BPO's Fuel Live-In Relationships

One can observe the winds of change blowing across the country for the last few years. The emergence of the world of BPO's has given rise to economic independence coupled with self-assurance and liberated spending power. However, this is not the only change in this country that we are talking about! The social structure of the society also seems to have taken a U-turn as we can witness the traditional units' dissolving and new ones coming into shape.

Recent years have witnessed a rise in live-in relationships, especially among urban couples working in BPO units across the country. A concoction of love and convenience gives birth to a live-in relationship, as it seems that young BPO professionals have shed their inhibition and traditional notions. The entry of MNC's and the setting up of BPO's in the country has helped redefine the way young minds think and function as social norms are transformed.

For most couples working in BPO units, time management is an issue that causes sleepless days as most try and work their schedule to coincide with that of their partner's. For those working in the same organization things are a little easy, but not entirely a cakewalk. Different shifts, different processes and staying in different locations often make things difficult as most struggle to find time out to be together. For those working in different firms, the going gets even tougher as practical considerations in the form of physical distance and logistics crops up.

Hectic schedules coupled with long working hours often reduce the scope of interpersonal communication between couples. Most relationships among couples in BPO units have hit breakdown as people struggle to prioritize their lives and deftly squeeze in personal commitments and professional schedules. Thus, the concept of live-in relationships has come to the forefront.

Maneka Mohile, 23, working in Mumbai-based BPO said, "I was seeing a marketing manager for a year before I joined Sitel and our routines started clashing and we would not be spending any time together. Then I met Vinay at my workplace and he helped me go through the entire episode. We decided to live-in. I was initially hesitant as I was coming out of a broken relationship but staying together has really helped us come close. Living away from home has also helped the two of us develop a special bond,"

Most couples who decide to take the plunge to move in together face hell at home as most families crib about social isolation happening, thanks to erratic work hours. Most families throw a fit initially as they come to know about their children living-in with someone else before the traditional institution of marriage taking place. Since, for the parents caught in their own value systems and traditions, it takes a while before they can accept such new phenomenon, based on the Western code of life.

But, the youth feel that, it makes sense to get to know each other it is possible only if they lived together. "It has been more than a year-and-a-half that we have been living together and my dad has not been talking to me for the same time after I broke the news to them. I have tried to explain that such an arrangement suits me fine as I can spend some time with someone I love. It is also convenient and is preparing me for the big plunge, which we are anyways planning next year," Ravi, 28, a team supervisor, said. And eventually, families do come around after a lot of tears, arguments and reasoning, since the former feel helpless to do anything as kids usually rebel or end up walking out of the house.

According to psychologists, living-in relationships are still considered radical in the Indian milieu and have been happening mostly in the urban areas. Therefore, for most families, it is a clash of cultures and civilization as they try to grapple with the situation. Further, economic liberation has given BPO workers financial self-reliance and independence, with their spending power escalating. Financial independence has speeded up the decision-making process for most individuals to go in for live-in relationships. Instilled with a new sense of confidence, most young BPO professionals are capable of taking their own decision to manage their lives. Exposed to a workplace based on American environment has also rubbed off its effect on the personal lives of most Indian BPO couples. With accent, time clock, habits and way of thinking being modeled on the American way of life, it has invariably crept into their mindset.

Obviously, a live-in relationship does involve sex and everyone knows that. Parents will always be concerned but they should realize that its ultimately we are capable of taking our own decisions and that is what we are doing," Shinakee, 25, team leader, said. As cultural assimilation takes place, pre-marital sex is no longer a big deal. It is no longer considered a taboo among BPO employees who are exposed to the western way of life. Most of them feel liberated enough to take their own decisions in matters of life, money and sex. "It's not a matter of simply aping the West. We are okay with branded clothes, food, cars but squirm when it comes to sex, what's the big deal? For people who don't believe in marriage like me, it makes perfect sense to go for a live-in relationship together without having to go through elaborate marriages," Ripin, 27, a team leader with another BPO, said.

Cost cutting, emotional support, spending quality time together are a few arguments that most BPO workers sprout while reasoning with their traditional parents and families. While some folks come around after putting up initial resistance there are many who are yet to accept the changes that the sunrise industry has heralded in the lives of its workers as rigidity is being replaced by changing life patterns.

"Although we both work in the same office, our lives were on different tracks of time. We would not be able to meet, talk or spend any bit of time together. It was hellish absolutely and that is when we decided to go for a live-in relationship." Every person working in a BPO has the same story. And this is how the western culture has gripped the youth of our country. But a live-in relationship is still a commitment. You have to share costs, household chores and most importantly space. You have to learn how to negotiate and that sometimes you cannot have everything your own way. Still, a live-in relationship has become a fad or more or else a necessity for these nocturnal working people!

Lenses are also a part of the photography tool. They are fragile and expensive so protect them with front and rear lens caps. Adding an UV or skylight filter to each lens serves as extra protection. It is also cheaper to replace a damaged filter than a broken lens. A strap can be useful for carrying the camera. It keeps your hands free while keeping the camera primed for action. A nice wide strap spreads the load. Choose a camera case that carries all your kit and is well padded. Adjustable compartments and pockets are useful. Shoulder bags are popular but carrying the weight on one side all day can get uncomfortable. A backpack is also useful as it frees up both hands and makes it easier to travel. Many professionals prefer a bag that also fits around the waist. This way, they have ready access to a range of lenses.

Your choice of filters, as with everything else you can use four filters -

  • A standard polarizer,
  • A blue-yellow polarizer,
  • A FL-D filter and
  • An 81B filter.

With the standard polarizer, rotating the filter gives deep blue skies and strengthens colors by removing glare and reflections. The blue-yellow is a good color enhancer, it makes skies electric blue and increases the amount of golden yellow on buildings. The usage of the FL-D filter on most sunsets and dusk shots adds a warm purple color to the sky. The 81B filter is good for warming up shots when you are shooting around midday. Here are some other filters:

  • Colour Enhancer: Enhances reds, but can leave a cold blue/violet cast and is expensive.

  • Colour Correcting: Enhances particular colors - green is good to enhance foliage. For example, a CC20G adds 20% green by reducing other colors by 80%.

  • Single Colour: Add an overall blue, orange or sepia cast to your shot.

  • 81A, 81B or 81C: Simulates late afternoon light by adding an orange/brown cast. A is light, B medium, and C strong.

  • Haze 1 or Skylight 1A: Can reduce haze at high altitude. Skylight 1A adds a slight pink "warming" cast. Used often to protect lenses.

  • Neutral Density or Split-Field Neutral Density: Reduces the brightness of a scene, for better control of aperture. A split-field neutral density reduces a bright sky to match a shaded foreground.
  • Red or Yellow: Increases tonal contrast in black-and-white photographs.

Extra Photo Storage:
If you're going on a long trip, you'll be taking lots of photos, so you'll need some way to store those pictures. Depending upon what type of camera you have, take extra "flash" memory cards or film, a photo hard disc, or laptop.

Dirty lenses or filters produce low-contrast images and washed-out colors. Keep things clean with a soft lint-free cloth, special dust-free tissues, lens-cleaning fluid, and a blower brush. A pair of tweezers is useful if sand or dirt gets lodged inside the camera. A small screwdriver can tighten up any screws that come loose, particularly on long lenses, which don't like the vibrations of traveling.

A flash is useful for brightening people's faces on overcast days, and for indoor shots. Many cameras today include a built-in flash, which is suitable for most purposes. If you are keen on interiors, consider a hand-held flash to brighten dark areas while the shutter remains open. Remember that many museums prohibit flash units as they can damage the exhibits.

A full-size tripod is essential for steady, top-quality shots, but is too cumbersome for most travelers. Instead carry a monopod, or a mini-tripod - coupled with a wall or table, they're almost as good. If you have a tripod, you'll also need a cable release to avoid camera movement when you take the shot. You can alternatively use the self-timer feature.

A notepad and a pen can be useful for remembering good locations, bus numbers, details about your subjects, and addresses of people you meet. If you are considering submitting shots for competitions, you will also need to note your camera settings.

If your camera uses rechargeable batteries, never forget the recharger. If you are going overseas, you might need a voltage/power converter. Take a second, spare rechargeable battery, so that you can keep shooting. It is easy to avoid buying spare batteries but there's nothing more infuriating than getting somewhere fabulous and finding out that your camera won't power up.

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