Her name is Small
- Josephine Acosta Pasricha () - December 13, 2005 - 12:00am
I am presently in Hyderabad India to visit my two daughters who have both relocated here and worked for the top fourth multinational computer company.

After her MBA in Human Resources from the Indian Institute of Management Technology in April, Satya, 25, who was a university beauty queen and a part-time movie actress, has been placed as senior management trainee in SSU of the vice president of Human Resources since May. Sarina, 27, is also considered well qualified – she holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce, major in International Business from Assumption College, a Master of Entrepreneurship from Asian Institute of Management, a certificate on "Publishing in the Web" from Stanford University in the USA; she has worked as apprentice for Lifestyle Asia, professor in Finance at Assumption College and Entrepreneurial Organization at De La Salle University, both in the undergraduate and graduate levels. She was a lifestyle writer and columnist; also adviser of the Assumption high school newspaper magazine, publisher and owner of Red Pen Publishing, Travel and Tours, and corporate writer for AG Finance in Manila. But she has left those jobs one after the other, some with hurting experiences that needed healing, because it was quite difficult for people to accept her as small. You see, she is only four feet two inches. Children in the streets, even supposedly educated adults, call her dwarf. Thus, Sarina has accepted a job offer here in India as deputy manager of a global information technology consulting and services company – which has 22,000 professionals in 53 countries, across six continents. They do not have any office in the Philippines, but they have all over Canada, USA, Europe, Asia, and even in the two Chinas. Hyderabad also has straight flights to Europe, Asian cities, and even Saudi Arabia. The employees are called associates and their corporate culture is global and international. They even have young interns from Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania, Poland, Japan, Thailand, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, etc.  After internship, they may also opt to work for the same company in their own countries. The policy of equal opportunity and non-discrimination is strictly in place. They have even recruited a deaf employee. There are only two Filipinos in the company – my two daughters, although both are really half-Indians, and could read, write and/or speak Hindi. Sarina proofreads, writes, and edits corporate governance and other company handbooks. She works for corporate communications under corporate strategy. Her salary here is triple her salary in Manila, even while she used to hold two to three part-time jobs over there. Of course, she is homesick, especially with Filipino food and threatens to come home now and then. That is why I am here for the semestral break from school, to baby-sit for my two daughters, cook for them, and journey with them through the initial adjustment process.

I will be back in Manila only in December. I hope by that time, Sarina has grown independent, healed both physically and emotionally, and is ready to face the global world anew. I cook breakfast and dinner, and in between read Husserl and Heidegger. The Indian lifestyle is rather easy and relatively cheap. The monthly rental of a two-bedroom flat is 7,500 rupees. Electricity costs about 500 rupees, and water is also at 500 rupees. Four thousand rupees a month is enough for grocery. I could not possibly survive in Manila on that amount at all. Both Satya and Sarina work hard, as hard as I worked in my youth. Sarina wakes up at 6:30 a.m., takes a bath, eats breakfast which I have cooked. Then Satya brings her by autorickshaw to the bus stop of the company bus that goes out of the city to the Technology Center headquarters in the outskirts. The bus leaves at 8:10. When Satya comes home, she goes back to sleep and wakes up at 9, to go to office at 9:30. Her branch office is around the block from our flat.

She walks to office and oftentimes comes home for lunch. Sarina lunches in the cafeteria with her newfound friends. Sarina’s boss has an MBA from Wharton, and there are four of them in the office cabin. To her right is one who holds a PhD on Corporate Strategy from Harvard. Sarina works up to 6:50 in the evening, then rides the company bus back to the city. She is brought home by autorickshaw by friends, or fetched by Satya, or Sarina at least came home alone twice already. She has learned to speak in Hindi again and give correct directions to drivers. We eat dinner together while Satya is usually still in the office until 10 p.m. Then Sarina and Auntie Parvesh pick Satya up from office around the block. It is a terrible schedule, possible only to the young and unmarried.

Sometimes, I ask the question why our children have to work this hard abroad. And I have realized why. Contrast how India has an economic growth rate of 7 percent to our grinding poverty in the Philippines. Contrast how everybody works here without complaint up to 10 hours a day, with only a 45-minute lunch break in between, and oftentimes without overtime pay. While the Philippine government, scared of power problems and coup d’etat, declares four-day vacations for almost any reason. In this IT hub that is Asia’s Silicon Valley, everybody is so busy working and investing in the surging stock market that there is absolutely no time for anyone to notice that my daughter is small.

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