Friday, December 23, 2005

The whole arranged marriage thing

In school, if there was ever one thing that could get me all riled up, it was the concept of an arranged marriage. Phew!! I simply could not stand the thought of it during school. What kind of weird society, i thought, would set up two strangers to spend the rest of their lives together!!!! Indian society - it turns out, is the weirdest of societies!!! In fact, i think, the words 'love marriage' or 'arranged marriage' have a meaning only in an Indian world and would make almost no sense to a Westerner!!!!

As i moved through from school to college, my thoughts grew more mature. Maybe love is not all that it takes to get married and indeed to stay married. Look at the number of couples who break up, my friends said. They are all from the so-called love marriages. Couples from arranged marriages stick it out. They give the relationship more committment. Was it indeed that way??? I couldn't decide. But by this time, i'd come to realise that both marriages were accepted in this world and that's the way it would be. I would not be the harbringer of a revolution that would remove arranged marriages from this world!!!

Then another thought struck me - definitely, it's the love marriages which are more romantic. People who are in love want each other (in every sense of the word :) ) so atleast these marriages should be more fun than arranged weddings???? NOOOOOOOOO, said my cousin, in love marriages, the man and woman come into the relationship knowing each other well. There is no excitement in such a relationship, nothing left to learn. It's the arranged marriage which is more exciting. Hmmmm, i thought... Maybe she had a point.. But then another thought struck me.. Was she talking this way only because she had an arranged marriage?? As far as i know, she had liked a guy from college. But she hadn't dreamt of saying anythign to him because she knew her father would never agree to this kind of a marriage!!! My confusion continued..

Another 2 years passed. Another cousin was getting married. This time, it was a love marriage. Her dad had initially posed a lot of objections to her wedding too but love triumphed and she won him around. It seemed to me that this was the way to be. Two persons being brought together in wedlock should want to spend the rest of their lives together. Shouldn't they?????

And then finally, one day... My mother talks to me.. I think we should start looking out for an alliance for you, Harini. After all, you're 23 now.

Bang. There it is - 'The End'. Although my confusion still continues, it looks as though i will end up with an arranged marriage after all!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

India Inc - CMM Level 4

Maybe this is going to sound stupid to some of you people...

I've recently been reading and hearing too much about CMM levels in software. Any Indian software company that has the CMM level 5 certification makes sure that this is mentioned all over it's website or recruitment portals. What makes a capability maturity model... What is the difference between CMM 4 and CMM 5. My PM would probably tell you that CMM 4 means that you have effective review practices such that you can control your defects after you make them. But CMM 5 is a process that makes sure you don't make those defects in the first place. Hmmm... I'm not sure if i got that right :-) Well, anyways, that's not the point.

I was thinking of these maturity level measuring models while listening to the news. And the major headline on the news was the rain. This has been the case for so many days now in Tamil Nadu. It just struck me that we could probably have a capability maturity model for governments, administrations and countries with respect to how they react to natural disasters. A country that could predict the occurance of natural disasters and put measures in place to handle such situations would fit into CMM level 5... A country that could not predict but could take good measures (such as evacuation of people, distribution of relief) after the disaster would fit into CMM Level 4.. Just a thought. India has only now got into the CMM Level 4 category. Miles to go before we sleep...

There are probably hundreds of situations into which such maturity models could be fitted into. It is a pity that their measurement is only used as a benchmark in profit oriented and highly competitive industries such as the software industry. Not just maturity models there are dozens of processes in software that could be applied to governments and administration. Processes that help in tracking progress, tagging accountability and superior management of resources. But wait, I am talking only of the software industry here. There are numerous other industries, older ones, which have great processes and management practices. But all of these industries have one thing in common with software. They are all profit oriented industries. Only industries and institutions that are profit oriented work. Only these have what it takes to succeed. The triumph of capitalism in the world today is proof of this fact.

Governments and administrations should have an incentive to succeed. Imagine a State Government in India working all round the clock because an audit from a professional CMM audit team was due. Whew!! I'll stop here. That was beyond my imagination.