Superpowers I Grew Up With


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Anab's talk at Interesting, London, 2009

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Superpowers I Grew Up With

  1. 1. My name is Anab Jain. I am a designer.I have started a design company called Superflux.
  2. 2. According to the rules, I will not talk about my work. Instead I will talk about my home.According to the rules, I will not talk about my work.Instead I will talk about my home And...
  3. 3. Superpowers I grew up with... And the Super powers I grew up with. Three out of the many superpowers I grew up with. (and thats me.)
  4. 4. xWhile I like that guy pretending to be the Indian Superman, I am not going to talk superpowers in that marvel sense of theword. (no apologies to the comic lovers out there)
  5. 5. ✓Instead I am going to talk about the dichotomy between progressive science and age old mythologies which form an importantpart of our everyday urban lives in India. What I like about this dichotomy is the amazing paradoxes it produces, and how apopulation as large and diverse can in large parts believe in these paradoxes. Out of an extraordinary sense of faith, often inthe most difficult circumstances. Thats a robot telling your fortune. Nothing romantic about that.
  6. 6. Disclaimer The following are my personal opinions. It is a quest to better understand the cultural landscape I grew up in. To all the Hindus and Jains out there, please dont be upset. I do love my country.The following are my personal opinions. It is a quest to better understand the cultural landscape where I grew up. To all theHindus and Jains out there, please dont be upset. I love my country.
  7. 7. HeimatKevin Slavin talked about the beautiful concept of Heimat in a recent talk I attended. That you only understand Heimat whenyou are away from home, when you have a certain distance. And after 6 years I think I do. Now an image search in flickrbrings up the most idyllic romantic photographs of different peopleʼs heimats. Much as Iʼd like to believe that one of theseromantic beautiful landscape that might be home,
  8. 8. Well, really it was mostly like thisIt was really mostly like this. My home city of Ahmedabad.
  9. 9. More like this when you got closer
  10. 10. They can do pretty much as they please.
  11. 11. Kill a politician too. Kill a politician too.And we are not allowed to kill them, even if they kill people, or a politician. so what do you do? One innovative approach hasbeen to...I dont know what you would then do to chase the larger more ferocious monkeys away, but you can see the solutiongetting out of hand.
  12. 12. Manifestations of Hanuman, the mountain-carrying Superhero par excellenceAs the Hindus believe that they are manifestations of Hanuman, the mountain carrying superhero parexcellence.
  14. 14. While these fellas are having a whale of a time in our cities, how are wefaring?
  15. 15. We live in dense overpopulated cities
  16. 16. With no time to worry about that 1.5 billion mark we will cross by 2025With no time to worry about that 1.5 billion mark we will cross by2025
  17. 17. Not when we are wrestling with an extraordinary system come on, thats pure magic. Whoever can do that??? that has to be something out of the extraordinarythere.
  18. 18. 5000 people squeezed in a train with a capacity for 1700 SUPERPOWER NO.2 THE MUMBAI COMMUTER TRAINso this magical mumbai commuter train is my superpower no.2
  19. 19. The rocket science hero Tipu Sultan made the world’s first military rocket, 1780My history book said Tipu Sultan made the worldʼs first military rocket in 1780. And I trusted it. Because it was ascientific innovation, and in a sense represented the science and technological emphasis that has been a big part ofpost-independent india since the 60s
  20. 20. "It is science alone that can solve the problems of hunger and poverty, of illiteracy and superstition, of a rich country inhabited by starving people.” Udgam School, Science Class 1993my science class back in 1992, and thats my science teacher who would quote indiaʼs first primeminister.
  21. 21. India’s Ballistic Missile Mission PAD, 2008and today we have a long way since Tipu Sultanʼs tiny rocket - Indiaʼs rocket science is growing fast. this is ourcutting edge ballistic missile mission, and not only rockets, in fact...
  22. 22. India conducted two nuclear tests: 1974 = ‘Smiling Buddha’(we know Buddha) 1998 = ‘Operation Shakti’(Shakti is the Hindu Goddess of strength)till date, India has conducted two nucleartests:
  23. 23. “I heard the earth thundering below our feet and risingahead of us in terror. It was a beautiful sight”Dr. KalamArchitect of India’s ballistic missile programme (and) President of India too!
  24. 24. Can we go back home?the local people were asked to move out of pucca houses during the blasts. however a bigger problem according toone local was: “getting marriage proposals for our boys as parents of girls think that there still may be some problemsin the water or food. But now as most of them are in government service this problem has eased a bit,"
  25. 25. Many (unauthorised) sources believe we did it before! “ ancient city in India, Jodhpur, shows evidence of an atomic blast 8,000 to 12,000 years ago, that destroyed most buildings and half-million people...there are articles published which claimthat
  26. 26. “...the radioactive ash and comments about contamination of food and peoples hair falling out adds credibility, to the ancient Indian ‘records’ that describe atomic warfare." Archeologist Francis Taylor, World Island Review, UKthese ancient records are basically passages from the epic Mahabharata. but some historians apparently went tothese places where the battles were fought and found a very high rate of cancer amongst people today.
  27. 27. Atomic Blast. A meteor hitting the earth.using all kinds of images to make it believable - including the image of lonar crater, which is a lake in central india,formed by a meteor hitting the earth during the pleistocene epoch.
  28. 28. “How do you feel after having exploded the first atomic bomb on earth?” Oppenheimer: “Not the first atomic bomb, but the first atomic bomb in modern times”.Apparently even Oppenheimer thought so, based on thisanswer
  29. 29. this all too famous video: “We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried.Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita; Vishnu is trying topersuade the Prince that he should do his duty and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, Now Iam become Death, the destroyer of worlds. I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.
  30. 30. “The Pokharan blasts have made the point that India now plays in the top league: because Indian scientists have demonstrated their mastery of that very technology which, after 1945, decides a countrys status in geopolitics;...”whether it is true or its a story, its the layers of myths and stories that are built on top of a scientificquest that are fascinating
  31. 31. SUPERPOWER NO.3 The mystical belief of nuclear ‘superpowerdom’and I think that this makes my Superpower 3 - A belief system connecting 1.2 billion peopletogether.
  32. 32. “Not farewell, but fare forward, voyagers” anab@superflux.inbut as Krishna, the Hindu god said before this historic war: not farewell, but fare forward voyagers.