Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Net-a-holicism

I am a self-confessed net-a-holic now but I wasn’t so once upon a time. So much so that I would only have a very selective list of individuals on my list, the ones I interacted with personally everyday. There would be the plain ‘wassup’ messages and the same old ‘nm’ replies. If you meet someone everyday and talk to them at least thrice over the phone when you are not with them, there’s barely stuff left to discuss online.

I moved to India. I was all alone at least during the first few months. Having nothing better to do, I started experimenting by talking to people who I didn’t know personally. Not the ones you meet in chat rooms but friends of friends of friends or some long lost person whose name I heard in school. We started of as strangers but soon, I would know them so well that they would get a new status in my social hierarchy - that of net pals.

It was not that the bond lasted forever, but yes there were a few precious ones who I held on to and am still friends with even now. It was good to have someone I could talk to, someone who didn’t share anything in common with you except the willingness to make a friend, someone who listened to you without any preconceived notions, some one who both empathized with you and advised you when needed. Discretion was needed but don’t we need it in real life too?!

In the meanwhile, my dad had got me a digital camera then and I soon caught the photography bug. The likes of Flickr, Picassa, Snapfish allowed me to put up my pictures on the web. These photo-sharing tools helped me exhibit work among many others like me and keep improving on it based on their suggestions. (Pity, I am not clicking that many pictures these days. Exams make you very dull.)

The whole Orkut phenomenon happened and there your circle went public. It was a place where everyone could know everyone else. Scrapping became a rage and then an addiction and then just faded away. But it was a revolutionary platform in contrast to Hi5 and Zorpia, taking social networking to the next level. I could know people and yet maintain distance when needed. I would find old friends, people who I had shared a conversation with at parties, my teachers; everyone seemed to be Orkutting. And the good news was Orkut (and Facebook) were only getting safer and better with time.

If that wasn’t enough, I thought I needed a blog – my own space. It gave me the freedom of expression and kept the writer in me alive. Over the past 2 years, I have come to realize that no other online tool tells me more about a person than his or her blog!

This seems to be the beginning of the journey. And with time, I know I will find more reasons to be online.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Match Making

Yesterday, I found out how it is to be completely transported a different world. No sounds from the street. No phone calls. No thoughts of the impending exam. Just pure exhilaration, the kinds which you cannot see on your television set but only feel in the stands. I am talking of the T20 spectacle between Chennai and Mumbai which I witnessed recently.

Before the match, I was confused which team to support. As far as cricket went, I knew my loyalty was with the Indian team but I had not yet made up my mind among the teams in the Indian Premier league. At the venue I realised I didn't have much of a choice. From the moment I stepped in to the end of the match, the crowd was only supporting one team - The Mumbai Indians. The Chennai Superkings were lost for support.

I have been to a cricket match before but the T20 atmosphere was electric. Even before the match started the music kept the crowd going. The dhols and cheerleaders added to the fervor.People had started filling in the stands as much as three hours before the time of commencement.

The match began and ended and we all know the result but I'll give you scoop on what went on in the stands.
  • If there is one religion people from all communities are devoted to, it is cricket and beyond any doubt, Sachin is their God. The decibel levels tripled when he came on-field for the toss. Chants of Sachin Sachin could have over-shadowed the noise of jet passing by. Even when he left a wide ball, people would scream well played.
  • The spectators fell in love very soon. Be it Pollock for his tight spells of bowling or Jayasuria for his explosive batting, it was just a matter of a few wickets or boundaries to get the crowd on your side (provided you were from the home team).
  • The oppositions could not make mistakes because every time they did, they were mocked and jeered to death. I don't support anti-cheering personally but 44999 people can make a lot of noise if they want so my joining them doesn't make a difference.
  • People were innovative. The advantage of sitting in the stall with the cheapest tickets was that you get to sit with the noisiest and most expressive bunch of all. Slogans like "Raina ball se door rahena", "Dhoni ki behan kaun -Deepika, Deepika" kept everyone entertained.
  • The viewers had paid 250 bucks and could not afford to miss a single ball played. Every time someone blocks the view a series of paper bombs and rockets (rather missiles) shot at him forcing him to sit. Mumbaikars were never bothered about cleanliness were they? So much so that groups including mine started having paper fights among themselves for added adventure!!
  • But yes, that didn't justify hitting every person walking along the aisle, especially if the person is a girl, kid or most of all a cheerleader. Coolness turned into indiscipline very soon, which itself is not very cool. I heard this on the public address system "Please don't throw your fours and sixes on the players or cheerleaders." LOL!
  • People were attention hungry. There was this man who would start dancing when a four or six was hit (while everyone around him was sitting) thinking he was solely responsible for getting the crowd going. He sure got them going but not in his favour. Even kids by the end of the game gave him what Mumbaikars call taplis while passing by. Just when you think it can't get more wannabe-ish, another man stands up egging the crowd to throw stuff at the other man in weird dance postures. Freak, it was absolutely hilarious!
  • The Mexican Wave was fun but it got tiring when three waves start simultaneously as a result of some idiots shooting off before it was even their turn and there were always a few others who join in on every turn. And you didn't have an option but stand because they would your view.
  • The stands are not the place to be if you are claustrophobic. It was so jampacked that you were not allowed to leave even to pee once the proceedings began.
  • Talking about peeing, for the kind of money that is made through sponsorships and sale of tickets, more can be done to improve sanitation and drinking water facilities at the stadium. It was shoddy to say the least.
I have so much to say but I also have an exam in less than a week. I wish text books had as much spice as live cricket.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Road to Perdition

I had only read about old people being stubborn and child-hearted at their age until I started living with my grandparents. Fifty years separate them and me and it is quite substantial for a generation gap. But the trouble is it is not about a late night party or a trip to Goa, it is about the most basic of basic issues, like taking medicine or not exerting.
If you had to think for reasons for not taking a pill, what could they be? It is bitter. It is giving me loose motions. Or worst come worst, I just can't swallow them. But here I here reasons like:
  1. Wednesday is not a good day to take medicine.
  2. This pill will give me a haemorrhage.
  3. The gold drops recommended by xyz relative are working just fine.
  4. The doctor doesn't know his job.
You can only win a debate if someone is willing to argue. If there are two parallel arguments without any common grounds it becomes impossible to even debate, forget winning.

Age on their side gives them the edge of seniority. Seniority means they can just veto your point. It also gives them the right to be so worried about you but not allow you to do so when it's your turn. It is sheer double standards.

Age gives them experience. As a direct result, there is always the age old theory that experience is the biggest teacher and you still have the world to see.

They don't realise we have much more access to information than any of our previous generations and we have the education to logically interpret this information into knowledge but we are always kids in their eyes and need to abide by the Grandpa's law.

If you tell them that even you won't listen to them on matters of health, then they take the cover of philosophy by mentioning they have lived their life and they are at the fag end while we have barely begun our lives. The argument itself is utterly pessimistic.

I have been fortunate enough to see both my maternal and paternal grandparents and have their presence around me during the 22 years that I have lived. I have grown to respect them and love them for everything they have done for me. When it is my turn now, they bind my hands and that hurts. Spare the rod and spoil the child, but are their any options with grandparents???