October 08, 2011

Mac made our newspapers possible

Apple's home page greets us when we open some of our Macs at our office. It is a default page alright but it does not irk me at all.
Today, the image of the man who changed the face of technology greeted me.
Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple had passed away earlier in the day and Apple was paying tribute to him in that iconic signature that it has been celebrated for for ages now.
To me, Apple is part of the reason why we are here. It was the enabler for a bunch of us who were keen on publishing in our college days, in the early 80s.
Today, I work on Macs and these computers have made it possible for me to reach out to you for the past two decades.
In the summer of the late 80s, I joined Jesson Verghese at his small desk in a bylane that runs off Wallajah Road, a stone's throw from the Chepauk cricket stadium and a street away from the famed Nair's Mess.
Jesson had signed off from the Indian armed forces to help his aging Dad at his printing press and was keen to publish 'something small', while the publishing itch I had developed in school had got under my skin.
Keeping us company as we scribbled, planned and groaned in Jesson's office was a little Mac whose monitor was as small as the Samsung Tab that is being hawked today.
Jesson tells me that it was a Mac LC made for the South Asian market and that he paid Rs.4.75 lakhs for the Mac and a printer. It was a princely sum for an entrepreneur in a Triplicane nook but it made our work so easy and simple that design and pre-production were the least of our worries.
It was that little Mac that helped launch 'StreetWalker', a city-based free-sheet periodical that ran for a few years before circumstances forced Jesson and me to go our ways.
Some years later, in 1993 when I worked on the 'dummy' for the first set of free neighbourhood weeklies, 'Adyar Times' and 'Anna Nagar Times', compatriot K. S. Ramakrishnan provided us a set of Macs.
Since then, the Macs have been an integral part of my publishing life.
They have given us the freedom, the choice, the facility and the wonderfulness to publish from a simple desk for a small community, at a time when most people assumed that newspaper publishing was the domain of the Jains and the Mahavishnus.  Desk Top Publishing was made real.
Thank you, Steve Jobs!
This column came off a ten-year-old iMac in Bondi blue!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is a pity to see people sympathizing with Steve Jobs. But does anyone really care about Dennis Ritchie, the founder of C. That is the way it goes, people looking at awe when there is so much of hype (cricket stars, actors)