I went there with him three times a week throughout mychildhood, a Monday, Wednesday, Friday early morning ritualwith the clockwork regularity of a good front-crawl stroke. Ihave vivid memories of this dignified
old man stripping down tonakedness next to me, his body slowly emerging as he neatlydisposed of each item of clothing, decency being salvaged at thevery
end by a slight turning away and a magnificent pair ofimported athletic bathing trunks. He stood straight and he wasready. It had an epic simplicity.
Swimming instruction, which intime became swimming practice, was gruelling, but there wasthe deep pleasure of doing a stroke with increasing
ease andspeed, over and over, till hypnosis practically, the water turningfrom molten lead to liquid light.
It was on my own, a guilty pleasure, that I returned to thesea, beckoned by the mighty waves that crashed down andreached for me in humble tidal
ripples, gentle lassos thatcaught their willing Indian boy.
My gift to Mamaji one birthday, I must have been thirteenor so, was two full lengths of credible butterfly. I finished sospent I could hardly wave to him.
Beyond the activity of swimming, there was the talk of it. Itwas the talk that Father loved. The more vigorously he resistedactually swimming, the more he fancied it. Swim lore was hisvacation talk from the workaday talk of shlf1314
running a zoo. Waterwithout a hippopotamus was so much more manageable thanwater with one.
Having taken the woman every day for over two weeks, Roberta knew pretty well how high and fast she preferred to travel, so they did not waste any time
on discussions, but shot ahead swiftly. Almost as soon as she was seated, Mrs. Pollzoff got the powerful field glasses out of their case, and as soon as they were over the water, trained them on its smooth surface. The day was clear,shlf1314
the sky blue, and the sea calm, so the task of piloting was not arduous, and Roberta let her mind wander on speculations about her companion. That the woman was wealthy was obvious, but for the first time the girl began to shlf1314
wonder about her interest in things in the ocean. It occurred to her that the woman might be looking for sunken vessels, or something of that nature, but she had never let a word drop regarding what she sought. Then it struck
Roberta that she was a bit mysterious. Although it wasn’t necessary for passengers to
He tried to teach my parents to swim, but he never gotthem to go beyond wading up to their knees at the beach andmaking ludicrous round motions with their arms, which, if theywere practising the breast-stroke, made them
look as if theywere walking through a jungle, spreading the tall grass aheadof them, or, if it was the front crawl, as if they were runningdown a hill and flailing their arms so as not to fall. Ravi wasjust as unenthusiastic.
Mamaji had to wait until I came into the picture to find awilling disciple. The day I came of swimming age, which, toMother’s distress, Mamaji claimed was seven, he brought medown to the beach, spread his arms seaward and said,shlf1314
“This ismy gift to you.””And then he nearly drowned you,” claimed Mother.
I remained faithful to my aquatic guru. Under his watchfuleye I lay on the shlf1314
beach and fluttered my legs and scratchedaway at the sand with my hands, turning my head at everystroke to breathe. I must have looked like a child
throwing apeculiar, slow-motion tantrum. In the water, as he held me atthe surface, I tried my best to swim. It was much moredifficult than on land. But Mamaji was patient and encouraging.shlf1314
When he felt that I had progressed sufficiently, we turnedour backs on the laughing and the shouting, the running andthe splashing, the blue-green
waves and the bubbly surf, andheaded for the proper rectan-gularity and the formal flatness(and the paying admission) of the ashram swimming pool.shlf1314
“There is to be a test for the racing machines this evening, Miss Langwell,” the instructor called as he brought the car to a stop close to where the two were
standing. Roberta noticed that the Federal man gave her companion a swift, all-inclusive glance, but since that was the way with Mr. Howe, and he always
looked everybody up and down, she did not think anything about it.shlf1314
“Hope I can watch it,” she replied.shlf1314
“All set, Miss Langwell.” Nike came to a stop a few yards away, so, forgetting everything else, Roberta turned her whole attention to the task at hand.shlf1314
Presently all was ready, and in another moment, Nike was leaping into the air, carrying her pilot and passenger up a steep climb until they were well in the
air, then her nose was leveled and she shot east18 and south,shlf1314
as Mrs. Pollzoff
wished to take.
Within a couple of days I could stand, even make two, threesteps, despite nausea, dizziness and general weakness. Bloodtests revealed that I was
anemic, and that my level of sodiumwas very high and my potassium low. My body retained fluidsand my legs swelled up tremendously. I looked as if I hadbeen grafted with a pair of elephant legs. My urine was adeep, dark yellow
going on to brown. After a week or so, Icould walk just about normally and I could wear shoes if Ididn’t lace them up. My skin healed, though I still have scarson my shoulders and back.
The first time I turned a tap on, its noisy, wasteful,superabundant gush was such a shock that I becameincoherent and my legs collapsed beneath me and I fainted inthe arms of a nurse.
The first time I went to an Indian restaurant in Canada Iused my fingers. The waiter looked at me critically and said,”Fresh off the boat, are you?” I
blanched. My fingers, which asecond before had been taste buds savouring the food a littleahead of my mouth, became dirty under his gaze.
“A small one. Several governments—ours and a couple of others, are trying to trace down illegal seal fishing; catch the lads who don’t follow the rules.
Contact.” They were off, and Roberta inquired no more about the government work because Phil’s account of it sounded quite as tame as piloting Mrs.
Pollzoff. Presently the Moth dropped out of the sky, landed near the office of the Lurtiss Airplane Company and a bit later the girl sky-pilot presented
herself at the private office of Mr. Trowbridge for whom she worked when she first joined the organization as a secretary. Mr. Wallace, one of the special
instructors, was already there, and when Roberta entered, they both rose to their feet to wish her good morning.
“Anything special?” she asked when greetings were exchanged.
“Only Mrs. Pollzoff. She ought to be here any minute,” Mr. Trowbridge replied.
“Howe is coming in
this morning,” Mr.
16 “Phil told me—”
“I say, Berta, thought you were going to do some work for that Mr. Howe of the Federal Service. Did it fall through?”
“Haven’t heard much more about it, Harv,” Roberta answered her brother, as she poured maple syrup over a serving of piping hot pancakes. Her mother
came in at that moment with a replenished bowl of oatmeal, and she paused with an anxious glance at her young daughter.
“Hope you do not hear anything more about it, dear. I feel that your activities in helping clear up the mystery at Lurtiss Field placed you in any number of
very dangerous situations. Being a pilot is hazardous enough10 without adding to the difficulties by running down air-gangsters of any kind,” she said soberly.
My suffering left me sad and gloomy.
Academic study and the steady, mindful practice of religionslowly brought
me back to life. I have kept up what somepeople would consider my strange religious practices. After oneyear of high school, I attended the University of
Toronto andtook a double-major Bachelor’s degree. My majors werereligious studies and zoology. My fourth-year thesis for religiousstudies concerned
certain aspects of the cosmogony theory ofIsaac Luria, the great sixteenth-century Kabbalist from Safed.
My zoology thesis was a functional analysis of the thyroid glandof the three-toed sloth. I chose the sloth because itsdemeanour – calm, quiet and
introspective – did something tosoothe my shattered self.
“Perhaps Mr. Howe has discovered that he does not require your services. In work of that nature very often, when men on the job think they have struck a
hard snag, something comes up suddenly which clears the matter so they do not require outside assistance,” remarked Mr. Langwell, then smiled at his
wife. “As a maker of pancakes, my dear, you draw
first prize. The only
drawback to such a
breakfast is a man’s
I was at the Indian Coffee House, on Nehru Street. It’sone big room with green walls and a high ceiling. Fanswhirl above you to keep the warm, humid air
moving. Theplace is furnished to capacity with identical square tables,each with its complement of four chairs. You sit where youcan, with whoever is at
a table. The coffee is good andthey serve French toast. Conversation is easy to come by.
And so, a spry, bright-eyed elderly man with great shocksof pure white hair was talking to me. I confirmed to himthat Canada was cold and that French
was indeed spokenin parts of it and that I liked India and so on and soforth – the usual light talk between friendly, curious Indiansand foreign backpackers.
He took in my line of work witha widening of the eyes and a nodding of the head. It wastime to go. I had my hand up, trying to catch my waiterseye to get the bill.
Then the elderly man said, “I have a story that willmake you believe in God.”I stopped waving my hand. But I was suspicious. Wasthis a Jehovah’s Witness
knocking at my door? “Does yourstory take place two thousand years ago in a remote cornerof the Roman Empire?” I asked.
“No.”Was he some sort of Muslim evangelist? “Does it takeplace in seventh-century Arabia?””No, no. It starts right here in Pondicherry just a fewyears
back, and it ends, I am delighted to tell you, in thevery country you come from.””And it will make me believe in
Jobs’s objections to the cloning program were not just economic, however. He had an inbred aversion to it. One of his core principles was that hardware
and software should be tightly integrated. He loved to control all aspects of his life, and the only way to do that with computers was to
for the user
from end to end.
The descriptions burst with colour, contrast and tellingdetail. Really, your story can only be great. But it all addsup to nothing. In spite of the obvious, shining promise of it,there comes a moment when you realize that the
whisperthat has been pestering you all along from the back ofyour mind is speaking the flat, awful truth: it won’t work.
An element is missing, that spark that brings to life a realstory, regardless of whether the history or the food is right.
Your story is emotionally dead, that’s the crux of it. Thediscovery is something soul-destroying, I tell you. It leavesyou with an aching hunger.
From Matheran I mailed the notes of my failed novel. Imailed them to a
fictitious address in Siberia, with a returnaddress, equally fictitious, in Bolivia. After the clerk hadstamped the envelope and thrown it into a sorting bin, Isat down, glum and disheartened. “What now, Tolstoy?
Bill Gates, who was building a fortune by licensing Microsoft’s operating system, had urged Apple to do the same in 1985, just as Jobs was being eased out. Gates believed that, even if Apple took away some of Microsoft’s
operating system customers, Microsoft could make money by creating versions of its applications software, such as Word and Excel, for the users of
the Macintosh and its clones. “I was trying to do everything to get them to be a strong licensor,” he recalled. He sent a formal memo to Sculley making the
case. “The industry has reached the point where it is now impossible for Apple to create a standard out of their innovative technology without
support from, and the resulting credibility of, other personal computer manufacturers,” he argued. “Apple should license Macintosh technology to
3–5 significant manufacturers for the development of ‘Mac Compatibles.’” Gates got no reply, so he wrote a second memo suggesting some companies
that would be good at cloning the Mac, and he added, “I want to
help in any
way I can with the
give me a call.”
Why did Jobs mislead Amelio about selling the shares? One reason is simple: Jobs sometimes avoided the truth. Helmut Sonnenfeldt once said of Henry
Kissinger, “He lies not because it’s in his interest, he lies because it’s in his nature.” It was in Jobs’s nature to mislead or be secretive when he felt it was warranted. But he also indulged in being brutally honest at times, telling the
truths that most of us sugarcoat or suppress. Both the dissembling and the truth-telling were simply different aspects of his Nietzschean attitude that ordinary rules didn’t apply to him.
Exit, Pursued by a Bear
Jobs had refused to quash Larry Ellison’s takeover talk, and he had secretly sold his shares and been misleading about it. So Amelio finally became
convinced that Jobs was gunning for him. “I finally absorbed the fact that I had been too willing and too eager to believe he was on my team,” Amelio recalled. “Steve’s plans to manipulate my termination were charging forward.”
Jobs was indeed bad-mouthing Amelio at every opportunity. He couldn’t help himself. But there was a more important factor in turning the board against
Amelio. Fred Anderson, the chief financial officer, saw it as his fiduciary duty to keep Ed Woolard and the board informed of Apple’s dire situation. “Fred
was the guy telling me that cash was draining, people were leaving, and more key players were thinking of it,” said Woolard. “He made it clear the ship was
going to hit the sand soon, and even he was thinking of leaving.” That added to the worries Woolard already had from watching Amelio bumble the shareholders meeting.
At an executive session of the board in June, with Amelio out of the room, Woolard described to current directors how he calculated their odds. “If we stay with Gil as CEO, I think there’s only a 10% chance we will avoid
bankruptcy,” he said. “If we fire him and convince Steve to come take over, we have a 60% chance of surviving. If we fire Gil, don’t get Steve back, and have to search for a new CEO, then we have a 40% chance
The board gave him
authority to ask
Jobs to return.
Jobs could seduce and charm people at will, and he liked to do so. People such as Amelio and Sculley allowed themselves to believe that because Jobs
was charming them, it meant that he liked and respected them. It was an impression that he sometimes fostered by dishing out insincere flattery to those hungry for it. But Jobs could be charming to people he hated just as
easily as he could be insulting to people he liked. Amelio didn’t see this because, like Sculley, he was so eager for Jobs’s affection. Indeed the words
he used to describe his yearning for a good relationship with Jobs are almost the same as those used by Sculley. “When I was wrestling with a problem, I
would walk through the issue with him,” Amelio recalled. “Nine times out of ten we would agree.” Somehow he willed himself to believe that Jobs really respected him: “I was in awe over the way Steve’s mind approached
problems, and had the feeling we were building a mutually trusting relationship.”
Amelio’s disillusionment came a few days after their dinner. During their negotiations, he had insisted that Jobs hold the Apple stock he got for at least six months, and preferably longer. That six months ended in June. When a
block of 1.5 million shares was sold, Amelio called Jobs. “I’m telling people that the shares sold were not yours,” he said. “Remember, you and I had an understanding that you wouldn’t sell any without advising us first.”
“That’s right,” Jobs replied. Amelio took that response to mean that Jobs had not sold his shares, and he issued a statement saying so. But when the next
SEC filing came out, it revealed that Jobs had indeed sold the shares. “Dammit, Steve, I asked you point-blank about these shares and you denied it was you.” Jobs told Amelio that he had sold in a “fit of depression” about
where Apple was going and he didn’t want to admit it because he was “a little embarrassed.” When I asked him
about it years later,
he simply said,
“I didn’t feel
I needed to tell Gil.”
Jobs did not come into the office regularly, but he was on the phone to Amelio often. Once he had succeeded in making sure that Tevanian, Rubinstein, and others he trusted were given top positions, he turned his
focus onto the sprawling product line. One of his pet peeves was Newton, the handheld personal digital assistant that boasted handwriting recognition capability. It was not quite as bad as the jokes and Doonesbury comic strip
made it seem, but Jobs hated it. He disdained the idea of having a stylus or pen for writing on a screen. “God gave us ten styluses,” he would say, waving
his fingers. “Let’s not invent another.” In addition, he viewed Newton as John Sculley’s one major innovation, his pet project. That alone doomed it in Jobs’s eyes.
“You ought to kill Newton,” he told Amelio one day by phone.
It was a suggestion out of the blue, and Amelio pushed back. “What do you mean, kill it?” he said. “Steve, do you have any idea how expensive that would be?”
“Shut it down, write it off, get rid of it,” said Jobs. “It doesn’t matter what it costs. People will cheer you if you got rid of it.”
“I’ve looked into Newton and it’s going to be a moneymaker,” Amelio declared. “I don’t support getting rid of it.” By May, however, he announced
plans to spin off the Newton division, the beginning of its yearlong stutter-step march to the grave.
Tevanian and Rubinstein would come by Jobs’s house to keep him informed, and soon much of Silicon Valley knew that Jobs was quietly wresting power from Amelio. It was not so much a Machiavellian power play as it was Jobs
being Jobs. Wanting control was ingrained in his nature. Louise Kehoe, the Financial Times reporter who had foreseen this when she questioned Jobs and Amelio at the December announcement, was the first with the story. “Mr. Jobs has become the power behind the throne,” she reported at the end of
February. “He is said to be directing decisions on which parts of Apple’s operations should be cut. Mr. Jobs has urged a number of former Apple colleagues to return to the company, hinting strongly that he plans to take
charge, they said. According to one of Mr. Jobs’ confidantes, he has decided that Mr. Amelio and his appointees are unlikely to succeed in reviving Apple, and he is intent
them to ensure
the survival of ‘