from milk vans to call centre cars

I have always been a morning person and a light sleeper. Yet for years I never woke up before 4 or 4.30 am. If I let my memory travel back I realise that often it is was the cling clang of the Delhi Milk Scheme vans that used to wake me up. Sometimes a crow or a bird preceded it by a few minutes.

Lately I have found myself waking up as early as 2 am jolted from my sleep by the sound of a speeding vehicle. We live close to a flyover and in the dead of night every sound does get amplified. True that in yore years too sometimes their were cars whizzing past, maybe on their way to the airport, or Saturday party goers getting back home but it was an occasional sound that did not get passed the deep sleep one was in. It is the everyday sounds that reach that part of your brain like the milk van or the faithful crow.

Irked by this new phenomena that was now translating itself into dark circles under the eyes and an irritable Maam'ji, I decided to try and decipher the source of this new late night occurrence. It did dawn one such night: these were the BPO or call centre staff vehicles crisscrossing our city to meet their unearthly schedules.

A lot has been said about the effects of these new working hours that need to meet different time zones and turn night into day. many young people are paying the price and as is often the case, the once lucrative and upmarket job options is now being shunned by some and is slowly reaching the lower strata of society. Today many of our ex students work in call centres as the job profile is scaled down to meet the ever exceeding demand.

Doc P, our family doctor recounted how on a trip to the US he needed to change a booking and dialled a number answered by a young lad who was desperately trying to communicate in his newly acquired American Hinglish; no matter how many times Doc tried to coax him into speaking in Hindi, the lad held on: needless to say the booking was never changed.

While travelling to pwhy everyday one sees new hoardings for BPO training institutes that guarantee perfect English in 6 weeks or so. I guess they must be lucrative as new ones appear ever so often.

I guess I wil need to invest in a good pair of earplugs!