Trip to India as teen was a life-changer for Steve Jobs

NEW DELHI: Steve Jobs came to India as a teenager in search of enlightenment. He returned disappointed, following a brush with lice, scabies, dysentery and a near mob thrashing after he protested at being sold watered-down buffalo milk.

But the trip did mark a turning point in his life. In his own words, it helped him realize that "Thomas Edison did a lot more to improve the world than Karl Marx and Neem Karoli Baba (the guru he was seeking, who died before they could meet) put together".



 
Steve Jobs: His works, legacy

Jobs' India connection, though, preceded his trip. As a penniless college drop-out , he would walk seven miles every Sunday to get a free meal at the Hare Krishna temple. He also retained a lifelong admiration for Mahatma Gandhi. In 1997, Apple's 'Think Different' ads, which featured his personal idols, included the Mahatma.
Tough India visit led him to question many illusions

Steve Jobs' trip to India was eventful, to put it mildly. He arrived in India, accompanied by his friend Dan Kottke, who later became Apple's first employee.

Soon, he had swapped his jeans and T-shirts for lungis as he set out from Delhi for the Himalayas. Along the way, Jobs and Kottke slept in abandoned buildings and survived on local food. "He looked at prices everywhere, found out the real price, and haggled. He didn't want to be ripped off," Kottke was quoted as saying in the book 'iCon: Steve Jobs, The Greatest Second Act In the History of Business'.

While he was searching for Neem Karoli Baba, Jobs chanced upon a mendicant who laughed uproariously at the sight of him, led him up a mountain path, dunked his head in a pond at the top of the mountain and shaved his head. Jobs and Kottke then set off to meet one Harikan Baba, but came away unimpressed. On the way back, while sleeping in a dry creek bed, they were trapped in a fierce thunderstorm.

As Kottke narrates in 'iCon', "I remember us praying to any god that could hear us, 'Dear God, if I ever get through this, I'll be a good person, I promise'."

Having picked up lice and dysentry, the two set off to see Tibet, but contracted scabies near Manali. Worse, Kottke's traveller's cheques got stolen, which ended their trip.

"The hot, uncomfortable summer made Jobs question many illusions he had nursed about India. He found India far poorer than he had imagined and was struck by the incongruity between the country's condition and its airs of holiness," author Michael Moritz wrote in Jobs' biography, as he was quoted as saying in his biography, 'The Little Kingdom - The Private Story of Apple Computer'.

However, Jobs retained his interest in spirituality. In fact, he suggested the name Apple to Steve Wozniak after a visit to a commune in Oregon which he referred to as an "apple orchard".



Sources: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international-business/trip-to-india-as-teen-was-a-life-changer-for-steve-jobs/articleshow/10264889.cms

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