25 Nov 2013

How Intelligent Are You?

I've hugely been inspired by Sir Ken Robinson ever since I heard his TED talk. I also ended up reading his book. It wasn't as inspiring as his speech, but that’s another point. But there are some amazingly insightful points on creativity he touches upon. I’d like to discuss one of them here.

Often when Sir Robinson asks a group a question “How would you rate your intelligence from 0-10?” he gets a patterned response. Very few people rate their intelligence between 9 and 10 and as many rate them between 3 and 4. For saving some people the embarrassment he doesn't go below the rating 3. But the vast majority of the group almost always rates its intelligence between 5 and 7. A typical bell curve is formed.
Bell Curve on people rating their intelligence from 0-10

Sir Robinson believes that this method of gauging intelligence is flawed. Intelligence cannot be measured by a SAT, GMAT or JEE score. That’s simply a mark of how well you can study. It isn't necessary that people with low IQ scores are not intelligent. I know – it sounds like a paradox, right? After all, IQ does stand for Intelligence Quotient.

So what is intelligence? A common way to define it is “the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.” Most people think intelligence is tangible, measurable. But intelligence is also linked to different aspects like logic, abstract thinking, understanding, self-awareness, communication and more. Can intelligence be measured in those aspects too?

It can’t, can it? Intelligence is not just about how good you are at mathematics, logical reasoning and language. It’s also about how good you are at solving problems; even ensuring they don’t arise. Or how brilliant you are in your field – be it advertising, marketing, finance… even cooking! Or your ability to gauge situations… see what is not seen by others. Or your ability to manage people well.

These aspects cannot be quantified. However, it doesn't mean that people possessing these skills are not intelligent. Yes, floating news is that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates had IQs of 160, but their intelligence was not defined by how much their SAT scores were. Also, it’s unlikely that Sir Richard Branson would score well in an IQ test. Will you say that he, Sharad Pawar, Dhirubhai Ambani and the likes are/were not intelligent people? Or would you say Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar are not intelligent because they weren't great at academics?

We believe education makes us intelligent. Unfortunately, education is often assumed to be the curriculum taught in school. Ever wondered why maths and science are given more weightage while arts and music take a back seat? Because the industry needs the former… maths and science are more likely to get us a job. But creativity and intelligence are different. They demand you think and act beyond more than what this world expects of you. And each one of us is intelligent; each of us is creative. We've just stifled that side of us for fear of ridicule from the world. And we try to curb that intelligence in kids also, thinking that being different won’t get them anywhere. Apart from not being fair, this robs the world of many opportunities to improve… in art, culture, technology, education and more.

Remember, the question shouldn't be “How Intelligent Are You?” Instead, ask yourself (and anyone else) “How Are You Intelligent?” What makes you special, not how special you are.

image Courtesy: Google Images

16 Nov 2013

Thank You Sachin

I've worshipped you for 17 years... Whatever I say isn't enough. So just like the 100 crore Indians out there,  all I can say is

Sachin Tendulkar - The Legend... The God... Never Say Goodbye

10 Nov 2013

Honda Amaze - Test Driven for a Whole Day

I hadn’t given the Honda Amaze much thought just yet. We don’t see as many of them on the road as the Swift Desire or the Verito. Maybe because the Amaze was launched just this year. Honda had finally added a diesel horse to its Indian stable and that created quite a buzz. But as I said, I hadn’t formulated an opinion about it. That was until I drove one.

Honda invited a few of us auto enthusiasts and Twitter addicts to drive their Brio and Amaze from Navi Mumbai to Aamby Valley City, Lonavla, and back. You don’t get such opportunities often and so sane people don’t decline. Well, I’d like to think I’m sane.
Honda Amaze VX

I had never driven the car nor had I been inside Aamby Valley. This event would let me do both. I got to drive the highest variant of the Amaze – the VX (petrol) both ways. The 1st thing that struck me on getting in was the air conditioning. It was so powerful that I leaked more water than I drank during the day. In fact, as evening settled in, my friend sitting at the back asked us to turn the A/c off. And mind you he’s the guy who complains why rickshaws don’t have air conditioning. That speaks volumes for Amaze’s in-car cooling. It’s especially useful in India where the summer is boiling hot and winter is just a word. As you start driving, you notice how nimble the car is. As one who drives compact hatchbacks (Santro, Polo and Swift), I thought I would have to be careful lugging a car with a boot around. But you don’t feel the weight of the boot or the extended wheelbase at all. It didn’t strike me until the end of the day that I had been driving a sedan effortlessly. The bootspace and rear leg room in the Amaze borders on levels of 'obscene'. The tallest and widest of people can sit comfortably. And you can load 2-3 dead bodies in the boot and still have space for luggage. Of course, smoothness doesn’t need a mention. That’s expected from Honda; Honda and refinement are synonymous.

Amaze-ing bootspace! Don't you agree?
As we hit the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, the 1.2 litre powered Honda finally got to stretch her legs. There we got to experience how planted the car is. It isn’t often that you average 130 kmph in an entry level sedan packed with 5 people and camera equipment. The expressway has a many fast sweeping bends, which the Amaze lapped up with Amaze-ing stability. I didn’t have to lift my foot off the gas. Plus the car did a top whack of 145. Bet she would’ve gone faster if the load was lesser.

Once we reached Lonavla, I got my wish. The camera crew got off. No more camera, no more restrictions... just the Amaze, my friend and me. I’ve always loved the road from Bushi dam to Aamby Valley because it’s filled with twists, turns and slopes. You get to test the limits of a car/bike (or yourself). And the Amaze didn’t disappoint in handling. The front end entered every corner with confidence and the car went exactly where she was directed. The ABS offered one of the best feels while braking, allowing me to complete turns shuffling between the brake and throttle. We also took the car off-road a little, and she was fine there too. The McPherson struts and Torsion beams hauled the 965 kg vehicle decently over stones and gravel. The height adjustment option of the driver’s seat was a blessing at this time, giving me more visibility of the road (or gravel). Priced between 6-8 lakhs on road Mumbai, this is the perfect entry level sedan. It has everything a family can want.

The only drawback of the vehicle is the sluggishness while accelerating. The car takes a few moments to gain momentum, as if the engine has a turbocharger with some lag. Lifting off from the 2nd gear is difficult; you have to use the 1st gear if you’re standing still. The people at Honda say this is a rev happy vehicle, and she did sound throaty at high revs in lower gears. But you wouldn’t want to push the car to 6k revs in the 2nd gear. Plus, like the Honda Civic (which, sadly, Honda doesn’t plan on bringing back soon), the gear lever feels woody. Not like the Hyundais or the VWs. But I guess that’s trademark Honda by now.

We had a great time at Aamby Valley. The city is a township in itself. Beautiful roads, plantations, houses similar to those in Bali and auditoriums... but that’s a different point altogether. We were given a presentation on some ‘Wow’ aspects of the Brio and the Amaze. It’s amazing to know that while the Brio is more spacious than the Maruti Alto, it has a shorter wheelbase. The management of Honda were patient in answering all our questions. Lunch was great too, contrary to mediocre food dished out at most events. And then there were the events. The slalom course challenge in the Brio and Filled Tumbler challenge in the Amaze. Glad to say that yours truly won the Filled Tumbler challenge, spilling a mere 100 ml of water while driving through the cones. The event was perfect. Hats off to Anmol, Songita, Diwakar, Subesh and Shweta from Bloggers’ Mind and to others for organizing an awesome event. The challenges were designed around the strengths of the cars. It was an event focussed on showcasing the abilities of the car instead of just creating hype. It was great to meet and interact with Shivani san, Shakeel san, Siddharth san, Sen san, Aneesh san and others from Honda. They were warm, approachable and hospitable. As the saying goes “You meet the nicest people in (a) Honda.”

4 Nov 2013

The Badge Idea - Coz You Deserve Better!

Your badge is your identity. It is all about you. Unfortunately, in today’s mass culture, badges lose their uniqueness. Every badge looks just like the other. So what differentiates you from someone else?

Nikhil has a solution to this problem is mass-customization – in form of ‘The Badge Idea’. Whether it’s a snap, a bio, a slogan/quote, or your website link – or even all of them – The Badge Idea (TBI) makes each badge stand out. Conceptualized in 2013, TBI’s USP, though, is the presence of a theme. You can have a badge with your own theme – one that defines you. Whether you’re a sport lover, a foodie, a coffee addict, a geek, a marketing professional, a social media wiz... let the world know about it through your badge.

Nikhil’s aims to provide badges for tweet ups. It becomes easier for Tweeple attending tweet ups and events to introduce themselves to others. Not just their names and company names, but also aspects which they’re passionate about. He also provides badges for events and corporate functions. The event’s theme can be incorporated onto the badges, giving them a different touch. Scannable bar codes can also be printed.
Simply log onto the website and fill the form, which asks for what you want on your custom badge. You will receive a preview in your e-mail, and only after your approval does the badge go into printing. You can even gift these badges to loved ones or friends. Plus the badge will be delivered to any address across the world. 
For now, you will have to bear the courier charges for addresses outside India. Pay via cash or bank transfer.

The Badge Idea - Your badge is all about YOU
The Badge Idea will soon incorporate a payment gateway on the website itself. So you will be able to pay online. Also, as earlier stated, Nikhil aims to start providing badges for events too. Corporate entities and event management firms will get badges customizable for their events, something which delegates will enjoy wearing.

A lot of people have already ordered and received badges from TBI, within timelines promised. And they’ve flashed them on Twitter. iTannu, AnahitaIrani1, CarpeDatAss, Muskurahatein, NashiliAnkhein, KishMishnaiyatweetz, LunacyRedefined... the list goes on and on. These badges are a whiff of fresh air compared to the simple, staid and similar ones available everywhere else. A theme, a snap, a slogan, a website link and everything else that defines you goes onto your badge – your identity. If anything, this concept is going to scale up real quick. So go ahead, get your own badge. And tell me you loved it. It’s hard to believe you will have any other opinion.
badge UA-22264662-1