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Sunday, 30 November 2014

Uber Cool

I wake up everyday and tell myself: “God is biased towards me”. Whether or not She is partial in my favour, is a question I cannot answer and maybe in times to come I will be proven wrong. But, in the present moment; this bit of optimism makes my days happier, my choices simpler and I have my own joyful moments everyday. 

Following the tradition, karma handed down a wonderful taxi offer to me last week when Uber decided to launch its #FreeUberWeek campaign for the exact days which made up my casual leave. Now you might agree with the idea of biased behavior but well, there is no court of law to fight this one out. 

I enjoyed the offer end to end, exhausting my quota of free rides and then riding some of my credits too. I took cabs back and forth from my outings, and because I hate to drive (Friends and father have given up the coaxing and convincing to show me the face of the driving school) this removed a lot of my dependency, when it came to moving myself from point A to point B. 

When I took these rides and enjoyed the gifts of technology, I worked my mind around how this company would function, read up on stuff about the operations I was delighted to notice the coordination that was demanded and thus, being done. Its no easy task to tie the loose ends on the backend of this cool thing.

Click a few buttons and have someone show up on your doorstep in under 20 minutes, to take you where you want to go, sounds like the apt description for what Uber does. But that’s what this is: only a gist of what really goes into the making of it. 

Working in a startup myself, (which by the way is awarded the startup of this year) and understanding the true spirit behind the numbers that reflect in a company’s valuation at this stage of expansion and growth; I can imagine the kind of effort put behind the scenes at Uber, as well. 

Give it off to them for running the show so brilliantly because here, it is also about changing the consumer’s habit of stepping out and hailing the yellow one. Fingers tapping on the mobile screen are gaining more and more power as the days are ticking.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Chivalry is a big word

This post is not intended to be inspired by arrogance. In case it may seem so, I offer my deep apologies for the same.

When I returned after living ‘outside’ for over a year, I felt myself feel a paradox around the idea of chivalrous men. 

Men, in general, hold the door for you: and this, whether or not they know you, whether or not you are the center of their date night, whether or not they want to impress you. It just seems like the right thing to do and they do it. Their gesture makes you feel warm inside, and you smile with a twinkle in your eye. 
A similar thing happened to me this evening, when I went I was leaving a local eatery and the man who was entering at the same time, decided to hold the door for me and my mother. I smiled at him with the same twinkle-in-my-eye expression and was about to say ‘thank you’ until he exclaimed he was not the security guard! Oh well! I thought I was just returning the courtesy! 

When I was ‘there’, I often noticed men taking the passenger seat in a car to let the women drive. Whether the woman was his wife, girlfriend, mother, friend or colleague is an analysis for another day. But there didn’t seem to be much attention to the sex of the person behind the wheel. ‘Here’, even some of my male friends pass a derogatory remark when they see a girl driving the vehicle. At the end of the day, its an operating machine which needs to be ‘manned’.

When I was ‘there’, it was most polite, decent and commonplace for the men of the house to trash the day’s garbage in the unit’s garbage room , at the end of everyday. Here, if my mother was to tell my father this (I don’t think she would!) my grandparents’ generation might throw a major fit. Well, if you ask me, its a bag of waste which was gathered from collective use and who throws it is not relevant because its not like the germs differ their contaminating powers based on race and gender. 

Today, I’ve touched the one month mark of being back in my city of birth, and I still notice points of differences everyday. These are questions that I didn't raise in the first 20 years of my life because I didn't think there was another side to this coin. It was only when I dropped the coin and it landed on the other side, did I realize that there is more to this than meets the eye! 

Saturday, 1 November 2014

The brain is striving to keep pace

I clicked on the link I had carefully saved in the Drafts of my mailbox. Google popped up a message which requested me to request access for the map I was trying to log on to. This was a map I had created myself, just a couple of hours ago and I didn't expect Google to let me down on this one! I had authored the map, carefully drafted the .csv file and plotted the geo coordinates with utmost care. I had even ensured that I wouldn’t lose the link in the historical data of my browser because I knew it was well past half day and my browsing history would seem longer than the longest suspense thriller story. 

Well then, was Google erring somewhere? 

Even writing out the above question seems like a crime to me, let alone believing that the know-it-all engine could be wrong. What had happened was: the map was created on my personal Gmail ID and I was now using the link while being logged on to my official Gmail. As simple as it sounds, it took over twenty minutes for me to realize the difference in the profile icon - a photo of myself, which smiled back at me from the top right corner of my screen. 

This is how I spend my days: staring at the laptop screen, typing and clicking various things, opening and shutting tabs, shutting and opening windows, restoring and refreshing files, reinstalling and downloading Apps. That is my typical day. After having been at this for a while now, it seems as if my mind works faster than the internet: no matter where I am connected. I feel as if I am living in a constant dejavu: my thoughts always few steps ahead of my actions, ideas evolving faster than my fingers clicking at the soft keys of my laptop. It feels as if I could do that while this would load, and this while that is restored. Such is the cycle of activity which goes one for any person who decides to spend the rest of their life with the laptop. 

We all multi-task. We might be good, bad, ugly at it. Nonetheless, we all do it. The brain, I think, is not equipped to do one thing at a time. If it was meant to be so,technology has changed it. The way I look at it: people like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg (and other lesser popular ones of the same league) gave more and more power to technology and the brain, in a bid to outdo the competition has also evolved with time. After all, we are taught in junior school that the brain is faster than the fastest machine and better than the best tools. 

Therefore, its not directly a Google v/s Brain generation but the brain is still striving to keep pace and retain its lead. Let’s hope it succeeds.