Steve Jobs and his Indian Spiritual (dis)Connect


It is but inevitable. It is but the want of typical stories. It is but only page filling tactics. It is but a bad habit hard to break. It is but only what the masses want. It is but only search engine optimisation to write on popular topics of the day!!

It happens every single time. When an important event or a massive bit of news is made relating to person or place – there it is – its association (at some point of time) to ….. India. It seems the entire world has at some point been to India, walked the streets, donned the traditional attire, clicked snaps, been to the ashram and felt something God-Like!!

A famous personality, Steve Jobs, recently passed away. May his soul rest in peace. The “master innovator”, “Apple founder”, “great entrepreneur”, “college drop out” and many other names that he is known by, passed away peacefully after a long drawn battle with pancreatic cancer. Within moments of his death, the news had captivated the world. In Asia, where most of us were just waking up to our morning coffee/tea, the news was quite a shock to all Apple fans and iPhone lovers. By the time I arrived in office, the topic was already a hot subject for the day and there was genuine respect for the achievements of such an inspiring gentleman as Steve Jobs.

For some strange reason, I had this thought in the back of my head that the predictable bit is about to happen. And within hours (thanks to a story-hungry journalist somewhere in India or wherever) there it was – a story about Steve Jobs’ connection with India 35 years ago!! How very very predictable and seriously lame.

The story mentions his time in North India spent travelling with his friend in the 70s. Jobs managed to see the culture (oh dear!), the poverty (really?), the general state of the country (although North is only 1 region), suffered diarrhoea and couldn’t wait to get back home! Apparently some wannabe saint hustled him off his money and he was deeply disappointed with the experience. Now that’s pretty much what happened or must have happened to some extent.

The point to note is the journalist’s interpretation of the entire event. Everytime a story like this comes out, the person who has been to India and back has had some mega-spiritual enlightenment or realisation or connection or floated in air or whatever, thanks to the India experience. This invariably changed their lives, made them better people and therefore successful in their ventures. All in all to say, thanks to the Indian connection, he/she prospered back home.

Why? Why does everything have to be linked back to India – some Indian parent or relative or 1 trip or 2 trips or some Indian guru’s sermon abroad?

Its like we have this constant need to be recognised by the rest of the world. We have a whole lot more in India to talk about than westerners “finding themselves” in India or just successful NRIs, or half-Indians abroad.

Why are we so hungry to constantly associate ourselves with everything glamorous or famous and establish some connection to India?

These guys writing the stories and news cos publishing the nonsense know that this is what the people want to read. Everyone famous has had an Indian connection. That Hollywood couple who married in India’s Jaipur, that Mircosoft dude who supports charities in India, that Bond guy filming in India, that Latin chick doing a dance number in a Bollywood movie, that famous Versace model who is half-Indian half-Alien!! Everyone in the world has had a whiff of Indian air to breathe in at some point.

Why were they suddenly spiritually awakened after 24 hours in India?

Madonna, Julia Roberts, The Beatles, David Bowie and god knows who else were spiritually awakened and then became better human beings after a mere 24 hours in India. They probably just got over their jet lag and had a look at the morning (bollywood inclined) newspaper and suddenly the spirituality hit them in the face! Can’t help – spirituality just lurks in very corner in India and preys on foreigners!!

Why did every famous personality meet with a Sage or Hermit or GURU in India?

A simple phone call would have sufficed!! They do carry cell phones these days y’know? Have you seen the images from the MahaKumbh mela? You’ll be surprised spiritual advice is a mere phone call away.

The world frankly doesn’t care – everyone travels to or through India at some point of time. Most of the world has seen atleast 1 Bollywood movie at some point. They’ve also asked that typical question on Bollywood’s song and dance routine to some Indian already. Also they’ve already asked some Indian or India returned person about the elephants and cows and snake charmers that populate the streets in India. They also know names of atleast 3 major Indian corporate – Infosys, Wipro and Tata – who can and will buy their companies if so they desire. They also know Aishwarya Rai and Shah Rukh Khan and have seen Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (although its been over 12 years since that movie!) at some point in time!!

So give it a break guys. We don’t want that constant reminder on somebody’s Indian connection. We are already global, you seem hell bent on keeping us local. Take time out and write something better on deserving personalities sans the Indian connection and spirituality.

Let Steve Jobs rest in peace. He probably wasn’t thinking about his “spiritual” time in India on his deathbed – he was among the lucky ones to have his family by his side, a beautiful finish to a great life well lived.

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About Archan B

I read. I write. I am literate. And I wish there were more literate people in the world who could then express themselves in beautiful words of prose and poetry.

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