Here is an excerpt from one of my favourite written works of all times, “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand.
On this very date in the year 1943, the book was first published. Hence, to commemorate this date I would like share my favourite excerpt from the book, Howard Roark’s Courtroom Speech. Its a long text, but an absolute delight to read.
“Thousands of years ago, the first man discovered how to make fire. He was probably burned at the stake he had taught his brothers to light. He was considered an evildoer who had dealt with a demon mankind dreaded. But thereafter men had fire to keep them warm, to cook their food, to light their caves. He had left them a gift they had not conceived and he had lifted dardness off the earth. Centuries later, the first man invented the wheel. He was probably torn on the rack he had taught his brothers to build. He was considered a transgressor who ventured into forbidden terrritory. But thereafter, men could travel past any horizon. He had left them a gift they had not conceived and he had opened the roads of the world.
That man, the unsubmissive and first, stands in the opening chapter of every legend mankind has recorded about its beginning. Prometheus was chained to a rock and torn by vultures—because he had stolen the fire of the gods. Adam was condemned to suffer—because he had eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Whatever the legend, somewhere in the shadows of its memory mankind knew that its glory began with one and that that one paid for his courage.
Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received—hatred. The great creators—the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors—stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.
No creator was prompted by a desire to serve his brothers, for his brothers rejected the gift he offered and that gift destroyed the slothful routine of their lives. His truth was his only motive. His own truth, and his own work to achieve it in his own way. A symphony, a book, an engine, a philosophy, an airplane or a building—that was his goal and his life. Not those who heard, read, operated, believed, flew or inhabited the thing he had created. The creation, not its users. The creation, not the benefits others derived from it. The creation which gave form to his truth. He held his truth above all things and against all men.
His vision, his strength, his courage came from his own spirit. A man’s spirit, however, is his self. That entity which is his consciousness. To think, to feel, to judge, to act are functions of the ego.
The creators were not selfless. It is the whole secret of their power—that it was self-sufficient, self-motivated, self-generated. A first cause, a fount of energy, a life force, a Prime Mover. The creator served nothing and no one. He lived for himself.
And only by living for himself was he able to achieve the things which are the glory of mankind. Such is the nature of achievement.
Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. Animals obtain food by force. Man has no claws, no fangs, no horns, no great strength of muscle. He must plant his food or hunt it. To plant, he needs a process of thought. To hunt, he needs weapons, and to make weapons—a process of thought. From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from a single attribute of man—the function of his reasoning mind.
But the mind is an attribute of the individual. There is no such thing as a collective brain. There is no such thing as a collective thought. An agreement reached by a group of men is only a compromise or an average drawn upon many individual thoughts. It is a secondary consequence. The primary act—the process of reason—must be performed by each man alone. We can divide a meal among many men. We cannot digest it in a collective stomach. No man can use his lungs to breathe for another man. No man can use his brain to think for another. All the functions of body and spirit are private. They cannot be shared or transferred.
We inherit the products of the thought of other men. We inherit the wheel. We make a cart. The cart becomes an automobile. The automobile becomes an airplane. But all through the process what we receive from others is only the end product of their thinking. The moving force is the creative faculty which takes this product as material, uses it and originates the next step. This creative faculty cannot be given or received, shared or borrowed. It belongs to single, individual men. That which it creates is the property of the creator. Men learn from one another. But all learning is only the exchange of material. No man can give another the capacity to think. Yet that capacity is our only means of survival.
Nothing is given to man on earth. Everything he needs has to be produced. And here man faces his basic alternative: he can survive in only one of two ways—by the independent work of his own mind or as a parasite fed by the minds of others. The creator originates. The parasite borrows. The creator faces nature alone. The parasite faces nature through an intermediary.
The creator’s concern is the conquest of nature. The parasite’s concern is the conquest of men. The creator lives for his work. He needs no other men. His primary goal is within himself. The parasite lives second-hand. He needs others. Others become his prime motive. The basic need of the creator is independence. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot be curbed, sacrificed or subordinated to any consideration whatsoever. It demands total independence in function and in motive. To a creator, all relations with men are secondary.
The basic need of the second-hander is to secure his ties with men in order to be fed. He places relations first. He declares that man exists in order to serve others. He preaches altruism. Altruism is the doctrine which demands that man live for others and place others above self. No man can live for another. He cannot share his spirit just as he cannot share his body. But the second-hander has used altruism as a weapon of expoloitation and reversed the base of mankind’s moral principles. Men have been taught every precept that destroys the creator. Men have been taught dependence as a virtue.
The man who attemps to live for others is a dependent. He is a parasite in motive and makes parasites of those he serves. The relationship produces nothing but mutual corruption. It is impossible in concept. The nearest approach to it in reality—the man who lives to serve others—is the slave. If physical slavery is repulsive, how much more repulsive is the concept of servility of the spirit? The conquered slave has a vestige of honor. He has the merit of having resisted and of considering his condition evil. But the man who enslaves himself voluntarily in the name of love is the basest of creatures. He degrades the dignity of man and he degrades the conception of love. But this is the essence of altruism.
Men have been taught that the highest virtue is not to achieve, but to give. Yet one cannot give that which has not been created. Creation comes before distribution—or there will be nothing to distribute. The need of the creator comes before the need of any possible beneficiary. Yet we are taught to admire the second-hander who dispenses gifts he has not produced above the man who made the gifts possible. We praise an act of charity. We shrug at an act of achievement.
Men have been taught that their first concern is to relieve the sufferings of others. But suffering is a disease. Should one come upon it, one tries to give relief and assistance. To make that the highest test of virtue is to make suffering the most important part of life. Then man must wish to see others suffer—in order that he may be virtuous. Such is the nature of altruism. The creator is not concerned with disease, but with life. Yet the work of the creators has eliminated one form of disease after another, in man’s body and spirit, and brought more relief from suffering than any altruist could ever conceive.
Men have been taught that it is a virtue to agree with others. But the creator is the man who disagrees. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to swim with the current. But the creator is the man who goes against the current. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to stand together. But the creator is the man who stands alone.
Men have been taught that the ego is the synonym of evil, and selflessness the ideal of virtue. But the creator is the egotist in the absolute sense, and the selfless man is the one who does not think, feel, judge or act. These are functions of the self.
Here the basic reversal is most deadly. The issue has been perverted and man has been left no alternative—and no freedom. As poles of good and evil, he was offered two conceptions: egotism and altruism. Egotism was held to mean the sacrifice of others to self. Altruism—the sacrifice of self to others. This tied man irrevocably to other men and left him nothing but a choice of pain: his own pain borne for the sake of others or pain inflicted upon others for the sake of self. When it was added that man must find joy in self-immolation, the trap was closed. Man was forced to accept masochism as his ideal—under the threat that sadism was his only alternative. This was the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on mankind.
This was the device by which dependence and suffering were perpetuated as fundamentals of life. The choice is not self-sacrifice or domination. The choice is independence or dependence. The code of the creator or the code of the second-hander. This is the basic issue. It rests upon the alternative of life or death. The code of the creator is built on the needs of the reasoning mind which allows man to survive. The code of the second-hander is built on the needs of a mind incapable of survival. All that which proceeds from man’s independent ego is good. All that which proceeds from man’s dependence upon men is evil.
The egotist is the absolute sense is not the man who sacrifices others. He is the man who stands above the need of using others in any manner. He does not function through them. He is not concerned with them in any primary matter. Not in his aim, not in his motive, not in his thinking, not in his desires, not in the source of his energy. He does not exist for any other man—and he asks no other man to exist for him. This is the only form of brotherhood and mutual respect possible between men.
Degrees of ability vary, but the basic principle remains the same: the degree of a man’s independence, initiative and personal love for his work determines his talent as a worker and his worth as a man. Independence is the only gauge of human virtue and value. What a man is and makes of himself; not what he has or hasn’t done for others. There is no substitute for personal dignity. There is no standard of personal dignity except independence.
In all proper relationships there is no sacrifice of anyone to anyone. An architect needs clients, but he does not subordinate his work to their wishes. They need him, but they do not order a house just to give him a commission. Men exchange their work by free, mutual consent to mutual advantage when their personal interests agree and they both desire the exchange. If they do not desire it, they are not forced to deal with each other. They seek further. This is the only possible form of relationship between equals. Anything else is a relation of slave to master, or victim to executioner.
No work is ever done collectively, by a majority decision. Every creative job is achieved under the guidance of a single individual thought. An architect requires a great many men to erect his building. But he does not ask them to vote on his design. They work together by free agreement and each is free in his proper function. An architect uses steel, glass, concrete, produced by others. But the materials remain just so much steel, glass and concrete until he touches them. What he does with them is his individual product and his individual property. This is the only pattern for proper co-operation among men.
The first right on earth is the right of the ego. Man’s first duty is to himself. His moral law is never to place his prime goal within the persons of others. His moral obligation is to do what he wishes, provided his wish does not depend primarily upon other men. This includes the whole sphere of his creative faculty, his thinking, his work. But it does not include the sphere of the gangster, the altruist and the dictator.
A man thinks and works alone. A man cannot rob, exploit or rule—alone. Robbery, exploitation and ruling presuppose victims. They imply dependence. They are the province of the second-hander. Rulers of men are not egotists. They create nothing. They exist entirely through the persons of others. Their goal is in their subjects, in the activity of enslaving. They are as dependent as the beggar, the social worker and the bandit. The form of dependence does not matter.
But men were taught to regard second-handers—tyrants, emperors, dictators—as exponents of egotism. By this fraud they were made to destroy the ego, themselves and others. The purpose of the fraud was to destroy the creators. Or to harness them. Which is a synonym.
From the beginning of history, the two antagonists have stood face to face: the creator and the second-hander. When the first creator invented the wheel, the first second-hander responded. He invented altruism. The creator—denied, opposed, persecuted, exploited—went on, moved forward and carried all humanity along on his energy. The second-hander contributed nothing to the process except the impediments. The contest has another name: the individual against the collective.
The ‘common good’ of a collective—a race, a class, a state—was the claim and justification of every tyranny ever established over men. Every major horror of history was committed in the name of an altruistic motive. Has any act of selfishness ever equaled the carnage perpetrated by disciples of altruism? Does the fault lie in men’s hypocrisy or in the nature of the principle? The most dreadful butchers were the most sincere. They believed in the perfect society reached through the guillotine and the firing squad. Nobody questioned their right to murder since they were murdering for an altruistic purpose. It was accepted that man must be sacrificed for other men. Actors change, but the course of the tragedy remains the same. A humanitarian who starts with declarations of love for mankind and ends with a sea of blood. It goes on and will go on so long as men believe that an action is good if it is unselfish. That permits the altruist to act and forces his victims to bear it. The leaders of collectivist movements ask nothing for themselves. But observe the results.
The only good which men can do to one another and the only statement of their proper relationship is—Hands off!
Now observe the results of a society built on the principle of individualism. This, our country. The noblest country in the history of men. The country of greatest achievement, greatest prosperity, greatest freedom. This country was not based on selfless service, sacrifice, renunciation or any precept of altruism. It was based on a man’s right to the pursuit of happiness. His own happiness. Not anyone else’s. A private, personal, selfish motive. Look at the results. Look into your own conscience.
It is an ancient conflict. Men have come close to the truth, but it was destroyed each time and one civilization fell after another. Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.
Now, in our age, collectivism, the rule of the second-hander and second-rater, the ancient monster, has broken loose and is running amuck. It has brought men to a level of intellectual indecency never equaled on earth. It has reached a scale of horror without precedent. It has poisoned every mind. It has swallowed most of Europe. It is engulfing our country.
I am an architect. I know what is to come by the principle on which it is built. We are approaching a world in which I cannot permit myself to live.
Now you know why I dynamited Cortlandt.
I designed Cortlandt. I gave it to you. I destroyed it.
I destroyed it because I did not choose to let it exist. It was a double monster. In form and in implication. I had to blast both. The form was mutilated by two second-handers who assumed the right to improve upon that which they had not made and could not equal. They were permitted to do it by the general implication that the altruistic purpose of the building superseded all rights and that I had no claim to stand against it.
I agreed to design Cortlandt for the purpose of seeing it erected as I dedigned it and for no other reason. That was the price I set for my work. I was not paid. I do not blame Peter Keating. He was helpless. He had a contract with his employers. It was ignored. He had a promise that the structure he offered would be built as designed. The promise was broken. The love of a man for the integrity of his work and his right to preserve it are now considered a vague intangible and an inessential. You have heard the prosecutor say that. Why was the building disfigured? For no reason. Such acts never have any reason, unless it’s the vanity of some second-handers who feel they have a right to anyone’s property, spiritual or material. Who permitted them to do it? No particular man among the dozens in authority. No one cared to permit it or to stop it. No one was responsible. No one can be held to account. Such is the nature of all collective action.
I did not receive the payment I asked. But the owners of Cortlandt got what they needed from me. They wanted a scheme devised to build a structure as cheaply as possible. They found no one else who could do it to their satisfaction. I could and did. They took the benefit of my work and made me contribute it as a gift. But I am not an altruist. I do not contribute gifts of this nature.
It is said that I have destroyed the home of the destitute. It is forgotten that but for me the destitute could not have had this particular home. Those who were concerned with the poor had to come to me, who have never been concerned, in order to help the poor. It is believed that the poverty of the future tenants gave them the right to my work. That their need constituted a claim on my life. That it was my duty to contribute anything demanded of me. This is the second-hander’s credo now swallowing the world.
I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone’s right to one minute of my life. Nor to any part of my energy. Nor to any achievement of mine. No matter who makes the claim, how large their number or how great their need.
I wished to come here and say that I am a man who does not exist for others.
It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing.
I wished to come here and say that the integrity of a man’s creative work is of greater importance than any charitable endeavor. Those of you who do not understand this are the men who’re destroying the world.
I wished to come here and state my terms. I do not care to exist on any others.
I recognize no obligations toward men except one: to respect their freedom and to take no part in a slave society. To my country, I wish to give the ten years which I will spend in jail if my country exists no longer. I will spend them in memory and in gratitude for what my country has been. It will be my act of loyalty, my refusal to live or work in what has taken its place.
My act of loyalty to every creator who ever lived and was made to suffer by the force responsible for the Cortlandt I dynamited. To every tortured hour of loneliness, denial, frustration, abuse he was made to spend—and to the battles he won. To every creator whose name is known—and to every creator who lived, struggled and perished unrecognized before he could achieve. To every creator who was destroyed in body or in spirit. To Henry Cameron. To Steven Mallory. To a man who doesn’t want to be named, but who is sitting in this courtroom and knows that I am speaking of him.”
A few months ago, I came across a project that made my interest grow in Computer History. I browsed through archives, memoirs and dossiers of various people who wrote about how computers and internet have evolved around us, in the last two decades. As I dug deeper, I felt a lot more nostalgic. At the same time it sent a chill, down my spine and I felt like I am gazing at a filmstrip with flashing images of my past two decades. I felt, I was a part of the history, I was a part of it, when it was still The Beginning.
So, here I am with the tale of my love-affair with Computers, which started when when I was just 10 yrs old. Computers, what we know today, were not too old either ;-)
Year 1995: Computer Room/Lab were more sacred than temples. Computers were *GAWK*worthy. Web was still owned by spiders.
My courtship with Computers & Programming kicked in the year 1995, with the inclusion of Computer Sciences in my school curriculum. They made us play PacMan and Space Fighters on 386 machines, but I wasn’t a gamer-guy ever. My dad owned this ZX Spectrum 128K, which I still feel was the best machine I have ever owned. It had only command Line to work on,with a preloaded BASIC interpreter burned on ROM. No, it did not have internet, Windows, DOS, GUI or anything remotely familiar to most of the users today. For storage, it used a mono audio-cassette – the true sequential storage. All it could do, was let me write code on it. I LOVED IT!!!
Year 1996: DOS was OSome! BASIC gave me the basics. The monochrome monitor gave me hues of my life.
We began with studying BASIC in school on a 386 processor with no Hard Drive; this 386 machine can be termed as an ancestor to most of the x86 machines we use today. The lab was sanctimoniously secured against dust and other evils that came along with humans intruding the altar. You had to take off your footwear before entering the ‘air-conditioned room’ and the computers were supposed to be always covered with cloth; like a burqah dictated by a Taliban Fatavah, which we would lift only to see the screen. Yes! the keyboard always remained covered with rubber/plastic. even while in-use Mouse? They were same as rats and we didn’t let them inside our lab.
DOS was all command line, and OS had to be loaded from a 5½” Floppy Disk. The initial dash of games and BASIC programming was like an adrenaline rush for my fingers. I was all fascinated by that black-and-white monochrome screen, running my bits of code accepting and adding numbers or printing my name 10 times on the screen. The same screen has today grown up to take all forms from display of my wrist-watch to the Plasma Billboards at Times Square to that thin air displaying the holographic projections in Avatar.
That was when, I started learning the Algorithms & Flowcharts, Variables & Constants, Conditions & Loops, Sub-routines and the endless power of this mumbo-jumbo Jargon!!
Year 1997: BASIC was getting cooler. I, (ok… My Dad), now owned a PC. Pentium I 200 MHz with MMX technology!
My PC initially had Windows 3.11 that came in 11 Floppies. Yes, Floppy Disks; and it worked. It was soon replaced by Windows 95 which seemed like the best thing ever.
I and my dad, we both started learning how-to-use it. My dad had some initial headstart, he knew how to do a ‘Safe Shutdown’ and that was the first learning, I ever got. He told me, as long I shut it down safely, I can do ‘anything’ on it. He has always been an electronic greasemonkey – and there I got the first learning, “As long as you are not banging the keyboard against your monitor, there is a very very rare chance that you can do any damage to the hardware”. Software – re-installable. Data – recoverable.
I began just the way, we as Indians, begin with anything. Just switch it on and play around. I was sure – It won’t bite :p As a matter of fact, I learned ‘How-to-use-MS Paint’ from a book The Big Basics Book of Windows 95. The same book taught me many other niche skills as well, like changing wallpapers, screensavers, type in notepad and hiding folders ;-)
Those days, there were application that changed you wallpaper every day or even every hour and trust me, that was one of the coolest apps you could have, apart from MS Paint. Yes, we could watch movies and listen to music but virtually store none. MP3 had not arrived yet and I had a HDD of size 2.1 GB. (Yes, I know you have a larger Pen Drive today – but at that time I did not even dream about having space, more than 8 GBs)
Year 1998: Internet, Modem & Email were an addition to my vocabulary. Spiders lost their monopoly.
I got an external Modem, as a birthday gift, from my dad – after I made him realise its due significance(?) for my future and the genius it will make out of me. Yeah like all of you – I did use it more for porn and chatrooms than the educational bliss, my dad intended it to be for me.
Connecting to internet was no easy task either. The 56 Kbps modem over the 14.4 Kbps phone lines had the most jittery connection you can imagine. After the screeching sounds of the 3-way handshake, which were music to the ears, the Post Dial Terminal Screen would appear. It was the prize one would get for his patience where I would proudly type PPP, press enter and there I was – hooked on the World Wide Web.
Sidenote: I was completely shattered when, last year, Yahoo decided to pull Geocities down. It was like, someone ripping off something very close to me, taking away my memories — like someone breaking the tree house you used to play in…! (sigh)
Year 2000: Windows 98 SE was jazzy. Visual Basic 6 was the best thing to flaunt. C/C++ was the language of the people, I was to become.
By the end of the previous decade, I had a Windows 98 SE, which looked all so jazzy and was much more stable but CTRL+ALT+DEL were still the most worn out keys on my keyboard. I had started picking up VB6 and by now, I was sure – Computers will push the world perpendicularly forward in the next decade. I was sure, this is where I belong and I was going to stay here, for a very very long time…. I was in love!
In the beginning of this month, which happened to be the first month of the new year, we had a new problem. HOUSEHUNT!
The flat we had been living in had completed its 11 months of contract, and just when we made our mind to renew the contract with the 10% increase in rent – our landlord (or just lady luck) devised more sinister reasons to make us move. Our landlord, heard an Aakashvani, that No more than 5 souls should reside in his 2 BHK flat and announced so. There were 7 people living there, amongst which us 5 souls were clubbed together by more than just a contract. With the exhorbitant Mumbai rents in place, Rent/5 was not-an-option at all. We had no choice but to look for another aasra, and hence began the HouseHunt.
This was my third HouseHunt in the Maximum City, Mumbai. In the last three missions, I have clearly understood that Bachelorhood is not just a marital status. Its a social-outcast that puts you below everyone who has joined the institution. In this city, and maybe Pune as well as my dear friends tell me, we Bachelors / Singletons / Unmarried souls are looked down with even more contempt than Ajmal Kasab (or No, Kasab is also a bachelor), so maybe more than Nithari or Aurangzeb or your Spouse’s ex or even more than the perverted ‘married’ man, in your neighborhood, who fancies his daughters’ friends. As they believe that We, as bachelors, could be worse!
Everywhere We go, the owners, brokers, society-officebearers or even building-guards look at us with a raised-brow, suspicion and prejudices. We do get places to live, but with raised rents and grudgingly, and that too mostly because, we – living in groups – can and do pay more than families would. My experiences have been quite vivid in thse cases. I have :
– Met landlords, who said No Friends. No Drinks. No Smoking. No Music. No coming late… I said, “NO THANKS! I want a flat, not a step-dad”
– Met brokers, who suggested that I may bring my Mom for a few days and state that she’ll live here, and then she may go – but keep coming every few weeks/months else the society may ‘doubt’. With that not possible, he even had the audacity to suggest a किराये की अम्मा (A hired old-lady) who who would stay along for a month pretending to be our family. [I aint kidding] I said WTF!!
– Met a person, who quoted ‘kicking-out’ a married man out of their society, after he got divorced – as now he was single, hence ‘dangerous’ for the society. He was proud of it. I feel ashamed to have shaken hands with him.
The list is endless, and so are their suspicion and prejudices. The Man Booker Award winner author, Arvind Adiga beautifully expresses it one of his articles, about Bachelors renting places in Mumbai:
“…Here the bachelor lives, there the orgy follows; this is the great fear. In the landlord’s imagination, half-clad women appear and disappear all day long through the bachelor’s door; gasps of illicit pleasure rent the middle-class composure of the building; disgrace and scandal follow.”
While some feel, that unmarried women are generally treated with leniency, I have heard some contrary views from one of the ‘Society-Secrateries’. He said with the airs of Jesus serving a sermon to St. Peter: “अकेले लड़के कुछ लडको को ख़राब करते हैं, या लड़कियों को परेशान करते हैं, लेकिन अकेली लडकिया पूरी Building को ख़राब करती हैं !” He also recalled some incidences, when someone in his building had fallen for an extra-martial with this single girl and all others families were ‘disturbed’ as well.
But HEY! is that our problem, if you people can’t keep your hands-off the single girls, or if your ladies are deprived enough to fall for other guys? Not to forget that we singles befriending their sons & daughters, living in the same building, is also nothing less than an attempt-to-rape or drug-peddling in their eyes. Their allegations also involve the ‘deadly sins‘ of drinking and smoking in our rented flats, and our friends visiting at all hours.
Who, in the first place, gave them the damn right to be a Peeping Tom in our lives and care for what we do inside our flat. After all, being above the legal drinking age, what legal right do they have anyways to stop us from drinking or smoking in our private premises, as long as nobody else is getting affected or disturbed? We have leased it out, not encroaching on it. But bigots all around, think differently.
After a month long of similar experiences, restless hunt and lots of turns and twists, we have finally narrowed down on our new hideout, where we’ll move in this weekend, and I pray that you needn’t ever do a HouseHunt in Mumbai. Amen!
P.S.: The trouble is, even is this so-called-modernized and cosmopolitan city, there seems to be no one who cares about it and does nothing better than aggravating the situation. Trust me its even worse than “Indians and Dogs not allowed!!!”
I am missing some random words… the lives lived, the times gone… the moments spent, with nothing to repent. When the spirits were always high — In the name of Trust! (Bharose ke naam par)
Falling into a cloud of thoughts, full of Nostalgia…. Wish could roll back time again!!!
I started using computers around 14 years ago, Internet around 12 years ago and have seen the world changing by leaps and bounds since then. What’s more interesting is, to know about the Internet that was there before those times, like the 80s and early 90s. It was in a completely different shape and flavour from what we see it today.
I am talking about ages before Rediff, Amazon or Google came into picture. When a search engine was considered folly, because “Who’d like people to go away from their site?”. When emails were niche of large corporates and PCs could be seen only in office. When net had all text and no pics and chat meant IRCs. Then came the ages, when a Geocities’ homepage could classify you as ‘The Geek’ and if you knew the names of a few keyloggers and trojans, you were immediately classified as a Hacker – A respected one (pun intended). Moving ahead in the years the world has just not taken a break. Its changing everyday around us.
A lot of these facts, anecdotes and details on how-things-were are documented and can be found on net. BUT a large chunk, a very very large portion, mostly of times before mid-90s, is not. That is what the Historians are there for, right? But in this case, we don’t have the luxury of a dozen history scholars who’ll document it like they did for the Rise and Fall of Roman Empire or Boston Tea Party. Its to be done by people like us, who have seen it for real and know things inside out; and if its not done in the next few decades it may never get done because all who have seen it for real – will not be around anymore.
This person, Mr. Jason Scott, is -in his own words- “a computer historian. And a documentary filmmaker. And a pundit/media critic. And a demoscener. And a rogue archivist”. When he came up with a dream of completing his unfinished projects on Computer History so that we and the generations ahead get to know all about it, I was truly fascinated.
“I suddenly thought back to Kickstarter and got this crazy idea – what if I simply asked the world and fans to contribute a bit of money towards keeping me somewhat solvent, and give me the opportunity to go full-time with computer history? If I was able to get all these things done over the years, what if I just asked people to subscribe or give me some patronage and in return I fill their free time with cool stuff to look at, learn from, and enjoy?” (Link: Kickstarter’s Project Page)
Yeah, it sounds crazy and vague and probably is, but I see here a person who’s trying to do what he really WANTS to. He doesn’t just want to make a living but actually want to make a difference and if he succeeds in doing it, I am sure he’ll get his name etched in bold in the pages of Computer History.
Hence, I supported his sabbatical with whatever I could and it feels great that his target of $25k is finally met and he’ll be starting off with his project soon. Feels great to witness The History being logged (read written). <EOL>
Just this morning, I was praising and admiring the efforts of all those who toiled to make Parel-to-Mahim Wall Project a great success on 25th October.
The Beautiful messages painted across Parel to Mahim, Mumbai
Sad, I could not be a part of it. But right now, what enrages me over the brim is “The Walls have been vandalised”, with the beautiful paintings cruelly covered with posters of our Bollywood Films.
The walls which were beautiful 24 hours ago
We all love bollywood flicks, and they have every right to advertise whats coming up, but NOT by being a heartless spoilsport.
BMC, who supported this project is the same body that charges the producers to stick posters around too.Now I wonder, what would their step be (Or are they even concerned? I DOUBT!)
Comment down what do you think.!!!
I started tweeting too, around a week ago. Yeah, I know I have caught the band-wagon quite late, and this due to nothing but sheer laziness to explore. I am quite ashamed to admit that around a month ago , I honestly asked someone, “Hey, what’s this Twitter ho-hum all about? What is it?” and realised how much out-of-touch I was! Well, ignorance is not always a bliss! So, I geared up again and corrected my mistakes of not keeping myself in-sync with what’s happening around.
I went ahead, explored and found that its (Yet) another beautiful social-networking innovation to share stuff about yourself and your not-so-varying life. Well personally, I don’t feel, that anyone wants to know what I am up to. After all, why would somebody be interested in the bad hangover I had today morning, or the wet (read rainy) excursions to Goa, or that I yearn to have a nice cup of coffee for the past few days (but sigh). But then — Isn’t this what we have been doing on all other social mediums, status updates on our Orkut/FB/Gtalk profiles, and even the blogs?
Talking of my friends not many are still hooked on it, except a few like Vivek sir (@Viveky), who started ahead of me and provoked me to dig further and Atul Lambu (@atulsingh001) who started today itself. Not to exclude, that (Thanks to media) Shashi Tharooor’s controversial tweets (@ShashiTharoor) also drew me here, to read what one of my favourite authors has to say, and to see for myself what’s the ‘ho-hum’ all about! Then, a few days back, when I was going through the regular tormenting delights of reading Jug Suraiya, I decided Lets Face it!
So what, if I am not sure if others care about my injured knee or not. I can still shout it from the top of the mountain (or just silently tweet about it). Who stops me?
So now I have another medium to share my occasional thought-bursts along with the sporadic highs and lows of my not-so-varying (?) life.
Who cares (I do?) if even anyone wants to read it, as long as I want to burrp (read tweet) it out.
And yeah, its more humble and mannered than shouting it off from the top of a mountain!!! RT @mohitnanda
I know I have not blogged for around three months now and those of you who still kept checking, asking, pestering, nudging me to start again — I owe no apologies, but Thanks!
However, I am not the only one who has been off-and-away. Though there are no factual correlation I guess he is just-as-clueless or as-sure as I am, about why did he stop.
Just for-the-record, I was not mourning over MJ’s demise, as someone doubted!
The last few months were a cocktail of highs & lows mixed by a bartender, whom you tipped only after He had spoiled the first few drinks of yours.
Since my last blog, the first few drinks (read weeks) were no better than Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters. The days went tough… with complex emotions, lots of work, sporadic and uncontrollable mood-swings, and a never-ending To-Do-List. Along with the fact that the count in the list went only through an incremental curve, while the spirits and desire to do anything (leave alone blog) go sliding down an avalanche. No use listing (boring you with) the details here, as whats gone is gone, and I am back! :)
As, after the bartender (read God), saw that I could not handle the swish and swings any more — He served me great coolers with a careful blend of some nice pep-talks by you-know-who along with the three long drinks (read weekends), nicely mixed, improving by each drink.
Started off, with Vivek sir’s birthday celebration at Pune. Well the hangover (wink) there was bad, but nevertheless a good start.
Followed by the adrenaline-driven eccentrically-planned motorbike-ride to Khandala & Lonavala AND a rocking, rainy vacation on the sand of Goa beaches. Whoa, I am still euphoric and high on adrenaline…!
While I will surely share the key savoring ingredients (read incidents) of the drinks (read trips) soon, you better KEEP VISITING NOW!
and yeah btw, now I Tweet too!
P.S. : Zaphod Beeblebrox invented the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, and is the only person able to drink more than three of them at one sitting. I survived more…!
I am not too great a fan of the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, but yeah I mourn for the fact that we lost a genius… or maybe we lost him already a few years ago…! Just wanted to share one of the best tributes I have seen so far, to the legend.. to the Peter Pan who lived with us.
Its simple, true, ironical and yeah comical(literally).
(Comic Source: Cat and Girl)
With the revolt, or the so-said-mutiny of 1857, we began the war of Independence. On the auspicious day, Friday, 15 August 1947 we gained our Independence. We became a Free Country guaranteeing ‘freedom’ to all its citizens, gifting them पूर्ण स्वराज|
We fought hard for it, and we have every right to be happy about it. After all, we are amongst the very few nations where the citizens have the freedom to take everything for a free ride. Well, yeah you need to pay here and there.. (okay everywhere!), but certainly not necessary to pay the nation! We are amongst the very few nations where we have complete Peedom (not just Freedom), its the Purine Swaraj!
A sight at Bandra-Worli Sea Link :: Enjoy the Peedom
I got this as a forwarded mail, which is supposedly taken on the morning of the opening of Bandra-Worli Sea Link. A one of its kind bridge over the Arabian Sea which is supposed to solve quite a lot of traffic problems on that route. Seems, this guy just has added another link there, with the sea.
Yes. That is what underlines the fact (in wet letters) that we ARE living in a country with MEN of free will. That is what we fought for, all those years, against the Britishers. I believe that there is quite a possibility, that a sight of a similar nature, could have acted as an inspiration for the Englishmen — to couple ‘Dogs & Indians’ together, on most of their signage outside the prohibited British premises.
Are we ashamed of it? NO! We aint. Should we be? I am not too sure of that either. As, I yet don’t know even a single male citizen of the glorious India, who can truthfully claim of never having relieved against a wall, and that puts us all on an equal footing. Ah, isn’t that a relief? Everyone being equally wrong, so that no one can point fingers! So shame or No shame, doesn’t actually make a difference. (?)
I ain’t being judgmental here, I have no opinions against the ‘men of free will’. But yes, I wish for some more will power for a stronger hold, and places without such sea-links ;) Just to quote (out of habit): our first Prime Minister, Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, once said:
“The day everyone of us gets a toilet to use, I shall know that our country has reached the pinnacle of progress.”
So, next time you see some one against the wall, you can be sure that we are still away from the pinnacle. Wow, sounds a nice quantifiable measure of progress, isn’t it?
Till then, having achieved our freedom of exhibition expression; lets paint the cities in the true colours of India.