In 1989, I left India with two dream-stuffed suitcases for college in Western Massachusetts. This was long before the wave of Information Technology swept the country, dotting business parks across once ox-plowed fields. My Swiss Air flight roared above Bombay, above the rickshaw traffic and stray cows. Despite the 6000 miles, the 23 hour plane ride, I have always kept in close touch with my family in Calcutta and the now booming Indian business world which I left behind.
My profile, as the quintessential tech-savvy Silicon Valley entrepreneur and new age NRI (non-resident Indian), is just the type that India’s current boom has leveraged, and that the country’s future is being built on. I hold a Computer Science degree from MIT, have conceived new technology and business ideas, started and sold companies, hired and fired, all with the focused zeal of moving forward, onward, towards a future that my generation has helped shape.
The Internet – the fundamental human innovation since the telephone – has created a bonanza of leap-frog technology, literally shrinking the world at large, while our personal worlds unfold beyond once romantic distances. The 21st century teenager “networks” rampantly on MySpace and Facebook, the cellular phone illuminating half their face in its blue light. They are the real heavy-duty users of the innovations my generation launched. Their future even more intensely woven with technology, as the Internet and Wireless communication redesign the fabric of society by first unweaving the past.
What I write today, is an ode to this past.
P. C. Mitter’s Lal Kuthi on Elgin Road, the house I grew up in.