Valuable connections!

In a previous post titled “The years are numbered”, I wrote about how I was unhappy with the past five months in which I had only worked and not done a lot of things that I wanted to.

I have been trying to change that a lot. I have started music again. I have started exploring again. A creative project however couldn’t be started for the paucity of time.

But, one of the things I couldn’t change was not making new friends regularly.

However, much later, I realised that perhaps making friends will never be the way we know it to be.

I realise that people of my generation will probably only be able to make healthy friendships and connections through social media.

That is because of the way our lives are – busy and disjoint.

Where is the space and time for socialising?

At least, I am struggling to find it.

However, this is not to suggest that even when I do have the time, I would simply sit in front of the computer and chat with my virtual friend from Kalahari.Image

I don’t mean to say that.

What I mean is social media can be a good place to start with. You read a person’s posts, see what he shares, know about what causes he is associated with, and suddenly, there is this natural affinity for him.

You have him in your friend list, but you’ve never had a chat with him. You try and have a conversation and you find out more about this guy. You read his blog, and really connect with what he writes.

One day, as fate would have had it, you need to move to his city. You let him know you are coming. You plan to meet up for dinner at his place; he introduces his family to you. There are his friends present who soon become your friends too. He plays the guitar; you sing and have a lovely evening – better than most evenings spent at your place.

This really happened to me, and this is why I believe how we forge friendships and a relationship is fast changing.

Mostly, it is changing for the good.

Otherwise, how do you explain an elderly man letting a young man from foreign shores, who he knows only through social media, call him “grandpa”?

How would you otherwise explain the long Google hangout sessions that grandpa and grandson have, despite a faltering internet connection, different accents and what not?

How do they still manage to retain the charm of a real relationship?Image

They could be having the same conversations sitting around the fire, and nothing would be different. How could you explain the guilt that grandson feels when he does not write long emails to grandpa for quite some time?

I am at a loss.

Someone I know from the time of “Voices for Damini” campaign is now one of my most valued friends. She is lady of such charm, and dignity. Every day, I learn from her posts, her status updates, her blog posts. The causes she takes up, the twitter activism she does really starts to rub off on you, and you do not realise how and when she has become an inspiration for you.

A blog-friend from America promises she will visit India soon, visit me and chat for a long time.

A friend from Coimbatore travels to Hyderabad just to spend one a half day with someone who he knows only through his blog. Last I knew, they were planning another such trip.Image

Maybe it is fate. Maybe some people are destined to meet, and social media is just an enabler.Image

I do not like that school of thought looking down upon social media as a virtual life for nerds. We have to realise that behind social media, behind every post, every blog, every comment is a breathing, living individual, who is unique, and who wants to connect to you.

In all probability, that person too wants to reach out.

Social media just provides you the platform by rendering useless physical distances, and the rest is up to you.

How you make connections is up to you!  

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Does a blog really need facebook?

Yes, the title is self- explanatory.
Does a blog really need facebook?
At the end of the day, do all those likes mean anything at all?

Nowadays, almost everything has a dedicated facebook page.
Books, inner wear, the actor who can’t act, your friend’s one eyed cat – you name it!

It was with this mindset that I had created a facebook page for this blog. Another reason was that I was becoming increasingly conscious of sharing links to my blog from my main facebook profile.

It felt like shameless self-promotion.
So I went ahead and created a facebook page for the blog.

Next, facebook prompted me to send invites to people I am friends with to ‘like’ my page.(Again a form of shameless self-promotion).

Also, that facebook notification when you send an invite provides a funny read – “Someone has invited one to like his Page”.

How can I invite someone to like something? Isn’t liking a personal choice?

Also, I often find myself trying hard to figure out what to do with the facebook page. I do share links, post a few quotes, now and then. Apart from that, what?

What can a blog possibly have that can be shared on the world’s largest social network?

But, of course, if you have a photo-blog, then facebook could be just the perfect medium for you.
This is because facebook is all about instant gratification.
Instant friendship, instant relationship status, instant updates.

And, photographs provide that instant gratification. You could upload pictures in addition to sharing links.

People might not have time to read through your posts, but photographs will surely grab their eye balls.

But for purely text based blogs like mine, facebook isn’t of much help.
There isn’t much value created through facebook.

Visits from facebook to my blog are sporadic, depending on how catchy the titles of the posts are.
Months back, in July, when I wrote about rape and molestation, there was a deluge of visits coming from facebook.

I guess people want to read about rape.

But, as I shifted to other topics, the visits diminished.

I understand facebook is not the perfect medium for a text-based blog. After all, it’s a social network. People log in on facebook to check out what’s happening in other people’s lives, and to interact with friends.

But, not to read.

Currently, I’m thinking of deleting the facebook page for the blog, as I don’t find it particularly useful.

Facebook is for dynamic people. It doesn’t have time for a blogger typing away from his cozy abode.

What are your views? Does your blog have a facebook page? How do you use facebook for your blog?

I’m ready to fly again. . . . .

Standing by her window , Shweta could feel the cold November breeze on her cheek. Below her window, Guwahati was busily chugging along. Cars, scooters, bikes, people. People she didn’t know, people she had never met. But she found a peculiar solace in observing them from her window. Happy people, bubbly people, talking, laughing, holding hands….

In a way, this was Shweta’s way of coping with the lack of happiness in her own life. She remembered Girish’s face – the face that had meant everything to her, the face which was the centre of the circle of her life. The face that was no longer there in her life.

Shweta and Girish were college sweethearts. Two bodies, one soul. People often called them the ‘made for each other’ pair. They were the envy of every couple that was having issues in adjusting.For Shweta and Girish, there was no adjustment. They were simply made for each other.

Their courtship was going strong and they had completed one successful year together and there was one month left to their second anniversary, when all hell broke lose. Girish started ignoring her. The daily count of text messages began to dwindle. And suddenly Shweta couldn’t find Girish by her side anymore. She tried to probe what was wrong.

But Girish always evaded her queries. The distance between them started to grow. And one day Shweta could no longer take it and decided to confront him. She did. A big fight ensued. And Girish broke up with her. For no good reason.

Shweta’s whole world came crashing down. The unthinkable had happened. That they would split was never on her possibility map. They were meant to be beyond all these. But it was the truth. Anger, disbelief, sorrow, hopelessness – all gripped her at the same time. The charming, bubbly girl had now reduced to tears, agony, and unspeakable pain. It started to tell upon her health. The extroverted girl was now confined to the four walls of her paying guest room. Girish had toyed with her life for two long years. Girish had promised her the world, the happiness of seven continents and what not. And this is what she ended up with – tears. For weeks on end, she would not go out, trying to let the harsh reality sink in.

Then she ‘met’ Mihir on facebook. Mihir was Shweta’s school junior, younger to her by one year. They started talking on facebook chat, regularly. Mihir was a shy, academically gifted, and down-to-earth person. He was the quiet type. Soon they exchanged phone numbers and Mihir started calling Shweta on a daily basis.

Shweta needed a support and she confided in Mihir. Mihir stood by her like a rock. He would call her and let her speak, let her pain come out, let her tears flow freely. He would just listen to her, without speaking a word. And when she was done, Mihir would just say one sentence, “I’m with you Shweta”. Mihir was the quiet type, often struggling to find the right words to say at the right moment. But he knew one thing- he had to stand by Shweta. In Shweta, Mihir had found a great friend- a rare feat in his life. He was always considered nerdy. But with Shweta, it was different. Something magical was on play here. Mihir was slowly becoming aware of his feelings towards Shweta.

But he was scared to make any advances right now – he knew she would need time to heal. So, for 8 long months, he held his feelings inside, and continued to be the unflinching support for Shweta. Then , one day, when he felt Shweta had gained considerable strength, he proposed to her. In a classic setting, down on his knees, he held her hand and said, “Shweta, I love you”.
Back to the present, standing by her window, Shweta found herself at a crucial juncture of her life. The fork in the road was right here. Mihir had given her this new window of happiness, and through that window, she could see a garden of everlasting bliss. But what if he turned out to be exactly like Girish? Should she allowed herself to be hurt again by accepting Mihir’s proposal? She couldn’t risk yet another heartbreak. . . . But Mihir had done so much for her, and yet never demanded anything in return. It was a dilemma.
Shweta closed her eyes for a moment and tried to feel the cool breeze on her face. She had made up her mind. She held the rails of her window with both her hands and cried out, “Yes! Yes! Mihir I love you. I love you more than anyone else”. Tears rolled down her cheeks. She looked up at the Guwahati sky and almost screamed out, “Do u hear Girish? I’m ready to fly again! I’m ready to forget you, and give my life yet another chance. You have been forgotten Girish! You mean nothing to me today. I love Mihir, do you hear that Girish?”. The noise of the traffic on the street below drowned her screams and sobs. The girl completely broke down.
It started to rain.The people below started running for shelter.And Shweta stood there sobbing, getting wet, and repeating “Mihir, I love you. I’m ready to fly again. . .I’m ready. . ”

Four months of FACEBOOK

Its been four months since I, of all the people in the world, decided that it was time that I too had my account on the social networking site FACEBOOK.

It has been a crazy time since then, one thing leading to the other, and pretty soon, I was introduced to the world of blogging.

325 friends and 4months later, today, I’ve sort of realised that I’m sort of a facebook freak by now. The first thing in the morning that I want to do, even before brushing, is to check my account for fresh notifications and messages. I am that sort of a freak.

Through this blogpost of mine, I wish to share some of the home truths I’ve learnt from being on FACEBOOK for four long months.

*Conditions apply.
*Any resemblance with my actual facebook friends is not intentional(!) and I cannot be sued for it.

HOME TRUTHS :

¤AT SOME LEVEL, WE ARE ALL ON FACEBOOK TO FIND LOVE.
I know it sounds crazy . But I know what I’m talking about. Yesterday, I watched the movie THE SOCIAL NETWORK. The movie ends with Mark Zuckerburg sitting with his laptop and sending a friend request to the girl he fancied in College. That, for me, was the essence of the movie, and of facebook. After labouring through the 2hr long movie, I’ve discovered this truth. We are all on facebook to find love.

¤FEW PEOPLE ON FACEBOOK UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF “ADD TAG”.
Yes, here I go again. I find it a nuisance when I’m tagged in the photo of a teddy bear or a support Anna Hazare campaign photo. Tagging someone in a photo means the photograph also features that person. Few people understand it.

¤GIRLS GET ALL THE LIKES AND THE COMMENTS.
I don’t blame them. They know how to market themselves. First they’ll post a photo of themselves. Mostly girls are good looking. (All those anti aging creams pay some dividends). Then they’ll wait for half an hour. By this time, all the guys in her network would’ve liked and commented on her photo. Then she’ll thank each of them individually through comments. Number of comments doubles up. Mission accomplished. If not this then they’ll put up a status “This afternoon is so dull. Nothing to do. Huh!”. This is invitation enough for the guys in her network. They see opportunity. A bored girl means luck. 50comments in 35minutes.

¤THERE ARE JEALOUS PEOPLE EVEN ON FACEBOOK.
Yes the J-work exists! Even in facebook. These are the pathetic, mean people who have nothing better to do.
Exhibit A : A singer friend of mine posts a photo of her singing on stage. 4comments from guys(she’s a girl). All very favourable comments. Enter jealous girl : her comment “Very nice dear. But the photo is very hazy. Please put a clearer pic”. My question is : ” if she had a clearer pic, wouldn’t have she put it in the first place, eh Einstein?”

¤MOST GIRLS HIDE THEIR AGE, EVEN ON FACEBOOK.
This phenomenon has transgressed all boundaries and entered facebook. Most girls don’t enter the year they were born in. Simply 5th march or 22nd september suffices.

This, is my humble learning, from being on facebook for the last four months. And the most valued lesson that I’ve learnt is :
FACEBOOK CAN’T GIVE YOU A SOCIAL LIFE IF YOU ALREADY DON’T HAVE ONE.