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LIVING IT UP: Kapil Varshney says following his IT dream has bridged a lifestyle gap

Kapil Varshney is a Bhilai boy, who is now living the life of his dreams in one of the world's most vibrant and affluent financial capitals - London. Varshney first moved to the UK in 2005 from Delhi in pursuit of a job in Newcastle. Within five years, he moved on to other jobs around Britain before setting base in London, where he works as a technical architect with Capgemini, a technology consulting and outsourcing outfit.

Before he made the big leap across the seas, Varshney had lived and worked in both the city of dreams, Mumbai - where he worked with Patni computers, the same place where IT czar N R Narayana Murthy started his career - and Delhi. They were waystops along his journey from Bhilai to Britain. And what enabled his flight to prosperity was the software industry. A graduate from IIT Kharagpur, Varshney says, "I could see that IT is where the future lies;I made this decision 10 years ago, and can definitely say 'no regrets'. " He goes on to say, "IT has given students from small towns access tickets to metros in India and abroad. In India, if you are IT-skilled, you usually work in metros where the big IT players are based. That means better work, superior lifestyle, and more money. "

Varshney's tale finds resonance in several small towns across India. From Mysore to Mylapore, Guntur to Kohlapur, Rourkee to Rohtak, thousands of aspiring software graduates (with either an engineering or MCA degree) continually flock India's IT hubs, most notably Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, and Gurgaon. Thousands more line up for visas to the US, the UK, and elsewhere in the developed world.

The trend is more pronounced in the south, where the premium on being a 'techie' is so high - because of the boarding pass to upward social mobility it offers, along with fat paychecks - that every other class XII student lists computer science as a top career choice. A survey of marriage bureaus in the south done by a newspaper a couple of years ago even found that software grooms commanded among the highest dowry rates, along with doctors and bureaucrats. The proliferation of engineering colleges in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra is also a contributory factor to the IT craze south of the Vindhyas.

A Jawaharlal Nehru University study titled 'India Migration Report 2009: Past, Present and the Future Outlook', edited by Binod Khadria, which traces the pattern of migration in the country, reveals that the 1990s saw a decisive change in emigration patterns from India. This is when thousands of Indian software professionals started realising the great American dream. Internal migration, too, was fuelled by the IT boom. And no prizes for guessing that many of these newlymobile professionals were born and bred in small-town India.

One such example is Manish Paliwal, a successful mid-career IT professional with an IT major, who hails from Aurangabad. Having worked his way through Bangalore, Delhi, and Kolkata via a stint in Arizona, he is now posted in Kathmandu, overseeing his company's latest ventures there. An MCA graduate from Symbiosis Institute of Computer Science and Research in Pune, Paliwal frequently buzzes around the globe on business and credits his career in IT for opening up his world. "The IT industry represents the dollar charm. It presented a whole new bunch of options for me and my contemporaries in Aurangabad. The opportunity for travel overseas this industry presents is one of its biggest draws. You get to meet people from across the world and learn about various cultures. It adds to your confidence as a person, " he says.

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