the most stabilized nation with most progressive Muslims. This is because India's democracy and secularism gives hope to people and hope is a powerful thing that can make the rest of the unflat world flat.


Blogger faith said...

flat or round baad mei dekhenge..
pehle zara gold le le :P


9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oye iss baar silver se kaam chalana padega :(

9:27 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

arre.... last post pe mera comment kahan gaya?????

maine juneli ki itni tarif kee thi... ricky, tujhe pasand nahi aaya kya, tere blog pe tere alaawa kisi aur ki tarif karee toh?

10:24 PM  
Blogger The Bhandari's said...

:) awesome post

and what I hate at ur blog is typing word verification...
this time it is "xqvvwdvo"

6:52 AM  
Blogger Reema said...

here after a while :|
i kno iv become ganda.. but u kno how its been on my side..
great post!! :)

9:16 AM  
Blogger Colors said...

Awesome post Ricky! I could relate to everything you have written. So true that that world is indeed flat. I have heard a lot about this book, but never was interested in it, you know my preference when it comes to books :) But you have indeed put up a thoughtful post here and hopefully your dream of the future comes true.
Very well written...!

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ricky, you made some really nice points. Things seems to changed so much since last decade! Where were we in India looking bright eyed at people going to US etc for work; just waking to the potential in our skills. This decade we capitalized on it and I feel quite proud to know that now a days even a college undergrad can get a nice paying job in a call center! I'd say there is hope in this world :) :D

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gosh...where is my LONG Comment........grrrrrrrrrrrrr..Ricky whats wrong with ur comment ate my mota comment...:((

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really don't know exactly what I was doing when the world went flat. Might be net surfing, or chatting or writing emails to unseen and unknown people around the world.

Very nice post.

I want to use the word "Flat" here as a flat of a building :). Yes the world became a big flat with many rooms :).

Reading Anks and Mehaks comment I'm also scared if my comment would lost.

You know what I have tried hundred times (kuch jyada huwa?) to post comment in your Ad Post but it didn't all me. Sometimes no text verification appeared, sometimes it didn't accepted and so on I tried of trying to post.

And here we all have complain about the type verification. I suggest you why don't you shift completely at WP. WP has it's spam guard. If you still using the old blog version (not the google one) then it's easy to move all your post along with comments. So think about it. :)

2:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank god. My looooooooooong comments with suggestion (against the blogspot) didn't eat by it :P

2:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ya i know, even i want to go to nanansar one must b sucha holy place!
n m still jealous of u after da last post :P
rain updated

3:39 AM  
Blogger Fuzzylogic said...

Another great post Ricky.Hmm..what was I doing when the world went flat?I was busy burying myself under the books and studying to notice that it did:)Now blogging has certainly made me realize this fact more than ever.I completely relate to your reply to whether we would go back to India sometime,my reply is always "I certainly hope to" too.Amen about your Indo-Pak relations,its very true that we have so much to gain if we were to integrate and dissolve the differences than build up more barriers.Will surely check this book out.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Anks - I read your comment and replied too. Thanks for the sweet words :)j

10:04 PM  
Blogger Bulletproof Raman said...

Thanks for your comments Ricky.
It's heartening to know ppl like the photos I've taken. Of course all this would not have been possible without the camera my sis gifted me.

6:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow! what an awesome write up champ!
It has given Indians and Chinese opportunity to work from their own country and still earn all the benefits of Western world..

ye true.. just wish that here roads will be as flat as the world too.. lol :P

interesting book i think *smiles*

4:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you watched yesterday match?

:( :( :(

Very shameful.

India Lost with Bangladesh and that's in 191 and ALL out!!!

Shame on Sehbag, Dhoni, Sachin and Dravid .

I knew that the target was so easy and Bangladesh would win hands down so I went to sleep after seeing they scored 24 runs. That's too with wide and no balls of 8 runs!!!!

I can understand how you have must have been feeling.

12:26 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

faith - Gold aapke hain jee, khush?

mehak - Tu Diamond le le yaar :D

anks - My blog was having some trouble. Sorry about that. Thodi taarif toh mere bhi bante hain :P

bhandari's - Thanks!! The word verification is gone on your demand :D

12:11 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

reema - Haanjee, after a while. I know you are busy jee and now toh doubly-busy...he he. Thanks for liking it.

colors - Thanks Colors!! Amen to your thought. Yea, I knew you could relate to this post :)

moonie - Thanks Moonie!! Yea, things worked out well for India with all the investment in education all these years. There is indeed hope in this world.

12:14 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

mehak - Sorry Mehakooo!! I was having trouble. I hope it never happens again otherwise I will change my template :(

juneli - Thanks Juneli!!

You give a very good analogy too. I never thought it that way because we call them Apartments here...he he.

I changed those things on my blog because people were complaining about it. I hope it doesn't happen again. I already have an account on Wordpress but that is for my techie blog.

12:17 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

payal - Yea, I want to go too. Let's make program together :D

He he he!!

fuzzlogic - Thanks a lot. Yea, Amen indeed. Do chck out the book if you have time. Its worth a read.

bulletproof raman - You have an amazing eye for pictures :)

12:20 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

faith - Thanks Faith!! Ha ha, so Flat roads will be a miracle indeed...:P

juneli - Thankfully I didn't waste time watching it. It was pathetic, lets hope India can qualify for next round :)

12:21 AM  

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