I still remember that when I was in school, there was a news that ISRO has misplaced a satellite while trying to put it in orbit. Don't know whether it's specific to Indians only or in general human mentality that we might or might not appreciate success but tend to ridicule failures of our own people. Being true to that mentality, instead of feeling sad, we made fun of ISRO and called it complete wastage of money. Later on ISRO did many successful launches but we ignored that conveniently.
While studying in college, I wanted to join ISRO or DRDO, not because it was something to be proud of but because there were very less opportunities for an Electronics engineering graduate in India. Luckily, I was able to clear the written exam of ISRO but as I was in put in wait list after my interview, I had to join an IT company because I couldn't risk losing the single job opportunity which I had with me. 5 months later, when I got ISRO's offer, I did lot of brainstorming over joining it or not. Major problem was that I had signed a service bond with IT company and belonging to "law abiding" middle class, I could neither dare to break that bond nor I had money to pay the bond amount. After spending many days, I decided to continue in IT industry. Although I felt bad for few days for not joining my dream company but as I had started to earn well as just another Indian software engineer so I thought there is no need of caring so much about a government job.
Fast forward to 2013, ISRO launched its highly ambitious mission to Mars. When I came to know that spacecraft will take 1 year to reach Mars, I was almost assured that it will never reach it's destination, not thinking about instances of success but failures of ISRO where it's rockets have fallen into sea instead of launching satellites into orbits. 1 year later, ISRO proved me wrong and successfully completed it's mission in less than 500 crore rupees, an amount which we Indians collectively spend on a Salman or Aamir Khan movie. Still I thought what's the use of it, why we are wasting money on Mars when there are lots of things to do on earth.
On 15th Feb 2017, when ISRO made a world record of launching 104 satellites in one go, breaking Russian record of 37 satellites, my thinking about mission to Mars was proved wrong once again. It wasn't useless rather a great advertisement of brilliance of Indian scientists which showed to world that they are capable of doing the same thing at a fraction of cost of what super powers of space technologies are spending on similar missions. Otherwise why a country like USA, which had blatantly declined to help India in its space ambitions, would have trusted ISRO to launch it's 96 "costly" satellites. Some may say that we got this opportunity just because our services are cheaper but I will say that if someone develops a capability to provide a service with same quality but at much lower price then it's completely wrong to call it "Cheap" rather it should be called the best "Value for money" option, which only ISRO is providing at the moment. Although ISRO may have earned around 100 million dollars only by launching foreign satellites which is approx 10% of budget allocated to it but looking at the opportunities in 300 Billion dollars global space market and reputation which ISRO has earned with its latest feat, it will not be a surprise if it starts earning profits soon and in future, engineering graduates like me will not think to join ISRO just because it's another government job rather they will take it as a matter of pride to be a part of one of the best space organizations or may I dare to say THE BEST space organization in the World.