I clicked on the first link Google offered with much enthusiasm. It took about 2 minutes to open with an internet speed of around 60 mbps. Soon the center of my 17” monitor turned into a spectral fiesta with around 2” grey border on three sides.. Stars were twinkling on top of the page and I was so sure it was some pop up ad with zingy material. Wait no.. I could see some words like space, technology, research etc. amidst all the chromic orgy. I still refused to believe this was what I was looking for. It still looked like an advertisement, may be science-related one by a 15 year old. Looked for a close button, didn’t spot one. I refreshed. Nothing changed. Again. Again..
I conceded and I sat there in the basement of the lab with my jaw dropped down.
I tried to absorb all the material crammed into the small colorful box in the center of the screen. A black backdrop on the top housed some stars that kept going on and off, like the series bulbs that are used to decorate marriage halls. Pink, orange, blue, green, red inactive buttons adorned one side of the page while the latest news flashed on a box to the right (similar to the one all the way at the bottom of this page) in a shade of fluorescent green that reminded me of my 1st grade coloring book. The bold lemon yellow title, poorly animated Indian flag in one corner, “Our chairman” tab next to products and organization capabilities, website visitor number on the bottom and a monitor resolution and browser suggestion drained me off what little life remained at the end of a long day. I slumped on my seat trying to digest it all.
This website, ladies and gentlemen, is supposed to depict the depth of our space technology, the achievements and failures of the prestigious Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
It was the first website I had ever come across that showcased “Our Chairman” with Past and Present drop-down options tab. Why is it so important to add the Biodata of the chairman on the company website? Nobody else is up there! And the 9 digit visitor number counting from 2008 seemed like a pathetic attempt to boast of their credibility, assuming that was intended. Why else would they display it??
I ventured a little more into the website, quite apprehensively, not knowing what to expect. I clicked on the first job openings link and was aghast. It looked like a scan from the newspaper ad! Trotted a little more and found a better page for a job with a long dead deadline. Printed in red bold, size 18 was- “Do not use 'Back' and 'Forward' button of your browser while filling up online application form.” And beneath it was an Aquamarine box with Magenta links leading to the “Post name” one wishes to apply for.
A country of billion people infested with programmers every few steps, patriotic youth ready to offer their computing skills free of cost for a better image of the nation and yet, we have a website harbouring a vision of human space flight by 2025 that says “Best viewed with a resolution of 1024x768 with Internet Explorer 7.0” and has artist imagination pictures of pink and yellow artificial satellites that are almost as big as the moon itself.
But somehow, amidst all this, I wasn't surprised at the different instructions and required qualifications from different set of people. I mean required technical qualifications for a job in our country depends on the impenetrable barrier of castes. You surely know that?! A SC/ST candidate is welcome to apply with just a 60% in B.E while the rest have to be 'distinct' with 70%+. A SC/ST candidate can be 45 years of age and still apply while the rest have ten years less to make it into the esteemed place. Somehow SC/ST's have capabilities for which others have to strive very hard! I wonder what practices they adopt in their households that give them a cut above the rest. As it is rightly said, India is the only country where people fight to be backward. And why wouldn't they if it offers so many added benefits?
And all this is supposed to portray us Indians as one of the leading competitors for human space flight in the near future! I wonder what would be compromised for the BC's then. May be eyesight or fitness??
India is nation of colors. We can find infinite combinations of the world's most bizarre distorts everywhere around us. But is it necessary to evince our nation's idiosyncrasies on a website that is supposed to publicize our space program on a global scale? Could there be a probability that the rocket scientists of our country didn't happen to stumble across the website? I mean, after all they are people who are invited to attend/preside on conferences across the world and bask in world class standards in both reputation and wealth. If they had seen the page of their organization, I would like to believe they would have been flabbergasted too and saw to it that a much more respectable portal was construed for a field that has billions of dollars in the funds which is ripped from middle class family vaults.
Logic yells that its more like nonchalance brimming amongst experienced people in power that justifies the situation right now or they are truly pleased with a website that looks like a nerdy teenager's blog. I dunno which one to hope for in this case.
Why does a website bother me so much? Because a website reflects the work and people who contribute to it. And being an admirer of the Indian space program, for its come a long way in a short time splendidly, I had hoped to see a little more sophistication in something menial in comparison as a website. When I see smaller companies including other government organizations, I atleast don't feel like closing at the instant I open a page. But to keep abreast with our space program I'd rather search other articles one by one!
All they have to do is put out an ad that says “Professional Web designer needed”. Compensation or not, tons of applications would arrive at their doorstep. Pick any and they are bound to own a better one than current version!
Forget the launch vehicles and X-SATs, get a simple, pleasant website that doesn't dance in the viewer's eyes. For the love of gravity, THAT is not rocket science!