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of friends and technology

Just twelve years ago, the only places where you could meet someone, make friends were school & college, your neighborhood and the city center or its equivalent. Which meant that your friend circle was necesarily restricted by the access you had to these places and your relative popularity in the relevant circles. Of course, it also meant that being close knit, you were far more likely to be close to each other and interact on an extremely regular basis.

The flip side, as everything must have, was that the moment circumstances forced you to leave the physical region in which these places were located, you almost always lost touch with the friends you had made there. I can personally reel off dozens of names of people whom I was friends with during my early school days and have lost all contact with. The irrepressible twins Sona and Mona, Amit Gandhi, Aditya Vishnoi - the first Aditya I ever met, Yogesh, Saif, Juhi, Shilpi, Kamal Bhojwani, Smita Saha are just a few names that come to mind immediately of people who I was pretty close to and have now lost touch with.

However, in the past 10 years technology has grown by leaps and bounds. New avenues of finding lost friends have cropped up. There are far more ways of meeting people than there have been ever before. Social forums like Orkut allow people to post details about them and let others read the same and establish contact if they are interested. Publishing platforms like blogs let people post whatever they feel like, personal thoughts or opinions, general bits of nformation or trivia and give an opportunity to others to comment on the same and react to the same in a variety of ways. One of the greatest inventions of this technology era was email and Instant messaging. Tools like Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger (and now GTalk) have become an entirely independent medium of communication with an almost parallel universe of their own, with unique terminology, slang, etiquette and behavioral norms.

I have made so many friends online that I suspect the number of people who I have been friends with through a physical contact might be lesser than otherwise. I am not that big a fan of strictly virtual relationships. I prefer the online channel to act as an interface for initial contact, a filter for undesirable elements, and a filler for occasions when actually meeting in person is not possible for some reason but the need to communicate is mutual and strong.

Some of my best pals today have established first contact with me through my blog or Orkut. However, as was quite inevitable, the rogue elements have begun their tricks on these fora too. Fake pictures, fake profiles, slanderous comments, everything is happening. And if that was not enough, now I see increasing evidence of people deliberately lying on their profiles to keep interest in them alive. Some act aloof and busy, not responding to messages even though they are clearly online. Some write stuff that is again transparently untrue. While others are content with posting someone else's pictures and passing them off as their own. Its a shame.

But I guess you have to pay a price for anything that is good and in this case free. I cannot deny that some of the most close friends that I have have come to me through Orkut. And it is relationships like these that have kept my sanity intact in this mad mad world. Far away from home, from family, from India, I have managed to retain my innate optimism, my cheerful nature, my inquisitive spirit and my goofball instinct, strictly because I know there is someone waiting online to hear about them, to savour them, to bring a smile back on my face.

You know who you are, and this post is dedicated to you.

hi adi,
this was ur 1st write up i read ever..n i guess, i read the wrong one,which was to someone special..but neways..i m commenting.

I dont kw whether the World knows or not...but ur one person who plays many roles at a time in best n purified form..n i call such ppl as "perfect persons"-u think abt community, society,culture,relations n net frnds n other too very seriously n are sensitive to all the above mentioned which is rarely there in ppl..even i m one of them at times..so congrats for being a Winnner!

n dude never feel imprisoned miles away...coz ur on rise of ur carrer which u desired n man u kw what???? we all Indians incl me...wishing u make my trip once to U.K [:0] so ur lucky chap..

jokes apart, keep rockin..n trust me i wasnt online that day...otherwise i wud have buzzed..wanna hear more bakwass fr me...

tk.
VJ

Hi Vijjy..
why wud u say u read the wrong one..
yes this post is dedicated to someone.. but u r special too..

and this post is definitely meant to be red by everyone..including my friends like u.. :)

Cheers,

I have an idea!! Why don't you come visit me in New York?? !!! You are already half way here and what better opportunity to visit another continent? :-D

Kya bhai, after such a contemplative blog.... no entries for so long ????

dude, can totally understand the feelings.

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