Does that headline sounds different from “Visiting Temple on a Margali(Considered to be Auspicious Tamil Month for early morning worship) Morning”? I will tell you why. When the alarm woke me up at 4:30 AM today morning, I wasn’t able to get up from bed due to severe cold and cough that got accumulated the previous night. My body sounded very tired with slight temperature and I had a thought that I would not be able to join the Adyar bank cleanup planned for this morning beside Surya Nagar Slum in Kotturpuram. Even though the body rested,my mind wasn’t asleep and wanting me to get going for the cleanup event on Adyar Banks. Finally that early morning “Bed to Bathroom Phobia” was won over and I was up around 5 AM and got ready to drive to Kotturpuram.
December breeze was chilling cold outside with empty roads, few early morning risers, few runners and very few cyclists flocking the OMR. I reached Kotturpuram Signal next to Anna Centenary library which was the assemble point and was all set for “Ainthinai-Chennai Trekking Club’s (CTC) 7th Phase of Adyar River bank cleanup beside Surya Nagar Slum” By the time I parked my bullet it was around 5:45 AM and was able to find group of CTC volunteers who were having tea and chatting in the Tea Shop opposite to the signal. We had 7-10 regular volunteers who have been representing themselves for all the cleanups planned after the recent Chennai floods by CTC with few new volunteers who joined the cleanup today. For the next 15 mins we had few more volunteers joining in and we were now a group of 20-25 people. We decided to move to the cleanup point which was approx. 600 Mts away from the signal via Ranjith Road. Reaching the Ferry road end we parked our cars,bikes and cycles on the banks of Mighty River Adyar (?).
As we got down to get set our cleanup, morning sun was up slowly with dense fog, mixed with smoke from the garbage thrash that was set to fire by the locals.
It all started 5 weeks back when CTC’s founder Peter Van Geit along with CTC volunteers, started the cleaning and rehabilitation efforts at Surya Nagar Slum in Kotturpuram which got devastated by the recent floods as it was located very close to Adyar River bunds. We started to clean up the slum streets from the debris left over and now came till the Banks of Adyar river which got piled up with Polythene Papers, Thermocol, Clothes, House Hold items, Wooden and Leather wastes, Glass wastes, Electronic wastes, Human and Animal waste and what not. The water level on both sides of the river bund raised upto 12 feet high during the floods resulting in huge deposit of garbage debris making an unhealthy appeal of a perennial river with unfit conditions to live and breathe.
What runs as Spine River of Chennai is the place of dirt and debris breeding mosquitoes and housefly’s. Adyar river is a classic example of how human race have exploited a perennial water source and made it unfit for any living organism to live aside and inside.
Our goal is to clean the 1 km stretch of Adyar river bund aside Surya Nagar Slum making it a model hamlet by deploying dustbins and implanting the cleanliness and nature friendly living among the community people who live there. Today’s cleanup was our 7th such consecutive cleanup effort which we conduct twice on week days. In the ongoing process of cleanup, CTC also has plans to develop a model plan to convert Surya Nagar Slum into a healthy rehabilitation setup ensuring a nature friendly and healthy living.
We had around 40 volunteers by now for whom the gloves and collection bags were distributed. I gave a short brief to the participants on the need, to clean this hamlet and updates on past cleanups. We ventured into the sloppy, dusty and debris filled banks of Adyar to pick up the garbage deposited and to pile it up to dispose it safe. The cleanup started sharp at 6 AM with lots of energy and enthusiasm.
Volunteers picked up the trash debris along the sloppy banks and lifted them up using collection bags to the bund road piling it up. As time passed, the local kids from Surya Nagar Slum joined us followed by their Mothers. This is the vital change we saw from Phase 5 of our clean up. The local community watched us for 4 times, 4 days and 5th time they came and took the gloves and thrash bags, started picking the deposits.This is the impact of change which we wanted to induce among the local community to let know them how important their environment is.
Some of the volunteers went up, dipped their gloved hands inside the dirty black water and removed the polythene and debris which clogged the drainage water passage. We were able to make way for the stagnated water to flow free letting the drainage channel cleaned up.
Adyar-Cooum: The rivers which irrigated State of Madras and served as mode of transport during early 18th and 19th Century is now filled with debris and black deposits. River banks are considered to be the birth banks of Heritage and so are called as life lines of Human Civilisation. I am sure we all have had a chance to cross Adyar and Cooum Rivers on roads and yes we close our nose to avoid the dirty smell. Have we ventured closer to see how dirtier our Adyar is and more dirtier after the recent floods? The Mighty River equal to Thames of Great Britain has lost all Her purity and pristine due to Rapid Urbanisation and our Rush to so called Development (?!). Even after such devastating floods which over flow the Adyar-Cooum Stretch could not clean up and the water beds remain with dirt and breeding place for mosquitoes with mix of human and animal waste.
Venturing closer to Adyar and dipping the hands into dirt requires high spirits of “Selfless Volunteerism” and such volunteerism is a viral impact as one learns from other and one get inspired of other and inspires rest. That’s how today morning was. It was an ultimate exhibit and feel of high energy with bunch of volunteers who stood by Humanity and Care towards Our Environment.
At 7:30 AM sharp we were able to pile up half truck load of huge garbage debris with high sense of satisfaction and a satisfied feel of contribution towards humanity and environment which incomparable. At the end of today’s cleanup, we washed our hands and grabbed some quick cookie bites and gathered together for a group snap and clapped hands for our today’s efforts.
When we left the place we all could feel the thankfulness and gratitude of Surya Nagar people along with the Silent Smile and Thankfulness of Adyar River.
Please do participate in CTC’s efforts to contribute just 90 Mins of your early morning on week-days so that we see the shine and smile of People and Environment.
Be The Change You Want to See In the World – JaiHind !
Photos: AR Dilip Srinivasan
How about mixing science with nature and geometry to restore green? If this question puzzles you, just go and visit Arasankazhani Lake which is located alongside the roads of Chemmanchery-Perumbakkam region in Chennai.This unique lake is vastly spread water body which is the natural inhabitant of variety of birds, amphibians and reptiles which is diagonally close to Bollineni Hills – The hillock which is declared as protected area and under the control of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) due to its historical importance, evolving the roots to be the ancient living place of Siddhas and Medicinal herbs.
It all started couple of months back when EFI( Environmentalist Foundation of India) team started their efforts to desilt and clean the weeds that got accumulated inside and surrounding the lake. With the support of few local residents in Bollineni Hillside Apartments, the lake was cleaned up by EFI deepening & increasing the water holding area with scientifically built geometrical islands based on the water collection & wind direction. These islands were raised inside the lake area with the mechanism to resist winds separating the silt stagnant to one corner of the lake by instrumenting “Q” shaped islands and creating “G” shaped islands on the other stretch of the lake area to promote and the water home for lake turtles, fishes and tree home for birds.
While EFI Team along with the support of local residents completed its first stage, cleaning up the South Western part of the lake raising the islands & strengthening the bunds, Chennai Trekking Club team (CTC) joined hands with EFI to plant saplings along the islands and bunds of the lake.
On Dec 22, 2013, the day dawned with a cool breezy morning when CTC & EFI team members gathered together with a greener goal to plant tree saplings along the geometry landscapes of the lake. Around 7:30 AM, we all loaded down the saplings which were categorically selected as fruit bearing trees, shade providing trees and erosion control trees. While Singapore Berry (Muntingiacalabura) and Blue Berry trees (Vaccinium) were selected for fruit bearing purpose solely to attract bird population to lake, Magilam (Mimusopselengi) & NeerMarathu (Terminaliaarjuna) trees were chosen to promote shades & nesting along with Bamboo (Bambuseae) saplings to control soil erosion along the island bunds. When we lined up all saplings, they looked like small infant babies longing to connect their roots on earth & grow along with the care of Mother Nature.
EFI team members promoted the event and awareness by conducting road shows at public gathering places in the nearby areas which made some of the local public people to gather around the lake for the morning plantation event. Around 8 AM, CTC team members along with EFI team started to form human chains along the lake bunds and inside water to transport the saplings to be planted to the 2 unique landscaped islands. While some of us were busy in transporting the saplings, the others moved across the island bunds to dug pits to ground the saplings.Some members of the team collected and gathered the manure soil mix along with coconut shells to be used for mulching the planted saplings.
Our legs started to feel the out-of-comfort zone as we stepped inside the lake and walked towards the islands because of sharp strong stones inside the water that tested our steps. We identified the areas where saplings have to be earthed and made the markings to dug pits. We made our plans to plant the fruit bearing saplings along the upper and middle stretches of the mud islands and bamboos at the lower portion of the island bunds to prevent soil erosion and promote nesting option for the birds.
While some of us were busy in digging pits and transporting tools and manuring materials, innovation made its way in building a floating ferry using old water barrels and bamboos. We built a floating ferry to transport saplings and planting materials which was also used by local kids as a playing ferry after some time. The day proceeded with stronger sun, with every team member in CTC & EFI displaying unlimited enthusiasm in their faces supporting every other member in the plantation activities.
As the plantation activities carried through some of the local residents and kids joined us and stepped inside the waters to join the efforts. It was happiest occasion to see small kids showing greater joy to plant saplings and water them. Every plant was carefully planted on the soil, firming the soil around followed by mulching it with coconut shells to prevent weeds and improved water retention content.
Some of the team members engaged themselves in supplying biscuits, tea and juice to keep the hydration levels up thus making the body energy meter high. There was an immense sense of satisfaction and wholehearted joy that emerged among CTC & EFI team members after grounding each and every sapling. The local kids along with CTC & EFI team engaged themselves in sowing neem seeds along the fencing side of the lake.
At around 1 PM, we completed planting the saplings across both the islands inside the southwestern part of the lake which are now ready to bear the future fruits of shade,food,nest and most importantly promoting a sustainable biodiversity for the flora and fauna of Arasankazhani region. One of the flagship effort by EFI co-supported by CTC team, we are on the way to create one of the greenest lake eco system which will attract lots of birds & animal species
Now a days we keep on hearing the word “Restoring” to every form of nature, which is highly alarming due to the depletion scenario. Nature, which is self created by evolution is strength by itself and it’s distressing to hear repeated “Restorations” of nature by many means. Restorations continue to happen these days as diminutions of nature continue for materialistic human needs. Nature is an element that acts as a nucleus of life existence and survival, which when destroyed for material needs will have adverse effects not only for the human race but also shatters the life chain of flora and fauna.
The best gift that one human could present to the existing and future generation is not a developed (?) city or a monetary material but an unspoilt & pristine Nature. At the end of the day, EFI & CTC team departed with the same sense of gratitude. As we all left Arasankazhani Lake the saplings watched us happily, waging their branches thanking us for their birth!
Act now. Conserve Nature!
The blog tracks back to Saturday, Oct 19th, 2013. I was all prepared during the day adding fuel to my body by having enough hydration drinking plenty of water for every hour, bananas and fruits along with carbs to avoid cramps while running and getting the stamina built. This was for the most awaited event for me, one of my fitness goals I had for the year. I had a brief chat up with my fellow CTC mates at Hablis hotel at Guindy in the evening, when I went to collect my BIB and Tshirt. There was an undying enthusiasm and passion among the CTCian volunteers who took up various tasks for Chennai Trekking Club’s 2nd Edition of Trial Marathon. I made my little volunteering contribution with my fellow CTCians and left home on Saturday to rest well for my next day run.
On Sunday, 3 AM as I looked through my house window, the cloud was pouring torrentially like an express train with no signs to stop. All that stood in my mind was to have this dream run accomplished. Come what may, I decided to get ready with the rain gear and ignited my Royal Enfield to drive to the Northern Outskirts of the city for my Half Marathon Run in Sholavaram.
I started around 3:45 AM from Velachery and drove through the Northern suburbs of Chennai. The rain did followed me all along the way with heavy pour. Reaching the NH5 road and navigating the GPS, I managed to find the direction and successfully reached the mudroad that lead to Gojan School of Business which was the gathering & start point for the run. By the time I reached the race venue it was 5:00 AM with continuous drizzles of rain that refused to stop.
I came to know that the race timings was postponed an hour due to heavy rain to accommodate all the runners reaching the venue and also be prepared for the pre-run & post-run support. The momentum was slowly catching up among the runners and the volunteers as the race was close to commencing. There came the black Toyota Fortuner with 2 inspirations at 5:45 AM, one was our man (Extra “human” though J ) Peter Van Geit along with second inspiration, the ace athlete, Neville J Billimora who was there to preside and inaugurate the marathon.
With the inspiration of Neville and forewords of Peter, CTC waved its 2nd edition of Trail Marathon event at 6 AM starting with Full Marathon runners. The clouds continue to drizzle and all the runners including me were eager to run the muddy trial alongside the green forest which was sloshed with water.
Half marathon got flagged off at 6:30 AM along with the drummers and cheering crowd followed by 10 KM Run and the Kid Run. Having run 2 half marathons in the past, I was so enthusiastic and passionate to run my 3rd Half Marathon with CTC.
As I marched along with the co-runners, the sun started to show up its presence slightly but the strong rainy clouds still dominated the weather. It was drizzling all through with the rainy clouds under which the runners exhibited their spirit and cheer all through the trail.
The whole running trial was a 10.5 KM loop which was rotated accordingly for Full Marathon (42 KMS), Half Marathon (21.1 KMS), 10 KM Run and Kids Run (500M, 1 & 2 KM).The initial trail was super sluggish and it was mesmerizing when we crossed the eucalyptus forest along the sides of the 1st part of the trial. The legs kissed the red soil filled with water and the lungs begun to breathe the primeval form of air. As the trial proceeded, we had a little slope up that started the 2nd part of the trial which is Sholavaram Tank Bund. My eyes could visualize the vast spread waters of Sholavaram which opened-up its majestic water wings all over. The ears could sense the calmness and pristine form of nature at its purest form. Running along the tank bund of Sholavaram dam was amazing experience. The run trial remain to be filled with water, but our legs marched forward with the essence of courage. As we ran through the tank bund trial we climbed down the 3rd part of trail which was a tar road now.
The tar road trail went along the villages of Sholavaram where we could spot people with simplicity and rejoicing us as we ran along their roads. Villagers and kids were so enthusiastic to see us who passed us displaying their happy smiles all along the small roads.
Now the 4th part of the trial opened up with red soil again, clubbed with greenish vegetation on both the sides. The mud was awfully sluggish and our shoes and legs turned out to be in love with the soil ending up in red patches of soil all over. The trial continued along the red soil lands which was an uneven terrain now with inclined uphills and sluggish downhills. As we ran through, we could see small and large water logs along the sides of the terrain which was serene. The red soil trial continued and ended in a very small, one legged, bushy trail which we thought would open up into another forest.
But the 5th and final part of the 10.1 KM run loop raised the green screen along flat black tar roads with placid, ever green, water mirrored rice paddy fields. When our legs started to feel the pain, our eyes could digest the beauty that propelled every runner to clock more miles. The tar road along the paddy field was curvy and as we ran through small segment of village, a big banyan tree that ended the final loop of 10.1 KM in a water pond. Half & Full Marathon Runners took the “U” turn at this loop to track back the beauty to encounter and repeat the WOW factor.
All along the run track, one could not forget the cheer and motivation of CTC’s volunteers who assisted at refreshment points with electrolyte, water, sports drinks, bananas, volini & oranges. There has been an immense support by CTC track marshals who volunteered and supported the runners all along the running track by biking and cycling. The memoirs of running, efforts and pains got woven into impactful pictures by CTC photography team who put their eye catching efforts with their lens equipment inspite of rain. The Physio team’s pre-run warm up & post-run cool, transportation, food management, crowd management, banners, track marking, vehicle management, front desk, baggage management, medico’s first aid, medal & logo design, medal distribution, eco-warriors cleaning the run track after the event and what not, every activity on Oct 20th at Sholavaram run track had the sweat and efforts of Chennai Trekking Club’s volunteering team who took equal effort as a full marathon runner to make this cause happen.
All along the running trial, I could spot the fellow runners who cheered up for each other to make the miles move. We took a bow when we found senior citizens clocking the marathon miles. Every runner on the track was an inspiration to the other, running for the spirit of running, running for a cause, running to exhibit strength & endurance & running for fun. We just did not run, but was encountering bliss with run, rain, red soil alongside of nature’s best.
On spotting the finish line, every runner felt the sense of accomplishment and there was tremendous sense of satisfaction as our legs leaped the lines. It was a happiness of running along the nature, a trail filled of energies & efforts (Runners & Volunteers), legs and shoes soiled red, We all flew through the muddy trial, gushing the morning breeze, up on the rocky inclined slopes, glided in the continuous rain in the arms of nature. The marathon medal for the runners was dazzlingly designed and was carved with care displaying the strength as same as the runner. Yes it’s a game of mind over body. It was Tougher & finally “We all emerged to be the Toughest”.
Sholavarm – At the end of Oct 20th 2013, remained as runners’ ecstasy, recording the foot imprints and sweat of 1000+ runners, spirit & tireless determination of selfless CTC volunteers & support of the sponsors who labeled & fuelled the cause.
Chennai Trekking Club made it’s yet another milestone in its fitness & awareness journey, making the cause to stand tall echoing billion gallons of energies.
Big cheers to my fellow runners & my fellow CTC volunteers. Let’s keep running!
While I sit down to pen this blog, there are some serious incidents happening in the “Farming Capital” of TamilNadu.
- 18 farmers have committed suicide so far due to prevailing drought in rice cultivation.
- Cauvery – The spine river of TamilNadu that irrigated the farming belt of TamilNadu has no water flow
- South West monsoons have drastically failed which has never happened in the history before.
- Farmers await long for the agricultural subsidy promised by Govt. of TamilNadu and
- Around 11 Lakhs Acres of farming land that holds the staple food of TamilNadu, Rice Paddy is drought affected, thus leading the gloom of farmers’ life.
And all these circumstances are on the Cauvery Belt of TamilNadu. While the whole TamilNadu is getting ready for the dawn of Pongal festival, the hopes of Lakhs of farmers remain in vain. The Chola Kindom, once considered to be the fertile rice bowl of TamilNadu, is drying down and slowly dying down of climatic changes on one end and also due to the traditional agricultural practices on the other end. Both these prime factors affect the agricultural yield in terms of reduced quantity of output per acre for all the farmers. The below factors which I have highlighted are some of the factors that prevail in the land of Cauvery in current situation:
1) Failure of South West Monsoon – Cauvery belt comprises of Tanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts with 14.47 lakh hectares of farming land in which Tanjavur occupies 57% of the Cauvery belt. In the 57% of the land in Tanjavur, around 36% of the land is currently affected by drought conditions. This is due to the large dependency on Cauvery River and on the South West monsoon. While nature is not in human control, the unpreparedness among the farming community to face this unexpected monsoon failure has led them to losses for every seed they sowed in the paddy fields.
2) Agricultural nature – Ever since from older Chola empire, the whole belt of Cauvery is grown for 3 seasonal rotations (3 Bogums) with Rice crops for 2 major cycles followed by Blackgram and Greengram with some areas focusing on Gingelly and Cotton crops during the 3 season. As the climatic conditions changed, soil conditions drifted, dependency in agricultural methodologies changed but the crop plantations continued to be same. These factors over the period of time has made the yield per acre to be less due to traditional agricultural practices which did not adapt to the change of climatic conditions thus affecting the productivity per acre of land.
3) Continuing power crisis – Electricity infrastructure which is the vital factor for agriculture, is now an added crisis to the largely drought hit green land. Even though farmers adopted to bore irrigation in the recent past, due to the scarcity and restricted electricity supply they are unable to save their crops. On an average there is atleast 8 hour power shut-down in Cauvery belt regions during the day time that prevents a lower-middle-class farmer to rely on bore irrigation thus leading to crop failure.
4) Dependency of subsidies – The subsidies announced by Govt. of TamilNadu continue to be a night mare to the farmers. Farmers convey that the “Restructured Paddy Cultivation” (Thirundhiya Nel Sagupadi) scheme announced by the Govt and Ministry of Agriculture did not fetch any subsidy to them. They also convey that no one from Agricultural Ministry has approached them for the inspection of this crop cultivation methodology. Various other schemes like Diesel Subsidy to run the motors/generators during power cut and assured crop insurance just remain on paper with no measures on actual subsidy grant.
5) Farmers’ debt – Farmers convey that it is not so easy to obtain loans from the nationalised banks for agriculture and for its allied practices. As advertised by central and state governments the application for bank loans are not easily sanctioned. In contrary it demands lots of processing time and documentations. Loans attained from Co-operative societies remain unsettled for the farmers due to reduced per acre yield and reduced revenue due to intermediate brokers in the government procurement system.
6) Increase of labour cost – With increase in agricultural failures, reduced per acre yield and reduced revenues, agricultural labourers employed in farming & allied farming made their shift to various other industries like ready-made garments and ginning mills. This has reduced the labour pool for green economy, thus leading to scarce of skilled labours for farming and increase of cost to employ the labours. On the other hand introduction of modern farming techniques has also made this labour pool to be in short of supply.
While monsoon failure can’t be in control, the present condition alarms the preparedness required to overcome reduction in rainfall in the future years. Agriculture requires modern water conservation techniques which will help to preserve the rainwater during its occurrence and make use of it during the dry periods. A huge amount of investment is required from government in this space that will propel the modern agrarian economy. If required the government should open new avenues from the private players or by private-public partnership (PPP) to invest in this task, thereby increase the water conservation and usage methodologies.
Considering various factors like nature of soil in Cauvery belt (Alluvial & Tertiary), climatic conditions and ground water levels, it is not easy to change the traditional crop sowing cycle. Even though the farming community adopted for change of crops like Plantain & Castor as an alternate for Rice paddy, those did not fetch a good yield and revenue due to the soil nature which suits only for rice crops. A farmer at Cauvery belt conveys that they know only rice cultivation which they continue for more than 4 generations and nothing else.
One of the farmer expressed his grief and difficulties involved in dependency of government procurement system, which is largely controlled by the intermediate brokers who demands commission charges per sack of rice bag (Ranges from Rs 2 to Rs 10 currently). If the farmers fail to pay commission, they end up in less price fix-up by the procurement authorities for the rice bags. To prevent this, the farmers are compelled to pay the commission charges to the brokers who influence the procurement authorities. There is a large correction factor required to remove the brokers and strengthen the rice procurement system and this is possible only by governmental bodies.
Power failure is the failure of the government which inturn has blown the agriculture of Cauvery Belt to toss. While government is so concerned about the supply of electricity in Chennai for supporting industrial production, it has forgotten the agricultural belt which supplied food to the state since its origin. With just 3 Hrs of electricity and no assurance on diesel subsidy, every farmer in Cauvery belt is depressed and unable to irrigate the crops by motors and compressors. With scarcity in field labourers and huge dependency of modern farming equipments’ which operates on electricity and fuel, crop maintenance (which inturn will decrease the per acre yield) and crop cultivation took a heavy hit.
The governmental bodies require a candid and instantaneous response on subsidies grant and phase wise relieving of the agricultural debt to the farmers based on their individual land holding and sowing patterns.
The condition in Cauvery river belt alarms and challenges the future agricultural system in TamilNadu. This threatens the prospective food yield of our regions which will in turn inflate the food economy of the state. While we blame the monsoon failure at one end, the governmental measures in granting power & subsidies should also be taken as equal responsibility for the sufferings of the farmers of the largest farming belt. Every farmer at Cauvery belt is morally depressed and lost their hopes of future agriculture which is a dangerous sign to the food economy. What we eat on our plates daily has the rice cultivated in the River Belts of Cauvery.
There is a huge role that is required to be played by Government of TamilNadu in this crisis time and it should be a responsible role. A lower middle-class farmer spends to an average of Rs 20,000 per acre from sowing till cultivating the rice paddy. Therefore the govt’s relief grant for drought crops for per acre should be atleast Rs 25,000 – Rs 27,000. This should be an immediate measure to prevent more suicidal deaths among the farming community in Cauvery belt.
With failure of monsoon at one end and with the hopes of subsidy from TN Govt on other end, the farmers of Cauvery Belt have not only sowed the crops, but the future of their family and the happiness of their kids. Everyone knows only agriculture and nothing else and the words of farmer saying that they would stop agriculture if they could not revive the investment in fields, was the heights of their depression and trouble.
The “Rice Bowl of TamilNadu” which was drenched by River Cauvery in the past is presently soaked and sodden by the tears of the farmers.
One last thing:
Just visit a drought hit village in Cauvery River Belt and meet a farmer there. Convey the reason to farmer that your visit is to cover the difficulties of drought and present a report for possible little drought relief. Irrespective of your age and whom you are, the farmer will raise his hands and worship you seeing you as a God with the last remains of hopes in “HIS” eyes for which any heart would shatter and torn to pieces. And remember “HE” is the who, fed rice on our plates that we ate daily.
I was all excited to make my outing with Chennai Trekking Club (CTC) on Sep 16th, 2012 when group of 22 people decided to walk over the green fields to encounter the elongate, legless, carnivorous reptiles called Snakes. The trip was organized by Rajanna & Rajavel, code named as “Kiss the Hissers” even though we weren’t sure before the trip, whether we would be able to really kiss the hissers.
The journey started before Chennai city had Sun as its hat. On a very pleasant morning of Sep 16th, the Rain God had mercy on us and let the weather to be chill and breezy. As per the plan we all gathered around 5:30 AM at Tiruvanmiyur near Marundheeswarar temple.
The casual chit-chats started with the introduction when all of us met over on the road. I clubbed with Yuvaraj in his car along with Shankar, Rocky and Praveen. Isai Prakash and Madhu arrived in their car with the tagline of “Press”, making most of us to think if that would be a media coverage of our trip. We all clustered and clubbed as groups along with Muthu, Kannan and Saravananan in their cars and the journey proceeded in East Coast Road. All of us stopped alongside of ECR road to sip hot morning coffee & bun to energize us for the rest of the journey hours. We crossed Mahabalipuram and continued alongside of Poonjeri Village which further proceeded towards Thirukalungundram. After the travel of about 70 KMS away from busy Chennai city, we voyaged along the calm and quite roads that lead us to the village called Palanthandalam.
Mother Nature gave us green carpet welcome by lush of rice fields when the morning sun was still sleeping inside the yellowish orange clouds. It was around 7:00 AM when we all reached the farm fields and got down from the cars. The breezy air dashed our faces with the moisture of the previous day rain mixed with the smell of the damp field soil that gave a wonderful feel. Munusamy and Ramesh from Irula Community welcomed all of us with a broad smile in their faces. Irula people are hunter-gatherers by tradition and they use their expertise in catching snakes which is legendary. Historically Irula community hail from the jungles of Southern India and are now sparsely spread over Thiruvallur district of Tamilnadu.
The Snake Walk begun when we all started walking along the rice fields guided by Munusamy and Ramesh. As we walked through the farm way, we met Kuppan who was rearing heard of ducks in the watered rice fields. Shankar’s quick witty jokes in his Nellai Tamil was entertaining all along our walk. As we walked through the fields, the photographers started to experiment and intercept their SLR with nature into a photo square combining their skills in Shutter Speed, ISO and Focal Length.
We could spot lots of wells around the fields which are used to irrigate the rice crops that had fresh water which was as clear as our bubble-top water at home. As it was post-harvest season the rice fields were empty will the remains of the rice straws and green grass. Rice fields are famous habitual place for snakes as they have lots of rats in them, which are the best capture for snakes. Snakes spend their holidays inside the burrows made by rodents in the fields and also have them as prey during their holiday. While we were walking along, Munuswamy was seriously looking into the bushes and burrows along the fields for snakes.
Our first live encounter started when Munuswamy captured a Yellow Belly Snake (Water Snake) which was hiding beside the well area. He just used his hands and picked up this yellow fellow by holding his hand around its jaw. Since it was caught by its jaw, we had our guts to surround Munuswamy and started to touch and feel the snake. That was the first time for many of us including me to touch a live snake. While we were eagerly watching the snake, Munuswamy explained about the characters of Water Snake and meant they are non-venomous but will cause painful bite. After so much of poses to the photographers, Munuswamy left the yellow fellow to go into the bush and our walk continued.
Ramesh was utterly busy searching the scrubs to find a big catch for us and he made it. It was around 8:00 AM, this time it was the long, slender, brownish, spectacle patterned, highly venomous cobra. Ramesh pulled its tail from the scrubs with the help of Munuswamy and the cobra was grounded on the rice field to show case to us. This was a 4 feet fellow, spreading its hood with the ferociousness to bite and hissing sound. Ramesh told us it would be a 3-4 year female cobra with high venom. That was the first time for most of us to see a live full-venom cobra at the closest. As Ramesh used the cotton bag and waved before the cobra, it rose up and spread its hood with anger and aggressiveness. While Rajavel, Praveen, Shankar, Muthu, Sindhuja, Ranga, Prabhu and myself surrounded the cobra with our cameras, Isai was busy in video-shoot of the sequence. After 25 mins of show and some 100+ snaps, Ramesh packed the venomous cobra into the white cotton bag as many of the villagers who gathered there requested to let the deadly snake deep inside the fields as it may harm the humans there.
Our snake walk continued as Rajanna, a Herpetology expert & enthusiast, chatted with us on details on the snakes and their habitats, characters and presence. Shankar’s comedy crisps continued as he entertained the whole audience by kidding others. Praveen’s photo excerpts and techniques helped some of us on handling cameras, buying cameras and usage of light. As we walked along, we could spot the green meadows of tiny rice saplings with the stand-still of morning dew drops slipping to roots. The breezy cool morning was pleasant and the walk along the farming fields with the casual exchange of chit-chats made our journey more enjoyable.
Around 8:30 AM, as we moved further, Munuswamy had another interesting catch for us. This time it was a brownish, 3-4 feet, bubble-eyed Rat Snake. He pulled it from a dry bush and holded its slender body and loaded the snake around his shoulders. He also briefed us that Rat Snakes are non-venomous but the bite would take away a bunch of flesh and pains hell. Now saying this he suggested us to take the rat snake in hand and wrap for a play. Saravanan, Muthu, Ranga ,Kannan,Hari, Shankar,Sreeni and Sindhuja tried to hold the snake in their hand and posed for pictures. I too took the chance and holded the snake around my shoulders. Munuswamy suggested me to hold the snake in a forward-swirly movement in hands, so that it doesn’t feel it’s caught and I did the same. The snake wrapped around my neck with its tail and I too posed for some pics. Had that snake was known of royalty, it would have sued all of us in court, for the number of pics we took with him and posted on web. After too much of photos and all of us turning to be a real “Snake Babu’s”, we let go the Rat snake and continued our walk through the fields.
We were able to spot lot of fresh-water wells in the farm fields which were as clean as drinking water and tasted so well. With lot of good swimmers in our group, the show begun as Rocky dived into the well for a deep dip. Navaneeth accompanied him, followed by Shankar and they all became Michael Phelps of the day doing some gorgeous swims and dives.
As we walked along the fields, we conversed and grouped with new friends sharing profession, interest, nature and what not. Rajavel, Isai, Madhu and myself striked a long conversation beside the green lands exchanging previous trekking experiences, camera handling techniques and some media stuff. Praveen was sharing and offering consulting about his photographic phenomena as many people in our group got some serious tips from him.
Meanwhile Munuswamy had something different for us during the day. Around 9 AM, he got us a live bee-hive from the tree after chasing out the big-bee swarms. We all gathered around him and tasted the best nature honey. Around 9 00 AM the group rested in the tree shade near to a pond whereas Isai was busy in making his travel documentary.
We all walked again along the pond bed when Ramesh was searching for Green Snake. We were bit unlucky as we could not find the Green snake on that day. Breakfast time begun at 9:30 AM and we all choose a well-bed which was shady and surrounded by trees for eating. Our taste buds relished chappati’s, bread-roll, rajma curry, tomato curry and cheekis sweet. As there was a well, there were Michael Phelps too. This time Rocky, Navaneeth, Shankar and Iasi dived in followed by Nachiket who just preferred to swim in water. They all proved again that they are “Walking fishes on earth”. We all helped each other to serve food, fed some bread crumbs to the fishes in the water and also cleaned the place leaving no litters behind.
The journey continued along the green field beds as we stopped for water near a pump-set that refreshed us and quenched our thirst. Our last find by Ramesh was a Black Cobra, found inside the burrow resting. He along with Munuswamy dug the burrow and showed us the spiral black highly venomous male cobra. Ramesh pulled the snake out of the burrow just by using his hands. The cobra was 3-4 feet long, rolled spirally on the ground, spreaded its hood and hissed us ferociously. We gathered around and watched it close as Ramesh made the cobra to swing showing the white bag in front. SLR’s captured the magical swings and swirls of the cobra.
Our snake walk ended around 11 AM as we all decided to move to the place where we parked the cars and head towards Crocodile Bank in ECR for a quick sneak peek of the bigger reptiles. We thanked Ramesh and Munswamy for being with us and guiding us in this lively adventure. They waved their hands with a big smile and a warm greet.
We proceeded towards Crocodile Bank, where Gayathri welcomed us and guided us to the whole of farm explaining us on features and lives of the bigger hunter. Our day ended with a group snap captured by Ranga and we all departed with sense of happiness and spreading smiles to our newer friends.
Rajannna and Rajavel’s efforts to make this lively adventure a great experience had its success as we all cherished the journey, restored and recalled in our memoirs forever.
Say cheese 🙂 See you in my next blog.
From the time my first blog on “Celebrating Steve Jobs-The Supreme Moments” went live, it’s now more than a month. The photograph published in “The Hindu” on Sep 8th, 2012 made me to pen down my second blog portraying the power of technology which touches the lives of many who are separated by miles but distanced by the real touch of humanity. And this time it is in Tamil as a Poem, the language I cherished a lot when I learnt, read and wrote.
“WoW Pages” hoists up Humanity in the Second Blog with the message, “What so ever the world be, Let Humanity always strive for the betterment of people”
அகத்தின் அழகு முகத்தில்,அன்று
பேஸ்புக்கின் சுவரே அகமாகிபோனது இன்று (Facebook)
திருக்குறள் கொண்ட கருத்து,அன்று
அனைத்து கருத்துமே ட்விட்டரில் பதிவுவாகிறது இன்று (Twitter)
தகவல் பதிவு செய்த தகடுகள்,அன்று
அனைத்து தகவல்களும் கிளௌடுக்குள் இன்று (Cloud)
விரல் சுற்றிய டையல் எண்கள்,அன்று
விரல் தொட்டாலே இயங்கும் விந்தையானது இன்று (Touch Pad)
மனிதனும்,புறாவும் செய்தி சுமந்தார்கள்,அன்று
நிமிட நேரத்தில் நாடு கடக்கும் ஈமெயில் இன்று (Email)
கருத்து சுதந்திரம் காகிதத்தில் மட்டும்,அன்று
கருத்தும், விவாதமும் பிளாக்கரில் இன்று (Blogger)
கடல் கடந்து பயணித்த உலகவணிகம்,அன்று
உலக வணிகமே இணையமானது இன்று (Internet)
சுவற்றில் மட்டுமே புகைப்படங்கள்,அன்று
உணர்வும், உறவும், புன்னகையும் புகைப்படமாக பிலிக்கரில் இன்று (Flickr)
மணல் தரையில் மட்டும் திரைபடங்கள்,அன்று
மனிதனும்,மரமும், எறும்பும்,பூவும் கூட யூடுயூபில் இன்று (YouTube)
குரல் கேட்க மட்டும் தொலைபேசி,அன்று
படித்தல் முதல் பகிர்தல் வரை அனைத்தும் அலைபேசியில் இன்று (Mobile Phone)
நேரங்கள் நிமிடங்களாகி , நிமிடங்கள் நொடிகள்ஆகின
நெடுந்தொலைவு மனிதன், ஆனால் தொடும் தூரத்தில் மனித மனம்
தூரத்தில் சிரிக்கும் உறவுகள் – புகைப்படமாக மட்டுமே குழந்தை – தனியாக தாத்தா, பாட்டி
மூன்று படுக்கையறை வீடு , ஆனால் அதில் நான்கு மனிதர்கள் மட்டும்
துரித உணவு – விரைவு வழிபாடு – அதிவேக பயணம்
புத்தகம் புரட்ட நேரமில்லை; இசை கேட்க காலமில்லை
மனங்கள் மட்டுமே இணைத்த தொழில்நுட்பம் இன்று மனிதம் தொலைத்தது
மனிதம் மறந்த மனிதர்களே,இனி உலகம் உங்களுக்கில்லை
சுவாசிக்க காற்றை மறப்போம்; நேசம் மட்டும் சுவாசிப்போம்
ஒரு மனிதனின் இறுதி மூச்சு, உதிக்கின்ற உயிரின் முதல் முச்சாகட்டும்
அன்பு மட்டுமே வெல்லட்டும்; மனிதநேயம் மலரட்டும் !
Say Cheese 🙂 See you in the next blog.
My blog on Steve Jobs will be one in million plus, but still I should never miss a personality who disrupted the whole world by the word “Disruptive Innovation”. A person less lived by time and years, but more lived by this passion and innovation can’t be forgotten. A person who lived against time, but stimulated the usage that changed the whole world, the one who created the cult of brands –think Mac, iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad can’t be left by days.“God of Apple Inc.,” – the company who’s cash pile is larger than the forex reserves of developed countries such as Canada, Sweden, Norway and Spain can’t be an yet another human being to be left just in memoirs.
My “Words of Wisdom (WoW Pages)” raises the first curtain to show case the supreme moments of Steve Jobs, his leadership lessons and his game changing innovations to the world we live.
The birth of immortal
No one knew in 1955, that Feb 24th would be carved in the global history as the date of birth of this “ Super Genius” kiddo to the unwed students Joanne Simpson and Abdulfattah Jandali. This kid was adopted by lower-middle-class couple of Bay Area, Paul and Clara Jobs. Named as Seven Paul Jobs, the young boy grew up in the apricot orchards of Silicon Valley, which was slowly turning into the global hub of circuit boards and electronic chips.
At the age of 14, Jobs met the whiz kid Stephen Wozniak, commonly known as Woz. The destiny planted its first mile stone when these two technology fascinated kids shared their common interests in computers and became close friends from then on.
Paul and Clara admitted Jobs to Reed College, Oregon and thus kept their promise made to Jobs biological parents. Jobs tenure at Reed was just for one semester after which he got dropped off, hating the conventional methodology of teachings. Inspired by the Eastern theology, Jobs traveled to India to seek enlightenment at his age of 19. Disappointed by the fact that he could not meet the god man whom he wanted to meet, Jobs returned to USA as a Buddhist follower.
The birth of Apple
On his return from India, Jobs began to focus on Woz’s work on computer circuit boards. He felt the market pulse that many of them were interested in the circuit board designs of Woz and suggested to Woz that they sell those design boards. Thus Apple was born.
Jobs and Woz started their small scale business of selling the integrated circuit boards to the local computer dealers with the brand name Apple. Jobs car garage gave raise to Apple’s first design unit with Woz’s brilliance in technology and Jobs idea of innovation clubbed with marketing. 1977 dawned for Apple with the invention of Apple II, which was a much improvised version than the earlier computers in the market. Apple II was a breakthrough invention and stood out as the best in the computer industry. The world of Silicon Valley started to look at the young kids Jobs and Woz for the first time. Jobs realized the distinction in their invention, made his first approach to the venture capitalist Mike Markkula , a then Intel executive to fund $250,000 for Apple.
Apple went public
The biggest public offering in the USA’s history next to Ford Motors (in 1956) happened on December 12, 1980 when Apple went to public. A day next to the public offering, Jobs was worth $217.5 Million, $210 Million more than the previous day. In 1981 the computers market had a rigid competition because of the entry of IBM into the personal computers market.
Apple III was already in the market during 1981, but could not make up the advancements due to extreme market penetration by IBM. Jobs was dismissed from the Project Lisa (The project to design first GUI computer) stating the reasons of its failure to impress the markets.
The separation of Pirates from the Navy
Jobs was angry because of the situational fact that he was thrown out of Project Lisa. Wanting to develop a better product and prove his ability again in Apple, Jobs headed Macintosh project and was determined to make it as a huge success in the GUI market. He hired the first set of Engineers for his team with the flag hoisted in this department “better be a pirate than to join the Navy”, quoting the rest of Apple as Navy. Jobs was backed by John Sculley, the then Apple’s CEO whom he brought on board in 1983.
Steve Jobs was fired from his own company
The Mac hit the market in 1984, priced at $2,500, which was the brain-child of Jobs. Mac was the first personal computer to have hit the market with the ease of GUI user interface and mouse. The sales of Mac started to drop down after few months due to the high value pricing and competition pressure. Apple community started to blame Jobs, stating that it was a costlier error made by him in the company’s history. Apple II was the only product that was doing well in the market, but was not supported by the then CEO, John Sculley’s marketing plans to boost its sales. Insulted by the disrespect he received, Woz quit Apple by Feb 1985. Sculley and Jobs began to blame each other in the public meetings.
The board was redefined by John Sculley with no Steve Jobs in the functional chart of Apple. Jobs was made non-functional as Non-executive Chairman with no decision making powers. Devastated Jobs, spent his time in Europe and was planning to settle in France.
The happening of NeXT
On September 1985, Jobs made his business proposal to Apple board to incorporate the new company called NeXT for which he was willing to hire the best engineers and salesmen from Mac Team. The board voted down the proposal and issued notice to Jobs, stating that he will be sued before law of such acts. Jobs then decided to leave Apple with distress selling all his stocks.
During that time he got introduced to Graphics Group, part of the Computer Division of Lucasfilm. Jobs interest moved to producing animated movies and hence Pixar was born in 1986 with Jobs buying Graphics Group for $ 10 Million. NeXT was started by Jobs with the goal to compete with Apple.
“Cube” was the first branded computer to be released by NeXT in 1988. The market failed to respond for “Cube” and was not receiving the expected response in the computer world. NeXT’s growth was reaching negative numbers and thus all the co-founders including its external investor Ross Perot left the company.
Pixar turned to be a loss making in early 1990’s which made Jobs to close its entire operations except computer animation which was supporting small TV commercials. Jobs also ended the hardware operations of NeXT in 1993 and retained its software division which was the niche by itself.
Jobs nor the world knew that Animation and Software business retained by him at that time would be the “Tsunami of change” in the forthcoming years.
The return of Steve Jobs
“Toy Story” did the magic in 1995 when Pixar’s animation took the big screen in a bigger way. Jobs road of revival begun when he announced the public-go to Pixar in Wall Street. 80% of shares were owned by Steve Jobs in Pixar, resulting him to raise $ 1.5 Billion as Pixar went public. At the same time, the company co-founded by Jobs, was traveling towards closure. In 1995, Apple lost its lead with Microsoft by the release and popularity of Windows 95 .Mac, which was designed and developed during the days of Jobs failed to innovate itself with the catching GUI market were Windows made its foray.
Apple’s then CEO Gil Amelio’s search for new software to replace the aging MAC OS turned fruitful, when he agreed for the acquisition of NeXTSTEP and NeXT for $ 400 Million. Jobs was back to his Apple after 10 years in 1996 with the title bearing “Informal Advisor to CEO”.
The thrown had the throne with the crown
It was in first quarter of 1997 when Amelio announced the revenues of Apple owing to loss of $ 700 Million. The board of Apple decided to remove Amelio as CEO and passed the Baton to Steve Jobs. He was carrying the title as “Interim CEO” in the company that changed the world from then on.
When Jobs was back to Apple, the place was crowded with press and business partners with rumors about ongoing projects. The return of Jobs ended all these loose talks inside the company. He hung WWII poster in his desk quoting “Loose Lips Might Sink Ships” and made clear anyone talking to the press would be sacked.
Jobs did an extensive review of the company and made its focus from hundred projects to a dozen. He unveiled the prime goals of Apple to infuse fresh leadership, focus on relevance, invest in core assets, build meaningful partnerships and new product paradigms. Apple board was completely revamped in the Macworld Boston 1997 conference where he announced the sweeping deal with its arch-rival Microsoft and put an end to interminable patent disputes.
My best video till now would be the address of Steve Jobs in 1997 Boston Macworld conference. Look at this Interim CEO who addresses the crowd about a company that dipped in sales figures for 3 years in row and his confidence, enthusiasm he exhibited with the passion and vision to revive it back.
The power of “i” – Innovation powered with Creativity
Jobs refreshed idea marketed the brand Apple as “Think Different” in the stage set for Macworld 1997.This marketing revamp was made with an idea that people who used Macs were dreamers who could change the world. Six months after the Macworld decisions, Jobs stood before the investors with the resurgence in sales towards profit.
The actual growth of Apple started when Jobs introduced new desktop computer in May 1998, iMac. The computer industry had only large black boxes until iMac was introduced which was translucent. This made iMac to be a hot product in the market that made large chunk of developers to switch to Mac platform. Innovations and creativity continued drastically at Apple during 1998-1999 with the release of colored iMacs and iBook. After 3 years as “Interim CEO” ,Jobs got back Apple on track to re-emerge its powerful brand image. Jobs was made as Apple’s full-time CEO in Jan 2000, the first time in world when one person served as CEO of 2 public companies.
The real purpose of Jobs presence in Apple got accomplished in 2001, when Apple announced the release of its signature operating system Mac OS X. This release ensured the application of NeXT’s software technology to the Mac platform. Steve Jobs devised new strategy of “Digital Hub” in which Macs were part of personal computers, in 2001 Macworld Expo. When computer industry’s experts forecasted the end of personal desktops, Jobs vision empowered the PC’s with digital cameras,camcorders,music players,smart phones and all other lifestyle integrations. Hence the birth of iApps begun and started to empower the chips with Digital Hub technology.
iPod – The world danced for the tunes of Apple
Even though video players had a vital role on desktop PC’s, Jobs thinking on the legacy left by Napster’s success made the invention of iPod. This was a “Disruptive Innovation” made by Jobs at the time when the entertainment industry was focusing on video’s.
2001’s holiday season had the best in Apple’s history with the introduction of iPod – the breakthrough music player that the world celebrated in all ways. The ability of iPod to sink with iTunes, the best user interface, the music juke box in the size of a match box and the wheel click model, fascinated people to madly go for iPod. For the first time people started buying Macs to power their iPods. Apple’s profits soared by the massive sales of iPods across the world. Apple went on to introduce Windows compatibility for iPods in 2002, opening of iTunes Music Store and developing Windows version of iTunes in 2003. These efforts increased the pie of iPod revenue to the revenue made on selling computers. iPod boasted big with the market share of 75%.
Pixar powered by Disney
Pixar was responsible for creation and production of films, while Disney handled marketing and distribution. Profits and production costs were split 50-50, but Disney exclusively owned all story and sequel rights and also collected a distribution fee. Since Pixar was not able to own story and sequel revenues, the cold-war between Jobs and Disney’s CEO Michael Eisner grew bitter. Pixar decided to put off its distribution deal with Disney . Steve Jobs made an open remark that he will not sign any deal with Disney until Eisner is out of the company. Jobs opinion was reiterated by many executives at Disney’s board which led Walt’s own nephew, Roy Disney to launch a public campaign to oust Eisner out.
As a result, Bob Iger took over as the CEO of Walt Disney in March 2005. Jobs signed the contract with Iger to sell Disney’s TV Shows in iTunes. The close working relationship of Jobs and Iger, followed by the successes for both companies resulted in the merger of Disney+Pixar – The new animation giant in Jan 2006.Jobs became the largest shareholder of the new entity.
Reincarnation of Apple Computers to Apple Inc.,
Displacing the WinTel Combo – In 2005, Jobs announced that Mac PC’s will be powered by Intel chips thus dismantling the monopoly combo of Windows PC’s powered by Intel (WinTel). This lead to the creation of new product line in Apple’s portfolio. The fear that Apple team had on the reluctance of users to buy Intel powered Mac’s which may not have Windows powered software’s was overcome by the increase in sales of Mac’s channeled by company owned retail stores. The users preferred using Intel Powered Mac PC’s with Apple’s “Digital Hub” technology, which was made accessible by Apple through its retail stores.
iPod – The revenue share of iPod began to increase in a much larger way thus reinstalling the brand image of Apple. Due to iPod, Apple found its way in the consumer electronics industry apart from its niche space in PC industry.
iPhone – The biggest market move of Apple happened on Jan 2007, when Jobs line of legacy moved to iPhone. Making his mark in the mobile communication space, Jobs innovation led to the birth of iPhone , the ultimate Apple product. Built on fully operational OS X, fueled by multi-touch technology, web surfing technology, built in iPod and easy-to-use iPod, catapulted the product to a larger audience thus making its share to be significant in the revenue pie of Apple.
With Apple’s portfolio now spanning across software, retail, on-line distribution of electronic media, home entertainment, digital audio players, cellphones and computers, Jobs reincarnated Apple Computers to Apple Inc., in Jan 2007.
Travel against time:
Apple never turned back ever since Steve Jobs took over the stage in 1997, but Jobs was traveling against time. He was diagnosed of pancreatic cancer in 2003. It was only on Aug 2004 he agreed for the surgery and he claimed he got cured after that. But by Dec 2008 his health started deteriorating which made the world believe that he would not come back for the keynote in Macworld once again. The enthusiasm and passion he exhibited for innovation and creativity of Apple products, to reinvent his product portfolios, to be most competitive in the market, kept him alive inspite of his acute pancreatic cancer. He got liver transplant done in April 2009.
2010 witnessed the rebirth of the “Corporate Captain” of Apple. Jobs presided the stage at Macworld Expo on Jan 2010, to unveil his energy, passion and yet another signature product of Apple- The iPad. By this announcement, the world witnessed two supreme moments in the computer industry. The man who played a critical role in the birth of desktop PC’s has also put an end to it and the same man paved way to the evolution and era of Tablet Computers.
The final days of the Cupertino Captain:
Later in 2011, Jobs health turned worse which made him to announce his second medical leave in Jan 2011 without mentioning the return date. COO, Tim Cook took over the daily operations while Jobs continued to be CEO and involved in major strategic decisions of the company. On Aug 24 2011, Jobs announced his resignation as CEO due to critical health complications.
October 5th 2011 will be carved as one of the saddest days of our century. The man who powered the world with “i” said goodbye and the world wept missing one of its best leader of century.
The world responded to the death of “Father of Digital Revolutions” as “Three apples have changed the world. One seduced Eve, Second awakened Newton, the Third one was in the hands of Steve Jobs.”
The distinctiveness of being Steve Jobs:
1) The practical leader – Even though Jobs was seen as being stubborn and straight spoken person, his decisions were rational and adaptive to situations. I would like to mention a situation when Jobs took the road of revival for Apple in the 1997 at Macworld Expo. Microsoft, which was seen as the prime competitor of Apple till 1996, which filed lawsuits on Apple on patents was made to partner with Apple to infuse fund by holding the shares of Apple. This decision of Jobs to partner with Microsoft was decisive decision to kill competition as well to breathe life into Apple’s future.
2) Lead with Accountability – Jobs was very clear that everyone at Apple is accountable for the duty they hold and he always demanded that duty should be discharged at its best. I would like to quote an extract from Adam Lashinsky’s article in Fortune when Jobs addressed the set of VP’s who got newly promoted at Apple. Jobs mentioned that “ A Janitor can be excused for not cleaning the garbage if the door’s keys are replaced or missing” but he added “Somewhere between the janitor & CEO, reasons stop mattering and the Rubicon is crossed when you become a VP”. This means, VP’s do not have excuses for mistakes and will be sacked.
3) Invention based on user experience – Music players and Tablets existed for years before the launch of iPod and iPad. But what Apple did was, took these existing products and designed it in a way that it had superior user experience with a mind-blowing user interface. This was the key of Jobs success. He also made the products to be financially viable by releasing updated newer versions of iPad,iPod and iPhone thus upgrading the inventions to serve the users at one step higher than the previous versions. The strategy to make iTunes compatible with Windows OS was yet another way of promoting the iProduct category to broader user levels thus increasing the revenue of the company.
4) The vision he envisaged – iPhone was a breakthrough innovation in mobile communication. Nokia was market leader in 2007 with its highest selling mobile phones in the world and usage because of its cheaper price and availability. When the market competitors were trying to imitate Nokia on phone models, Jobs took a vision and stood by it to create a superior communication device, cost it premium but provide an integrated user interface. iPhone was launched in 2007 and it surpassed Nokia in volume, revenue and profit by Q2, 2011. Jobs had the vision of not making larger volume of mobile devices but to make the mobile device that is the best in the world and it will have its own selling.
5) Attention to detail– Jobs spent enormous time in paying attention to detail on the designs and products he developed for. A well quoted example from his biography would be the conversation he had with Google’s head of social business Vic Gundotra on the Google logo which was imprinted on iPhone that did not had the exact yellow pattern in the second “O” of Google. He realized the imprinted logo of Google had incorrect yellow color and made changes to that immediately before even Google’s design team could find this. And this was the discovery by Jobs on Sunday after which he immediately called Vic. This was the passion Steve Jobs had, as the CEO of Apple. Being CEO, he did not neglect even a simple color pattern error and never hesitated to reach Google team on a holiday.
6) Be super excited of what you do – The greatest management lesson from Jobs is to love what you do with enthusiasm and energy. Be it the designs for Apple or the designs of someone else, Jobs loved and lived by it. Whenever he took the stage to launch his new products, he always made a comment “I couldn’t sleep last night and I was so excited about it.”
Rarely has a major company and the industry has been dominated by a single individual and being so successful. Steve Jobs influence went beyond computers. In the past decade, Apple has redefined the music business through the iPod, the cell phone business through iPhone and entertainment and media world through iPad through an integrated online model and robust retail outlets.
One dominant truth that Jobs reiterated again and again was that he knew what the customer actually want and went right with his vision. The most important leadership trait that he had is not being genius nor his charisma, but his extraordinary risk-taking ability and his tenacity. He was a very rare breed of CEO’s in corporate America. He never had market-testing on consumer behavior for any products. It was all his own judgment and perfectionism that paved way for Apple to be world’s largest and likable brand. And creating such brand image is not easy.
I would like to recollect the words of Jobs: Believe in your dreams! “And those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” Thank you Steve Jobs.
WoW Pages bows to Steve Jobs for the passion he carried for what he loved to do.
Let’s live for and love what we do, to the fullest !!!
Say Cheese 🙂 …see you in next blog.