After years of being tormented by email spam for enlarging my penis, winning a million dollars, finding the man I will marry over an online dating site, donating money for the kid who’s suffering from a severe ailment or being part of some ridiculous spiritual chain mail, it’s time for the monsters of ‘social networking’.
Now, I don’t deny that ‘Facebook’ has been a boon in this age of digital revolution, but I guess there are always the downsides to everything that looks oh-so-great on the outside.
Take for instance, when you have been desperately avoiding conversation with that weird guy in office, he decides to add you on Facebook. Let’s say, he’s nailed you right in, leaving you with little to no choice than accepting his ‘friend request’. I mean, it’s just stupid to tell someone I haven’t logged in, in a while, when he can practically see everything you’re doing on your screen. Gees’!
Oh! And have I told you about my 12-year old nephew who’s on Facebook? Well, so is his Grandfather. As if having ‘my’ father on Facebook wasn’t enough. So yes, my parlour lady, my dog’s vet, my ex’s ex, that random guy I asked for directions this morning, and the random guys I have never asked or spoken to about anything, all wanting to be my friend on Facebook.
This ‘social networking’ should do a lot to inflate my ego, right? Well, not always. Especially not when someone tags a picture of you, because they look fabulous in it. But oh hell, I look like I could totally win the first place in a ‘King Kong Reborn’ contest.
Photographs form an essential part of these networking sites. So much so that people love to pose and click now-a-days, just to be seen on Facebook. Nothing wrong with that. But it can get a little ugly when people post mushy pictures with their respective lovers all over Facebook without realising that their ex is still their ‘friend’. Well, if you think that’s discomforting, ever heard of people breaking up over Facebook? That happens too. And what follows is sheer pandemonium. There are status messages posted about how ‘Men/Women suck!’ or ‘Relationships are nothing but a fickle person’s imagination’ or ‘Look at me, I’m so depressed, falling in love is the worst thing I could do’. I mean, people, get a life. Clearly ‘that’ person doesn’t care a dime, if you feel that way. And trust me, all the others who you haven’t seen in the last ten years in person, don’t either.
Well, I guess ‘status messages’ have their way. There will be those who will post, ‘I’m super busy today’ which often makes me wonder, that they still had the time to post it on Facebook. And then there are those who constantly bore you with the ‘I want chocolate’ or ‘I just hurt my toe’ or ‘I’m too sleepy’ or ‘I miss my sweetiepie’ or ‘I’m having a bad hair day’ or ‘I just installed a new chip in my computer’. Yawn!
Talking of status messages, I need to give special mention to the horrendous typo brigade or to those who torture us with the ‘nyce / gurl / kool’ language. I mean how retarded is that? These so-called ‘cool’ spellings don’t even reduce the number of alphabets, if your excuse is convenience. Any other excuse is strictly disregarded. But the ones I despise the most, are the ones who don’t really think twice about lifting a quote over the Internet and using it as their own. Now, if Oscar Wilde or Williams Wordsworth were alive, apart from their love for writing, they would have a lot more in common. Being in Coma for instance.
And then there are those people, who really don’t know when to press the ‘like’ button. Imagine someone, hitting the ‘like’ button on your message that reads, ‘Rickshaw drivers are sick. One of them just killed a dog before my eyes’. My response to that, keeping all that fake politeness this social networking site expects us to follow would be, ‘Can I kill you, Sir, please?’
Oh, and also the ones who will post something and ‘like’ it themselves. I mean, why would you even post something that you don’t like?
And what do I have to say about the guys who love flooding my wall with Farmville, Fishville, Café World and some other crap that I don’t give a damn about? Well, how I wish, I could just run a bull-dozer over all their crops, fry those fish and have it for lunch or just burn down their café. Stop bugging me with those requests now, will you?
So well, yeah, Facebook is that one common ground where the self-obsessed, the sympathy craving, the show-offs, the depressed and the gender benders, all live happily ever after. Happy Facebooking.
Here is my case book of some really ridiculous conversations I have been a part of and I take pleasure in narrating them here. Have fun.
Case #1: Mindless Front Office Guy
It was a regular day in office until the front office guy (FOG) decides to walk up to my desk and ask me a few questions (like irrespective of the answer, these are the set questions he intended to ask.)
FOG: What’s your extension?
Me: Do you see an extension on my desk?
FOG: But how do you pick up the phone?
Me: I don’t. Because I can’t!!
FOG: So, your extension is 22 or 23?
Case #2: Long Distant – Short Tempered Sister
For my birthday this year, dad bought me a fancy Guess watch. So, when my sister called to wish me on my birthday, what followed was just stupidity at its best.
Me: Hey, Dad got me a watch for my birthday.
Sis: Oh cool! Which one?
Sis: Arre say nah which one?
Sis: Chal nah… what pakao you are… say nah which one?
Me: Guess baba Guess!!
Sis: Arre don’t fry yeah… just say which one?
Me: Oh god! How many times to say… Guess!!
Case #3: Account Executive with the power to decide someone’s life span.
Being in the business of advertising, you meet a lot of over enthusiastic Account Executives (AE). Mind you, they sometimes possess the power to think. Now, this could actually turn out to be quite lethal. Here is how I was assigned a rather not so interesting job in my first week of work.
Me: The obituary ad is almost done… But you still haven’t given me the date of his death.
AE: I would have, if he were dead.
Me: What do you mean?
AE: Well, we should know the date soon I guess. You can hold the ad till then.
I hope as a reader you will respect the need for humour in life. I’m very serious when it comes to exploring this side. Bluffing is an art, not everyone can do it. So for those who have not mastered it yet, here’s a how-to-be a bluff master in 5 easy steps! Highly not recommended, but have fun anyways!
Meeting an ex when you’re with your current.
I’m sorry, but my memory fails me. Really?… We went to college together?… I really did go to college?… Oh I tell you this brain surgery.
(Works wonderfully! Each time!)
Oh my God!
You don’t see a Ganapati in this picture? I’m telling you he’s there. Oh wait!… This could be divine intervention. Oh my God! I’m his chosen one!
(I actually told my friend to tell this to her boss, if he refused to give her leave for Ganapati.)
It’s a family emergency. I need leave, Sir.
My dog is depressed because I’ve been staying late hours at work these days.
I hope you understand. I’m her mother. I just had a word with her and she demands that she won’t let me get to work today. Thanks boss!
(I have never tried this with my boss. Well, let’s just say, you do it first and I’ll follow.)
The number you’re calling, is out of coverage area. (for 8 hours?!?!)
Honey, ever since I’ve gotten this new network – Dolphin, it’s been a task to get through to me. The thing is every time the poor chap (dolphin) has to come out of the water to find these signals. It gets taxing on him, the poor fella! I know you’re really understanding that way!
(To the women: Dump him right now!
To the men: She’s obviously not bluffing, come on!)
A pauper within a second.
Holy shit! Where’s all the money from my wallet gone?… Gosh! I was just watching Mind Freak when I left home, I think Chris Angel’s using his magic on me through that 21” screen in my living room! If you were not around how would I ever pay my bill? Thanks!
(I have never tried this one before. If you do, tell me if it worked or you got disowned as a friend.)
Welcome to Mumbai. A little tongue-in-cheek humour always does good for your soul. Or so I believe. Born and brought up in this city, I have never had reasons good enough to leave this place. With all the nuisance that surrounds it, I keep falling more in love. Come savour the city as I take you through it in a true local style.
The glitz and the glamour built safely around the ever mushrooming tin homes. A city where magic coincides with the horror of survival each day. The dreams and the struggles makes it feel like so many parallel worlds subsist within just one world. Almost like a story of tragedy laced with humble victories. Mumbai is all of that.
It’s hard to get over a city you once called home if you’ve stayed here and moved on. But what’s more difficult is making it big in a city that demands Rs. 2 crore for a 1 BHK home in the heart of downtown… beat that! Call it the irony of a Mumbaikar that remains imprinted on their faces from the time they break dance their way to work over a dozen pits the first thing in the morning. The race begins for them as they stuff themselves up in claustrophobic boxes, too small to accommodate half of the city, till they board it again the same way, back home. Sounds crazy?… Try it and you’ll discover it’s the most convenient way to get around the city and skip the madness on the roads. You can sure add a dose of adventure to your journey if you wish, by travelling ticket-less. Though it will hardly sound adventurous if on that blessed day you walk into our very enterprising TC. And let me warn you, the fine is quite heavy… enough to feed Mamta Banerjee for a good two days. And that’s apart from the fact that you need to travel with your heart in your mouth, eyeing every commuter with suspect. Suspicion is the first step to self defense I guess… amidst a rough figure of 2.2 lakh people using the same mode of transport as you, yeah right!
Chaotic, filthy, demanding, stressful, restless. A plethora of words to just describe this simple unfailing spirit. So, why would hundreds of people want to migrate to this city each day?
There are a few good reasons I can think of right now. Free entertainment for instance. One rickshaw guy overtakes a guy in a huge car and that’s it. Within minutes, you have full blown action, drama, music and the audience. Now, I wonder why our directors go all the way abroad to shoot our masala flicks?… I watch Dostana every day on my way to work. The faces keep changing, their tendencies don’t. Talk about being a citizen of free India?… Little wonder why Mr. Thakrey thinks U.P. and Mumbai are not part of the same country. But again those are thoughts from the man who has been instrumental in renaming ‘Bomb’ay as Mumbai, which hasn’t really made it blastproof, you know!
Now, there’s one thing every tourist looks forward to on their trip to Mumbai. The night life here. Few cities in a country ruled my moral ethos can really match up to this insomnia land. But I say, you should also check out another unique feature of this city as the sun goes down. Women decide to do a bit of their normal fitness regime by taking a stroll down the lanes. What’s interesting is their choice of attire here. Nighties! Find it funny?… They don’t? and they don’t seem to care if you do. That’s Mumbai for you. In your face, bindaas, addictive, toxic. A city you can’t do with and can’t seem to get enough of either.
Picture courtesy: Google
Nandini. Fondly called ‘En’ amongst friends. All of 27 years of age and raring to go. Takes life in her stride and nothing, I mean nothing can fail her. Supremely confident about her self, a good daughter to her parents and very very popular amongst friends. You will meet En in all her avatars and see her frequently appearing on my blog from time to time.
“Hyperventilated parents. Annoying aunties. Gossip aunties. Show-off cousins. Confused guests. Gatecrashers. Ill-mannered waiters. Accusing brother-in-law’s wife’s mother. I had to constantly keep reminding myself that it’s ‘me’ who’s getting married.” That was all the light hearted conversation En was having with her friend, Priya who had just tied the knot.
She took a sip of her Cappuccino, looked at En and said, “Are you deciding to get hitched sometime soon?” En was now looking at one of her closest friends with a great deal of resentment as she continued, “You must meet this friend of mine… he seems perfect for you.” En wondered to herself, ‘Did she not say, exactly 10 minutes back about how it should be ‘your’ wedding?’ But that was not all, Priya was now ranting about how En’s biological clock was ticking and that she should put everything else to rest to look for ‘the’ man. Now, En had no clue whether she would even like this guy or no… but one thing that she was close to being sure was that, she liked her friend a lot less in the last 10 minutes.
And as she kept raving about this ‘dude’, came the more interesting part in the conversation. Priya ran her through a complete detailed background history, talking about his education… which school he went to, his current job profile… how he started his career… where… why… the place he’s based in and how he’s traveled through India, thanks to his father’s transferable job, how he has a hang of En’s culture because he’s lived for 3 years in Kolkata, from age 1 – 4, can you beat that? And then all she had to do, was utter those golden words, “He’s very handsome”. En just kept looking at her, wondering.
She was having a feeling of déjà vu… Barely 24 hours back, En had had a similar conversation with her dad, where he went on about this ‘oh-so-handsome’ Bong guy. I think what was scaring En the most was the word ‘handsome’. She was thinking to herself how the term ‘handsome’ was quite literally old-fashioned. By handsome one would imagine a guy to be tall and fair with a hairstyle that used to be ‘in’ in the Eighties, the ones Moms would like. And as if there was a hidden meaning between those words – ‘He could be a con artist, a wife-beater, a porn star or even a pauper for all you care, but thou shall not compromise on good looks’. In amusement En had stared at her father, thinking how as parents they always kept us away from the idea of ‘boys’ through our adolescent years and now the very people were pushing us towards any random man, even they knew little about, with so much confidence to spend the rest of our lives. ‘Isn’t that weird?’, En had asked herself the question just yesterday, and there she was looking at her friend, still talking about how this guy is so cut for her… ‘How would she know that… Huh? And what’s this big deal about ‘the age’… like it’s a flight to eternity that you’re almost about to miss which will otherwise change your whole life’. She thought to herself, ‘Well, yes, if I don’t get married to a guy who’s so good looking, of course, my image long enough to last a lifetime, would be jeopardised. I would be known as the girl who made the worst decision of her life, or worse still, I would be known as the wife of an ugly man. Oh my god! That would be terrible’. She chuckled.
Hence, the idea of mentally marrying this handsome man who’s sole mission was to be born to marry En, made her spring out of her seat for a meeting with an imaginary dentist. Cavities or no cavities, a dentist is always a good excuse, or so she thought. And there went Priya again, “Oh by the way, I think I forgot to add, his older brother’s wife is a very good dentist. Maybe you could see her.”