I remember the IIT geek who taught us C Programming in third Sem. He would go on and on about debugging in the time of punch cards and about how lucky we were. Little did that poor soul know about a Visual Studio in the making.
Ramadorai and early days of TCS profiled in Economist; in case the name sounds new or he is not in the long list for President, its just because of how quiet a revolution compiled.
These daunting, early years taught Mr Ramadorai and his co-workers frugality and rigour. Programmers had to book half-hour slots on the Burroughs terminals, working with their colleagues breathing down their neck. One hour’s computer time cost more than a programmer earned in a month. A call from London to Mumbai would be interrupted every few minutes by the operator, checking that you wanted to keep talking.
Today it is difficult to appreciate the audacity and improbability of its success. In the 1970s India had a shortage of foreign exchange and an abundance of labour. The government did not make it easy for companies to spend precious dollars importing computers, which many suspected would only displace jobs. Even calculating the tariff was a computational feat. On the new Burroughs computer that TCS bought in 1974, it paid a tariff of 101.25%, including import duty, auxiliary duty, countervailing duty and a levy to help pay for the war in Bangladesh.