"If the mind is to emerge unscathed from this relentless struggle with the unforeseen, two qualities are indispensable: first, an intellect that, even in the darkest hour, retains some glimmerings of the inner light which leads to truth; and second, the courage to follow this faint light wherever it may lead."
~ Carl von Clausewitz.
Monday, June 28, 2010
I hope the title is not misleading enough to describe this post as a testimonial to the wonderful clan of people situated in Southern India (pun intended). So let's get this straight, "The Apple" is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family (Rosaceae) and is a perennial. It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members of genus Malus that are used by humans.
Our long standing relationship with this passionate fruit supposedly starts from the advent of the human race, providing us with a one-way ticket from the garden of Eden to the bowels of Earth. As a result, in the story of Adam and Eve, the apple became a symbol for knowledge, immortality, temptation, the fall of man into sin, and sin itself.
If that wasn't bad enough, Sir Isaac Newton decided to blame the forces of gravitation explicably as the reason we couldn't lift off the surface of the earth. And the poor apple was made the scapegoat. The end-result three more laws added to the curriculum. The only thought that ran through my mind in science class was the alternative sources of discovering the effects of gravity. What if the apple hadn't fallen on Sir Isaac? Would he have spoken about the imaginary magnet that keeps tugging at my bottom every single time I jump in the air?
The other Apple (Apple Inc.) that's recently making the news is the one owned by a certain Steve Jobs. For a brief period of time over the last one month, it even toppled Microsoft as the leading software company in the world. The Apple story, or more significantly the Steve Jobs story has to be the most inspiring stories of our times.
But, my most recent and perhaps the most delineating rendezvous with the "forbidden fruit" was during my visit to the US. I was out to buy fruits from a famous retail chain, and I was totally dumbstruck by the variety of apples on display. It was pretty evident during my trip that the consumers in the US of A are spoilt for choice. My friend wasn't sure either and since we had spent the best quarter of an hour on judicious decision making, the task didn't get any easier when a salesman came up to us (I have always had this perception that its hard to describe the taste of eatables).
Anyways, the next 30 minutes were the most amazing as the salesman took us through a well-informed tour of apples. He would pick up an apple, polish it with a piece of cloth and feel the texture of the skin pressing them slightly. It was accompanied by a narration, starting with the flavour of apples, their texture, region of production, and even to the extent to surveys regarding consumer preferences. We were given a slice of each type of apple and asked to analyse the differences.
The whole event had a profound impact on my perception of America and the marketing strategies employed. The man had ensured that he would have a regular costumer for the long run, and I had learned my lesson on how to sell effectively. Its sad that my lessons aren't helping me in buying apples in India, for every single time I decide to employ it at the local fruit vendor, it doesn't go really well with the storekeeper.I also came to know that US is the second largest producer of apples in the world after China. India's at seventh.
"And there never was an apple, in Adam's opinion, that wasn't worth the trouble you got into for eating it. " - Neil Gaiman