Saturday, February 11, 2006

Information Technology - The funny side of computing

Information Technology is quite a stressful field to be in. In spite of that, the creativity of engineers has been irrepressible. One of the most unusual outlets that it has acquired is through the refinement of old Panchatantra moral stories that our elders used to narrate to us, the Indian equivalent of Aesop's fables.

The most famous among them is the variant of the wood cutter's story doing the rounds. It even has an exciting moral at the end.

[The original Panchatantra story :
One day, while a woodcutter was cutting a branch of a tree above a river, his axe fell into the river.
When he cried out, the Lord appeared and asked, "Why are you crying?" The woodcutter replied that his axe has fallen into water. The Lord went down into the water and reappeared with a golden axe. "Is this your axe?" the Lord asked.
The woodcutter replied, "No."
The Lord again went down and came up with a silver axe. "Is this your axe?" the Lord asked.
Again, the woodcutter replied, "No."
The Lord went down again and came up with an iron axe. "Is this your axe?" the Lord asked.
The woodcutter replied, "Yes."
The Lord was pleased with the man's honesty and gave him all three axes to keep, and the woodcutter went home happily. ]

Once upon a time, there was a software engineer who used to develop Programs on his Pentium machine (of course a lap top),sitting under a tree on the banks of a river. He used to earn his bread by selling those programs in the Friday market.

One day, while he was working, his machine tumbled off from his lap and fell in the river. Encouraged by the Panchatantra story of his childhood (the woodcutter and the axe), he started praying to the River Goddess.

The River Goddess wanted to test him and so appeared only after one month of rigorous prayers. Poor Engineer, he waited for a long time and at last Goddess came!

The engineer told her that he had lost his computer in the river. As usual, the Goddess wanted to test his honesty.

She showed him a match box and asked, "Is this your computer?" Disappointed by the Goddess' lack of computer awareness, the engineer replied, "No." She next showed him a pocket-sized calculator and asked if that was his.

Annoyed, the engineer said "No, not at all!!"

Finally, she came up with his own Pentium machine and asked if it was his. The engineer, left with no option, sighed and said "Yes." The River Goddess was happy with his honesty.

She was about to give him all three items, but before she could make the offer, the engineer asked her, "Don't you know that you're supposed to show me some better computers before bringing up my own?"

The River Goddess, angered at this, replied, "I know that, you stupid donkey! The first two things I showed you were the Trillennium and the Billennium, the latest computers from IBM!"

So saying, she disappeared with his Computer!

Moral for Information Technology Professionals: If you're not up-to-date with technology trends, its better keep your mouth shut and let people think you're a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

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