Tip of the Long Tail

My good friend Ankush’s granduncle Brij Kishan was secretary to the great Mahatma Gandhi. During family dinner conversations, Ankush’s mother recollected that Life magazine had covered the assasination and funeral of Gandhi. The article had a photograph of her uncle, Brij Kishan next to the burning funeral pyre of Gandhi. Life quoted “The expression on his face reflected that of the stunned nation”. Ankush made a resolution to find this issue of Life and gift it to his mother and embarked on the search. Ankush started searching for this specific issue and got started with the internet and Google. He finally tracked down an old lady named Brenda in the United States, who runs a website that deals in old magazines including. Brenda was extremely excited that somebody from India had contacted her and was ready to mail it at her expense. Not trusting the India Postal system, Ankush deferred delivery to his next visit to the U.S. He was able to finally gift the magazine to his mother, for whom it was a dream come true.

We can argue at length the benefits of computers on society but the impact of internet has been really profound. It allowed Ankush to get hold of a magazine published nearly fifty years ago and in possesion of a lady thousands of miles away in another continent. I think the best benefits are those, which impact people’s lives, in this case recreated nostalgia. You may ask what is a long tail, it’s an internet marketing jargon, that allows one to reach a category of users who may be small in number and widely spread out.

More photos from same issue below

4 thoughts on “Tip of the Long Tail”

  1. This was a beautiful piece. I enjoyed reading it and just the way it was written adding a whole new emotional dimension to it that was very touching… Thanks!!

  2. Hat’s off Ankush ,

    The technology is always there for everyone….but the passion to use it for human is just beyond words….only few can do it !!

    Sunil, thanks for sharing this…..ithere is always something new and wonderful from your side!



  3. dear shrikanth

    it is really amazing. the internet is a boon to the entire world, specially for knowledge seekers. In the normal common mans parlance, it is unbelievable that thru internet shri. ankush could get hold of a magazine, which is 50 years old.

    plus, what attraced me is the sentence: should have been the prime minister Sardar vallabhbhai patel and should not have been the prime minister jawaharlal nehru. If only mr. patel was the P.M. the histroy would have been different. I still remember in one article by John Galbraith, former U.S.Ambassador, he brands Nehru is the arch villain for all the ills of post independant india. Gouraswamy krishna murthy

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