- The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business

A ringmaster who can direct every move of his fellowmen, inspire them like crazy and at times work them into a frenzy, where no soul is untouched by his aura and yet make them realize where to draw the line, Steve Jobs clearly is the genius we are seeing and still experiencing ! One of the best books I have read recently, which is so riveting till the end and makes you wonder if one human being can do all that. How do you explain being an icon in three major fields of Computing, Music and Animation?
Each of his legions waiting for the story to unfold, are proudly considering their part in this mania. Exuding charisma and preternaturally excellent, he raises the bar for what the leaders of today are made of. For those who just see the bling and success surrounding him, its an eye-opener to announce, he is molded through a tiresome process. Even today he stands for what he stood as a teenager. Mellowed down , maybe, still he manages to pull out the rabbit everytime out of the hat- every magician’s dream.
The book is an excellent read and a better stamp of The Google Story genre. The nitty gritties of the geeky world is carefully woven and it does not painfully teach you to code or create the graphics, it leisurely and unknowingly takes you into the environs of the modern tech era, with so little effort that in the end you can clearly distinguish as what goes into Mac and Windows . Geez ! I actually read through the entire Apple license document to see the craftsmanship that goes into their product. Yes, it runs for pages and never had I ventured into such amusements before!! It made me watch the Toy Story all over again and Woody and Buzz emerged even more livelier. It’s a different feeling to see, hear or read when you know what goes into the making. Nothing comes just suddenly out of the wilderness .
Today I hold the iPod and it feels ever so magical. Who else can give that clean touch and feeling?! I mean here is a guy who is so adamantly confident and has the power to make it into reality. Not all his products are runaway hits, but those which are, are of a totally different clan. It’s a difficult task to even start describing him and that’s the best part of this book- a Biography with a difference. ‘The best of engineers does not fit into any mold’. Even today he looks very much the part and he is not done yet !

You name It !

She looked all around, the things appeared to be more stoic. Taking pride in their sedentary state, they enticed her more into the impending despair. The monotony led to the abjected state. She flinched as if bitten by the silence. It was not the ache or anticipation, but the emotion itself. She was not claustrophobic. The absence of activity, the sheer unavailability of anything remotely categorized as noise made her feel all the more numb.

Walking along the spiral, her silhouette gently brushing through the banister of the stairs, her feet feeling agonizing cold,it ached to find a trace of life. She missed the constant cries of the squalid kittens. The screeching sound of the ungreased swing where her kids took turns to fight for the seat was all but gone. The hubbub where one could not distinguish any particular voice was conspicuously absent. There was no hustling of the engine wheels on the nearest parched track. The windowsills lacking their verve to beat against the wall, added to her irritating calm. All the fallen leaves glued to the ground, not a single movement. Her bemoaning cries hitting a vacuum, she begged to hear.

Her quest bore no fruition. She walked silently. Was she the cherubic bubbly character who had created the life in this seemingly still house? Where has the uproar of laughter disappeared? The incessant and ebullient talks, the commotion and noise of life, the severity of activity- all vanished in the thin air. All she was left with now, was the gripping gloom, the shadow of gallows looming threateningly upon her. She wished she was alive. But she had only one place to return to. She grinned at the thought that the living souls think LIFE to be monotonous. And here she was, all alone having only one thing to do, sleep in her grave !

Some Serious Fun

I could capture the entire impenetrable fortress..such Ruffian skills.. ! M proud of myself..(And so will be Alexander!! )

Oh Boy, come on!!..I could traverse the gravelly track invincibly and hit the flagpost first whilst my fellow drivers were busy following me (Yeah, pretty clean and sharp)

Well ! I can cultivate the best of crops, sell them, earn an egg , raise my funds..dint know farmers were having so much fun out there (Oops! The rural dwellers, are you listening?)

Aww..I can create the edgy and enchanting apparel for my skinny doll ..(such refined and avant-garde ideas..the fashionistas are staring coyly at your skills!!)

Yes, yes.. you can swim without getting wet..you can shoot without holding a gun..you can crash without getting hurt..you can gamble without hitting a casino..the computer games cater to all your needs.

Very few youngsters are left untouched by the fangs of the gaming world. The kids herding together in the cybernets, the million plus glued to their computer screens and the fortunate few operating their uber-cool Nintendo Wii on their couch.. you name it and you have it..what makes us follow the fantasy world and get involved with such undeterred attention to the gaming console? Adventure and thrill is one or maybe for, the contemporary reality sucks. Do we yearn to go to the magical world so often that we feel comfortable in the world of illusion? Do we all crave to be winners somewhere atleast , at the end of the day? Or does accomplishing a task give you the much needed sense of satisfaction?

Whatever may be the case, but do we realize that this act has such enormous potential to change things for good? I quote that your problem solving abilities will improve and so will your decision making. If you go by the statistics , more than 500 million people play games for more than an hour per day. The majority of them being below 25. The young untapped energy is being poured in here. How about gaming for concentration instead of concentrating for gaming? Can we use the skills we use in the artificial arena to the real life problems? Infact after the 26/11 attack, a simulation game was designed to tackle a similar situation. The tricks and the ways to fight back were found to be very profitable. Similarly, the gamers response when confronted with a natural calamity, led to many ideas and measures. But, I would also say, for most of us, when learning comes as a part of an activity, the fun begins to recede. Much like, you would have enjoyed the very book so much , if only it was not made as your text book. Nevertheless, we can always try to bring in few learnings without spoiling much of the fun. The idea doesn’t seem so tough. Especially when you know that your hour long matches on the machine was not a total waste of time after all. A win-win situation. So the next time you beat your foe brutally, spare a moment to fit it in.

Calling the Shots !

Dusting the old wardrobe, being not one of the chores, was taken up as a high priority task after the procrastination reached its highest indices. Sniffing and cursing I ventured at the not so interesting job. The initial energy works as a negative exponential and I sat down after few minutes hopeless, looking at the created mess. Suddenly the eyes found a small white thing which was almost yellow showing its endurance or effect of time. An age old photograph, black and white, almost tattered and screaming by itself that its going to be an antique soon. The thoughts suddenly placed themselves into the comfortable past, making me to wonder as how they would have taken pictures in those ages. The uncanny looking huge stand, black mysterious cloth inside which the photographer buried his head, the larger than life artificial settings in the backdrop which could place you anywhere in the world and in any position. The postman could sit in the latest of the cars, the whole family suddenly misplaced in time and standing amidst the lush green verdant nature, the aspiring artistes next to their role models and the list can be populated depending on the depth the human creativity can penetrate.
An era passed. The camera with the films made its entry. Everyone was amazed. The harbinger to the present day’s ultra tech sleek lenses. But still you had the limited privilege to take few thought -to -be perfect photos. You take it to the studio and you cant wait to see the results. The dark room with the red light and the liquid cleaning gives a chill to your nerves. As often depicted in the movies , that the pictures finally will have some strange element in it hanging. The photographs finally land up in your hands. You are divinely pleased with some of them and you keep seeing it, without leaving its negative counterpart too. You want to make sure that the contrast is as beautiful as the original.
With this you entered the age where the cameras are found anywhere and everywhere. All sort of lenses, focal lengths and pixels and you are spoilt for choices. The shutters are faster than the blink of an eye. Everyone is a claimed photographer now clicking everything around and flaunting it. Ofcourse we are all happy and liking it. You can create the one picture in all spectrum of colours, make things visible or invisible, cut, chop,crop and what not.The technology has no backtrack and only has to advance and get better. Suddenly when I am writing all this and making such big claims,I realized that my mind and heart still yearns for the old pictures. The hard copies which we used to ceremoniously put in the decorated album and flipping through the pages with your kith and kins gave the joy which cant be surpassed. Something told me that the best of today’s bling flashy and clear photographs also cant equate it. At that moment, the old black and white picture stood vindicated ! SAY CHEESE !

Whatever happened to the good old Doordarshan..?

An easy-going Sunday evening, light is the heart sipping hot tea and the fingers proving their nimbleness in switching between the zillion channels. Your mind asks for more, not settling at any frequency, you continue the wasteful task, proving every now and then the fickleness and restlessness of mind and heart. With a stroke of luck, something finally seems appealing. You hang on to it, just to find in a few minutes that you are back to square one. At once, you realize, fewer choice is way better than overabundance. Overcome by nostalgia, I set out to be lost in those days when TV was synonymous with Doordarshan.
The whole family sat together to watch one program in one channel. Your mind is happy with stability. The programs void of their pomposity, was easy to comprehend. No all pervading reality shows, no always painted characters of saas-bahu serials, no 30 min duration Ads. Simple as it was, it used to cater to all strata of society. A beautiful medley of Knowledge, Entertainment, Real news, Sports. It does have the onus of not portraying the flamboyancy of everything . Pristine, simple and unaltered and the Ads upholding the social issues .But it cant rule the roost today. The cons outweigh the pros. Its difficult to stand out amidst the flashy extravagant things.
Today, every channel has a leverage over the traditional channel. Everything, shown in its bits and pieces make it more attractive and over informative. Watching the famous movie on your couch, singing to the tune of the popular song , getting the adrenaline rush of driving the F1 cars , going on a time machine to the alien space and improving your knowledge base seeing the debate and drama and you ask for more. We do know what colour dress a particular actress wore yesterday , we do know who sings well in the talent show, we do know which football star presented what gift to his gal and ofcourse as who is the substitute of the popular character in the daily soap!! Not to mention, that we are well versed as what brand to buy amidst the huge confusing merchandise (or so we believe)!A sign of technological progress and its disasters. Each channel is the epitome of what it stands for. So far, so good. But somewhere deep inside, I know that I still would opt in for the Jungle Book than the best of Cartoon Network shows, I still would go for Tu Tu Mein Mein than the best of comedy shows, I still would like to hum to the beats of Burman songs in Rangoli than the unlimited masala songs in the pink channel.Be it Malgudi Days, Alif Laila or Chandrakanta, most of it were first of its kind.India truly meant a lot more in Surabhi and Science in Turning Point. Sometimes, Old is not just gold, its Diamond and even more !

Laila O' Laila

The recent cyclone got much accolades for her fancy name than the havoc wreaked. Digging into the matter as how this ceremonial baptism takes place, I was taken aback by the findings. M sure the process must be action packed to christen the cyclones. Our neighbouring nation halted at 'Laila'. Oh wait! The guy who suggested 'Why Laila, why not Shakira' must have been subdued.

If you thought, honouring the 33% reservation and exulting the women power, the cyclone got the feminine name, you are in a big fallacy(Link). The team is just too smart to evoke any gender based riots (They were not smart enough before 1979 as the list was populated by only female names). Glad, they realised it soon. Yes Smartie, the next cyclone will be a dedication to the male community. Infact, its already been maned as 'Bandu'(Did you say Ridiculous!!?). Surely, its not as enticing as Laila or Katrina, but its a clever move. Come to think of it, we are not only far ahead in predicting the next cyclone, we are playing safe by implying 'You better behave properly, we have a friendly name for you'.If the intellectual in you mocked saying 'Why all this exercise? Why not go with W1, W2, W3..?', I would say it lacks all the flamboyance. The human nature does not go with 'Whats in the name?' ideology. We relate, remember, reminisce a lot by the very names. Hey there, Shall I suggest the next name??!! :-)

What if..??

A Papaya had fallen on Newton other than APPLE? He would have started cursing his fate may be. What about a Watermelon? He would not have been conscious enough to sit there and come up with a law, which covers most part of our text books and courses. The law which most of us have learnt by rote or by heart. Every science student can almost boast of reciting the law without missing a single word. It truly has gravity in it. The idea struck me when I read in the Guardian newspaper that they want to carry the original piece of the famous apple tree into the space and conduct experiments. (Don’t ask me how they found the tree :-) ). Newton would have loved to see it NOT falling on his head this time (He already has the law to his credit). Ofcourse he should not be spacesick n al !! This is part of the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary.
APPLE will be beaming with pride for the new found status. But then, it was not any less before. It forms the name of the most famous company and products. The first image that comes to the mind is the Apple logo with a bite taken off. Alas, Steve Jobs was so biased. May be he used to meet the doctor everyday !! :-). The fruit also has its part in the garden of Eden of Adam and Eve story. Even though there is no clue about the fruit they ate, the surmise is most likely an Apple. Even though I find the fruit insipid, it sure has its class, undisputed! M sure the younger generation will never know the word by its species, genus etc. Oops! A little birdie told me it’s a fruit after searching through the dictionary of the APPLE product.

Atop the high Mast

A tense atmosphere bubbling with excitement, curious of the results, gathered to experience the history gets stiffened by the clear cut numbers. T minus 5, T minus 4, T minus 3, T minus 2, T minus 1 and then...The countdown stirs up any sleeping soul. Few seconds worth aeons of accomplishments and toiling, more like a cameo. A rare privilege to see the marvelous , one of the best engineering wonders, the vehicle with magnanimity,the ROCKET soar up into the sky. Up, up and above.The roar, upheaval and the applause deafens the senses. The rich trail of fumes resemble a skillful painter drawing a line against the tranquil blue background of the sky. Tracing the line, the eyes are lit up until it strains to see the huge structure becoming a dot and you are very much convinced that it reached the abode of god. A poignant situation and the feet is freezed. Heart racing and the brain is still contemplating the experience. Gleaming with pride accompanied by the tears of joy, you come back to the earthly place.

Things are going fine. But fate had its hand impinged to lead the destination to the road of perdition. The mission failed to do what it was meant for. The sadness is inexplicable. The doom spreads. For some, its the failure of decade long efforts and for the others its the loss of resources. Its like seeing your baby being washed away into the turbulent water and you stand there helpless and hopeless.

Trying to digest the loss, when you start thinking, some truth prevails to help you deal with it. With the failure comes the challenges. Those who think it was just a prodigal effort, can never comprehend the prudent decisions, activities and the sweat of the folks who have worked on it. Only time can come up with an answer. Success is good, but failure is not bad. It makes you more strong to retort and strike back. It reveals the things which were overlooked and the theories that were taken for granted. You always learn a bit more with failure. Still we always crave for the coveted throne and so continues our journey to reach for it. If not anything, for me, it was nothing less than what they call a TRYST.

When National becomes Notional..

“Her Majesty”!!..is all set to be listed alongside the dinosaurs. The great ‘ROAR’ is going to reverberate in the woods for one last time. 1411- The magic figure they seem to have arrived at while counting the striped animal. An Aircel initiative of ‘save our tigers’ alongwith WWF is trying its best to spread the word. When you see the advertisement on TV, you cant help but be moved. Stripey, the cub waiting for her mother, bemused and scared to death by the gunshots. The sadness and bereavement spreads wide. How can you afford to lose that cute little creature?
I used to wonder as how a campaign like this could actually help apart from making people know about it. By joining a group in Facebook, does not guarantee you anything. Infact, this leaves us with very little that we can do directly about the situation. You can donate money, but you cant gleam with satisfaction even after that. www.saveourtigers.com equips you with certain ideas and bare facts. But even here the progress column looks bleak. Blogs, discussions and becoming a member achieves very less. Even after finishing this piece of words, I cant be sure if any good comes out of it.
Digging out the files, tell us losing of natural habitat is the main cause. But going on these lines, will leave us with many aspects intertwined, forming a complex labyrinth with no start or end. WE, are the main culprits in the end. The outcry of global warming, deforestation and dwindling of resources leaves US with very less hope, leave alone the tigers. Also, our Tiger seems to be less flexible, unlike us to adjust itself outside its habitat.(The pun is intended!).
Amidst the gravity of the situation, China is considering legalizing the Tiger trade! This is a carnage unfathomable!!. Man’s hunger for its skin and bones seem to be as high as ever. And here we are talking about saving tigers. The decimated statistics does not ring any bells. Gloomy, but the grave truth persists. Our nation is not doing any great on this front either. Pilferage thrives at many levels.
Its not easy but something that cant be ignored. The list extends itself to a whole lot of species. Colossal measures need to be taken. Ofcourse, writing blogs and essays will not help. But we can surely do our bit. Recreation of the green is the pivotal task. But this simple task is the most dreaded one because we seem to have forgotten how a tree looks like or to plant one. Stopping the poaching as a decision, should come out of the bureaucratic hands. The situation is tense and the tone is not frivolous. We have to act now. . Every Tiger saved , saves 100 sq km of forest area. Support the campaign .We don’t want to have a world where there are no pugmarks anymore. Lets not become a nation with the extinct species as the national animal. SAVE OUR TIGERS. MAKE THE ROAR LOUD AND CLEAR !!
NOTE: I may seem as a hypocrite here, writing this with overwhelming emotions. But, this is just as serious as it can be.
COURTESY: Down to Earth-Magazine, The Hindu-Daily, www.saveourtigers.com


Why do I see some eyes light up when I say the word “SCIENTIST”??!! It often comes up with a rush of mixed feelings ranging from awe to surprise, nerdiness to intelligence, exciting to boring. Here is an attempt to provide an insight into this peculiar world.
If you were wondering that if science is an inexhaustible stream of wonders, well , thats true. But here is an edited version of the truth. It surely is not a whirlwind dance of excitement. Infact, most of the times it’s a journey through a dim maze of deadends. You stare at the same thing for years together and you are not even sure in the end, if you are looking at the right thing. These mind numbing tasks call in for oodles of patience. There is frustration, bureaucracy and even fear of just ending up with a bad coffee. Its drudgery combined with pain staking efforts of using your grey cells.
Then, what is it, that keeps them going? Maybe they find a stimulus running through their nerves igniting their minds to do these herculean tasks. Or maybe they are just able to find a window at every deadend. Either they find it magical enough to instruct their wands as required or just find themselves elated to a clan of extreme beings. I have no clue, whatsoever.
Maybe, even boredom lies very much in the eyes of the beholder. Facing the facts, that not everyone is chosen for the highest honours or even bare recognition, most of them are infact just carried away into the obscurity. Some of the experiments outlive YOU to be even able to see the results of your thinktank. I wish to pay tribute to the truly heroic figures, who have pushed back the boundaries of boredom and fighting through all odds have broken through to the sunlit uplands of scientific revelation (or even not). For me, in some sense, they are the champions of the most popular discipline of scientific tedium.
P.S: Are you wondering if I belong to one of these? Hell NO, there is always a constant fear of not living upto the very word .