Monday, November 22, 2010

Re: Idiot Volvo bus drivers

22nd November, 2010
Bengaluru, Karnataka

Dear citizens of Bengaluru,

I hope this letter finds you high on spirits (lol, no pun intended!). I am writing this letter so that you gain some insight into my life, before you make those nasty remarks and hold a grudge against me. So what if I drive a bus! FYI, the bus I drive is air-conditioned, and manufactured by a Swedish company, so in a way, I am a part of the elite too. Let me begin...

I was born in the sub-urbs of Bangalore. And, like every child, I had dreams. As a child, I used to look up in the sky, at those mighty flying planes, and used to wonder if I could fly them one day. But, over time I realised, planes? Seriously? What fun would be to drive planes in the sky, without any speed-breakers, or traffic, or fun! Of course, I had heard that there were these glamorous air-hostesses, with more make-up on their faces than butter on my toast, but I decided to sacrifice a little, and get a job I would be really interested in doing and love to do every day of my life. I decided to become a bus driver. Not just any bus driver. I chose to drive the elegant, air-conditioned Volvo, the pride of Bengaluru, and lend my services to the society.

Now, you would like to think that I have a boring job. How could driving buses all over Bangalore throughout the day be interesting, you ask? I’ll tell you how. I make people fall in love. Don’t get confused by the word-play there. People in love (or so they think), fall, literally. The moment I notice a guy giving an uncalled for look to a girl on the bus, I press the brakes so goddamn hard, that, well, he falls. That too when I am cruising the bus quite fast at 3000 feet above the sea level (Remember? I had a dream. In true Martin King style.) And then I have a good chuckle. Sometimes this action becomes a necessity too. When the bus is jam-packed, I HAVE to do this so that people inside can settle a little. Twice, or thrice generally does the trick.

Otherwise, I am generally kind to people (ummm, mostly ladies. Ah, what the hell, always ladies). So when I see a damsel in distress on the road, waiting for me to rescue them, I, as if I were a prince riding my steed, stop the bus in the middle of the road, even if it is not a designated halt. And, I always open the front door for them, not the rear, so that I can have a quick look at their pretty faces and dazzling smiles. Oh, their smiles makes my job worth it, everyday! Well, now, this action of mine does not go very well with some idiotic guys. Not entirely their fault though. If they have been meaning to get off through the rear door, I open the front one, and vice-versa. Sometimes, if there are only few guys who have to get off, I race past their stop, and drop them at the next stop. As if I give a damn. :P And sometimes they tend to argue. To them I say this - "ಹೂ ದಿ ಹೇಳಲ್ ಯೌ ಥಿಂಕ್ ಯೌ ಅರೆ". Did not understand what that means? Neither do they! And precisely why I say that. These non-Kannada people think that they can get away without knowing our native language. Hah, think again!

So, next time you are on a Volvo bus, think about me, and know, that whatever I do is out of my sense of service to you, with a couple of practical jokes here and there. All in good spirit though. :)

Humbly, at your service always,
your-friendly-neighbourhood Volvo bus driver

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Social Network

Note 1: This post does not attempt to “review” the movie. The movie is brilliant! Watch it.

Note 2: A co-incidence, that this post is being published on the birthday of one of the geekiest guys I have known.

I get extremely disappointed when people tell me that ‘The Social Network’ is about Mark Zuckerberg, and the founding of facebook. Seriously? That is ALL you can take away from this movie?! That Mark created facebook to get his girlfriend back?! And, I don’t get it. Where exactly in the movie has Mark Zuckerberg been shown in a bad light? All I could see was, a guy, who persevered and stuck to what he believed, and succeeded.

As I said, this is not a review, but I do want to talk about some of the things shown in the movie.

“A guy who makes a nice chair doesn't owe money to everyone who has ever built a chair.”

Exactly. There have been social networks before. So when someone accuses Mark for “stealing” their idea, they are just being losers and want a share of the pie, as big as they possibly can. Sure, legal wizardry may even get you that, but what then? If creativity flows in your blood, no-one can take that away from you. That’s the end of the story right there.

“Ma'am, I know you've done your homework and so you know that money isn't a big part of my life, but at the moment I could buy Mt. Auburn Street, take the Phoenix Club and turn it into my ping pong room.”

Mark is doing something, and doing it passionately because “it is cool”. This is an extension of “Chase excellence, and money chases you.” What is striking about this story (i.e Facebook, and even Twitter’s story till now), that they chose to NOT monetise their product early on. Even this (or should I say, only this could) made Mark the youngest billionaire in the world. The point is, its not about wanting to earn lots of money, its about earning a lot of money just because you can, and hence you want to push the limits. And that making a point isn't always arrogance.

Third, I want to talk about the entrepreneurial spirit. I think IITs come closest to having any kind of entrepreneurial spirit at any campus across the country, which is, of course, peanuts when compared to the energy and the ecosystem at the American powerhouses, meaning Stanford and Harvard. Which is why I want to mention a couple of aspects of the movie which I found extremely real. The depiction of the way Mark launches; I have seen that happening in front of my eyes! The scene where Mark hires interns is A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G, and the way he says “Welcome to facebook!” gave me goosebumps. What happens between Mark and Saverin is not betrayal, it is just about taking unpopular decisions which became necessary. And we all have met a Sean Parker in our lives, right?

I would also want to talk about 'exclusive clubs', their entrance "tests", geeks, and the depiction of girls in the movie in general. But that would result in me being off-topic to what I want to convey about this movie. So I will reserve it for some other time.

In the end, this is a story that was just BEGGING to be told, and there are several things about the movie that is open to interpretation, and therein lies its beauty.

The Social Network...