Thursday, October 20, 2016

Outsourcing – In a Nutshell

OUTSOURCING – IN A NUTSHELL
A Spoof
By 
VIKRAM KARVE 

Sometime ago  I met a smart young upwardly mobile couple loafing on Main Street (MG Road) in Pune. 

We are really enjoying life, the husband said, do you know how  well we have outsourced everything  yes  each and every thing  all household activities  parenting  and even pet parenting. 

So you have done LIFE PROCESS OUTSOURCING... I said, tongue in cheek. 

Absolutely  youve said it  Life Process Outsourcing  that is the key to happiness, they exclaimed. 

As I said Good Bye and walked on Main Street  I suddenly remembered a story I had written long ago on the subject of outsourcing  when I was trying to fathom as to what the term outsourcing really meant. 

I wrote this story more than 9 years ago  on 18 April 2006  at the height of the BPO Boom in Pune.

This story is included in my book of short stories COCKTAIL.

So here is the story  a spoof  abridged and updated  for you to read  my ignorant take on outsourcing. 

Dear Reader  please remember that this is fiction  a spoof.

Do tell me if you liked the story. 

I look forward to your comments and feedback.


LIFE PROCESS OUTSOURCING (LPO) – A Spoof By VIKRAM KARVE 

On the morning of New Year’s Eve – the 31st of December – the last day of the year  while I am leisurely loafing on Main Street in Pune  I meet an old friend of mine.  
 
“Hi!” I say.  
 
“Hi,” he says, “where to?”    
 
“Aimless loitering,” I say, “And you?”  
  
“I’m going to work.”    
 
“Work? This early? I thought your shift starts in the evening  or late at night. You work at a call-center don’t you?”   
 
“Not now. I quit. Now – I’m on my own.”    
 
“On your own? What do you do?”    
 
“LPO.”    
 
“LPO? What’s that?”   
 
“Life Process Outsourcing.”    
 
“Life Process Outsourcing? Never heard of it!”   
 
“You’ve heard of Business Process Outsourcing haven’t you?”   
 
“BPO? Outsourcing non-core business activities and functions?”  
 
“Precisely. LPO is similar to BPO. There it’s Business Processes that are outsourced  here it’s Life Processes that are outsourced.”    
 
“Life Processes? Outsourced?”   
 
“Why don’t you come along with me? I’ll show you.”  
 
Soon we are in his office. 

It looks like a mini call-center.   
 
A young attractive girl welcomes us. 

“Meet Rita, my Manager,” my friend says, and introduces us.   
 
Rita looks distraught, and she says to my friend, “I am not feeling well. Must be viral fever.”  
   
“No problem. My friend here will stand in.”    
 
“What? How can I stand in for her? I don’t have a clue about all this LPO thing...!” I protest.    
 
“There is nothing to beat learning on the job! Rita will show you,” my friend says.  
 
“It’s simple,” Rita says, in a hurry, “See the console. You just press the appropriate switch and route the call to the appropriate person or agency.”

And with these words 
 Rita disappears. 

It is the shortest induction training I have ever had in my life.    
 
And so I plunge into the world of Life Process Outsourcing  or LPO  as they call it.   
 
It’s all very simple.

Everyone is busy. 

Working people don’t seem to have time these days.

But they have lots of money  especially those Double Income Career Couples (DINK and DISK)  IT Nerds  MBA hot shots  Finance Wizards  just about everybody running desperately in the urban rat-race of life.

So what do they do? 

Simple. 

They outsource...!

‘Non-core Life Activities’, for which you have neither the inclination, nor the time – you just outsource them 
 so you can maximize your work-time to rake in the money and make a fast climb up the career ladder of success.

A ring 
 a flash on the console in front of me  and I take my first LPO call.   
 
“My daughter has puked in her school. They want someone to pick her up and take her home. I am busy in a shoot and just can’t leave,” a creative ad agency type with a husky voice says.    
 
“Why don’t you tell your husband?” I suggest.  
 
“Are you crazy or something? I am a single mother!” she screams.  
 
“Sorry ma’am. I didn’t know. My sympathies and condolences,” I say. 
 
“Condolences? Who is this? Is this LPO?” she asks, with irritation in her voice.
 
“Yes ma’am,” I say.

I press the button marked ‘children’ – and I transfer the call  hoping I have made the right choice. 

Maybe I should have pressed ‘doctor’.    
 
Nothing happens for the next few moments. 

I breathe a sigh of relief.    
 
A yuppie wants his grandmother to be taken to a movie. 

I press the ‘movies’ button. 

‘Movies’ transfers the call back to me  and says: “Hey  this is for movie tickets. Try ‘escort services’. The bugger wants the old hag escorted to the movies.”    
 
‘Escort Services’ are in high demand. 

These guys and girls  slogging in their offices minting money  want escort services for their kith and kin for various non-core family processes like shopping, movies, eating out, sightseeing, marriages, funerals  all types of functions  even going to art galleries, book fairs, exhibitions, zoos, museums  or even a walk in the nearby garden.    
 
A father wants someone to read bedtime stories to his small son while he works late. 

A busy couple wants proxy stand-in parents at the school PTA meeting. 

An investment banker rings up from Singapore – he wants his mother to be taken to a temple to pray  to perform an elaborate pooja  in the temple  at a certain time on a specific day.
 
Someone wants his kids to be taken for a swim, brunch, a movie and to a bookstore for browsing books and music.    

A sweet-voiced female IT project manager wants someone to motivate and pep-talk her husband  who has been recently sacked  and is cribbing away at home – and is thoroughly depressed and demoralized. 

The sacked husband desperately needs someone to talk to  he needs to cry on someone’s shoulder – to unburden himself  but his own wife is busy – she neither has the time nor does she have the inclination to take a few days off to boost the morale of her depressed husband  when – for her  there are deadlines to be met at work  and so much is at stake for her career.   
 
The things they want outsourced range from the mundane to the bizarre.

Life processes that you earlier enjoyed doing  and you took pride in doing  or you did as your sacred duty  are nowadays considered non-core life activities by these highfalutin people.    
 
At the end of the day I feel illuminated on this novel concept of Life Process Outsourcing.

I am about to leave  when suddenly a call comes in.    
 
“LPO?” a man asks softly.    
 
“Yes  this is LPO. May I help you?” I say.   
 
“I am speaking from Frankfurt Airport. I really don’t know if I can ask this?” he says nervously.  
 
“Please go ahead and feel free to ask anything you desire, Sir. We do everything,” I say. 
 
“Everything?”    
 
“Yes, Sir. Anything and everything...!” I say.    
   
“I don’t know how to say this. This is the first time I am asking. You see  I am working 24/7 on an important project for the last few months. I am globetrotting around the world  and I can’t make it back there to my home in Pune. Can you please arrange for someone suitable to take my wife out to the New Year’s Eve Dance...?”   
 
I am taken aback  but I recover quickly and say: “Yes, Sir.”    
 
“Please send someone really good  an excellent dancer  and make sure she enjoys and has a good time. She loves dancing  and I just haven’t had the time.”    
 
“Of course, Sir,” I say.
 
“And I told you  I have been away abroad for quite some time now  globetrotting – and I have got to stay out here till I complete the project,” he says. 
 
“I know. Work takes top priority,” I say.
   
“My wife. She’s been lonely. She desperately needs some love. Do you have someone with a loving and caring nature who can give her some love? You see – I am so busy that I just don’t have the time to give her love. You understand what I am saying  don’t you?” he says.  
 
I let the words sink in. 

The guy wants to outsource the love process

This is one call I am not going to transfer. 

This “process” is something I am going to take on myself.

Yes  I am going to in-source this love process to myself. 
 
“Please give me the details, Sir...” I say softly into the mike.    
 
Later  in the evening  as I walk towards my destination with a spring in my step  I feel truly enlightened.   
 
Till this moment  I never knew that:

“Love is a non-core “Life-Process – worthy of outsourcing.
 
Long Live LPO...!

I love LPO.

What really is LPO...?

Is it Life Process Outsourcing...?

Or – is it Love Process Outsourcing...?

Call it what you like 
 but I am sure you have got an idea of the great benefits of outsourcing.

And now you know what to do – if you want to outsource something – whether it is a “Life Process – or “Love Process

Just call up LPO – and I will be there to assist you.

VIKRAM KARVE
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Disclaimer:
1. This story is a fictional spoof, a yarn, pure fiction, just for a laugh, no offence meant to anyone, so please take it with a pinch of salt.
2. This story is a work of fiction.  Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

This Story Written by me Vikram Karve more than 10 years ago in the Year 2006 after a walk on Main Street (MG Road) Pune and First Posted Online by me 
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