Computing, Libraries, Tennis, India & other interests of Vikas
What is Quality of Life?
Background: Of late, it has become fashionable in India to introduce young
children to Microsoft and Cisco certifications.
(story at IndiaInfo on a ten year old child obtaining Cisco networking
certification) and this
(five year old get Microsoft certification)
If you read these stories, you know that this is not the case of child
labor in India that gets so much media attention in the West.
The following conversation ensued between my close circle of friends after
reading this news (who are all from India, all holding top management positions
(Presidents, CEO, or Vice-presidents, some living in India, some living in USA).
I am protecting their names, since that is not important here (and I have not
had their consent to publish private emails)
||Good to encourage young people to go for technology oriented careers.
At least in India we put the right kind of people up on a pedestal. I
would much rather see a young person like this be given some press
coverage and fame rather than someone who can play good basketball like
it happens as in USA.
||I can't believe you are saying this.
This is the *precise* problem in India -- myopic thinking. That's why
among a billion people, there are no basketball players or pianists, but
have a million Microsoft or Cisco certified engineers.
Let me ask you. Do you want your son to become a Cisco certified
engineer, a Nobel Laureate or Champion Golfer? A child who is asked to
take such meaningless courses or exams can never blossom into an
||The bottom line is that these techies generate $60Billion in foreign
exchange for a country that is struggling to survive. I am sorry but if
all the basketball players, pianists and artists drop off the face of
this world, it would not make a damn bit of difference to most of us. We
will have a few missing pictures, less music to listen to and probably
figure out another form of entertainment than watching a basketball
game. I think we should be putting people who are in the forefront of
research that would make a difference in our quality of life up on
pedestals and paying them millions instead of these idiot basketball
players and pianists that in my opinion are parasites on society. It was
OK in the middle ages when there was not a whole lot to do. Art, music
and sports have value and a lot to teach but should be a hobby for
people who thoroughly enjoy them. I do not think it is appropriate to
pay someone millions of dollars simply because he can put a ball in a
basket better than most of us. On the contrary, I think it is
appropriate to pay someone a million dollars because they are about to
uncover a potential cure for diabetes. So, what I am saying is that as a
society, we have our priorities out of order because of the impact the
media has on our lives.
As for my son, I would like him to make a significant impact on the
quality of life of the society he lives in. Essentially, leave the world
a better place than it was when he came in to it. And, that is not going
to happen by putting some pretty pictures on a wall !!
||I think the fundamental question is how you define "quality of
life"? From GM's world, quality of life pertains to having good
health, food, and personal stuff. I believe quality of life exceeds just
good health. It will be really a boring place, if everyone is healthy,
has lots of food, and lots of money, but no entertainment, which brings
the "fun value" to life. The issue is when some one attaches
more value to "fun" things than "core health" and
that is the question at hand...
Unfortunately, "fun" stuff is very tangible and people seem to
pay for it. I see people paying $100/- and spend half day to go to a
concert than spend the money towards improving their health. Media is
using that to push more "fun" things than "healthy"
things. Other than very few, no one watches health channel on TV. Every
one watches the fun things, because it makes you happy. Pursuit of
happiness is all that matters for all of us as living beings.
||I feel what people in India want is completely different from US. Here
it is about getting food on the table [including me]. In US, that part
is taken for granted.
However, one needs entertainment as VP mentions [I thought Unix was his
only entertainment, anyway good to see he has matured ]. I personally
have been INSPIRED by NBA. I like the way they FIGHT till the last
1/10th of a second. They never ever give up. That fighting spirit wasn't
there in India until recently, and perhaps the reason why we didn't
I am publishing the above conversation to provide different perspectives of a
news item. While I personally think that India can ill afford space missions, I
realize that if India had the tools the US has, smuggler Veerappan
would have been caught a long time ago, and India needn't blame every problem on