Bozo; the bestest friend I ever had

A red-plumpy tomato would always send Bozo in a mad tizzy. So, besotted was he to the by edible fruit, that he would literally beg, plead and snarl for the same. One of the favorite sports, we had at home was to hold a tomato high up in the air, say some 5-6 feet or so. And yet, the little ball of fluff would repeatedly keep jumping at the same, till he finally sunk his teeth into it. There never was a greater lover of the Spanish-discovered fruit than Bozo was. Ironically, when I had chosen him from a litter of 6, it was for the very opposite reasons.

Back in ’93, when I had first seen him, he was a shy, nervous week-old snow-white Pomeranian pup. Unlike, his brothers and sisters, he was not the excited kinds, and preferred to sit in the shadows away from the gaze. So, while the rest of pups crowded and circled me, he just kept away, as if he was some big-shot intellectual, who disliked such inanities. It was this strange quirk in him, that made me pick him. And so, Bozo became an integral part of the boisterous Chaturvedi clan.

Years, passed and the little fluff grew into a big man. Even though he was a pom, he always seemed like an overgrown rabbit to me, especially due to his big big ears. He was very amiable and very patient. In fact, his patience was severely tested at times, living in a house with four children of varying age, from the eldest me (17 years) to the little brother Shlok (2 years), Bozo would always be cuddled, kissed and thrown around by all of us. In fact, one of the weird things was that he hated to be kissed. He disliked it so much that you had to actually ensnare him into it.

Of the many quirks the wonderful guy had, was his strange knack of always picking up the wrong guys. In our neighbourhood, there used to be a couple of giants, a few Alsatians and two towering Afghan Hounds. Bozo, on encountering them, would always challenge them to a big fight. He would continuously bark out at them, probably calling something to their mothers-or-sisters because it used to really infuriate them. Even so, my puny little Hercules wouldn’t stop. I think, he almost forgot that he was pom or probably didn’t care. I am still much thankful to those minders who kept the leash tight. It is because of them that our lives weren’t accidentally shortened.

Bozo, also happened to be the best friend I ever had. For a young man reaching his puberty, he was a blessing. Every night, when I used to take him for those long long walks, I used to talk my heart out to him, of all my crushes, the lost chances, the friends, the enemies, the ambitions, the visions. I would keep on rambling to him. And, he would often peer at me deeply, as if understanding everything. In fact, I am sure, I caught him nodding at times, shaking his head in disbelief at the trivialities. And then at times, he would make those strange mellow grunts, letting me know that it was alright. Reassuring me that “this too shall pass away”.  There was never a hindrance in communicating with him, he understood me, almost like a dear friend, a dear brother. Continue reading

Is Bill Gates a cheat?

For the past years, basking in the after-glow of his philanthropic efforts, one can almost spot a small radiant halo surrounding Bill Gates head. Through his, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the software czar has pledged to donate half his assets to charity and is very much living up to that claim. He has already spent billions in research on AIDS, education and had pledged that he will eradicate Malaria globally. Speaking purely in corporate parlance, Bill Gates has been beatified. And his transition from a scheming, wily Billionaire to that of Saint Gates, has been truly remarkable.

But now, there is a big boulder has been hurled at that carefully crafted image by none other than one-time friend, and ex co-founder Paul Allen in his soon to be published memoir, “The Ideaman, a memoir by the co-founder of Microsoft”. Recalling those early days when the company was founded, Allen makes some damning allegations against Gates, who apparently not only cheated him of his ‘fair share’ but also was keen to upstage Allen during his weakest period in life, when he was afflicted by Hodgkin’s disease.

The not-so charitable side

The biggest grouse that Allen still holds against is his former partner at Microsoft is not surprisingly related to the way things shaped up when the company was established back in 1975. Recalling those heady days Allen touches upon his partnership with Gates when they first met at Seattle’s Lakeside School in 1968. Talking about his first impressions, Allen terms Gates as a “gangly, freckle-faced eighth-grader edging his way into the crowd around the Teletype, all arms and legs and nervous energy. He had a scruffy-preppy look: pullover sweater, tan slacks, enormous saddle shoes. His blond hair went all over the place.”

It is obvious that with his skills with the Teletype (the shared computer at their school) much impressed Allen, who further states that, “You could tell three things about Bill Gates pretty quickly. He was really smart. He was really competitive; he wanted to show you how smart he was. And he was really, really persistent. After that first time, he kept coming back. Many times he and I would be the only ones there.”

Over the next few years, destiny would bring the two together and they both went on to create Micro-Soft. But once, the company was established and set, the disconnect occurred. The difference in both their personalities made them drift further and further apart. While Allen was the philosophical, do-no evil sort of technologist, Gates was the demanding maniacal boss, who would be livid at a programmer asking for a day off, after working 81 hours in 4-days. “Some said Bill’s management style was a key ingredient in Microsoft’s early success. But that made no sense to me,” he states. Continue reading

Telepathy for Draupadi, Twitter for us

Eons ago, lured into a game of dice, the Pandavas lost all their wealth and liberty at the hands of the wily Shakuni and the Kaurava Prince Duryodhana. Intoxicated with power, Duryodhana ordered his brother Dushashana to disrobe the Pandava queen Draupadi in full public view, so to forever shame the Pandavas. A distraught Draupadi, on finding no aid from her enslaved husbands or the courtiers, used telepathy to call upon Lord Krishna, who she considered as her brother, to come to her aid. Needless to say, Krishna did, and so the honor of the Pandavas was saved. Luckily for Draupadi, she had direct connect with someone who could help her out in times of distress.

That was not the case with Ritra Jain, recently. To be fair, Ritra’s case was much different. Impressed by the glitzy looks, she had purchased a sleek BlackBerry device, only for it to conk off almost the next day. After much followups with the retail outlet and the company, a saddened Ritra, as a last resort, opened her Twitter account and punched in her sorrows. All that she wanted do was share views with her friends, get some sympathies and possibly forewarn followers against what she deemed as unsatisfactory service by the company. Much to her surprise, within an hour of her sad tweet, she recieved a call from the BlackBerry firm, asking about her issues with the phone and troubleshooting them. In a day’s time, a BlackBerry representative visited her, took the handset, had it repaired and subsequently returned. Twitter empowered Ritra, much like telepathy did Draupadi.

What surprised Ritra most was the sheer alarcity with which the company responded to her tweet, when all the correspondence to customer care fell on deaf ears. She should not be, because like many other companies, BlackBerry is very active in ORM or Online Reputation Management. Simplistically speaking, it is akin to brand management in cyberspace, ensuring that nothing untoward is spoken, the customers are happy and all is hunky-dory. Continue reading