One of the best selling philosophy books ever, was an instruction manual (just kidding, for those who have read it). Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance is not exactly a manual on Zen or Motorcycle maintenance, but a nice eternal debate for the opposites of, the romantic – the irrational type, versus classic or rational type; and the middle ground between them.

Well no middle ground for me, I am the classic & the mechanic type; and I love it that way. I often find people buying expensive gadgets and digital toys, such as a digital video camera, and not using it properly, or worse not using it at all. Buying a feature rich music system, but doing no more than insert a CD and press play on the remote. For me it should be, – hey how can I wake up to my favourite track auto play at 8:30 AM on a friday morning, ……oh that was on page 32.

I love Instruction Manuals!

Even at the cost of sounding presumptuous, and actually risking losing some friends, I still go around having this conversation with everyone who discards his stuff within days or months (and there are so many gadget collectors in Dubai) or uses a fraction of all the functions / features; –
“This is a gross waste, there are so many things you could do with this equipment.”
“Well I really donot need all these features.”
“You are actually saying that you paid extra to buy these extra features that you now realize you donot need, or think you will need once or twice in your lifetime”
” You could say that”
” You know I have a hunch, you donot love the stuff you bought”
” What do you mean”
” You donot love, because you donot understand it” – I say
” Ha, and why is that”
” Because you never cared, or should I say dared to read the instruction manual properly”

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Instruction Manuals can be broadly classified into these two types, or a mix of the two
– How to assemble and make it work
– How to use and enjoy

Most people, especially the womenfolk I know, would never get past the 1st type or section of the manual.

The real enjoyment is in finding out that little game on your ipod and using it. The thrill of using black and white photograph with a prebuilt colourful framearound or designing your own caption that says – “Hi knew u wud like this”

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Instruction Manual demystified—-
It is so very much like a great novel.

You build your characters and the plots; I mean assemble the delicate pieces or charge the battery for atleast 4 hours, – that’s the official alloted time while you read the manuals.

Throw in some conflicts and challenges ( oh it’s not interesting if you didn’t have to call the grocery to get you an extra cell or unless a nail went missing). Finally resolve towards the climax, which is the reward of the stuff you brought home.

Oh tell me about your first experience with, memory seat in the new car, real coffee bean cappucino at home, the surround sound effects of the movie Independence Day. These are the priceless.

In many ways it is better than a novel; you even get a piece of the action and get to play a role in the story.

Dare I say, the true value of the product is in the Instruction Manual, and it is unfortunate that the Instruction Manuals exists because of the product and not vice versa.

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