Not too long ago, the Bhartiya Nari's (Indian Woman) journey through life typically meant good education, perhaps a government or a bank job, marriage, kids and never must she miss those temple pujas on festive occasions, dressed in traditional attire and fragrant flowers tucked in the hair. Route maps drawn out in our scriptures, perhaps? Caught between crosscurrents of where the spirit was willing but not the parents, hundred and thousands of women were confined to the kitchen and household chores, not to mention those frequent trips to maternity homes. Look what it did to our population? Thank Heavens; Women's Lib and Technology came by. Men needn't live by bread alone. The ladies are now bringing in the Chop Suey.
Smart and talented women represent thirty percent of the 300-plus Icode work force diverting their energies to a new role in life and coding their careers. No more giggle, gaggle and gossip. Neelambika (Neelam), Padma and Ranjitha Kapoor epitomize these newfound synergies.
Take for instance, Ranjitha Kapoor. She was hell bent on a career as a Chartered Accountant. Dad scribbled out that all-familiar equation "Marry + Settle Down = Family", but Mamma changed all that. "No way," she said and supported Ranjitha's idea. (Boy! This Women's Lib was really something, eh?). Sheer numbers turned the vote in her favor and eventually, Ranjitha achieved what she set out to do. After a few years at Alpic Finance she landed a job at Icode two years ago. Her expertise in finance fitted in well with her present function at Icode. "No regrets," she says.
Neelam was lucky. Her brother had graduated as a Computer Science engineer and that influence seemed to have rubbed off on her as well. She followed suit and graduated as a Computer Science Engineer from Hubli, had a brief job stint in nearby Dharwad, saw a recruitment ad, applied and two years ago joined Icode. Her parents backed her.
Padma's case is a bit different. Her ambition was to be a doctor. A quirk of fate landed her in R.V. College of Engineering, one of those better-known institutions. The regret of not being part of the medical fraternity doesn't bother her today. In fact, Padma is five times happy being at Icode - five years with the company now.
Padma has seen Icode grow. "It was a small group when we operated out of Electronics City to 300-odd now," she says and describes the atmosphere as friendly as ever. All that's probably changed is that there are now four floors in the building and easier to meet new recruits if they are stationed on the same floor they work from. But then it's natural. Expansion does take its toll. Neelam's point of view is that it isn't too bad after all, as compared to other companies with workforces running into thousands. "We get to know most around here and we are a friendly group," she adds. And at Icode they do catch up with new recruits and get to know them. Helps in keeping the bonhomie alive.
The recent recession and assorted shades of pink slips doing the rounds in the industry hasn't deterred Icodians one bit. None at Icode was asked to leave and in fact, quite some recruitment took place during that period of uncertainty. As a product company, holding the right end of the stick surely helped. This may be a concealed tribute here to the persuasiveness of the management in supporting their employees in trying times.
In as much as they come from diverse backgrounds and work in different departments at Icode, they haven't been lured by monetary benefits to enlist elsewhere. As Ranjitha says, "We get exposure to various departments out here than we would in bigger organisations." The central strand is obvious. There's a great a sense of participation and appreciation, in environs that aren't bound by stringent rules that gag and muffle enterprising minds. People-friendly. They are conscious of the fact that Icode is like David in comparison to the Goliaths of the industry.
But then, we all know who won, don't we?