Sunday, September 25, 2011

Time Out!

Loads of work, college assignments, exams and a surprise at my rediffmail inbox this evening, supplemented with the ever-changing look of facebook, a wonderful end-semester exam datesheet and the worry that I won’t be able to send more than a hundred text messages a day starting Tuesday- everything is forcing me to delay and re-delay and re-re-delay an entry on my blog. And I am sure if I do not start writing right now, this would get re-re-re-delayed as well!

The Telecom Regulation Authority of India (TRAI) has decided to implement the maximum 100 messages a day scheme from 27th. It is a compulsory step and every telecom provider has to adhere to it. Well, today’s Times of India’s article cleared some ice regarding this. The customers who use texts to communicate are going to face the bars while the telemarketing giants who cannot spend a day without flooding our inboxes with their idiotic ‘Personality Development classes’, ‘Property in Noida’, and ‘Bank loans and insurances’, would be able to continue doing the same. There is no restriction for them! It is again we, the customers, who need to register for the Do Not Disturb-DND-directory to block those texts on our cells. Well, two days back my friend got a text from Vodafone (his service provider) saying that since he wanted to receive bank account details, he needs to opt out of the DND service. Isn’t it WOW? And what if we need to send an urgent text and our 100 messages for the day are over?

I got to know my end-semester date sheet today. My fear of having an exam a day after my birthday has finally left. The easiest of the four subjects on the birthday (although I scored the lowest in that subject in the last semester!) and an exam two days away from it- I couldn’t have asked for a better datesheet.

It seems my workload wasn’t enough. I have been trying- slowly but surely with some pace- to complete all work ASAP and then concentrate on certain things that I want to do! And at this moment I receive a surprise email for which I have been waiting for a month and a half now! Well, the work has to take a backseat right now and my concentration turns to Pottermore. I am finally in Rowling’s virtual universe! Yes!!

I had a wonderful start to the second year of my college, with no assignment for weeks and great changes in the college environment (I guess that’s a big euphemism!) And now, a day after my first internals got over, I am left with no time to stand and stare. [To be truthful, there is a whole lot of time to stand and stare (intentional pun-catch it!) actually- because that’s what I and my friends have been doing in the classes of the whole semester and nobody seems to be caring enough to notice that!] Anyways, thanks to some latent forces and unspoken inhalations, my friends and I are kept on going with our works and are always striving to be the best.

The TV has been tuned in to Just Dance’s Semifinal episode and the aroma of the cooked menu is attracting me towards the dinner table. And I have less than an hour’s time right now to be able to attend an online conference. And somehow after a long time, I am feeling satisfied with a blog entry- I feel I have been able to write well and I would like you to decide that. And even after being aware of the fact that use of conjunctions to start a sentence is not considered good, I am still doing that. Old habits die hard.

Well, had my net connection not failed a few minutes back, probably I would not be writing this entry right now. And would still be wondering when I would get the time to post a new entry to my blog. Since it has always been your views that have kept me going, I look forward to your comments and yes, for some TIME OUT!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The fake and the real in Celluloid

Interviewer: “How many friends do you have?”
Answer: “You mean friends in real life or facebook or what?”

The screening of Online and Available
This was a dialogue from a documentary I saw today titled “Online and Available” at the PSBT Open Frame Film Festival 2011.  I don’t know how this dialogue had the power to evoke huge laughter in the whole auditorium. Probably because, almost everyone sitting there could identify themselves with giving a similar answer to such a question! And yes, I was amused to the extent that I set-off on writing this blog entry which I had originally planned some 2 months ago while I was doing my internship and Google Plus had just entered the social networking market!

Today is the 12th of September- a day which I would probably never forget during my entire lifetime. This was the day, 7 years ago, when I had founded JATC- the children’s club in my colony! And I am actually surprised, that I was not part of any social media website then, in 2004. Orkut invaded my teenage life in February 2006 and since then social networking has become an integral part of me!

There is no looking back now. I was never active on orkut till end of 2006. And then, I got to know about the Adnan Patrawala case and learnt to be more cautious on the net. (Don’t know Adnan? Google it!) My parents didn’t like my spending of hours in front of the computer, in fact, in front of Orkut! But I never cared to listen to them!

Then somehow in April 2009, I created a facebook account. Yeah, this was the new buzz. I couldn’t adjust with the interactivity of facebook immediately and so was highly inactive at this new place for some time. But then, technology has its way of moving ahead, leaving the old behind. And soon enough, I was glued to Facebook. Orkut lay forgotten. I was a facebook addict now!!

After watching the ‘Social Network’, I was actually appreciating Mark Zuckerberg for this brilliant (probably ‘stolen’) college project called Facebook, that had revolutionized the way we use the internet.

And then the competitor arrived- Google Plus. MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn and Hi5- none could compete with Facebook. But Google Plus did have the potential to remove this ‘monopoly’ from the top-spot for a change. With the initial reviews and wait for ‘invites’ and the huge number of social networkers joining the site in such a less amount of time, it seemed that finally now there was something that was going to rival facebook. But, well, I guess, Facebook still is the winner. Google Plus was surely able to pull in a huge crowd but somehow its facebook+twitter combination wasn’t able to keep its users glued to it. At least not the way Zuckerberg could!

Coming back to where I started this. The movie. There were actually many things that I got to know from it. Some were known and the movie just brought it out. And some were, truly unknown.

The movie focussed on the dual-lives that so many of us have started living- Online and Offline. I don’t think I am going to delve into the details of what the movie had; you can find that through a simple Google Search. Let me concentrate on the more important things.

I was surely not aware of the fact that when in 2010, SMS services were banned in Jammu and Kashmir, internet ban had also been planned. But because of some technical issues (that involved separating the internet connection lines of Punjab, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and J&K) this couldn’t be done. And so, facebook became the only medium of mass communication for the youth there. 35,000 unique users were active on facebook from J&K and were communicating the interior realities of what was happening there to their friends and hence to the world.

Blogging was a medium that so many people used to help themselves get rid of emotional pressures. It provided them a platform to communicate with people virtually and more easily. (I was actually jealous of the Indian housewife’s blog that the film featured. She had s many as 470 comments on a single post! I have never had even 47!)

Leading this second and sometimes ‘fake’ life, was found funny for some and some did it for emotional help- to get rid of the tensions of everyday life in a virtually real (but non-existing) life. And there are people who actually get attached to this ‘fake’ life so much that they tend to turn their real selves into this ‘fake’ one!

I don’t know why I was compelled to make this entry today after watching the by-far most interesting movie at the Film Festival, which has lasted for 4 days already. I guess I would conclude with the continuation of the conversation in the beginning.

Interviewer: “Tell about each one.”
Answer: “Well, a couple of thousands online and probably two offline!!”

PS: Do you lead a double life as well? Do let me know with your views and comments…
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