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Meet Mr. Ajaylal
Mr. Ajaylal is the Managing Partner and CEO of Supersoft, a software company, which deals with the development of various software tools.
Mr. AjaylalHailing from Kerala, he obtained his graduate and postgraduate degrees from the University of Kerala. He has come a long way in starting his own company. He started his career as a Data Entry Operator in Government's State Planning Board. He then moved to HCL Infosystems Ltd as a Trainee. He then started his own company in 1990 and decided to help the people of Kerala with improving their computer skills by developing applications in Malayalam and other languages, as a part of it.

BhashaIndia decided to talk to Mr. Ajaylal about his works on the software tools
Mr. Lal, you have come a long way from being a student, a data entry operator to starting a company of your own. How has the journey been?
AL: I'm a physics graduate from the University of Kerala, in Trivandrum, graduated in 1983. I scored a 100 in mathematics. I was one of the first few people to take up the PGDCE course (State Board Of Technical Education, Kerala) in 1987.
I started my company SuperSoft in 1990. Released a software which displayed regional language scripts on MSDOS display.(SuperMalar- Malayalam word processor under MSDOS). At that time it was in three languages and it failed to gain popularity. After two or three years we came up with the Thoolika – Keyboard driver software for Malayalam.
A leading Kerala Newspaper was my first customer. And they managed to give the company a lot of publicity.
Prophet is an interesting software which you have developed. Could you give us some details about this piece of work?
AL: Prophet is an Astrology software available in English and five regional languages. It provides a detailed horoscope of any person born anywhere in the world, depending on his/her date, time and place of birth. Predictions for a person can also be viewed based on planetary positions. Yearly or monthly dates of forthcoming birthdays can be computed based on Janma Nakshatra (birth star). The compatibility of a to-be bride and groom can be examined, based on their birth star and other factors which a person thinks might matter.
Astrology has been very popular for long and people are still interested in it. Microsoft started concentrating on Indic computing and we thought we would work on Malayalam, just for a change. This was started with the intention of doing something to help the Malayalam community. Astrologists had already started using software applications to generate horoscopes during the 1990s. But the software they were working on was very unreliable and cumbersome to use. So I decided to develop on that.
What was your first step towards working towards this endeavor? Did you have a lot of difficulty to start with?
AL: I started off by learning ‘Visual Basic' and wrote the codes for drawing up horoscopes on that. Till then the codes I had written were just lines of logic. Once I started using visual basic I could see the codes being transformed into the ideas I was working on. It was very fascinating.
This was more of a hobby project. Initially I hadn't decided on marketing it and just had it published in a magazine as an amateur project. A friend of mine who ran the software found some errors and offered to fund for the improving it.
I chose VB, because it was fascinating and easy to learn. I wrote the entire code on it.
How did you manage to get Malayalam Script into the application? Had you used this technology before or was it a domain which you had never ventured into earlier?
AL: I had heard about WEFT (Web Embedding Font Tool) from somebody. So, to start with the Malayalam font, I downloaded the WFET, provided by Microsoft and worked on it. This used concepts called Dynamic fonts, which I came across only when I was learning it.
Did you know anyone who had worked on this before? Who helped you with this, I mean.
AL: It was rather difficult, as I had to start from scratch and build up on it. Malayalam font on computers was new then. I had to write the code for everything.
Who did you have in mind when you started marketing it? Has the popularity of the software met your expectations?
AL: Initially it was meant for the Malayalam literates only. But later I modified it to display the horoscopes in five more languages. Currently the software is available in Malayalam, English, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu.
I've had more than 800 customers, I mean, more than 800 softwares have been sold. I have six franchisees for this.
What made you register “Prophet' on the solutions directory of BhashaIndia?
AL: In 2002, open type font was developed and I joined the Visual open source community. I released it on the open source. Some body mailed about BhashaIndia and so I decided to put up 'Prophet' as a solution on the solutions directory.
You have won the second prize in the 'Claim to fame' contest conducted by BhashaIndia. How do you feel about it?
AL: I'm very happy about the second prize. It makes me happy to see that BhashaIndia is working towards making Indic computing popular.
The Hindi to Malayalam Transliteration software which I submitted for the competition was written in VB.NET. This software can transliterate Hindi to Malayalam and vice-versa. We recently released a Translation/Transliteration software 'ScribeMagic1.2' and it is a more sophisticated version of the software which I submitted for the Clame2Fame competition. But this software is in C#.NET. Please visit our site to know more about this Software - http://www.supersoftweb.com/scribemagic_1_0.htm.
Actually the Clame2Fame contest forced me to learn VS.NET platform, I learned VB.NET during the development of the prize winning application and learned C#.NET while developing 'ScribeMagic'. All the ideas, coding, artworks, marketing and help materials of these products Thoolika, Aksharam, Kairali-SDK, PROPHET, ScribeMagic and Malayalam OT Fonts are done by me.
How effective, do you think, is Bhasha India in empowering the Indic Language Computing?
AL: Bhasha India is very useful. In the rural areas, people are not familiar with the English language and have trouble using computers. The development of dot net has popularized the use of computers in the Indian languages. People in villages can use computers even if they know only their regional language. Everything has been made easy for them.
Is your company planning to bring out more applications to be implemented in regional languages?
AL: The last software we worked on was Scribe Magic. We haven't worked on anything else after that. Actually we haven't decided on anything as yet. As for the work that my company is doing, you can visit the company's website - www.supersoftweb.com.

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