Saturday, November 26, 2011

Steve Jobs - My thoughts as I read

Books are piling up in my closet. I have many pending to be read. I finished with all those Nicolas Sparks mushy far-from-reality romances. I did lap up on treasure hunting thrillers.

I was reading short stories by Forsyth and abandoned it mid way to read Steve Jobs. The world mourned the death of Steve Jobs just few days ago. He was a saint to many people. I was not particularly inclined to him and my only association with Apple has been owning an iPod and a MAC on which I am typing now :). I chose an Android to an iPhone and have restricted from owning an iPad. The first time I heard about Jobs was sometime in 2005 just after his Stanford commencement speech. Few friends in college thought that I was too up-to-date and too technical to know who Steve Jobs was and when I asked who he was; I recall getting that dirty look. I dont know if I should be mortified to confess that I still have not viewed his commencement speech :-/ Few things make you unperturbed and ignorant for not any particular reason.

The second time I heard about Jobs was the very next year. I was in the Bay area on work; one Saturday decided to visit Hewlett and Packard's garage at their Palo Alto home. I stopped on one street and an American couple were unloading their groceries from their car. I approached them and asked for HP's garage. They gave me directions and added Steve Jobs apartment was 3 blocks away. I just nodded and left. I still didnt know why Steve Jobs was so important.

So now I am reading his biography; I am half way through; at the back of my mind I fail to fathom why he was treated like a saint after his death. Steve more than one way revolutionized the personal computer industry and made our lives so simpler.

When they sell their first PC Apple I; he realizes its presentation was as important as feature. He transforms an engineer's hobby to a business and thus his friend (Woz) had a conflict with his belief and Job's ambition.
He had a way to get people do so that he can get what he wanted. A time when he takes Woz's help to design a game in an optimal way; he intentionally hides the bonus he was being offered by Atari and just shares his base earnings.

Or the time when he flatly denies he fathered Lisa and got around with a statistics that any one among the 28% of the male population in USA could be her father; later agreeing for providing for her just before Apple went public!! His college friend Kottke at Reed who stood by Jobs was not provided any IPOs. So very untrustworthy, non ethical and a person who could steal credits as he famously quoted "Good artists copy, great artists steal" when he hijacked Xerox's PARC GUI design. Was it his heist or Xerox's stupidity?

What set him apart was his ingenuity to bring art and technology together. Technology should be aesthetic. How he could go at any lengths to dominate. He cried when Scott assigned him a employee #2 so that it keeps his ego under check and Jobs requested for #1. #1 went to Woz; Jobs wouldnt have any of it and finally asked for #0 but BoA wanted a positive integer for a payroll account; so he had to stick with #2 :)

Throughout; he tactically talked people into his job; used them and disposed them off. "All you did until now was shit, so why dont you work for me?" was what he said to a Xerox engineer. Thinking otherwise; if he had not got his way; we might not have products as its now. Like GUI, the mouse, the book sized laptops; which all others like Microsoft copied.

He did not ask to read the draft and wanted people to know the real him. Is this why he is regarded as great? I could see him more as a shrewd man who could stare anyone down to get things done his way. Maybe there is more to him.

I will be able to understand more once I am done with reading the book. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I heard about 'Kolaveri' few days ago. My first reaction was how could people turn so violent that they have started using these phrases in songs!!

Why this kolaveri di?

Is a Tamil song that has gone viral since less than a week and already has over 20 lakh hits; it was 10 lakh when I checked this morning :-/. There is this normal looking next door guy - in a simple black shirt singing for 'Soup' boys. What is it? A jingle for Knorr soups or something? Thats when you understand that 'soup' means 'failed'. The song is for the guys who have been jilted in love and treated like a piece of chicken in a soup!!

The song is half English- half Tamil written by Dhanush (Tamil actor and son-in-law of Rajnikanth) in his spare time; which has become a rage of sorts to everyone and anyone. Everyone seem to relate to this song and it has crossed the Southern belt; and yeah it has invoked this mass hysteria without ARR!!

The setting is a music studio; Dhanush is singing the song and its being recorded; while his wife and Shruthi Hassan looks on. No glamor, no drama, no gimmicks; just him enjoying the song as he sings. The lyrics are lunatic, meaningless and is insanely funny.

Is it the tune? I didnt find it catchy! definitely not as catchy as Ringa Ringa or Appdi Podu. Is it the lyrics? Is it the laid back drawl? Maybe its a combination of all; combined with it the sub titles in English giving out the lunatic lyrics like "White-u skin-u girl-girl-u...girl-u heart-u black-u" which takes it to an audience beyond that of a regular Tamil song.

The dialogues rendered in an utterly easy-go way in between like "What a change over mama...OK Mama..Now tune change-u"  and lyrics like "Cow-u Cow-u Holy Cow-u, I want you here-u now-u" makes it a random jam grabbing your attention and wants you to listen to the song again.

And that wonderful word. Kolaveri in Tamil means barbaric rage but it seems to be used in a mere comical sense asking the lady what is that she is angry about? "Why this kolaveri?" sung in a casual tone had captured the listener and its now a muse. I have been following tweets and rants; "Why this kolaveri di? is being used in every context and in synonyms to "Why are you cold?"

Very soon, I am sure we might find it being used for jokes pulled out on politicians. This was a bonkers hit! I dont think they expected it to be such well received. A song recorded during a break has surpassed any expectations. Very soon, get to hear the Bollywood version, remix version, club version, Cola adverts and so on.

Was it really a random incident? Or a tactical marketing strategy by Dhanush and team? Is it a fad online to grab even the silliest of things and share? Whatever his infectious grin and laid back rendering is doing wonders.

His father-in-law would have blessed it and so we are liking it for sure :P

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Horny Power

My iPod is my savior in many situations. It helps me a lot during my commute - spared of hearing lewd comments and helps me be oblivious to my bumpy auto rickshaw ride. But...but one thing that my iPod is also helpless is in dealing with Horny India.

Yes, India is horny, Indians are horny. They are horny all times; right out in the middle of the road in full public view; any time of the day. Men and women are equally horny. You can see them incessantly blowing bugles - the horn. Peeeee!! Paaaah!!

Why do we blow horns all the time? At the signal when it is RED, at the traffic jam when the vehicles cant move an inch. Are we a group of insensitive, impatient folks? Few of the countries I have visited erased the notion from my mind that only developed countries had disciplined drivers. Hell! no!! It has nothing to do with economic situation of any country.

Is the driver honking assuming that his honks will turn the RED to GREEN eventually? Much like pressing the buttons on the lift panel will cruise you through! What if its bumper to bumper traffic, deadlocked situation, or just plain signal?

Horns are used in extreme situations; either to evade a possible accident; to attract attention; to vent out frustration that results to due to a fellow driver breaking some driving etiquette. Look at us! We cant think of a traffic without horns. A silent drive is a crime. A perfectly empty road; not even a stray dog; and still you have your thumb pressed on the horn and it blares!

Which makes me wonder for whom is the horn for? There is no one on the road. For the plants and the trees? I have read that talking to plants helps them grow healthy. So if talking helps them grow, honking will help them sustain for a longer time is it? Go Green eh? Or is it for the driver himself? Self motivating mantra? Maybe! the driver is trying to get in touch with his/her inner self. Ummm...

No! there should be some other secretive rationale behind this! We Indians dont do anything without a reason, no? There should be something behind it? Is the horn supplying the much needed Green energy to propel the engine forward? I would pursue this search.

HORNY Power did I say?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Simple things

Every morning; my dad would go out to get half a liter of Nandini milk; mom would pour out the milk in a bowl and pour half a cup of water to the empty packet; shake well and drain the last drop to the bowl. This empty plastic sachet was then put in a sack and collected religiously to be sold once the sack was full. Half of the milk was used for coffee, the other half saved for the evening.

For bath; it was that brick like Lifebuoy which I hated the most. It was meant to survive all odds. We used to wait and wait for that bar of soap to melt. The only other one Lux "Flmi sitharon ka soundarya sabun" was a LUXury. Talking about sachet, washing hair would be preceded by going to a kirana shop to get Re.1 shampoo which came with freebies like a hair clip.

A kirana shop would hoard 5 varieties of shampoos, equal varieties of bath soap; mind you it was not beauty soap then. Just one fairness cream - you know which one I am talking about. Still, it felt that the shop was hoarded!! What do I call for varieties now? Choices! what else? A head wash meant washing your hair with soap or shikakai. We never heard about conditioner, face wash, after wash, moisturizer.....lifebuoy was omnipotent.

Not much choice with toys, bags, shoes either. A Hero pen, Bril ink pot was a luxury. Do you remember going to a shop to refill your fountain pen with ink for 10 Ps? Or segregating all the left over pages of your notebook at the year end to make one book to be used as "rough note"

Around noon, a cow would come looking for starch water/vegetable wastes; those were collected to feed the animal. Not only cow, your neighbors came to borrow a cup of sugar, a glass of milk promising to return them later. Your mom sent them away if it were someone looking for curd after the lights were powered on - a belief!! Siesta time for an hour and that authentic filter Kapi later - who knew the espresso or the mocha?

Buying vegetables meant a trip to the market in a rickety bicycle; outing meant a cinema when tickets were Rs 10 for 4 of you; masala dosa indulgence in a dharshini on the 5th of every month. No multiplex, no Thai food, no Pizza..

Its more nicer now, but I miss the simple things then.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Random pictures

People, I am missing reading your blogs. I wont say I dont find time; its just that I dont find quality "me and blogs only" time. When I steal some time and try to read; there are so many things on my mind that I cannot bring myself to concentrate. For now; I can catch up blogs on weekends; will read all at once :)

Few pictures for your eyes only :)

The sun was setting and these clouds were rushing as if they want to obscure it; and it was as if the sun said "Its ok; a brighter morning tomorrow" and had a last laugh :)

On NH 4; those distant wind mills rotated to produce energy. I liked the texture the sun was throwing - shadow on some area and light on others; while the clouds loomed ready to pour.

Beautifully carved miniature Nandi - probably belonging to 13-14th century. I liked this particular Nandi as it seemed to be smiling and joyful.

Pepsi, Coke....nothing can beat the Goli Soda :)

Deep in thought. What could the monkey have on mind? Where and when can I get my next meal of bananas?

Squirrel scampering around. These look so tiny compared to the black one I saw in California. But they are equally cute :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Misplaced notion

Ra.One, Metallica, F1, Rath Yatra....These are the hot events that occurred recently. No, I am not talking about any of them. Those are left to the experts. So sit back and take a deep breath.

November 1st 1956 was when southern states were carved out from the erstwhile Madras presidency. Since then, every year November 1st is celebrated as 'Karnataka Rajyotsava' meaning 'birth of the state of Karnataka. I dont know somehow when, but eventually it got renamed as "Kannada Rajyotsava' - no harm but please note that the name of the state has now been replaced by the state language.

The day's celebration was extended by a week for convenience; later the entire month was celebrated as Rajyotsava; off late the celebration goes beyond the end of year. We have mandatory holiday that day. Auto rickshaws display huge Kannada flags. There are others who display the flag as well; I will come to it later.

This day is marked with the government asserting Rajyotsava awards to people who have contributed to the growth of the state; cultural shows are held along with the procession of the state Goddess. Few others choose to show patronage to Kannada by "showing" hatred or intolerance to other languages; especially Tamil.

Its a known bitter truth that few sections view Tamils as close to their enemies. God knows for what reason. The Cauvery issue in 1992 saw the struggle on Tamils in the state. The abduction of Rajkumar; by Veerappan in 2000 saw fear among Tamils in the state. He was in captivity for 108 days; and those days were smeared with unrest and violence. The so-called self promoted protectors of the state and the language blocked all Tamil channels and no Tamil movies screened.

Other two south Indian languages dont get affected. Anyway, so what happened this time. Screening of a  Tamil Diwali release which was running packed houses was abruptly halted. What if it protagonist of the movie was invited just couple of months ago to grace the occasion of the music launch of a mega budget Kannada movie? What if he greeted his fans with few words in Kannada? What if the function created traffic jams and uncontrollable crowd; which was falsely attributed to a made up reason "fans of Kannada".

The posters were teared down; theaters forced to stall the shows; threatening the theater authorities of dire consequences if the movie was screened. When the actor visited Bangalore; he was garlanded with Mysore Jasmine, Mysore turban and a sword; interestingly these movies distribution rights are bought by Kannadigas.
All these happened just because there was not a single Kannada movie releasing on Nov.1

Earlier in the post; I said there are others also who display Kannada flag. Yeah, the self proclaimed saviors of Kannada attached to a "kannada outfit" whose job is to target MNCs and other corporations and extort money. They act as judiciary system as well. They are moral police who have the power to vandalize properties. Its not common to see Kannada flag and a photo of Rajkumar who is considered the cultural icon of Karnataka displayed at prominent places like shopping malls, MNC offices. These are considered as respect and patriotism; when in fact the sad but true reason is these malls and MNCs are scared of their properties being vandalized; scared of their work being stalled, scared of inviting wrath of these narrow-minded men who are linguistic fanatics; when in fact they are not patriotic but have used this as a tool to make easy money and fool the innocent folks.

Does it reflect the insecurity? Hell! yes. Every year during these times; we prepare to hear to lectures on "How to save Kannada", watch patriotic songs on TV, few patriotic folks at workplaces start a movement to teach free Kannada. How can you love your language when you cannot respect others? Does one show patriotism by hating others? It will really help the cause if "outsiders" as they like to call feel at home, are allowed to take active participation. No one likes to be forced; when would these ignorant folks realize they cant invoke love for Kannada by stalling movies and threatening common people?