Saturday, May 15, 2010

My new unique ID at my doorstep

I've been working from home the last couple of weeks with a back injury and I can't believe how much the door bell rings all day during the work week here - clearly not something I realized when I was going into the office. Usually its the regular line up of folks - the vegetables lady doing door to door service (interestingly, cheaper than going to the market in New York its quite the opposite, you have to pay the premium for the convenience), the newspaper guy coming for his payments, the garbage pick up, The DVD guy who came to pick up my DVD because it was one day late (I do appreciate it since it helped me avoid the late fees on it and I guess they really needed it back in circulation), the "get well soon" flowers delivery guy etc.
But my most interesting visitors this week were the National Census surveyors. I had heard about the census starting on May 1 and there is a whole debate on why they are collecting caste data this type round but didn't actually realize that we would be part of the count (silly, given I now live here, PAN card and all). It was an interesting 10 mins. First, he asked my husband's name, education, profession, birthdate, father's name. Then he asked how many lived here and also curiously, how many rooms in the apartment (was I secretly hiding our unborn children in some secret room?!). Then he asked the same questions about me. When I told him my last name was Sharma, my maiden name, despite being married, he was quite surprised. I explained quite simply that I'm one of 3 girls and am my father's daughter before being my husband's wife. To this, he was elated -he repeated this to his assistant in Marathi and told me he had 2 daughters and plans to tell them the same when he got home!
Anyway, back to the census. I was waiting for the "caste" question to come up given all the controversy (I figured if Ambitabh Bachchan can give a witty answer like my is caste is "Indian", I was prepared for my equally witty answer my caste is "Non Resident Indian") but interestingly, the question never came up. So presumably they figured it out from our last names right? The other thing I noticed was that while I was giving my answers in English, he was translating everything to Marathi, including my name. So am curious how he would spell Virginia in Marathi? I can't wait to get my unique ID card to see how my name is going to be spelt on it!!! Wouldn't it be funny if I get a unique ID but a whole new name like Vaijanti or something?? I guess I would then have to go get a fake unique ID card made with my real name!


  1. Hi virginia,

    I believe they have created a process which is seamless everywhere. I am single and yet the census lady who came, asked me similar questions and filled the form in kannada.

    But that is not the purpose of this response. It is the mix of personal experiences linked to key messaging which drives home in the blog and makes it worth reading from a marketing perspective.

    Pretty cool.Now if we can have people who connect DB2, Cognos, social computing et all through personal experiences that they face in everyday life and connect it back to the technology behind these to make our lives better, then we would be having a lot more conversations and a lot more interest in IBM software across the board, from a communication/ WOM point of view.

    A few other thoughts. You can add your twitter feed to this as well as add a social share plugin/ tweetmeme plugin to your posts. Would be easier for readers to share this content on their social profiles and start the viral effect. Since you are interested in smarter planet as a topic, you can also use backtype to aggregate all relevant twitter feeds on the same topic across the world with the relevant content and feed it into your comment section.


  2. Interesting post. As far the "caste question" .. I think there was quite a bit of deliberation that went into it .. Now perhaps a second round (in feb-march 2011) of census would be conducted to collect the cast related data .