February 17, 2006

I just subscribed to BusinessWeek and I think it's a total riot. Here's a blurb (from the UpFront section) that doesn't seem to be in the online edition...


MAYBE IT SEEMS like you spend half your life on the phone with a call center in India. But in India itself, call centers actually are seeping into everyday life, appearing in a wave of popular sitcoms and books. India Calling, a hot Indian TV show on Rupert Murdoch's STAR channel, depicts a small-town girl who lands in Bombay in search of her absconding sister. She finds a job in a call center instead. Viewers follow the highs and lows of the work, which attracts thousands of young Indians. "Call center jobs are now part of India's social fabric, offering immense scope for romance, politics, hatred, all creating high drama," says Shristi Behl Arya, who is the show's producer.

Indeed, the customer service scene in India is anything but boring. Centers can be a hotbed of hormones; some average a marriage a month, often outside traditional bounds of caste and economic status. The Call Center, a show coming soon to channel NDTV, takes potshots at Americans venting their angst about losing their jobs to the Indians on the other end of the wire. A best-selling book, One Night @ The Call Center, touches on love, bad bosses, even God (appearing, naturally, in a phone call). Then there are the jokes making the rounds: When a man complains to a doctor about insomnia, the doctor suggests working at a call center as the remedy.

-Nandini Lakshman


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