The Overview Effect

” ..compelling us to re-evaluate and reconsider our perspectives of the world within and around us.”

Ideas, Riffs And (Some) Noise On All Things Marketing. Branded

Quick read: Overview Effect – a phenomenon from space travel can have some great creative parallels in the arts. 

There’s a strange phenomenon that happens to astronauts when they see Earth from space. Most astronauts describe this as a cognitive shift in awareness, a state of mental clarity or a sense of deep connection.

This state called the “overview effect,” occurs when you are flung so far away from Earth that you become totally overwhelmed and awed by the fragility and unity of life on our planet. It’s the uncanny sense of understanding the “big picture” and a humbling appreciation of our infinitesimalness in comparison – all at the same time.

Recently, two creative technologists have created an oddly mesmerizing website that provides something approximating the ‘Overview Effect’ for the rest of us.

Check it out at

Andrew Wong and James Thompson created an algorithm that seeks videos…

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The Indo –US Strategic Dialogue: How it’s been so far…

The History of mankind is often replete with the circles of rise and fall of great empires, Kingdoms and more recently of unions and nations .The famous historians of past have always mentioned the splendor and greatness of civilizations of their ages, often making these civilizations “The Cultures” of that age.

The Modern world is characterized by presence of super powers and military regimes, ideological nations each having their own brand of economic and social cultures showcasing them at what ever front and stage available. It is in such a list that the US and India maintain their own presence and have been ever more eager to make their ties deeper through various initiatives and reciprocated gestures after a couple of decades of mistrust and outright hatred

The US and India both understand in their own best interests that it is but natural to help out each other to make sure the survival and continuance of their positions as major powers at the global stage .The asymmetrical rise of China and the growing complexities of global terrorisms and allied issues of which both India and US happen to be direct victims, have made it absolutely important the we both help out each other and make sure the two great democracies understand each other’s needs and problems.

The 60’s and 70’s under the influence of the chilly winds of the “cold war” made it a de’facto Rule in the white house and 7 RCR to not see eye to eye , events like the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War , the signing of a treaty of friendship and cooperation with the Soviet Union in August 1971 among many others have all usually made our foreign relations history a “chequered “ history.

The fall of the Soviet Union in the early 90’s and the ensuing economic liberalization (a rather rude shock to the rulers of India that a closed and a not so entrepreneuring nation was a recipe to economic disaster) made the cold vibes and hard looks whittle away as a symbiotic relation was to grow and replace the o’l order .

The road to smiling photo op’s was not a rosy one by any means , issues such as presence and development of Nuclear weapons ,Friendly relation with Soviet union, Difficult Military relations and a never ending conflict with Pakistan always ensured the infant relation had a bumpy ride whenever possible.

As former President APJ Abdul Kalam had once said famously “In this world, Only strength respects strength, Fear has no place” ,the modern world where only the silence of fear backed by a Stoic presence of undeniable and unquestionable strength of nuclear weapons is respected, India was, is and will be hell bent on preserving its status as a nuclear power .The staunch and often discouraging response, view US had on this in the past was detrimental to the relation between the two nations. Such a strong commitment by India to the strength and security of its union has also been a bone of contention with it neighbors and when these neighbors happen to be allies of US it is bound to raise the hackles of political discomfort in any kind of relation with the US.

The strong support and backing our “good” neighbor Pakistan receives from US has and will always be a issue of soreness to the eye’s of any Indian, more so when Pakistan can blindly and naively ask and demand leverages in various other areas of direct conflict be it a particular water treaty between it and India, The Kashmir issue, military aid, economic aid and a political and diplomatic on the global stage.

The economic liberalization that was unleashed in the mid 90’s brought in a slew of US investments and improved economic ties with US as business relations flowered and blossomed thanks to a entrepreneuring nation which eager to grow was busy lapping up any opportunity that was available. It is this growth and deepening confidence in economic ties that have actually been the catalyst in changing the nature of Indo –US relations.

As is natural with any nation the ambitions and aspirations of a rising power have to be accommodated and respected but the current global diplomatic situation and presence of multiple centers of powers, and too many squabbling powers all vying for the same spot have made it all the more necessary that a major global Power such as US back and vociferously second India’s nomination and presence at various global forum’s.

The Positive feedback and enthusiastic rapport that the leaders of two nations have been able to generate is a warming sign of growing bonhomie. The Public approval of and open support that US will place on the UNSC permanent membership bid that India is going to ask for , is a much sought after and looked out for statement . The Support of US is important at such an international stage as it puts the weight of a major player in world diplomatic stage behind India.

The issues of military and scientific engagement, encouragement of research and development and investment in the scientific powerhouses of the two nations are to be worked out, as is the signing and acceptance of major agreements like CISMOA , Tying up the loose ends of the Indo –US nuclear deal and finish it are areas of utmost importance.

On the whole a lot of things such as deepening of economic relations , diplomatic support on major issues, improvement of one to one military engagement , facilitating scientific and knowledge exchanges and improving on present educational initiatives( such as Fulbright scholarship program) are the call of the day .

Its is hoped that the present exchange and initiatives are taken to the next logical level and with president Obama’s proposed visit to India later in the year ,The Indo –US sojourn continues to scale newer heights .


Well we are all quite used to the hectic life style & hustle bustle travelling of today’s Kolkata. Its time capsule like buses and their ever winding long route plans. Their unscheduled stop’s (or rather start’s) give me a sense of joy ,of relief as every passing signpost and address gives the cheers of reaching the “home sweet home” destination (it could also be the school like college or college like office destination depending upon who it concerns!)

It is in these buses of time travel that I reflect upon my good sweet school days & childhood of fun & leisure full walks to the school in the big groups of the “Bands of brothers” like friends. All those tinkling lunch boxes, leaking and dripping water bottles& yes not to forget that heavy “bori- busta” called school bag! Alas that too was signpost called schooldays along the pathway of the odyssey of life

. Next comes the signpost saying “college days ahead” .This is when the  tryst with late fines for late entry, improper uniform, the keenly awaited attendance vs fine contest at sem ends, the suspension orders, irreplaceable bunking (“practice makes you perfect” motto) sessions (more of a norm nowadays!), crush & blush of young couples; all happen. All these are and will ever be the norm of the menu card of college life. But before we pass on yes studies too are dealt with here as they are the talk of the town; microprocessor, machines, java, and c & oops …..All part of the college menu. But well this too seems to be coming to an end after 2 ½ years of  stay gives way to the beginning of the end, soon to materialize into the dawn of the much awaited “office” life ; but hey stop where is the signpost to that milestone …..Ahoy CAMPUS INTERVIEWS.

 It is time folks- The “Big mans job test vs the college boys answer” sessions is here. Its time to take a look at the big world of “professional” work (as if we were unprofessional in our work- bunk the best you can) .campus interviews- the time to look into yourself and ask whether you fit the bill or not! (Well it does not matter if you don’t fit in because you got to resize yourself to fit in!!) But how do you know if you fit in or not?

                                                                 Well here’s when the “angel” named GB comes in- all guns blazing and in a series of sessions aimed at setting the M-seal at the plughole called self doubt ends the jam session saying “buddy here’s where the buck stops , u got to do it yourself!” ;in a nut shell all the “hal-chal”, “jhatak-matak”, “rona-dhona” ; all  visualized ,analyzed and perfected with the ever helpful touch of GB.

                                              But wait its all in a blurry how do I know or rather do I know? How or what is in store for me. My father gives me a look of floodlights ready to flood me with all those “keep it up” & “well done son” kudos; mom’s on a different flight all together readying her speech she would “broadcast” on the relay network (known as phone)about  the great event known as “selection of my son”. My friends meanwhile are all eyes & ears looking 007 types trying to gather all about my movements across the world of preparation. Every nook and corner is abuzz with the words “hey did you know that dada or didi did that in such a manner, what will you do”, every senior posing with the look of Barkha dutt as if asking “ ke re ki korchis campuser prep koto door aeseche?”. All this in the midst of solemn and silent gathering of  the toppers. Gathering like a pack of wolves all strategizing the “attack”. All brazenly readying their artillery and ammunition for the Great War that looms ahead!


I look up to my gun (pistol?). Is it going to stand it? Will it be able to fire its salvo? Will I scale the Berlin wall? Will I breach Normandy? Oh god! Please help me fight my battle!! I plead desperately and that is when the spark of light that I was so desperately searching for comes out saying “hey if they can, so can you too; after all you are here with them, standing on the same boat, coming across the same pontoon called JEE it’s the same river & every one is standing on it with you; go on! March ahead you’ll make it. Go on!”    The flight of fancy is about to begin and you better rev up your engines. All the best!

                                                Engine’s- oh that is something I know of, it was all part of those bulky books … mechanical science, machines, math & science. Ok here I am and I am coming. but before I plunge in I better take a look at all those logical reasoning, mathematical ability, that different and tougher cousin of English known as verbal they might come in handy .I just cleaned and dusted my mind, polished my speech, oiled my hair,ironed my uniform& checked the look on my face , after all I ought to be presentable! Then I searched for that elusive grey matter called General knowledge I baked all the news papers blazed the magazines zipped my way through the internet all in the search of that know how!

 My seniors were helpful as they guided me to a POW (prisoner of war!) of the yester year’s placement sessions – the Question papers. I interrogated them and found that-        I was, yes I was after all capable,  I had just made it to the hall of fame, I fit the bill . Hey may be I am not that bad at all. May be I‘ll fire my gun & hope that it finds its target too.

                                                           The very same target we were all talking about .That very elusive Shangri-la like sign post of campus interview; all pointing to that milestone of green pasture. The path way to the world of office & jobs –the next episode on this odyssey called life.


just some of the companies who will be hunting on our grounds!!