Thursday, October 06, 2011

Miss you Steve Jobs !

Everyone is missing Steve what some of them are saying:

President Barack Obama: “among the greatest of American innovators -- brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.By building one of the planet’s most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity. The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.” 

Google’s Sergey Brin:  “From the earliest days of Google, whenever Larry and I sought inspiration for vision and leadership, we needed to look no farther than Cupertino. Steve, your passion for excellence is felt by anyone who has ever touched an Apple product (including the macbook I am writing this on right now). And I have witnessed it in person the few times we have met.”

Mark Zuckerberg: “Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.

Bill Gates: “the world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come.Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honour. I will miss Steve immensely.”

Apple Website: “Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being.”


I can only say in my way: The LION joins iCloud....but he will always be in SYNC with us....forever. Rest in peace Steve Jobs...I say good bye to you but I am still surrounded by you - writing on my iPhone, with the Mac in front of me , and my iPod on the bedside.. !

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Some not-so-pleasant questions

Recently I came across news article about the sad incident in which one of our MP ( an ex Cricketer) lost his young son. It is indeed a very heart rendering incident, and there couldn't be a bigger tragedy for a father than to lose his loving kid. My sympathies are with him, and I can only pray to the almighty to give him and his family the strength and courage to face this situation.

Not very far from this news piece, was another series of news articles on almost all websites, where there were discussions about the breach of Parliamentary Privilege notices against Team Anna members , growing resentment of people against politicians and how they thought that many of their leaders were incompetent, and about the allegations that many of them were corrupt - to the extent that some are in jail, and some are on their way to jail.

These two articles were very symbolic for me. If I take the emotion out of the first articles and take the person, and if I take the person out of the second and consider only the emotion - it gives me a chance to evaluate our ex-cricketer MP in light of the current wave of political awakening that is gripping India. Lets see what I mean.

This ex captain of Indian cricket team is one of the best cricketers our country ever had. He was one of the most responsible batsmen, and an outstanding fielder. And the only reason for him to leave international cricket was a lifetime ban that was imposed on him for his involvement in match fixing. Serious charges ? Of course yes ! These charges mean that he must have been involved in activities that involved exchanging materialistic favors for ensuring that our country loses in the game of cricket, or at least ensuring that he doesn't play a positive role in ensuring a win. Sports reflect a nations passion, and hence the pride. Compromising on the passion of 1 Billion+ people , is like sacrificing the pride of the nation. And since there is a lifetime ban on him, there is not an iota of doubt about it.

Some would say thats an old story. Agreed. So, time passed, and hemoved from cricket to politics - something that was close to his heart, even as a cricketer. He contested the Lok sabha elections, and is an elected MP from now. This is where I have a problem - A person, who has a proven role in compromising on the pride and passion of the country, has been found eligible to be able to run this country, and represent the people of this country. Isn't that an irony? Someone whom we found ineligible to represent us in our country's cricket team, and banned him for life, now represents us in the temple of democracy?

I might sound harsh to be attacking a person at such a sad moment n his life. However, he is just a case in point that I am raising. There are several other politicians who have criminal cases filed against them, and proceedings are currently going on. Still, we the people of this country, turn insensitive to their history while making our choices in elections. Why ? What are our priorities while selecting our leaders ? Why don't we ask these question to them, or at least to ourselves ? There are some fundamental questions that we need to answer here…

Friday, July 15, 2011

Whats in a name ?

Yet another travelogue from Paris - but trust me, there is something about this city that makes one think like a philosopher. Or, maybe it just reminds me, that I am supposed to be a philosopher (!).
Was waiting for Metro at the Bir Hakeim ( Ligne 6 ) stop, on my way back from work. Of course, all of you who have been to Paris, definitely know this train station- because this is where you would get down, when you pay that "statutory/customary" visit to the Eiffel Tower. This is definitely one of the busiest train stations in Paris - probably in entire Europe...for the sheer number of people visiting the Eiffel tower every single day of the year. However, today was special - its Bastille Day ( national day of France). Hence, its a national holiday, and the influx for Eiffel tower was much higher than it is usually. I almost swam through a sea of people ( much like India, and so missing it badly! ), on my way to the platform. Luckily, I was traveling in the direction opposite to all the tourist hot spots, and so the platform was not that crowded on my side.
As I was waiting for the train, trying to intentionally ignore the tourists and feeling proud about not being one myself, I noticed that almost everyone around me was suddenly amused about something. It was a shared reaction - irrespective of the age , and even I was curious to know what everyone was looking at. As I turned right, where all eyes were focused, I noticed two pigeons fluttering just above the train tracks, moving on either side of the platform. There was a kid standing next to me, and he shouted with a burst of excitement - "See that Dove!"
Everyone around enjoyed the orchestrated flight of the dove, as they moved everywhere- though there was nothing unusual about the dove or the flight in itself. However, the excitement they brought to everyone around was amazing for me to notice. Its not that I have never seen a dove before, its just that back in India, we call them pigeons, and they are available in plenty. Whats in a name - call it Dove or a pigeon , its the same thing - Right ? Well, maybe not. A few months back, when I was in India, the only connotation I could attach to a " pigeon" was dirt - the poop that it drops everywhere around on buildings, and how it is seen as a hassle by the housekeeping staff. Suddenly, as I shifted a few thousand miles away, the same pigeon seems to be reborn as a Dove - and as it changes the name, its entire existence becomes poetic. Its being seen as a representative of love, of innocence, of bringing liveliness to an otherwise mechanical railway station. Biologically, nothing has changed - its the same pigeon , I guess !
But, what has changed probably is the perspective- to be able to appreciate subtle beauty that is omnipresent around us. Why is that we need to be disconnected from our reality and put in a nascent environment ( 5000 km away in my case), and its only then that we appreciate life. There is so much of beauty around us, and beauty not just in nature, but even in its beings, and in every little moment - so much of life in our everyday life !
Maybe in a haste to 'live' ...we often ignore 'life' .........

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Summer in Europe

One can only describe the beauty of summers in Europe - and for a quick glimpse, this is what I see in my balcony when I wake up to this lazy Saturday morning !

Sent from my mobile device

Friday, July 01, 2011

A Kuznets Curve of Memories (?)

All of you must be aware about the Kuznets curve, which gave a new dimension to the discussion on how environmental priorities of an economy changes with the progress in level of incomes. I was revisiting the curve a few days back, and was amazed to see how I could see myself undergoing a similar transition - in a different context altogether. Its almost been six months since I have been out of India- and somehow, I feel that my memories of India is trading a similar curve uphill.

As we ( Nidhi & myself) landed in Paris /Europe early this year, we were really excited to be here....again ! The weather was just perfect, appropriately cold but no snow, and my days of studentship had just ended. We loved escaping from the hub nub of India - that honking of horns in Delhi's mad traffic, smog filled air of Indian cities, and extremely suffocating population density per meter square. Paris was a different world - probably a world that an Indian like us can not even imagine in dreams. A city where the pedestrian is king, where the roads and boulevards beckon you with their serenity and charm, where the open places motivate you to spend some (lot) more time outside the buildings, and a city where one can survive almost entirely without a car.

However as time progressed, there are many so far unseen/unfelt dimensions of our country that started haunting us in our day to day life. When the chilling winds of Paris never seemed to calm down, what we missed most was that bright and sunny November in New Delhi. When the endless strolls in search of vegetarian food on the streets of Paris never ended, what me missed most was the unending options for good vegetarian cuisine in India - a selection often made by way of rejection. When our heart soared every Friday after receiving movie updates from, and not being able to watch any of them here - what we missed most was the Large Movie+Popcorn combo and that comfortable couch of BigCinemas. And the list is unending.....

Now, what remains to be seen is if we will transcend the curve as has been highlighted above - whether the longing for India will fade with time, as we get settled to this new way of a Parisian lifestyle. Will we start enjoying the beautiful Parisian boulevards which look all the more heavenly as they are brightly lit up during winters; do we increase the frequency of our visits to the Indian district ( Gare Du Nord) in Paris and cherish the excellent south Indian food there, and get addicted to the illimite carte from UGC Movies France (unlimited movies for 15 Euros/month ! ). These are our Darwinian survival instincts coming back very strongly on the nostalgia, and helping us descend that curve to a zone of comfortably feeling being Parisian. And I am curious to see , who wins ? Maybe we will be successful in getting over with this feeling, and start accepting the new way of life as our own - before we finally head back to India.

Thats life I guess - a big adjustment in itself !

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The tale of two climates !

Its almost been 6 months since I have settled in Paris - however, there is an answer to one question with which I still baffle all my European colleagues. When asked on a bright and sunny day, if the weather outside was good - my answer is a very strong NO. My friends who have spent most of their lives in Europe , get to see the bright side of sun only for a few weeks or a few months at max. And hence, every extra minute of life spent under the sun is a moment of bliss for them. However, when you ask the same question to a person like me - having spent all these years in India, being born and brought up in North India, and on top of it, living in Ahmedabad for the last 5 years , there is no way that I can appreciate the sun. Sun/heat is something for which I had an over-supply for all my life - especially during my stay at Ahmedabad. And hence, for me the definition of a good stay is still a day full of clouds, with occasional showers, absolutely no sun...and maybe a temperature between 10 and 15 degrees. I hope ( not very seriously though!), that someday I will change ( or rather evolve as a true European) and in the process, stop disappointing my European friends in their plans of having a sandwich at the Champ de Mars, under the sun !

Friday, April 29, 2011

A journey called Fellow Programme

I had never thought where I would ultimately land, when I began this journey almost 5 years back. I was well settled in my job with a state owned oil company (the word “fat paying” has been dropped intentionally, since I resigned before the 6th Pay Commission was implemented!). It was my first job, and as everyone says- it’s almost like ones first love. Although I joined in a small town of northern India for my job, but then this is where I belonged too. I think I would have been lost in some bigger city than this – maybe to the extent of losing my-self to myself. I enjoyed my work and my stay in this company for two years, and leaving it was definitely a sad moment. However, the sheer imagination of what lay ahead was enough to fade away this sadness, and it was a matter of days when this swiftly changed into the excitement. It was the euphoria of being able to join the “Well-known-Institute-of-Management-in-Western-India”, or WIMWI as we lovingly call IIM Ahmedabad.

It has been a long long journey, full of ups and downs, both personally and professionally. But, when I stand on this side of the river and look back, the water looks very still- I guess that’s the trait of every journey. The water looks still from both sides, and the under currents can only be experienced when you embark the actual journey. Well, that being said, it wouldn’t be inappropriate to acknowledge that the journey has been more than fulfilling – to the extent that I have evolved as an individual while treading this path. It has added to me immensely, again both personally and professionally, and some of the milestones that I crossed in the last five years would always be cherished by me and my loved ones lifelong!