Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Beauty in the Crowd

Far away she stood, away from the chaotic crowd
The merrymaking seemed hard to douse
The claps & whistles would never drown
She stood there, alone & unmoved..
Oh! I fell for that girl ... the Beauty in the crowd!

I stopped in my tracks, ignoring the human abound
My gaze fixed at her, hypnotically as it may sound
Her pretty face with a void expression
Evoked my attention, I knew there had to be a reason..
Oh! I fell for that girl ... the Beauty in the crowd!

I observed her face, trying to read her
A hundred thousand emotions resonating on it
Hope, despair, love, tragedy .. I almost lost count
Never had I seen them so vividly, I fail to recollect..
Oh! I fell for that girl ... the Beauty in the crowd!

My feet stepped forward, I knew I had to talk
But she moved before I could, and joined the pervious crowd
I cursed myself in an utter despair
And the next moment, it was all over with a deafening sound..
Oh! I fell for that girl ... the Suicide Bomber!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sex Sells !!

Well, I am not talking about prostitution or pornography. I am talking about sex selling in broad daylight, overtly, in front of thousands of people & corporate delegations. I happened to be a witness to this 'sleaze marketing' about 3 weeks back.

Crudely put, it was much of a 'soft sleaze' analogous to 'soft porn'. I happened to visit Asia IT Expo '07 and there I was a witness to this widely used marketing tactic. Many of the visitors may not have been in a state to comprehend these situations, because rationality loses ground in visually tantalizing scenarios. One may not realize that he is getting lured into visiting that stall & checking out the products. Its one of the most successful marketing mantras & is unfortunately, here to stay.

The fact that surprised me was that the corporate houses using this 'soft sleaze' were among the top companies of that segment. Normally, a lesser known company would resort to such gimmicks in order to attract visitors to their products. Why does the world leader in processors require pretty girls in micro-minis to markets its new range? I mean, the name is enough for a consumer like me, to whom features of a new Notebook PC would appeal rather than those of a girl wearing a skimpy outfit. The same applies to a company dealing with security equipment like surveillance cameras, hiring girls in order to rake in visitors to their stall. The visitors' surveillance on the girls was much more prominent than any of their peeping security lenses!

These practices are rampant on most of the marketing checklists. May it be TV shows, advertisements, billboards - sex truly sells. And even 5 star hotels & reception desks in offices are no exception. After all, what matters at the end of the day is the Sales Graph! And sex is a tried & tested way to boost it. The visit to this "Asia IT Expo(sure) '07" turned out to be quite a first hand experience on these 'practices'. And yeah, of course I did come across some great products too!

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Lady in the Blue Jumpsuit

"We are not powerless specks of dust drifting around in the wind, blown by random destiny. We are, each of us, like beautiful snowflakes - unique, and born for a specific reason and purpose." These words by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross aptly metaphor the essence of Sunita Williams, the NASA astronaut who has made mankind proud by her achievements. She has become a youth icon to say the least, moreover a perennial source of inspiration for our generation. I am feeling highly elated and fortunate to have attended an interactive session by her, yesterday at Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay.

A keynote interactive session was arranged by the Aerospace Department as a part of their ongoing festival "Zephyr '07". After eagerly standing in a long queue for about an hour, finally it was the moment to see Ms. Williams live in person. My excitement knew no bounds and shortly she was right there, before our eyes waving and approaching the centre-stage. This 'lady in the blue jumpsuit' - a term I coined after her trademark blue NASA jumpsuit - got a standing ovation from a packed audience of about 3000. The claps resonated the convocation hall and looked like they would never cease. The enthralled audience (many of which were school children) finally took their seats and waited for Sunita Williams to address them. Ms. Williams begin her session desribing her 195-day spaceflight as her 'Summer Vacation'. She shared her experiences with the help of a video clip from inside the Internation Space Station. We watched, spellbound and agape, as she went about describing her daily chores, eating, drinking, exercising and conducting vital scientific experiments in a zero-gravity environment! It was surely and literally an 'out-of-the-world' summer vacation! She also emphasized on the role of the space station and the various experiments carried out there, much of them oriented towards getting to know the behaviour of living things in a non-terrestrial environment. "This" she said, "would help mankind to find other possible options for human habitation, like the moon!"

She also described her vivid memories of seeing the earth from up there. “From space you realise how beautiful our planet looks with all its mountains, crevices, valleys and streams and you can't see any borders from up there. All kinds of borders - national, caste, creed, gender, etc - exist only on papers and in your mind!", she exclaimed, with an underlying message of a holistic approach that we should not restrict our identity as a citizen of a particular country, but as a citizen of the Earth.

Then the interactive session kicked off, with the school kids dominating the session with their curiosities about the space and Ms. Williams. The organizers had a busy time running about the hall, trying their best to get as many people to ask questions. Ms. Williams gave comprehensive answers to queries ranging from her thoughts on global warming, space tourism to that of encountering any aliens! When asked about her source of inspiration, she replied that firstly it was her parents and then Mahatma Gandhi.

Time flew quickly, and soon it was time to bid farewell to her. A roaring applause showered affection and good luck for her future endeavours - the least we could do for a befitting role model. I came out of the hall with a happy heart, wishing these inspiring memories would forever remain undiffused in my mind and heart. I had just been with one of the beautiful snowflakes in that quotation by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross!

Sunita Williams - A Factfile

Commander - US Navy

NASA Astronaut

Records As a female Astronaut
» Longest Spaceflight (195 days)
» Number of Spacewalks (4)
» Cumulative time of spacewalks (29 hrs 17 min)