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People write diaries. Their diaries describe their personality. I write on my blog. It describes me way too well. :D
My writing takes me places my mind never wanted to go
Everyone writes. From the ink of their thoughts, by the pen of their mind on the page of their face. Everyone writes.I love to write. It is a passion; a compulsion; something that gives me an avenue to express myself. I write when I am happy; when I am sad or when an issue touches my heart. I find inspiration to write in every aspect of life.
This blog is dedicated to anything and everything that fills my thoughts and occupies cranial space

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Do Facebook friendships mean anything at all?

OK, let’s accept it. We are all addicted to social networking sites, especially Facebook, in one way or another.

Social networking has not only altered the way we live, it has also changed our relationships and interactions with each other. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and many other social networking sites are the projectors of our self image and define our relationships.
The pages we ‘like’, the groups we join, our activities and interests, the thoughts we choose to share on Facebook – all work to make us a part of a subculture that is still in its infancy, but has widespread effects, and is slowly bringing down the barriers of distance and language.
A new social system
Facebook, in the past few years, has changed the concept of human relationships. Friendship is no longer confined to face-to-face interaction, but is now rooted in the ‘friends list’ of the other person. A simple click on the ‘unfriend’ option can cut ties between childhood friends. The more people in your friends list, the more popular you are perceived to be.
I wonder if being in someone’s friends list is enough to be called a friend or a non-digital environment where one can freely express emotions (without the assistance of emoticons) is still important to cultivate a healthy relationship between two people?
Even in friends, we have the liberty to compartmentalize people into different categories or circles, based on our closeness and level of formality with them. We have ‘family’, ‘best friends’, ‘not-so-close friends’, ‘relatives’ and‘work colleagues’ lists.
Double personalities
It is no longer a shame that most of us live a dual life all thanks to Facebook, which allow us to share our online life with specific friends and limit others to our off line life only. If due to cultural or proximity barriers, you cannot physically ‘poke a friend’, you can still do so in the world of Facebook and this subtle cue is somehow less offending in the virtual world.
Meeting new people
Some friendships also evolve based on your interaction with the other person on Facebook only. Even if you have never met a person in your life before, but since a friend of yours suggested you become friends with him, you add him and start talking and when you get a chance to meet this digital friend of yours in person, you both have already developed enough of a comfort zone to look over all the pleasantries.
Facebook has brought people together and has given new meaning to ‘connection’ and ‘networking’, it has also given hype to our fake digital personalities. As the saying goes:
“No one is as ugly as their Voter id card pic, or as good looking as their Facebook profile picture.”
Just as an artist carefully paints a portrait before putting it on display to the general public, similarly we brush, trim, update and retouch our online images and persona to find love and friendship. We constantly seek validation from the online community.
Social media may be giving rise to the new taxonomy of friendship, but for thousands like me, just by being on someone’s Facebook with a striking profile picture, is not enough to foster real relationships that will strengthen the bond between two people. I think online buddies can never replace our flesh and blood pals. The true meaning of friendship and true essence of human relations can never get deeper just by scribbling a few lines on each other’s walls once in a blue moon or by liking the same pages.
Real intimacy, the feeling of being touched, heard and seen by someone in reality is more  than just satisfying your competitive spirit by increasing the number of people in your friend list.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Are we missing something??

Do you love rain?
As long as I can remember, I have always loved the rain. Everything about it - from the fragrance of the air before it to the sound of the rain as it smatters against the windows.

When I was a boy and it would begin to rain we would run outside in our lane and just stand there. Our arms outstretched absorbing the water like we were sponges. We would run to a small thela wala who wheeled his mouth-watering kulchas through our streets to sample his wares.
Even when I was a teenager we revelled in the thunderstorms that graced my hometown. We did not have cars so we would take our bikes out and cycle as far as we could go in the rain. Once we even reached the nearby dam! I still remember standing there before the awe inspiring sight of the waves crashing as sheets of water cascaded from the heavens.
So what you may ask? This monsoon season I decided to take a walk and I met the same thelawalla, Ravi who is a shadow of what he was when I was young. He has a beard now. He told me no kids ever come to his thela from our street now and that he was forced to go to schools at for business. This got me thinking.
Every time it rains I see  people rushing home, running helter skelter to avoid traffic jams and complaining. From tv to radio to social media sites, the curses pour forth at electricity breakages. Oddly, back in the day there were traffic jams too, there would be no electricity for days, signals could go down and there were no flyovers. The city would come to a standstill but everyone would enjoy the break not complain about it. So why have we all become so negative? Does our pace of life now not tolerate any intrusions? Why is everyone in such a hurry in this city anyway - where are we all trying to go?
I remember once a couple of friends and I were going for a haircut when it began to rain. It was so bad that we were stuck on that shop for 8 hours. Our bike stopped but we didn’t go nuts. We couldn’t call anyone for help on our cellphones because back then we didn’t even have cell phones! We just parked the bike to the side of the road and walked home with a skip in our step and dancing to whatever rhythm life threw at us in the form of waves of water from passing cars or anything else that came our way.
Maybe its because the media has become so strong that the news of impending disaster reaches us too fast. Plus it is presented in such a way that would give the most carefree of souls the jitters. Or perhaps its because due to social media everyone has a voice now, and they do not realise the power or the impact it can have on people reading them, so paranoia spreads faster. Please note, if you are on Facebook in the rain instead of at a pakora stand you are missing out..really. Maybe your status should then say “I cannot spare a moment to live.”

I think we should all take time out from this over reported over saturated lifestyle of ours and for one moment stop to look at the trees as they bathe in the rain, see how the sun shines through the clouds and enjoy the beauty of nature in all its glory. Even if there is a storm coming, lets revel in this precious calm. After all what is life if not its smallest pleasures?