The Color of the Sky

Once, an eagle so blue
With thoughts so tender
Had no clever clue
What to tell the lover.

He shot up high,
Straight to the sky.
With feelings abound
And nowhere to fly around.

When the limit was reached,
And his emotions boiled,
Popped as a fruit ripened.
Thus, the sky was saddened.


The 3310: Rumour or Fact

A phone that doesn’t just signify a revolution but brings back an abundance of memories is the Nokia-3310. First released in 2000, when I was in my third grade in school. It was a luxury item then. Landlines were still popular and just seeing someone flash out his Nokia cellphone or walk around with one in her hand attracted many onlookers. It went on to revolutionize the telecommunication industry setting a benchmark for the highest selling handset by 2005 due to its unchallenged battery life and extreme durability. Snake was another feature that kept people hooked to this piece of technology that seems so basic now.

I woke up to a post from BBC, an article, that carried the news of possible rumors about Nokia bringing this piece from the ashes of its grave. And the same source had prompted at a possible upgrade in features including reminders, greater privacy and a new version of Snake at half of its original price when it was first released 17 years ago. I am excited by all this.

We never had a 3310 in the family. We had a 1100, a 1600, a Nokia flip and a basic Motorola handset with the most intriguing Blackjack game. We still have a number of basic phones in the family. We are a large family and everyone has a smartphone. However, as with most people, smartphones leave you hanging for better need of connectivity and battery life. When you are out camping with your family or best buds, an iPhone or a Samsung smart device just won’t do. You will need something sturdy with ample power to last your time outdoors. I have, through personal experience, found it is easier to get connected in remote areas with a simple mobile phone than a smartphone that keeps searching for networks because it needs to operate at a sophisticated level. The added advantage here is that basic phones won’t intrude while you are having a quality time with your partner or friends. The instant nagging of beeps from messengers and social network apps.

How about a whole generation of old people and young teenagers who need cellphones? You want them to stay connected to you but you can’t just get them smartphones. Either they won’t be able to operate it or they will abuse it. And though there are other basic phones in the market, you know the Nokia brand and the 3310 device is what you want your kid/father/grandfather to have. Simply because they can drop it from their terrace or forget to charge it, and yet you will still be connected when you call them.

This is why I am excited about the return of the 3310 (hoping it happens). I have never owned one but I will get my hands it, if and when it is released. Nokia’s story is not finished yet, and I would like to see some redemption.


The SEO Game: Reboot

“I need to move out of my world. This world where everything is sleepy. Source of income is like juicing a cactus plant in the Sahara. This little town where everything fails to stay abreast with the rest of the world. I need to get back to where I was and start earning again,” thought I. And this time I was resolved to act. So, I updated my LinkedIn account which had been lying dormant ever since I signed up sometime in June, 2016. Then I called in favors from friends asking them to endorse my skills. For the last part I dialed my schoolmate’s number and asked him to help me start again.

As we started talking, he set the tone by telling me about this huge mistake I had made by abruptly leaving my job without any planning. After I agreed meekly like a criminal to a judge, we moved towards the next steps I had to take up. We were discussing our resume and something caught his attention. SEO. He talked about how important it is and the kind of role it has now, more than ever. So, he advised me to go study more about it. Learn to work with more SEO tools and enhance my skill in this area. This, he thought, might be a crucial factor in landing me an exciting job offer in a promising company.

So, I started looking up Google guides on creating quality content and making pages more accessible. I found out how the launch of AMP has revolutionized our accessibility of websites by making them load faster on mobile devices. Web indexing and search results are being affected by the continuous algorithms that Google has been infusing into itself. The suggestions I found, if Google’s own guide for developers is to be believed, was that it was going to lower rankings of sites that uploaded pages with forced and unsubstantial content. Not only this, it was also dropping the rankings of pages and sites that contained more grammatical errors and unreliable information.

So, after hours of reading and researching I realized that in the SEO game it will be hard to find a substitute for well-researched, error-free, quality content. Massive crowd-sourced articles will not help companies attract customers or traffic. No matter how high technology takes us, we will often have to stoop down with all humility to the depths of human creativity and imagination to get further. Isn’t that just beautiful? I believe in my abilities and skills more than ever.


Connect, Reconnect and Grow

Connections matter in this world. When Socrates said, “Man is by nature a social animal,” he knew what he was talking about. If he was of this generation, had updated this on Facebook and assuming he had thousands of friends and followers he would probably get thousands of likes and hundreds of followers. And subsequently he will get more followers. Now, imagine I had come up with this quote and updated it on my Facebook, it would have gone mostly unnoticed, unliked and passed on as unworthy of comments. So, what matters is not the idea or the message of the post but the connections we build through our time in the web world and/or real life.

When we make an intentional effort to reach out to people and connect we are often reciprocated in an equally positive manner. That is general human behaviour as we are programmed to do. It is through this process that we make a mark in the lives of people and enables us to put across ideas, be heard and successfully carry out our activities. And the process rolls on faster and faster once we start and continue it. This can be compared with viral media posts, a sensation of the e-world.

Now, it may be hard for us to remain connected with so many people. We have families, extended families, jobs, children and other things too that need our time and attention. So, we get on with our lives. However, it is necessary that we go back to those people who had contributed in making us socially powerful and let them know we haven’t forgotten them. Reconnecting is a more intensive and challenging process because we have to know where to pick up, how to kick off again and what to avoid. Successfully carried out it will ensure that our following remains intact and even reward us with more fans through our old pals’ recommendations.

Now, let’s tone things down, like really down, and make sense of this at a micro level. When you make an effort to be with your high school/ college friends, hang out or go to their birthday parties you get rewarded. They come to your parties and functions, introduce you to great people and help you with your studies/personal matters. Even hook you up with a popular guy or girl. Slowly yet consciously, we build friendships that take us on beautiful journeys. Fast forward and we may be working or starting families, and are unable to remain in touch as often as we want to. This drives us in different directions and new friend circles. Then, one day you are sipping lemonade on your porch on a late, hot summer afternoon and you see your grandkid playing in the lawn with his friend and this flashback hits you. Wow! What if?

Where is that cool, high-school bestie who taught you to swim? Or what if you had reconnected with the college buddy who wanted to be a comedian? How is that girl I always argued with doing now? You might regret not having reconnected with them because you miss them. But the more important thing is that you could have done so much more because you connected with new friends, reconnected with old ones and grew together. You could have made life a bigger album of memories if you understood Aristotle.


Magic of Memories

Do we ever stop and think of our first memory of ourselves? Of course, we remember so many events, people and places. We also remember a whole universe of tastes, smells and feelings. It is not so easy when we try to remember the approximate time we started forming memories. I know this must sound absurd and loony. But bear with me and think of the first time you remember being on this earth dropping poop on the kitchen  floor as your mommy cried for you to hold it or move away. So, when is it that these magical capacity called memory triggers in us?

I was just thinking about my childhood. It was a ride that took me really deep backwards and almost held me captive there. The time I ate a soap while my mother left me in the bath tub for a moment while she attended to something more important than her baby was one of the first flashbacks I got. I am confused if that was first or was it the other one where I am (or at least trying to) repair my tricycle.

Then, there was this time when I sold a carbon paper I had removed from my father’s desk to a kid in my first school year. I struck a deal so good I got enough cash to buy a pencil, a sharpener and an eraser. Who was that innocent kid? He thought it was pure magic that you could put this blue sheet on top of a white paper and scribble with anything, even his fingernail, and get that same mark over the white paper.

Later on, I shot my sister on her temple with my BB gun and she crushed it to a thousand pieces. After few months or a year I was shoved to the ground one winter morning by my neighbor’s dog. I fell sideways and the first impact was on my left earlobe. It was a really cold day and felt like a thousand-pound hammer striking me down. It hurt so bad I think I saw stars in daylight for the first time in my life. I did not wake up from the ground for quite sometime. I still wonder why there wasn’t anyone else out on the road that day, apart from the weird girl who stood a few feet away noticing everything and laughing her heart out. She didn’t even come to rescue me. I swear she must have some screws in her cranium that needs tightening.

After that is a series of events I can remember almost in order. Crazy, weird, fun, happy, sad, unwanted, wanted, lucky and unlucky events that can be printed out like the transaction slip that rolls out of card-swipe machines. Only it would have to have an extraordinary supply of paper in it if my memories are to be printed out without interruption.

So, let’s go back to the question I asked at the beginning of this post. Do you have an answer for yourself? I don’t. Maybe it’s supposed to be that way. If we start knowing these things then what will be the magic of this monotonous existence we call life? Continue reading