Friday, September 11, 2009

Who let the dogs out?

So I’m back from a three day trip of Jaipur/NCR. It was an epoch-making event for mankind. I managed to give a new lease of life to the dying human race, thereby scripting my name in golden letters, forever in the pages of history. All right, all right, I better stop. By the way, only half of all this is a lie – I did go to Jaipur/NCR after all. It was a trip meant to be a surprise for my friends there. But thanks to Shantanu (who leaks more than a sieve), it almost got ruined. I use the word almost here, because, ironically enough, thanks to Shantanu again (or rather his reputation), no one believed him.

Omelet, chai, sutta, chaka chak, maggi” These are the things which the menu in MNIT ki thadi still says (yes I was there - I wouldn’t let go a chance to visit the place again). And an outsider would believe that these are the only things which were on offer. But ask any MNITian what he derived out of thadi, and he’ll tell you more. If the pre-engineering days of a student were characterized by “Maa ka khana”, these four years were definitely all about “Mai Ka Khana”.

Thadi was where life was; the place to be in MNIT. If you were hungry, you thronged to this place. If you were thirsty, it was the thadi again. If you were drunk - the same answer. Passed an exam? Thadi it was. Got a back? Thadi again. You went there when you had a treat to give and you went there when you were broke (thadi even gave credit). You went there when you wanted company and you went there when you wanted to be alone. The place where all rumours and gossip (about the departments, profs, fellow students and the GH) started. The thadi has been a witness to so much GYAN being transferred – a witness to so much bhasad.

It’s a pity now that all the charm, all the mahaul is a thing of the past. It was always on a downward trend during our stay in MNIT, but we were lucky to have enjoyed, to a very large extent, the essence of all that the thadi stood for.

If Jaipur left me ‘dry’, Delhi/Gurgaon didn’t. If the trip to the thadi was a dampener, Delhi/Gurgaon had many ‘high’ points. Boy did we have a blast! It was the biggest SMDO get-together after our paths separated post B. Tech. Now, friends are always the source of your strength, always pushing you towards that little bit extra (be it the extra peg or the extra shot or the extra pint). And this trip was no different.

Anyways, although the trip did not boast of any major ‘hits’ (I’m not counting the one which a ‘sick Manish’ did, because that was after the trip), but it was wonderful just being together. From being asked to leave from even a place like McDonald’s (politely of course), to chilling out for hours in Mocha; from an evening in South Ex, to a late night ride to Guragoan, from being woken up past midnight, to discussing the special idiosyncrasies of pigs in MP, from bowling in BlueO to being blown over in BlueO; and of course, from dinner at Leela Kempinsky, to immediately following it up with coffee at the Convergys dhaba – it was sheer fun.

And of course there was booze. :) The best part about booze is that, unlike bournville chocolates, you do not need to do anything to earn it. Any loser on the street has the right to it. But when friends are together, everyone is the winner.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Man is a social animal

“A person who can bring the spirit of laughter into a room is indeed blessed.” No I’m not going to tread any philosophical paths here. This is my ‘Today’s Fortune’ according to Orkut. I am not fortunate enough or blessed enough to understand what their interpretation of fortune is, but I can do my best to laugh at them, and at what they’ve turned us into.

Welcome to the era of social networking. Initially, conceived as a medium for keeping in contact with our second tier of friends, social networking sites have permeated our lives in a big way. Back in college, Orkut was what kept everyone busy. I still remember a profile name which said “Amol Patil : Before Orkut, its hard to remember what I did in my internet time”. Don’t quite remember who had posted it though [:D]. Anyways, we added everyone we remotely knew, or thought we knew, or even wanted to know, in our friends list. We communicated with each other through scraps sitting in the same lab or in adjoining rooms, in a bid to boast our scrap counts. Some self-sufficient people posted in their own scrapbooks. We congratulated each other on our 100th or 1000t0h scraps. We requested each other to write testimonials about us.

And then there were stories wherein lost lovers found each other thanks to this God-sent site (this phenomenon has probably come a full circle, with people now using this tool to announce to their lovers how hurt they are, or that they are beyond them). Anyways how is one supposed to even find the other when all their profile name says is “Off Orkut for 21 days”.

What goes up comes down. The popularity of Orkut is on the wane, but we have a new messiah in the form of Facebook. You know something is wrong when you go out for dinner with friends and all that people are concerned with is, clicking snaps. No one cares about the food or even in discussing Dravid’s return to Team India or Buchanan expressing surprise at his ouster from the KKR camp (could there be something more laughable than that). And the next morning you get an email (sent at 2:30 am) saying you are tagged in an album named “Fun time with F.R.I.E.N.D.S”. Hah!

Go to Facebook’s Airtel page, and you will find people bitching about their services. The catch here is you need to be a fan of the page to post a comment.

And I won’t skip the part where people spam other’s walls with their status messages, mostly copied from here and there. I accede that the person most guilty of that is someone who is closest to my heart (which can theoretically be only me). But nothing like ending your day with some laughter, and Facebook provided me some very recently when one of the status messages said “Down with fever” and below it there was a line which said “2 people like this”. Boy, it is about time we got a life.

Social networking is here to stay. When people are bored with Facebook, there will be some other knight in shining armor (hopefully provided by Yahoo!). As Chandler Bing would have probably said “Could man BE any more social!”

All said and done, if you are not on my friend’s list, please add me on Orkut and Facebook [:P]. And regarding the copied status messages:

"Why should I give my Readers bad lines of my own when good ones of other People's are so plenty?"
- Benjamin Franklin

PS1 – After my last blog, some of the people asked me the relevance of the title. For the people who are still ignorant or people who never bothered to think about it, no I have not been influenced by Guddu of Kaminey (Charlie would have called me Rahul Faraf), but rah rah has a meaning as well.

PS2 - I purposely did not mention about people who request others to comment on, or to follow their blog posts.

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