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Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Fanboi Diary

December, 1983.

Backstage in a little country side auditorium at Cupertino, California. He was standing there in silence. An handsome young man in his late twenties, his eyes were closed and his blonde hair drew some rough brown arcs on his forehead which were marked with other nervous wrinkles. The stage and his audience were just a few feet away, the academy award winning single by Irene Cara was filling in the hall. But, he heard something else, he heard thunderous applause that would travel across the world, across geographies, across time. He heard his heat to beat. His hand was holding a little brown bag which housed a revolution, another little leap for mankind. He was holding his own dream, a dream that he was chasing for more than a decade then. A dream which made him step down from the Himalayas where he was searching for the absolute truth of life, smoking Ganja, growing beard, and singing praise of the Kali. A dream that brought him back to America. A dream that was his destiny. And today he lets the world get on board.The lights were then cut off. The music softened. The hall came to a standstill. He knew his time has come, he knew his name would be called anytime now, the distance between the backstage and the podium was now the distance between today and tomorrow. His name was then called. He opened his eyes.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Steve Jobs.

Standing in the minimalistic podium which was marked only with the apple logo on it. He spoke. Like being mesmerized by an ancient melody, like being made to inhale a very dense perfume, they listened to him. He charmed them. He spoke about the era in which they lived, an era where possibility and access of computing was dictated by IBM. The big brother of the industry and also its monopoly, a big brother which tried to crush all the startups, a big brother which imposed itself on everything related to technology thereby denying growth, preventing innovation. A big brother which kept computers far away from the reach of common man, which blindfolded the world and made the world take the road that it paved, a dangerous road which led to a hopeless cliff. Steve then said “Apple is going to fight IBM”. Apple was then nothing compared to IBM, in manpower, in expertise, in size, in dollar muscle. Apple was just an underdog. Deep under. As people kept guessing, an advertisement was played on the screen.

George Orwell’s dystopian world of 1984 opens on the screen. The information era is controlled by a Big brother who appears on huge telescreens, dictates and keeps the citizens in constant surveillance. The citizens have become void of choice and options, that they blindly follow him. And one day, she runs into the world. Wearing a tank top and bright orange shorts, carrying a huge sledge hammer, she runs in and the army of the big brother chases her. She then dashes into the chamber, approaches the screen hosting the big brother, spins her hammer to build some momentum and finally she lets it go, it travels down and smashes the giant screen, then happens an explosion and a huge flash of light. The Big brother goes in smoke, the hollow grey eyed citizens wake up from their prisonlike slumber to the new brightness and finally a voice over rolls and it says, “On January 24th Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll understand why 1984 won’t be like 1984”.

A month later the brown bag was opened and Macintosh was introduced to the world. The rest as they say - is History.

This happened two years before i was born, and it took another six years for me to meet an Apple computer. It was in my school in the early nineties, in the air cooled computer laboratory, into which we were let in once a month had an Apple Lisa, the predecessor of the Mac. But even then it looked different from the rest of the machines we had at school. It had a graphical user interface, a clear monochrome display which put the other command line interfaces to shame. We were not allowed to touch the Lisa. My eyes were then caught by the rainbow colored Apple logo, and in that early age somewhere in my sub conscious mind. I fell in love with it. It took another ten years to actually work on a Mac. I was at college then and we had a Apple Lab as a part of our main building. It differed from the rest of the campus, it was all done in crystal glass and anyone who entered my college would fall in love with the sight. A glass building filled with 50 odd iMac’s and it was in the main facade of college. I fell in love all over again, we had sessions there as part of our multimedia paper. Finally i logged into a Mac. A childhood dream. But BOOM! it was the first use and i hated the experience, being a hardcore PC user till then, i was heartbroken to know that everything was different, i was shamed to not like it. Everybody was. Time passed, and slowly like learning to play a piano i was learning to work on a Macintosh, it took a while to look beyond the obvious, to understand that a Mac was not different but it is the way computers should be and behave, that the Windows i was using was nothing more than Big brother reborn. I loved everything that made the Mac, from the beautifully done interface, the perfectly spaced Helvetica type facing, the easy to use applications, the streamlined navigation, the tightly coupled hardware and software, the single body design, the simplicity of interaction that happened between the man and the machine. I fell for it, or i was destined to fall for it. I attribute the elegance of Mac for kindling the passion of designing in me. After my fourth semester, in my sem holidays i visited the Apple lab when it used to be empty. Most of the time, i just looked at the empty machine, i did my amateur design work in those Mac’s. And in those beautiful summers when i travelled back home in those sitting in the window seats of empty busses, i would imagine becoming someone different, someone who is a misfit, someone who is a rebel, an underdog who someday will challenge. Then in that age, i did not know that i was associating a brand with my own aspirations and vice-versa. Then in that age, i did not realize that i was slowly turning to become, an Apple fanboi.

and it just began there.

4 comments:

Vijay said...

Nice one da... Really, as said by Steve Jobs, Guys at Redmond lack only one thing, and thats "TASTE"... :)

Vignesh said...

Vijay,

Yeah you know that when the clown Ballmer jumps over like a monkey.

Apple is a culture, like the hippies, like the pachucos. Apple is a cultural identity.

Travis Bickle said...

Apple is a culture.

Very well said,Its not a computer,its just diferrent.

wow,glad to see a Apple Lover.

Have you listened to the famous speech by Steve Jobs?

Vignesh said...

Travis,

//wow,glad to see a Apple Lover.

same here too.

Steve is not your usual techie guy, he was brought up with russian literature with beethoven. and it shows in the product and it shows everywhere on Apple.

//Have you listened to the famous speech by Steve Jobs?

Which one? I have almost listened to all his speeches thats there on the internet (trying hard to be a little humble here :))

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