Friday, October 31, 2014

30 years ago, this day

It's 30 years today since Indira Gandhi fell to assassin's bullets, when an era also ended.

I was in the classroom in St Xavier's College, Thumba, Thiruvananthapuram, where I was doing my undergrad course in Chemistry. Around 11 am or so, a group of Kerala Students Union members came into the class to tell the professor that classes need to be suspended, as Mrs Gandhi has been shot at. There was hushed silence as we eagerly sought more details of what had happened.

There were not many details. The students themselves had got to know about it from someone in the State Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram. Those were the days when terrorists managed to break through the security and strike at prominent personalities. And then, it was just four months after the sensational Operation Bluestar when Mrs Gandhi ordered Indian Army into the Golden Temple in Amritsar to flush out the militants.

Classes were suspended and we all streamed out discussing among ourselves what may actuallly have happened. Then, someone broke the startling news that her own security guards had opened fire at her. That was unbelievable, too shocking to be true.

Our effort was to get a transistor and tune in to BBC. There were two classmates who stayed in hostel, within the college premises. One of them, not sure if it was Stephen or Thomas, got a radio, to the staff room. I was the radio buff, so they handed it over to me to tune in to BBC.

We listened to 12.30 pm news. BBC announced that Mrs Gandhi had been assassinated by her own Sikh bodyguards. We were all stunned to silence. She had been riddled with bullets pumped into her from very short distance. She was taken to AIIMS but she would have passed away immediately.

She was walking from her house to be interviewed by Peter Ustinov. She was shot when she was at the wicket gate by the guards. Beant Singh was killed by the ITBP guards and Satwant Singh was arrested.

After listening to the news I left for home. Quite puzzlingly All India Radio news at 2 pm did not say that she had been assassinated. The news only said she had been admitted to AIIMS after being shot at.

We later realised that President Giani Zail Singh was in Zimbabwe at that time and was flying back. Vice President too was not in the capital. Apparently the news was not officially announced on AIR because of the power vacuum in Delhi. Her son Rajiv too was away in Kolkata and got to know of the news from BBC.

The news was broadcast only in the 6 pm AIR bulletin. We then started hearing on foreign radio stations that riots had broken out especially in Delhi.

Next thing we looked forward to was who will be the next PM. Rajiv was elected unanimously. Pranab Mukherjee who was the natural choice was edged out.

Next came Rajiv's address to the nation. And the infamous reference to riots.. to the effect that.. When a big tree falls the earth is bound to shake.. But then few understood the enormity of the backlash against the Sikhs that unfolded.

Indira Gandhi was definitely a strong PM India had. She meant business. And things moved, though we may disagree in which direction it was. She was variously described as a dictator, tough task master, visionary, nationalist etc..

India hasn't had a PM like her since then. Of course the world too changed in many ways later.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

5.9 inch Nexus 6 on Android L launch expected in October

In the last 24 hours there have been more information trickling out about the much-anticipated next Nexus phone. (Though Moto G and Moto X created lot of excitement because of stock Android, Nexus still spells magic.)

An earlier post on the next Nexus phone is here.

One of the first things I look for is the screen size, because I read a lot. At 5.9 inch, Nexus 6 will be a giant phone. Incidentally, HTC One Max has the same screen size. A phone of this size will be difficult to hold. I would have preferred a maximum of 5.5 inch. May be reading experience would be better.

That reminds me: When Galaxy Note (now referred to as Original) hit the market end of 2011, an enthusisatic sales guy tried his best to make me buy one. But I found the screen size of 5.3 inch too big. I even remarked to that guy, who would buy such an huge phone!

In Jan 2013, at one of the elctronic stores, when I saw the same Galaxy Note, I was surprised seeing the size of the screen. I asked the sales guy, "Is this really Galaxy Note, the original one?" (By then Galaxy Note 2 was in the market.) He said, yes. I thought the size of the screen looked smaller than what I thought it was. Of course, it was just perception. 5.3 inch in 2011 was huge. The same 5.3 inch in 2013 looked quite normal.

So, though now I think the Nexus 6 screen size of 5.9 inch is huge, may be I will have to revise my opinion a couple of years later, when most phones would be of around 6 inch!

Nexus 6 will have top resolution of 2560x1440.  LG G3, Oppo Find 7 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 have similar resolution. Galaxy S5 has 5.1 inch screen with display of 1920x1080. Galaxy Note 4 has 5.7 inch screen.

Another spec that I look for is the processor. Nexus 6 is rumoured to have Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset, and will pack 3GB RAM.

Some other features are: 13-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization and a 2-megapixel front camera. The battery will be a 3,200mAh one, and it's said, a mere charging of 15 minutes will give it a life of 8 hours. That sounds simply unbelievable.

Like HTC One M8, Nexus 6 is rumoured to have front facing stereo speakers.

But the best part is it will run on Android's latest operating system, now called Android L, the successor of Kitkat. That will kickoff the Android 5 version.

The launch of Nexus 6 and Android L is said to be in a couple of weeks, in mid-October.

Now, we just wait for more clarity on all these rumours.